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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be adopting a german shorthaired pointer(Dallas) soon from some family members of mine. Dallas lives on roughly 8 acres of land to roam and he has found that the neighbors have chickens. He recently got past the fence and killed some of the chickens so my aunt and uncle are giving him away. Their two young daughters are heartbroken by this so we would like to keep him in the family. Other than having a hankering for some poultry, he is a great dog. Never barks, great with children, doesn't chew, house broken, and gets along great with other dogs. My aunt and uncle got him when he was roughly 1 year old (he's about 3 now), and he was already house broken with maybe some other basic commands (sit, come, etc). I am a student at FSU, live with three other guys who are also welcoming of Dallas, and I'm willing to put in as much training as I can, but cannot afford to pay a trainer. Eventually I would like to have him pointing and retrieving birds for hunting, but I don't want to get ahead of myself. My dilemma is that I do not have a huge back yard. My house sits on about 1 acre, with the majority of the lot being in the back yard. The backyard is fenced in and I don't believe Dallas would be able to get out if he tried. The other dilemma is training him from the mindset that he has free range of 8 acres to a mindset that he needs to stay in a small back yard. Does anyone have experience of a similar situation or can offer some words of wisdom? I would really like to make this work and not have the dog go to a stranger and our family never be able to see him again.
 

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If you are in Tallahassee there are tons of parks that offer you a chance to hike. I take mine to several different parks and let them "hunt" I sometimes hide different type of treats then let them track them down and the treats are the reward. They love it! Tom brown park is awesome too and they have a dog park if your dog is socialized but even without the dog park part there is lots of trails.



P.S. Go gators!
 

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He should adapt fine as long as you can give him plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation. I wouldn't leave him unsupervised in the yard, especially for the first few months. Depending on the fencing, don't be surprised at the ingenuity and athleticism of a GSP. :) I've seen them scale six foot fences with ease.

Good luck and thanks for taking him into your life. I love GSPs and we see a lot of them in rescue here because people aren't prepared for their energy and prey drive.
 

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Ditto the others' advice above! GSPs can do fine in the city, and fortunately many dogs are more adaptable to new lifestyles than we expect. Focus on daily physical exercise (something more vigorous than walks) and mental stimulation (like training, games/play, walks/jogs/hikes, etc). I highly recommend reading through the sticky subforum in training and behavior. :)

Fwiw, I have three field bred ES, two of which were used extensively for hunting, on about a quarter acre city lot--one grew up on four acres, the other on a couple in the country. Both transitioned fine. With the one I took last year, what saved me was a "flirt pole" because she has insane prey drive and kept escaping from her previous yards to go hunting on her own. We probably won't hunt her very much any more, so I haven't worried about the stalking/catching of the toy (still does a lot of pointing, though). I also take her occasionally to a wooded neighborhood park on a long line to satisfy some of her need to hunt. She also loves clicker training and playing. Then, we go on other outtings and mini-vacas to my parents' in the country where she can run/hunt around. So even though her life consists of less actual hunting now, she's still happy with the other things I have filled it with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all the input! I picked him up today and learned some more history about him. When he was a young pup he was being trained to be a bird dog and apparently failed his final test, not sure what that means. He was then sold by the original owner. I've see him around guns when we target shoot and he is so excited when he hears the guns fire. He will retrieve a frisbee and ball to my feet all day long. It's been a few years since he's been under any birding drills, is there anyway I could put him threw some tests to see if he's capable of being a loyal bird dog? I just can't believe he failed some sort of test to determine if he could point/retrieve, seems like the original owners may have had a different motive for selling him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you are in Tallahassee there are tons of parks that offer you a chance to hike. I take mine to several different parks and let them "hunt" I sometimes hide different type of treats then let them track them down and the treats are the reward. They love it! Tom brown park is awesome too and they have a dog park if your dog is socialized but even without the dog park part there is lots of trails.



P.S. Go gators!
I like to go to Miccosukee Greenway often to run, I've seen plenty of people letting their dogs run the fields out there. I've ran up on some rabbits occasionally and I think he would love to hunt those down.

I'll let that "go gators" slide for now but after Monday I don't wunna hear it, lol.;)
 

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If he was a Field Trial or Hunt test prospect he may have washed out of his owner's or a trainer's program. There's a lot of reasons why he might have been scrapped as a gun dog but that doesn't mean he wouldn't be a good dog to hunt with for the average hunter.

See if you can get some pigeons. You can usually find some for sale or trap some. They're easy to catch at night if you find where they roost. Most people use pigeons as they're cheap and readily available. We used to pay teenagers $1 each and they'd bring us more than we could use. Google "training bird dogs with pigeons" for tons of info.
 
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