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When we were planning on getting our first dog, we were choosing between GSD, Retriever, or a pointer. My husband wanted a pointer because he hunts. Obviously we came down to GSD and we have not regret one second since we got Lincoln. My second choice was a golden retriever but hubby didn't wanna mess with the hair. So when I left with a pointer or GSD, my choice was clear just because GSD is so much prettier (to me anyway).

So I kinda knew this may come up later down the road and sure enough it did. Now that Lincoln become more reliable, my husband asked if he can be trained to point. If not we will have to get a pointer puppy sometime in the future. He says it in the joking way. But I am a little shook up about second puppy. Obviously thats a whole other topic to do research on. I'm just wondering...

Can GSD be trained to point? Can GSD hunt?
 

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I don't know a thing about hunting, but when the ball disappears into the pool skimmer, Hans will go there and point with his snout, LOL. Kind of freezes and shows me with his nose where the ball is. He is right every single time.
 

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I think there have been some GSD that have been trained to hunt, but they would be very much in the minority. Pointers have been selectively bred to do their job. And the work that the GSD has been selectively bred to do is very, very different.

The GSD is hardwired to key in to movement and then to do "something" with whatever is moving, to engage it in some physical way. Their minds just don't work in the way that a pointing dog's does. Or a retriever. I guess you could train a GSD to alert to a bird like they would alert to an article on a track? But I would think that their alert would spook the bird into flight? Kind of like Springers flushing the game? But unlike a Springer, I don't think there are many GSDs that have a mouth soft enough to retrieve the downed bird and return it in one piece.

If your husband didn't want to deal with the shedding of a Golden, what is he going to think about the shedding of your German Shepherd?
Sheilah
 

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I don't know a thing about hunting, but when the ball disappears into the pool skimmer, Hans will go there and point with his snout, LOL. Kind of freezes and shows me with his nose where the ball is. He is right every single time.
Yes! The same look my dog gets when the ball rolls under something and he can't reach it! But...that is only telling me that I need to get the ball for him because he can't reach it. I don't think he would point to it and hold the point if he were able to actually reach it himself.

There was a thread a while back from someone who wanted to either buy a GSD puppy and train it to duck hunt, or he had purchased a puppy already and he wanted to train it to duck hunt. I wonder what happened? Was he able to train the puppy to hunt?
Sheilah
 

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@Sunflowers:

I don't know a thing about hunting, but when the ball disappears into the pool skimmer, Hans will go there and point with his snout, LOL. Kind of freezes and shows me with his nose where the ball is. He is right every single time.
Wow really? Did you train him/her to do that?

@sit,stay


If your husband didn't want to deal with the shedding of a Golden, what is he going to think about the shedding of your German Shepherd?
Sheilah
When we were choosing a breed, my husband said if he has to deal with shedding he would rather deal with GSD. Plus, Lincoln is a short haired.
 

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Yes! The same look my dog gets when the ball rolls under something and he can't reach it! But...that is only telling me that I need to get the ball for him because he can't reach it. I don't think he would point to it and hold the point if he were able to actually reach it himself.
This is correct. He would get it if he could.
@Sunflowers:



Wow really? Did you train him/her to do that?
.
No, he does it on his own.
 

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Cyra would freeze and point just before the chase. It is part of the hunt sequence and it was momentary. She was one, unfortunately, with the kill instinct.
 

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It's a very tough thing to teach a GSD to hunt. Most "training" involves teaching the dog to use their NATURAL skills and abilities to benefit the handler. This is why there has been selective breeding and the creation of so many breeds. It doesn't take a lot of work to teach a GSD to herd...it takes work to teach a GSD to herd where the shepherd wants the sheep. Same with hunting dogs, it doesn't take a lot of work to teach them to hunt in their respective ability, just to teach them to control that drive for the benefit of the hunter. With a retriever...you don't have to teach them to retrieve things, just teach them to retrieve the right things.

Depending on your GSD you might get it to hunt, but if its got any amount of prey drive it will be much more likely to chase the prey than to just point it out to you. I don't even think there's a written standard on how to go about training such a thing because any type of correction for "chasing" could easily be misconstrued as a correction for "finding or reacting." That communication hurdle will be way too big in my opinion to be able to do this, but I'm sure its possible at some level. It will probably take you YEARS to train this where as with a pointer it would've taken you months.
 

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I think a good GSD can be trained to do just about anything dogs can be trained to do given a really good trainer (except for size limitations). Years, ago a poster in the Leerburg forum said their GSDs went hunting with them and retrieved ducks just like their Labs. The difference is the ducks came back a bit more chomped up with the GSD than with the Lab LOL since the GSD has a "hard" mouth and retrievers understandably have soft mouths. I'm willing to bet a good trainer can indeed train a GSD to point, albeit the end product will probably not be as good as pointers that have been bred to do it for centuries.
 

