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Joined: 21 Mar 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: 03/21/06, 4:07 pm    Post subject: Help! Reply with quote

Our history:

We've had our GWP for about three months now. He is now 10 months old. Our household consists of me, my husband and our young son. We do not hunt. This is our first dog. My husband picked out the breed, I had never even heard of them. We have a suburban home with a small (.10 acre) fenced lot. We recently had him neutered.

Our problems:

This dog is insane. He chews everything in sight. We have several of the Nyla bones around, but if he can't find one of those he'll settle for our shoes, my son's toys, or even the legs of the dining room chairs. He is the most hyper dog I've ever seen. He runs the down the hallway and back at full speed for like ten minutes.

The breeder insisted he was crate trained, but he hates going into his crate when we leave. He broke through the metal crate we had. We bought an enclosed plastic crate, and he's broken through that. We don't want to leave him outside when we're not home, because it's pretty cold out and we're afraid he's going to jump over the fence, but everytime we try to put him in his crate he breaks out of it. We've tried reinforcing it with zip ties, didn't work, he just broke the zip ties.

Oh our other problem...everytime my husband so much as raises his voice, he urinates right on his feet. Every time. Yesterday I had let him outside, and when my husband let him back in, he urinated on his feet by the doorstep. He never urinates in the house any other time, only when my husband is around.

I am at my wits end. I really want to find this dog another home, it just doesn't seem like we're meeting his needs. My husband does not want to get rid of him, he says he'll calm down as he gets older. Is this true?

So is this dog crazy? Or are all GWP's like this?
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Joined: 23 Oct 2002
Posts: 113
Location: Centennial, CO

PostPosted: 03/21/06, 4:32 pm    Post subject: Help Reply with quote


Welcome to the wonderful world of wires! As you have discovered, they are like no other breed. Sorry to hear that this is your first dog - they are not for the first time dog owner.

I have had wires for 11 yrs and they can be a challenge. My older male is 11 yrs old now and he was a handful from the beginning. He started jumping the fence when he was 6 months old and had to be on a rope when he went out to potty. He was getting exercise but not enough for his energy level. He is a great dog & we had to work through the issues.

You did not mention if you have taken him to puppy kindergarten - that would help you with the behavior issues. The trainer can help with his crate training and submissive wetting.

Is your husband the only one who disciplines the dog? And if so, how? Wires do not take to harsh commands.

Also, you did not mention if he is getting any type of exercise for the energy level of the breed? They are bred to hunt all day and they need someway to burn off the excess energy. I play frisbee with my young female (she is three) everynight and on the weekends I take them to the field for a good run.

Good Luck.

Cathy Milachek
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Joined: 27 Feb 2006
Posts: 7
Location: Knoxville

PostPosted: 03/22/06, 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try not to put your dog in a crate just when you leave. Put him in while you are at home to show him he is not just going in there when you leave. Also I have had success by putting a sheet over the crate. My GWP has just turned two and is still very hyper. These dogs have got to have a lot of exercise. Also sign him up for puppy class and get him socialized. Try not to give up they are truly wonderful dogs.

Carol Holbert
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Joined: 14 Mar 2006
Posts: 8

PostPosted: 03/22/06, 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Dogs like that can be a pain, but not all in the breed behave that way. The dog needs some things, and in my opinion, in this order.

1) Exercise...a good RUN every day. Walking him will not help unless you really bust tail. A minimum of 45 minutes a day will help. A .10 acre lot is not much room for a hunting breed.

2) Kennel...he is a chewer. Build a bombproof kennel and keep him in it while unattended. It should keep him out of trouble.

3) Obedience. Why are you letting him run up and down the hall for ten minutes? That is ridiculous behavior. Put a pinch collar on him, teach him how to behave. He needs to learn the rules of what he can and cannot do. A good trainer could help.

4) A job. Why people purchase hunting breeds and then do not hunt them is beyond me. He needs a job to do and an outlet for his energy. Try agility or competitve frisbee or something.

5) A routine. Put the dog on a routine. They thrive on it, especially high strung dogs like this one. He needs all of the above done daily.

It is an investment in time. If you cannot devote the time and energy necessary to train this dog, give him to someone who can and will. There are other breeds better suited to suburban life.

