Please read this article if you are interested in adopting a GSP puppy from Texas GSP Rescue or purchasing a GSP pup from a reputable breeder.
What is a GSP puppy?
Texas GSP Rescue considers all of our adoptable dogs estimated to be under the age of 1 year to be a puppy.
While GSPs estimated over 1 year of age are not designated as puppies, many will have puppy-like characteristics well into adulthood, some for their entire lives.
If you adopt a GSP puppy from us, a dog under a year old will require more than one set of puppy booster shots. Once the dog is adopted, the remaining shots become the obligation of the adopter. You should discuss these requirements with your vet.
GSP puppies need supervision 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week. They are much like toddler human children in that they are curious, put a variety of inappropriate items in their mouths, and are very mobile. If you cannot have your eyes on your puppy, then you need to have your puppy in a safe, puppy-proofed environment – usually this is a crate; this is not a yard. (Note below that leaving your puppy crated for long periods is unacceptable because they need frequent potty breaks and a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.)
You cannot leave a puppy unsupervised for 9-10 hours, which is the length of most workdays when commute and lunch are factored in. Some options for working homes with interest in a puppy:
- Daily daycare until your puppy is at least 5 months old and you can come home for lunch, or
- Hire a dog walker – but plan for them to come at least twice daily until the pup is 5 months old.
- AND: Plan for play time immediately before leaving for work and immediately upon return – in conjunction with the above!
Providing exercise for many GSPs is a part-time job, but it is at least a part-time job for all GSP puppies. What does that mean for you? 15-20 hours of time set aside for exercising and mentally stimulating your puppy each week...minimally.
Running in the yard without you is neither safe for your GSP puppy nor is it necessarily going to fulfill any of your GSPs exercise and mental stimulation requirements. If you're not there, you have no idea ...
- what items your puppy is inappropriately chewing and possibly ingesting,
- how much exercise your puppy is getting or if he's napping all day long, and
- what things your puppy is learning (to bark at cats, climb the fence, or fence fight w/ the neighbor's dog) or is not learning (to control his bladder), to name a few things.
Most GSPs need 1-3 hours of hard, off-leash exercise daily. Some of this requirement can be met with mental stimulation but not all. GSP puppies are much the same, except they have more energy and less idea of how to appropriately and safely play.
Plan to play with your puppy (tug, fetch, walks, training, interactive toys, etc) multiple times each day. Your puppy has a short attention span, but they need a lot of exercise. This means making exercise and mental stimulation fun for your puppy and spacing it out throughout the day.
House training involves several stages or parts: 1) learning that pottying outside is good and inside is not, 2) learning how to "hold it" and maturing physically enough to do so, and 3) signaling the humans that it's time for a potty break.
As a rule of thumb, most GSPs can reasonably be expected to "hold it" for about as many hours as they are months old. This means that a 12 week old puppy needs to be given a potty break at least every 3 hours, and sometimes that includes during the night as well. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule of thumb. Some puppies will sleep quietly through the night for 6-7 hours. Some puppies can't hold it for more than an hour or 2 at a time.
The most important rule is not to leave your dog in area where he cannot appropriately pee and poop (for example, a crate) longer than he can reasonably be expected to hold it without discomfort.
What if I can't provide all of that and still want a puppy?
You could have the exception to all GSP puppies and have no problems. More likely, your puppy will learn to jump fences, develop anxiety, chew inappropriate and possibly expensive items, injure itself (obstructions are not uncommon with unsupervised pups), dig up your yard, scratch up your door, develop dog or human reactivity, house train slowly or develop urinary tract infections, destroy the siding of your house...
How do we know? Because these are the complaints we receive from families who have failed their GSP puppies - either by providing inadequate attention, exercise, mental stimulation, or training.
What does this mean for my family?
If you are not in a position to provide a puppy with the appropriate potty breaks, supervision, and exercise/mental stimulation – then it's time to consider an older GSP. While Texas GSP Rescue cannot make any assertions as to the long-term health of an adopted dog, GSPs are a hardy breed. GSPs are also one of the longer-lived large breeds. So adopting a mature GSP (3-5+ years old) can be a rewarding and long-lasting experience for your family if you determine that you cannot provide for the needs of a GSP puppy.
If you are in a position to accommodate the demanding needs a GSP puppy, then we welcome an application for one of our rescue puppies! And if we have none available, we will direct you to a reputable breeder who meets the guidelines of the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America (GSPCA). If rescue is your first preference, be patient! Texas GSP Rescue places several puppies each year. Frequently we place pups with families that have an approved application on file with us - so apply now and be patient.