Why Do German Shorthaired Pointers Whine So Much?

A young German Shorthaired Pointer with his head tilted to one side.

If your big, tough German Shorthaired Pointer spends a fair amount of time whining like a baby, you may wonder what’s going on with your dog.

The GSP is known to be a bit of a whiner, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be paying attention to why your GSP is whining.

Why do German Shorthaired Pointers whine so much? German Shorthaired Pointers may whine in an attempt to communicate, to express a need for more exercise or mental stimulation, to show excitement, to convey displeasure or anxiety, to ask to be let outdoors, or to alert the family of suspicious activity outside.

Understanding why your German Shorthaired Pointer is whining so much is the key to eradicating the problem and preventing it from reoccurring in the future.

German Shorthaired Pointers Long to Be With Their People 

Many hunting breeds have been developed to hunt when they’re needed and live in the yard or a kennel the rest of the time. This is not true of the German Shorthaired Pointer. 

This dog was bred to be an excellent all-around hunter, but the developers of the breed also wanted a first-class family companion.

The GSP is a deeply loyal dog. Many are anxious when separated from their people.

Your dog may even be very anxious if only one family member is missing for a brief time. 

There is a good chance that if your GSP is whining when someone is no longer in the room, it’s because your dog is worried about keeping the family together.

If you try to keep your GSP separated from you by keeping him in the backyard, another room, etc., you can expect your dog to whine about it. 

GSPs Prefer to Be Active

The German Shorthaired Pointer is an extremely active and energetic dog. These dogs have some of the most energy in all of the canine world.

They were bred to hunt many different types of game across various terrain and go strong all day long. For the most part, an inactive GSP is an unhappy GSP. 

Your dog will likely whine at you to encourage you to take him out for a walk or run, give him some free time in the backyard, or otherwise give him exercise.

Even if your GSP just got plenty of exercise in the morning or the prior day, he is likely to be whining at you to give him more.

These dogs don’t seem to have an off switch and are always ready to go.

The German Shorthaired Pointer Is an Intelligent Dog

Even if your GSP is getting enough exercise, he may be whining at you because he is bored.

These dogs don’t just need physical stimulation; they need plenty of mental workouts as well. The GSP was bred to hunt a wide range of prey in several different ways. 

Mental stimulation is important for all dogs, and the German Shorthaired Pointer is no exception.

This dog can point out game, retrieve shot-down animals, and track wounded prey. Often, they would need to do this in dense cover and in water.

All of this tracking, pointing, and hunting of furred and feathered prey requires an awful lot of intelligence.

If your way of exercising your GSP is to give him a good run alongside your bicycle or play a long game of fetch, he may not be getting as much mental stimulation as he needs.

The GSP Is Communicative

These dogs were bred to work closely with hunters, which means that they have excellent communication skills with their humans.

The GSP in the field can point out exactly where prey animals are and is able to understand the hunter’s unspoken request to point it out more thoroughly.

In your home, your GSP may seem to feel the desire to point out to you any potential prey items, regardless of whether you’re interested in the information or not.

Your GSP may whine to tell you that there is a squirrel outside, a bird at the feeder, or another dog walking by outside.

How to Keep Your GSP From Whining So Much

If you’re bothered by your GSP’s constant whining, there are things that you can do to help. It’s not just important to find a solution for the whining for your own sanity.

A GSP who is whining all the time is probably not a happy dog. Finding solutions to the whining can also make your dog happier.

Exercise

If you notice that your dog is whining after walks or brief exercise, he may need more exercise than what he’s getting.

This may be especially true if you notice your dog being hyperactive in the house or if he has become destructive. 

The GSP needs significant active exercise every day.

If you’ve grown bored with the usual walks and games of fetch, head on over to our exercise guide for tips and ideas to liven up your dog’s exercise regimen.

If you don’t have time to provide your dog with as much exercise as he needs, consider enrolling him in a doggy daycare where he can play with other dogs or hire a walker to provide your dog with daily exercise.

Training

Well-trained GSPs tend to be happier dogs who are more confident and secure with their families and less likely to feel the kind of anxiety that may result in constant whining.

Furthermore, these intelligent dogs need continuous training so that they don’t get bored and destructive. 

Obedience training, trick training, scent work, agility, and pretty much any other kind of training that you can think of are all great options for this intelligent, highly motivated dog.

To keep your GSP happy all day, break training into short sessions that give your dog a chance to get mental workouts throughout the day.

Food Dispensing Toys 

For many dogs, food dispensing toys can be an almost magical cure to anxiety, whining, and boredom.

The right food distributing toy for your GSP offers a puzzle to challenge his clever mind as well as a target for physical activity to wear out his energy. 

It’s not a bad idea to provide all of your German Shorthaired Pointer’s food through a distributing toy.

Bob-A-Lot or an IQ Treat Ball will not only provide a mental workout but will also slow his eating down, which is better for his digestion.

Freeze toys to make them more challenging. Consider packing them with fruits, vegetables, and healthy treats as well as your dog’s daily kibble.

Keep packed toys available for whenever you want your dog to be entertained or when he’s whining.

Reduce Outside Stimulation

If you suspect that your GSP is whining at you to tell you about animals outside, reducing their awareness of these outside stimulants can help to prevent the whining. 

This may be especially important if your dog is waking you up whining early in the morning. (Read this for more tips on getting your dog to sleep a bit later.)

Try using thick curtains, a white noise machine like the Dohm Classic, and other tactics to keep your dog from knowing what’s going on outside.

Unexpected Exercise, Training, and Feeding

An intelligent dog like the GSP may be able to predict when to expect exercise, training, and food.

German Shorthaired Pointers may also be able to predict when you are going to leave the house and become more anxious ahead of time. 

Shaking up your schedule and making things unpredictable for your GSP can prevent him from trying to predict what’s going to happen and whining in anticipation.

Give your GSP unexpected exercise breaks, leave at surprising times, and provide food, toys and treats on an unpredictable schedule.

Provide a Friend

Is your GSP whining in anxiety when you leave? Have you noticed that your GSP never seems to leave your side?

Does your dog seem to improve with frequent trips to the dog park but has more trouble between trips? Getting a friend for your dog may not be a bad idea. 

Another dog is not a solution if you can’t provide your dog with enough exercise or mental stimulation.

However, if you are already giving your GSP a lot of exercise and training and he still seems dissatisfied, another dog may be the answer.

Most GSPs are very sociable and love playing with other dogs. 

If your dog is always whining and you are worried that he’s not getting as much out of life as he could be, consider a trip to the shelter to find him a friend.