Not all dogs in this breed are like this however. Picking a breeder who breeds dogs with traits you like is important.
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Joined: 23 Sep 2005
Posts: 9
Location: Crystal River, Florida

PostPosted: 03/23/06, 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am presently on my third male GWP after 13 GSP's. I love the breed. Two of my GSP's were a handful when they were young. Probably the first two years of age. I even had to have a drag rope on one of them when he was outside. They were all great behaved dogs when they matured. An outside kennel would be an answer for when you're not home, but have him with you in the house when you're at home. They become one of the family. They don't like harsh commands as stated above. I would give him more time to develop a personality before you consider parting with him. Puppy classes would also be something to try. There is nothing like socialization for the dog. Good luck with him and I hope things work out for you. There is nothing like patience and repetition in working with dogs. George
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Joined: 05 Nov 2002
Posts: 17
Location: Oregon/Idaho

PostPosted: 03/23/06, 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me get this have a 10 month old HUNTING BREED in a non-hunting home and have it confined to .10 acres and you are having problems with the dog.


You think that's bad, wait until the neighbor's cat decides to step foot in your hard Laughing
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Joined: 09 Feb 2006
Posts: 3

PostPosted: 03/24/06, 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok first off I would like to say, YOU or your husband rather, chose the dog, the dog did not choose you.

That being said I would like to put into perspective what your dog is feeling before you loose your temper or possibly part with him. You are his family, I am sure he has bonded to all you by now. I would compare him to a hyper 4 year old that does not get to attend school. Would you do that to a child? No. Take him to obedience school and talk to a trainer on how to train yourselves, yes Humans need training too and being first time dog owners you are going to need it to help with the communication between the family and the dog.

I am a first time wire owner(not first time dog owner) and either I lucked out by getting a really laid back one or I just keep that excess energy burned off . I get compliments all the time, about how friendly and well behaved he is but I’m sure that if he didn’t get his frisbee, his 45 minute walks, or his weekend swims he would be a handful.

If your husband is serious about keeping this dog, the whole family needs to sit down and come up with a plan on how to improve his quality of life.

I have recently looked into Dog carting as another outlet or rather a job for mine to do. This is something the whole family can take part in and I have read it really helps those dogs that are labeled as “problem” dogs, it gives them a purpose, a job to do. Heck as he gets older you can have him pull your son around as you lead him on walks. It’s an idea since you really don’t have enough yard to let him stretch his legs in.

I love this breed, I don’t hunt much but they have SO much love to give. They are clowns, athletes and your best friend. They will give you 10 times the love you give them. They are extremely devoted to their people and want so much to make you happy please remember that.


Good luck I hope you guys can turn this story around and make it a happy ending.
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Joined: 21 Mar 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: 03/27/06, 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you to all of you who've offered advice.

I definately agree that we chose the wrong dog for us. I realize that this is not the dog's fault. My first inclination was to find the dog another more suitable home, but we have decided to try to make some changes to try to meet the dog's needs better.

We're trying to take him to the off leash park at least a few times a week. We're also making more of an effort to take him on more walks. We haven't used the crate much at all, I think we need to take a break from it and start crate training from scratch in the future.

I'm also looking to into some dog training classes. The program I'm looking at has an initial class for just the owners, and then a six week program with the dogs.

What is dog carting? I'm going to have to do some research on it, I've never heard of it.

So, we're trying. I still have some reservations, but we'll see.

Thank you again for all your advice!
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Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 256
Location: Rustbelt

PostPosted: 03/27/06, 2:21 pm    Post subject: Help Reply with quote

A Tired dog is a good dog. Repeat after me.
You own a HUNTING DOG, not a pekinese. They are bred to hunt. Yes, they are great family dogs but they need Hard running, not a walk around the block. Forget carting or any other nonsense. Get a tennis ball, and throw until your arm is sore-say 10-15 minutes at least 2x/day-morning and evening. Get him a large meaty bone while away at work. This will help, but wont solve the problem entirely. (If you cant do this, it isnt fair to the dog). Offleash parks are both good and bad, some do doggie day care. Theyre the lazy ones. If I fail to do what I desribe, I come home to a chewed deck and worse. And I hunt mine about 40x/year, retreiving trials and other physical things. Your dog NEEDS work. Yes, love is important too, but these are working dogs not a kitty cat. Its IMO the only way all of you will be happy. The dog does need strict obedience but needs to use up this energy to maintain viatlity and proper health. If I offend you in any way, Im sorry but I see another rescue coming and its unfortunate. You dog belongs where he can be properly exercised, worked to his potential and loved-all in one. If its too much, do the right thing. You got your handsful, but these are the best dogs going. My wife sometimes throws balls to ours when Im busy and relieves me. Again, I have to do this every day or something will be destroyed. I also notice how much happier she is and looks forward to it so much. Yours will too. Walks are fine but not nearly enough. A brisk 20 run or bike ride is ok too. But the ball soves alot of problems. Again, a tired dog....
Real men hunt Wire Dogs
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Joined: 26 Dec 2003
Posts: 6
Location: Olathe, Kansas

PostPosted: 03/31/06, 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Bud:

wow, I feel for you. We had lots of dog experience, but none with GWP's. We had people say "what were you thinking", too. Don't get discouraged if people seem testy. We wanted a lively, outdoorsy dog for our camping/outdoorsy older sons. What we got was so much more than we bargained for...but that's another story.

