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Old 03-22-2014, 05:16 PM   #1
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Default Contemplating getting a GSP

Hello, forum. Thought maybe this would be a good place to get some second opinions before jumping into this.

When I was a kid I lived on a cattle farm with hundreds of acres and we had a GSP. He was an outdoor only dog and we could never keep him tied up or contained anywhere for very long. Generally he just ran around the farm but had a tendency to leave the property... this was total farm country and that wasn't such a big deal where we lived then but was always a cause of worry. I remember clearly his effortless jumping of fences, tunneling abilities, and how he helped us herd cattle(self-taught dog too). So, I have a fair idea what they're like and I love them as a breed but..

Currently I don't live on hundreds of acres, I live on 40 acres and there's a county highway about 400' from the house.. it's not super busy but it only takes one car and everyone drives too fast on it. So it's critical I be able to keep this dog away from the road. I was thinking about an invisible fence and maybe additionally a remote-control shock collar just so I have some means of control if he doesn't obey. Ideally I want to be able to be working outside or go walking through the woods or wherever else outdoors and be able to have the dog stay close- he can run around me in circles all day but he needs to stay where I can see him without me having to worry about him disappearing if my attention is divided and obviously I need him to come back to me on command without hesitation. Basically so me or my wife can be out gardening or tending to horses/chickens or any of the other outdoor things we do and the dog can be out running it's heart out in the yard/field by the house and come back inside when we're done without having to have a big production of catching the dog. I think we ought to be able to do this with some basic training and something like an invisible fence but I've never used one so I have no idea.

We have a 1 year old Corgi and a couple of indoor/outdoor kitties. We'd be getting a puppy so it would be able to socialize with the other pets as a puppy... and I expect at least one of the cats will be ready to provide a swift lesson on respecting the cat so I'm not terribly worried there.

The biggest thing I worry about is my wife and I both have somewhat erratic work schedules. She's usually in and out during the day but sometimes gone all day. I'm generally either gone all day or home all day. Usually in an 8-9 hour period someone will be home at some point long enough to at least take a dog out on lead for a few minutes but there will likely be a day or two during a typical week when nobody is home. I don't want to leave a GSP... especially a puppy in the house alone that long. I was thinking about either making a dog run outside or enclosing the area underneath our back porch(it's about 5' high and about 15x30') and giving him an insulated/heated doghouse for cold winter days. This could be his place while we have to be away from home, I'm a little worried about being able to escape proof anything though, remembering what we went through with my old farm dog. We crate the Corgi in this situation and she seems to be OK with that. Could probably crate the GSP too but I'm worried he'd not be so OK with it and I just don't like to crate a dog... feels cruel.

I don't want to have to go out with him on a leash on a regular basis either, besides being a pain it seems kinda cruel to force a dog to slow down to my pace while he's got his time outside. I'll do it for training or when traveling or things like that of course, I just don't want that to be the day-to-day experience. It's more fun to watch them run around than plod along on the leash anyway.... just as long as I can keep him from the road.


So, thoughts? Should I go for it or maybe just hold off? My wife's friend has puppies and I've been told I need to decide soon.

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Old 03-22-2014, 07:04 PM   #2
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Cowman, welcome to the forum!! Crate training is a good thing, especially with a puppy. Some will disagree, but I'd rather see a pup crated and safe, then a pup let loose in the house chewing on electrical cords, or chewing furniture.
With proper recall training, you shouldn't have a problem keeping him/her from the street. That being said, it takes a lot of training to get to that point. You may want to purchase one of those 20 feet training leashes. Not the retractable kind. You can train your pup and give him/her plenty of room to run. I'm sure you'll be hearing from other members soon.

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Old 03-22-2014, 09:07 PM   #3
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Cowman welcome to the forum. I agree with DeeLind7.
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:17 PM   #4
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GSP, Pointers are a Sporting dog and need lots of exercise, they are not really a breed that likes to stay close to their owners without a lot of training. I would not trust an invisible fence to keep your dog in. Building the kennel under the house seems like a good option and taking him out on a long line until he has good recall.

