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No matter the season, water is crucial to your dog’s health, but in the dog days of summer, which just so happens to be the height of our dock diving season, it’s even more important.  A dog’s body weight is almost 70% water, so losing just 5-10% of body water means your dog could suffer from severe dehydration.  Monitoring your dog’s water intake can improve their health, prevent illness or injury, and insure proper hydration. While some dogs naturally do this on their own, some either under-drink or over-drink. Too little water can lead to dehydration in dogs, kidney stones, organ failure, and even death. Drinking too much water can lead to stomach bloat, electrolyte imbalances, and water toxicity.

****PLEASE NOTE:  If your dog is under-drinking or over-drinking, it could be a sign of an underlying illness. Under-drinking can indicate Parvo, Leptospirosis, or Pancreatitis. Over-drinking can signify a bladder infection, or diabetes. Be sure to have your vet check your dog if he/she is doing either.

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GSPs are susceptible to bloat, so we have to be sure we keep an eye on our dogs’ water intake, making sure they don’t over-drink right before, during, or immediately after running.  During intense activity, we use a stainless steel water bottle with a roller-ball flow top (acts just like a hamster/rabbit style water dispenser), similar to the one pictured below to ensure our dogs are not gulping large amounts of water.  This type of water dispenser allows us to control their drinking during times when they would normally gulp, or drink too much.  We always provide them with access to water throughout the entire day.


On average, Pets Web MD recommends that dogs should drink about an ounce of water per pound of body weight per day.  If you are exercising your dog, you need to take extra steps to keep him/her hydrated. During exercise, give your dog small amounts of water every 15 to 20 minutes. Once activity has ended, don’t put a water bowl down in front of your dog right away. Wait until your dog is calm and has stopped panting before you let them drink. An overly eager dog can swallow large amounts of water and air, which could lead to vomiting, discomfort, bloat, or torsion.


Another great tip we learned from our agility instructor is to offer our dogs small amounts of watermelon on extremely hot days, while at competition events, or during strenuous activity. This is especially helpful if your dog (like our Limoncello) doesn’t want to drink while “working” or competing.  The dogs think of watermelon more as a treat… and what a great treat it is! Watermelon is loaded with minerals, low on calories, and is great for hydration.  For an added bonus, you can enjoy the watermelon along with your dog for some of the same benefits!

Benefits of Watermelon:

  • Contains beta-carotene, magnesium, vitamin A, potassium, and vitamin C
    • Great for dogs and their immune system
  • High water concentration – great for hydration
    • 91% water by weight
    • Dogs don’t digest fruit as well as we do. Practice moderation when feeding it to your dog, especially if you notice a change when they empty their bowels. If your dog has never had watermelon, start out by giving them only a small piece or two, until you know how they will handle it. 
    • Do not feed your dog any part of the rind
    • Remove all seeds before feeding to your dog, or purchase seedless watermelon

Happy Hydrating!


Information taken from:



For added protein and yummy goodness, with each meal our pack gets 1-2 tablespoons of the following extra “goodies” mixed in with their kibble.  All ingredients below are organic, responsibly farmed, and bought at our local Whole Foods.

  • Cooked (boiled) ground bison and its natural broth
  • Cooked (boiled) ground beef and its natural broth
  • Cooked (boiled) ground lamb and its natural broth
  • Cooked (boiled) wild caught salmon and its natural broth
  • Hard boiled egg

German Shorthaired Pointer “Deutsch Kurzhaar”


First and foremost, we’d like to congratulate CJ the German Shorthaired Pointer, and his owner, Valerie, for winning Best in Show at Westminster 2016!  This is an awesome accomplishment for the breed! However, with this remarkable recognition, can come negative consequences.  GSPs will be in high demand, and backyard breeders will be intent on breeding.  In a few months to a year, many of these pups will be given up to rescue, or worse, because a German Shorthaired Pointer is not suited for the many families that “just want one” because they fell in love with the breed from watching a show.  What people saw at Westminster was THE perfect example of what German Shorthaired Pointers are made of: athleticism, grace, intelligence, intensity and energy. CJ’s performance surely did not happen naturally, or “just because”…this dog has been in training his since he was a young pup! German Shorthaired Pointers are very intuitive, and very HIGH energy dogs. To channel that intensity takes a LOT of training and patience from a person who is very experienced with the breed.