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I think a good GSD can be trained to do just about anything dogs can be trained to do given a really good trainer (except for size limitations). Years, ago a poster in the Leerburg forum said their GSDs went hunting with them and retrieved ducks just like their Labs. The difference is the ducks came back a bit more chomped up with the GSD than with the Lab LOL
I read this, too. Had a good chuckle. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It's a very tough thing to teach a GSD to hunt. Most "training" involves teaching the dog to use their NATURAL skills and abilities to benefit the handler. This is why there has been selective breeding and the creation of so many breeds. It doesn't take a lot of work to teach a GSD to herd...it takes work to teach a GSD to herd where the shepherd wants the sheep. Same with hunting dogs, it doesn't take a lot of work to teach them to hunt in their respective ability, just to teach them to control that drive for the benefit of the hunter. With a retriever...you don't have to teach them to retrieve things, just teach them to retrieve the right things.

Depending on your GSD you might get it to hunt, but if its got any amount of prey drive it will be much more likely to chase the prey than to just point it out to you. I don't even think there's a written standard on how to go about training such a thing because any type of correction for "chasing" could easily be misconstrued as a correction for "finding or reacting." That communication hurdle will be way too big in my opinion to be able to do this, but I'm sure its possible at some level. It will probably take you YEARS to train this where as with a pointer it would've taken you months.
This makes so much sense. When Lincoln chase the bird, he would stare and point but very briefly before take off. I don't want to confuse him either. I guess I'll just look for a pointer puppy when the times come. See, I was expecting to replace the carpet by the time Lincoln is fully trained and become a grown up. Maybe I should consider getting that other puppy sooner.... so I can replace it all at once :crazy:
 

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If you want to nip that in the bud, the best time to correct is just before the point, at the stare. It is all a very fast sequence but you can see it. Always be tuned into your dog staring at anything.
 

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Yeah and remember...the retrieve is part of prey drive. Most of our GSDs have the drive to retrieve things but yes...some of them do chomp down once or twice so a real duck or bird would come back a little softer than originally found. But I do think that is something that is possible to train...the point...is a very "special" move done by a small amount of dogs. Not sure how you can teach it and then prevent the chase afterwards.

Like jocoyn stated...you can stop the chasing (I did when it comes to squirrels) by correcting as soon as your dog stares/kind of points at something.

BTW...my dog also points at a tennis ball that he cannot reach. If he could reach it, he'd get it. And a shrub/bush/tall grass is usually not something that prevents him from getting to a tennis ball...so if there was an animal in there, it wouldn't stop him from going after it as well.
 

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If you do teach your shepherd to hunt, let us know how it goes! My husband and I have a friend that want's to teach his shepherd how to retrieve waterfowl. Last year was his first time going out there, and he just nosed to birds and wouldn't pick them up. But the friend is pretty determined to teach his dog lol.
 

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If you want to nip that in the bud, the best time to correct is just before the point, at the stare. It is all a very fast sequence but you can see it. Always be tuned into your dog staring at anything.
If someone had a camera that has a quick shudder speed, you can see the scenario clear as day. It is really cool to see the body language unfold before you. You see things through the camera that you don't catch by the naked eye.
 

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yes the gsd can hunt, retreive, stalk/point and also tree - i have one so i know. these traits are not as pronounced in selectively bred dogs but every dog born possesses all these traits more or less - what is diminished by selective breeding can be compensated for to a certain extent by learned behaviour, my gsd is becoming an excellent strike dog due to his speed and heightened senses, he cannot match my cur tho in brains/cunning in the hunt and hence is not as effective a hunter when the going gets tough, hunting needs a variety of skill sets that no one dog can possess it's about putting togther an effective pack that compensate/enhance and support each other with their different skill sets.

i think that the biggest problem with my gsd in a hunting role is that he like all WL gsd has been selectively bred for high prey drive which ironically is a disadvantage when hunting actual prey, it's different to responding to the movement of a rag.
 

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@Sunflowers:



Wow really? Did you train him/her to do that?

@sit,stay




When we were choosing a breed, my husband said if he has to deal with shedding he would rather deal with GSD. Plus, Lincoln is a short haired.

I've heard of GSDs learning to point but not for a long time. Also, short coated shepherds IME tend to shed more noticeably. The running joke is german shepherds shed twice a year. the first six months and the last six months of the year.
 

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i think he's looking in the direction of where the ball is and
he can smell it. that's different than pointing but on second
thought maybe that's how a GSD points, umm. :crazy:

I don't know a thing about hunting, but when the ball disappears into the pool skimmer, Hans will go there and point with his snout, LOL. Kind of freezes and shows me with his nose where the ball is. He is right every single time.
 

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i don't think a GSD will point like a bird dog but i think
a GSD would give you a signal.
 

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Actually my little female did. Looked every bit like a classic pointer. But the transition to chase was lightning fast.

Now, Beau when the ball goes over the fence, runs to the gate, sits and taps the latch with his paw so I can let him out to go get it.
 
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