Crating is not cruel as it is crueler to let them have free run of the house and either get chewing on electric wires or swallow something that takes an expensive Vet visit.
I don't know where you live but a short -haired dog would not do well outside when it gets really cold, they should be indoors with you.

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Old 03-22-2014, 10:46 PM   #5
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I would not allow the dog to be out and not physically restrained without being there to supervise regardless of the system used.

When I say "stay close" I mean preferably within about 100' but 200-300' is probably ok as long as I can see him and turn him around to come back to me. I have a 17 acre field bordering my yard that I'd like him to run his happy butt off in and about another 17 acres of woods with atv trails I'd like him to go on walks/atv chases through with me. But the key thing is with me... not running off into the road or following a deer trail a mile off in the wrong direction.

I was out at a campsite last fall with a friend of mine and they had a Brittney spaniel off lead. It ran all around the campsite but when it got too far away he called and it obediently came back every time without much hesitation. He showed me his shock collar and said that was the key, said that with the collar on the dog knew it had to listen... he never actually had to hit the button.

I like this idea because this has always been my problem with dogs- I can teach them the command and they'll come to me... if they feel like it. The dog is out running around and having a good time and all is well but then it's time to come in or it goes somewhere it shouldn't and I try to call it back- well both of us know there isn't a thing I can do about it if it keeps going so guess what happens? Bye dog, come back when or if you feel like it.

So staying nearby but running it's little heart out while accompanying me outside and on trails through the woods and things is my training/owning goal. I'm also interested in hunting but I don't know of a place to go or anyone to go do it with at the moment.

This will be an indoor dog, but I'm just looking at the idea of an outdoor kennel as an alternative to staying in a crate all day if nobody can be home. I realize an unsupervised GSP indoors all day is asking for trouble. If it's way below freezing out then crate it would probably have to be.

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Old 03-23-2014, 11:09 AM   #6
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Tag for tomorrow when I have more time.


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Old 03-23-2014, 11:16 AM   #7
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Welcome to Dog Forum Conan! Please keep checking back. I am sure you will be getting more opinions.
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Old 03-23-2014, 04:32 PM   #8
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Thanks all.

As I think and read a little bit, I'm becoming less interested in an invisible fence... seems like too many chances for the dog to get mixed signals about things and it would create a boundary the dog may be afraid to cross if we want to take him out into the woods.

What I'm thinking about is to use traditional training I've always used for the basics- come, sit, stay, drop-it. But condition in a single command with the shock.. or e-collar or stim collar or whatever euphemism you like.. something like "return" that I'd teach the same way I'd teach "come" but add in the shock on the lowest setting that will get his attention. The whole idea being on a normal day we'd want to just say come and never hit the button, but if he's getting into danger or chasing something or trying to run off we have that command conditioned with something I can get his attention with if he's not listening to me.

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Old 03-24-2014, 10:20 AM   #9
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Shock collars are best used for reinforcing a behavior that is already learned.

That said, the only time I put the shock collars on my GSPs is when we go hunting.
My property like yours is not fenced. Both dogs were boundary trained with a long lead and I have never needed the SC for the home. I do have to keep an eye on them when they are out though.

I have used SC to train them to stay away from porcupines, deer and snakes.

My advise to you is,

To forget about the shock collar for now. Esp with a puppy.

When and if you get a shock collar, Don't go cheap... get a Dogtra or Tri Tronics.

Outdoor kennel is what I would go with also. Its what I have with a insulated doghouse. I never leave in it overnight though. I also have them crate trained for my sanity in the house.

If you are going to hunt with the pup, don't train it to sit until its pointing birds.

Most important...Use positive reinforcement training. A 50 ft lead is all you need IMO.

Last edited by gspdad; 03-24-2014 at 10:56 AM..

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