The German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) is a versatile hunter, capable of high performance in the field and in the water.  One of the most energetic breeds, the GSP is a hunting dog by nature.  Clever, eager, and willing to please, it is very fond of its human family.  Dominance and energy levels vary from puppy to puppy, but those bred for working in high-performance field competitions usually require more activity than the average GSP.  However, all GSPs are very high energy dogs who need a lot of daily mental and physical stimulation.  Those who do not get the daily workout they need will literally “bounce off the walls!”  The GSP needs an owner who can provide appropriate, calm, confident, and consistent training.  GSPs crave structure, and enjoy having a “job” to do.  If this breed lacks in either exercise or leadership, it can become frustrated, and develop separation anxiety, and possibly become destructive.  Due to their strong prey drive, GSPs generally do not do well with cats or other small animals.  However, well-adjusted, stable minded GSPs who receive enough mental and physical activity along with a balance of consistent leadership will get along with other dogs and cats.  This breed can be reserved with strangers if not socialized well.  DSC02623_edited


Average Height and Weight

Height:       Males 23 – 25 inches (59 – 64 cm)         Females 21 – 23 inches (53 – 58 cm)
Weight:      Males 55 – 70 pounds (25 – 32 kg)        Females 45 – 60 pounds (20 – 27 kg)



Living Conditions

This breed is not suited to life in a kennel, and is not recommended for apartment life.  GSPs do best with a large yard and an active, athletic family, dedicated to fulfilling the breed’s drive to “work.”  The breed is generally good with kids, but caution must be exercised around small children.  Due to their eagerness, unintentional injuries from small children being knocked over may occur.  (PLEASE NOTE: Proper introduction of children to any breed, and teaching children appropriate behavior around dogs in general, is essential. NEVER leave any dog unattended with an a young child). GSPs thrive on human interaction, and love their humans very much –  sometimes to the point of being a “velcro dog” (following your every step around the house).  Due to high prey drive, GSPs are sometimes not very cordial with cats and other small animals. They can be trained to leave them alone and share home space, but their hunting instinct may interfere at times. When raised as a puppy with cats and other small animals, such as toy breeds, GSPs often do well. However, caution should always be used with any other small pet companions. GSPs may be able to jump any fence that is lower than 6 feet tall, and some have been known to clear even a 6-foot fence. Under exercised, bored GSPs are great escape artists.  Be prepared for an imperfect lawn to say the least.  Even established, thriving grass will be worn to dirt with the GSPs foot traffic.


Life Expectancy

About 12-15 years



Black, Black and White, Black Roan, Liver, Liver and White, Liver Roan, White, White and Liver



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Maintenance of the GSP is minimal compared to many other breeds, but there are still some areas that require attention..  The GSP’s short, sleek coat requires minimal grooming.  Despite its short coat, the GSP does in fact shed! Their dark hair shows up on the light items and their white hairs on the dark articles! Also, due to their short hair length,  it can become embedded in some fabrics and carpeting and difficult to vacuum out. Regular brushing as well as the occasional bath will help reduce shedding. Their strong, fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or nail dremel to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking.  Because of their folded ears, airflow is often not adequate, which can lead to a buildup of wax and debris, which can further result in an infection.  Ears should be cleaned with a mild solution (talk with your vet about which solution is best, and the proper method to clean the ears).  Teeth should be brushed regularly with a toothbrush and toothpaste formulated for dogs.   Because the breed is subject to bloat or torsion, they should not be fed immediately after running or other demanding exercise, nor should they be allowed to run or exercise for at least an hour after eating and drinking. The ideal evening mealtime would be after the day’s exercising and activities are through for the day.