All the advice given here is oh, so true. Excercise, excercise and MORE excercise will help a great deal. Running off leash helps -- our area has a pond and when it's too hot in the summer our dogs swim until you have to drag them out. But don't go there, then get on your cell phone. Interact with your dog, work on recalls, watch carefully when socializing with other dogs, so his behavior doesn't get out of line (ours saw young pups like prey...and would pester them to no end).

Also try the following:

For the crate...leave the door open and feed him in the crate. Make it a place he wants to go.

Training...these dogs are so smart, they love obedience. But he may be too off the wall for a Petsmart class. We paid a trainer to come to the house.

Control...put a leash, rope, check cord at least 6-10' long on him in the house. When you try to catch him, step on the cord and reel him in.

Respect...make him obey a command EVERY time you do something for him -- feeding him, petting him, walking him, letting him out. He needs to understand that all benefits derive from all three of you.

Commands...the entire family must use the same words to do the same things. Example: down and off are used interchangably by most of us but they must mean two DIFFERENT things to the dog (down - lay down, off - get off). Write the commands on a poster, stick it on the fridge and get everyone on the same page. And be consistent!

Distractions...a RAW meaty bone is good. Also try Kongs stuffed with cheese or peanut butter. Because our dogs destroy the Kongs, we use a sterilized cow shin bone (find them a Petsmart or other pet store). They are hollow. We stuff with half a slice of american cheese. The bone is so hard they can't chew it up and they have to work to get the cheese...and not a messy as a raw meaty bone.

Advice...bulletin boards like this were a godsend for us. We found out that we weren't crazy. We thought after4 other dogs, we could handle anything. HA! Serious hunting dogs are a challenge, but not impossible and certainly interesting. Also try -- it is primarily a dog site for hunters, but if you can overlook the testosterone, there's lots of great info.

TV -- if you get the National Geographic channel try watching "The Dog Whisperer" on Friday nights. This guy specializes in difficult dogs and you can pick up lots of great tips on handling dogs. By the way, he said something that I always remember: dogs are traveling animals...they need exercise because it is in their genes to keep moving. Good shows. He also has a website where you can order his DVD, if you don't get the channel.

I can honestly say we learned more about dogs/dog behavior with our first GWP than we ever learned with our cocker spaniels and schnauzers. It was exhausting and expensive, but few regrets. It takes a lot of committment - both time AND money, so you need to ask yourself if you guys are ready for that. Because if you think this is bad, wait until he is a "teenager"!

Really, best of luck. You have a long, but rewarding road ahead of you. And think of the exercise this's good for you, too!

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Joined: 07 Apr 2005
Posts: 15
Location: Pa.

PostPosted: 04/03/06, 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I read your post I had a giant attack of Schadenfreude. Now that that's out of my system I want to concur with the advice that has been given.
I think that part of the problem is that as a non-bird hunter you likely have no idea of what a pointing dog does in the field.
They don't just walk by your side like a city stroll, they cover a lot of ground searching for prey and can even be hundreds of yards away from you, constantly moving at a fast trot or better.
If a person hunts for i.e. two or three hours and covers say five miles on foot -- that dog will cover three or four or even more times the distance and at that speed.
For most hunters this is not a daily event and the dog will crap out like he's dead afterwards, but this is what they are capable of and this is what they need. Life's not always perfect so they don't always get it, but if you exercise your dog enough (and that means a lot more than what most people would imagine) that dog will calm down.
The real question is are you willing and/or able to invest the necessary time?
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Joined: 27 Dec 2005
Posts: 28

PostPosted: 05/11/06, 2:37 pm    Post subject: Wearing the Dog Out Reply with quote

One suggestion for you. Walk the dog with a backpack with something in it. It keeps his mind occupied while walking and helps tire him out more.

You've got one that needs a lot of exercise. You can try fetching as well, they usually will do that for a LONG time and will wear themselves out - not you so much Very Happy
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