Pointers are members of an extremely affectionate, intelligent breed bred to point out where prey is but not to actually bite it. It can be very tempting to bring one of these cute and gentle puppies home. But this breed requires specific pointer puppy care needs that differ from many other breeds of dog. The potential pointer owner needs to carefully consider these issues before committing to living with a pointer.
Pointer puppies are incredibly sweet but rambunctious creatures. The breed was bred to run for miles in the hunting field in all types of weathers. They were not bred to sit on the couch and watch television twelve hours a day. These puppies cannot help having so much energy. If they cannot release their energy outdoors playing, they will soon develop terrible habits like destroying furniture and leaping onto people. Do not let a juvenile pointer jump up on anyone. Although it seems cute now, it is not so cute when the pointer weighs 4 to 5 stones.
They need at least one but preferably two walks of a half hour or more per day and a secure, fenced-in yard to run about in. They need quick access to the outdoors in order to burn off excess energy. People living in apartments or high-rises should not consider getting a pointer.
Although pointers have short coats that do not need brushing or bathing like other dog breeds, be sure to spend the time to teach the puppy to stand quietly for grooming. The puppy may be inclined to see the brush as a toy, so it is best to begin grooming lessons when the pup is tired and sleepy. Giving the pup a chew to distract him can also help in getting the pup used to a brush, getting ears inspected and to nail clipping.
Puppies are very impressionable. What happens to them up to 14 weeks of age will especially stick with them. Even if the puppy is clean, give the pointer a bath to get him used to the experience. The first bath can only be with water if you think the puppy is going to be scared. Pointers will eventually get into mud, garbage and manure, so getting them used to baths when they are small is a crucial step in pointer puppy care.
Health Problems to Watch Out For
Pointers do not have as many health problems as other breeds, but they are prone to deafness and eye problems. Both of these problems should be seen in the puppy before he or she reaches two years of age. Deaf dogs can be trained using hand signals and vibrating collars. Never use shock collars.
One common eye problem in pointers is called progressive retinal atrophy or PRA. However, good breeders never breed dogs with PRA. If you decide to get a pointer from a breeder as opposed to a rescue centre, ask if the puppy’s parents have been examined for PRA. The breeder should have certificates stating the dogs are PRA-free. This can be a big factor in lessening the medical costs associated with pointer puppy care.
- · Big Dog Breeds. Dan Rice. Barron’s Educational Series; 201.
- · Training Your Pointing Dog for Home and Hunting. Richard D. Weaver. Stackpole Books; 2007.
* Dogs 101. “Pointer.” Animal Planet video.