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 Energy and Exercise

GSPs are a very high energy breed.  They tend to keep a puppy-level of energy throughout most of their lives!  GSPs always want to be at the center of things, and are always up for physical activity like running, swimming, organized dog sports — anything that will burn some of their boundless energy while spending outdoors time with a human family member. A bored GSP can be quite mischievous to say the least. This eager breed does best with regular consistent exercise, positive training, and lots of love.

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Like all breeds there may be some health issues, but the majority of German Shorthaired Pointers are healthy dogs. Regular veterinary care and proper feeding are vital to your dog’s health.  Yearly DHLPP vaccinations, rabies shots, a monthly heart worm and flea/tick preventative regimen, and in many parts of the country a Lyme Disease vaccination, should not be neglected.  Follow the advice of your veterinarian for shots and monthly preventatives.  If you plan to purchase a puppy, be sure to do your research and work with a responsible breeder.  Good breeders utilize genetic testing of their dogs to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.

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Obedience Training

A MUST!  If new to the breed,  it would be beneficial to work with another individual who is knowledgeable about the breed. The GSP is a quick learner, and very eager to please, and will work hard for positive reinforcement. They are not generally stubborn, but can at times be quite creative. Due to their high intelligence level, the biggest challenge is to keep them focused, and not let them get away with “inventing” variations to the exercise being taught. Because of their extreme sensitivity to people, the trainer must always be watchful of their own body language and reactions to issues that come up during a training exercise. A calm demeanor, and providing quick, clear rewards for desired behaviors, will enable you to be successful in your training.  Not all types of training methods, or instructors are right for every dog, no matter what the breed.  So be sure to educate yourself, and carefully match your training methods with the personality, characteristics, and needs of your dog.

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Crate Training

As with anything else, do your research on crate training.  If introduced properly and in a positive manner, the crate becomes a safe haven and a secure “den” for the dog. The crate provides a safe place to go when things get too hectic and the dog needs a break. When the dog has to travel, its “safe place” can come along,  and the dog will always have its den regardless of the circumstances.

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German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America

Find a local club by you by clicking HERE



Combined with the fact that humans don’t always do their research, and the breed’s high energy demands, GSPs often find themselves surrendered to a rescue group once the owner realizes what they got themselves in to.  There are many GSPs of all ages just waiting for a forever family.  Find a local rescue by clicking HERE


Breeder Listing

If you would prefer to purchase a registered puppy rather than rescue, the GSPCA provides a breeder directory.  However, please be aware that the listings here are paid classifieds.  The breeders are not recommended by the GSPCA. The breeders listed, do however, agree to abide by the Code of Ethics adopted by the GSPCA. It is the Breeder’s responsibility when it comes to the health and temperament of the puppies and dogs offered for sale.  Remember, if you choose to use this directory, you must still do your research, and decide for yourself which breeder is most suitable.  Click HERE to access the directory.  Another suggestion is to contact your local GSP Rescue.  Often, the rescues can provide you with a list of reputable breeders they would recommend.

Some other things to keep in mind as you choose a breeder:

The coat pattern of GSPs can be quite varied ranging from solid to one with markings. The coat color of the purebred GSP will be liver and white or black and white but not a combination of liver, black and white. Some shade of liver may be very dark but the color of the dog’s nose will indicate whether it is a liver dog (brown nose for a brown dog or black nose for a black dog). Some breeders advertise “rare” GSPs based on color. Be cautious!! A responsible breeder knows there is a mutant gene that can result in a dilute silver or lemon color, and would never produce dilute colors deliberately.  If you are interested in showing  the dog, be aware that currently the Parent Club breed standard does not allow for the black variation to be shown in the conformation ring.   However, that does not prevent the black variation from being registered with the AKC or competing in all of the performance events, such as field trials, hunting test, agility, obedience, and tracking.   At a minimum, breeding stock should be certified against hip and elbow dysplasia by the Orthopedic Foundation of Animals. It is also helpful to inquire about the health of both the sire and dam of a litter, as well as their parents and litter-mates. Don’t be afraid to ask how long they lived, or what (if any) health issues they had.  A reputable breeder will welcome any and all questions.  Click HERE for other possible questions to ask breeders.  In addition to asking lots of questions, several qualities to look for in a breeder include, but are not limited to:

  • They strive to meet the breed standard (the written description of how the perfect dog of that breed should look, move and act).
  • They breed because it’s their passion,  with the goal of improving the breed, and they don’t breed solely to make money.
  • They actively compete in conformation events, field trials and other sports. Winning ribbons and trophies proves their dogs possess physical traits and talents worthy of breeding.
  • They only produce a few litters each year.
  • They don’t mind spending time educating buyers about not only the advantages but disadvantages of the breed too.
  • They guarantee their puppies’ health for reasonable periods, and agree to take them back, for whatever reason, if an owner can no longer keep them.


If you have read this post, you most likely have have decided to welcome a GSP into your home, making he/she a part of your family and your life. This is a lifetime commitment that, like any relationship, should not be taken lightly, and can also present its share of challenges.  Take your time and do your research – you and your new 4-legged family member will be happy you did!

Check out this Dogs 101 video on GSPs originally aired on Animal Planet:

**Information in this post was taken from breedinfo.com, German Shorthaired Club of America , and The American Kennel Club , and is meant only for a generalized summary of the breed, and to put as much information about the breed in one place in hopes to educate potential first-time GSP owners/adopters.  Please be sure to do your own research on this breed before adding a GSP to your family.

Bear Claws Are Yummy

…Well at least to Lager they are…

We aren’t talking these kind of Bear Claws:


Or these kind of bear paws:

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Nope…we are talking about THIS kind of bear’s claws:

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When friends moved and gave us their bear skin rug, I made my Mommy’s day off quite an adventure. My curiosity of the second floor of our cabin lead me to stumble upon the bear skin rug hanging over the balcony railing.

Why have I not noticed this big toy before? Did they hang it there just for me!? They must have! When I took a closer look, I discovered that the bear’s claws looked tasty  – and boy, was I right! They were very yummy snacks!! I ingested 2 before my mom caught me, and boy was she upset. The claws are as long as her finger!!

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Mommy was in a panic and called my doctor.  We had to drive through the snow storm to the vet so they could X-ray me in case I swallowed the claws whole.

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Dr. Campbell and her nice staff fed me hotdogs and cheese (more yummy nibbles!) while they did my X-rays. They couldn’t really see any bear claws in my belly on the X-ray, so I got to eat even more yummy treats of high-fiber bread while Mommy got to watch me really closely the rest of the night…and each time I did potty, my dad got to search through it. They didn’t look excited about this …so I told them not to worry, because I searched a lot of things when I was in Iraq, and it’s really fun and exciting… And if you find what you were told to look for you get rewarded! Boy, I hope my mom and dad got a good reward after their searches out in our yard!

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Dad was the best searcher, and found one of the bear claws.  We never found the other, so I’m assuming the humans “overlooked” it.

My humans made me promise not to eat bear claws ever again. (They’re no fun).


Tidewater DockDogs End-of-Season Banquet

We were disappointed to have missed the Tidewater DockDogs banquet, especially because we won some great awards!

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This was the last of the banquets to wrap up an amazing 2015 dock diving season.

Lager Begins Nose Work Class

We thought it may be a good idea to continue to give Lager’s nose a work out.  We signed him up for K9 Nose Work Class at Wonder Dogs, which is where we had taken both Cello and Hooch for their puppy training.  Lager LOVED it, and although he was being taught to identify a completely new scent, he picked right up on this game, and is having a blast!