Activities For German Wirehaired Sprointers

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Introduction

The German Wirehaired Sprointer is a hybrid dog that combines the English Springer Spaniel with the well-known German Wirehaired Pointer. The combination of pups results in a muscular, medium-sized pooch that is commonly referred to as the Sprointer for short. The Sprointer requires regular exercise to maintain their muscular build and good health. 

This need for physical endurance is a result of both parent breeds as they are both sporting dogs. The German Wirehaired Sprointer requires a minimum of an hour of physical exertion, as they were bred to hunt. German Wirehaired Sprointers tend to have an independent personality that can be characterized by a protective and stubborn nature. The English Springer Spaniel also needs both mental and physical stimulation daily, and they too come from a long line of hunters. They're energetic and cheerful and look forward to outdoor exploration. With these characteristics combined, the Sprointer is a busy, active and loving companion who needs plenty of stimulation to avoid unwanted behaviors. 

Build an Agility Course

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Jump Obstacles
Tunnel
PVC Pipe
Wooden 2x4s
Power tools
Activity description

Both parent breeds of the German Wirehaired Sprointer are active, intelligent and agile. That's why building an at-home agility course for them to use is a "pawfect" way to keep your pup active. 

To build a course, you will need supplies and tools. A drill, power saw, PVC piping and 2x4 pieces of wood can go a long way for a do-it-yourself agility course. Piping can be used for jump obstacles, weave poles and for making tracks. Having wooden planks and large beams will come in handy for an A-frame or ramp. Depending on the space you have for your course, you may select just a few obstacles to get started. Once you build your course, you can train your pup how to master each obstacle by using 30 to 60-minute sessions. After learning the obstacles, they can explore the course daily for exercise. 

Step
1
Gathering your supplies
If you don't have PVC pipes and wood for building an A-frame or ramp on hand, visit your local department store. Pipes can be used to make weave poles and they can be assembled to make jump obstacles. If you're not confident using power tools, you may want to seek the help of another family member or friend during the building stage. Be sure you know how to use each tool properly before beginning.
Step
2
Building your obstacles
When building the course, you want to keep your dog's size in mind to ensure they can safely complete each obstacle. For example, in national competitions, medium-sized dogs jump over obstacles up to 45 cm (approximately 18 inches) in height. You can build multiple jumps lower than this height to lead up to higher jumps, or make one jump obstacle with an adjustable horizontal bar. Tunnel obstacles should be at least two feet in diameter and three feet long. You can find either an agility or child's play tunnel that meets these dimensions. Weave poles should be spaced out 60 cm apart, and typical courses have between 5 and 12 poles.
Step
3
Setting up the course
Once you have the obstacles you want to include in your course, set it up in a large open space. Be sure to provide some room for your dog to run and build momentum before jumping the hurdles. You may want to begin with just a couple of obstacles in the course, which you can add onto throughout your dog's training. As you set up the course, allow them to test it out to ensure the spacing is adequate and meets their needs.
Step
4
Training sessions
Train your pup to use each obstacle just as you would train them in obedience lessons. You may need to use leading with treats or a leash to teach them how to complete an obstacle. Using positive reinforcement to encourage the wanted behaviors is recommended. When teaching your pooch a new obstacle, spend 30 to 60 minutes training, then revisit the obstacle daily. Only teach one obstacle at a time. Learning the course could take a few weeks, but it's worth the payoff, which is watching them navigate it independently.
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Weighted Walk

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Any Day
Moderate
Easy
15 - 30 min
Items needed
Weighted Vest or Backpack
Leash
Waste Bags
Activity description

Weighted walks are one way to intensify your regular day-to-day walks with your Sprointer. Like a standard walk, you will need a leash and waste bags, with the addition of a weighted vest or backpack. Weighted vests and backpacks can be purchased online or in person at a local pet shop.

Vests range in size and weight and fit dogs based on their own size and weight. A good rule of thumb is picking a weight that ranges between 10 to 12 percent of your dog's body weight. Typically for medium-sized dogs, this ranges between 5 to 7 pounds. You can purchase a vest with a set weight or opt for a backpack so you can adjust the weight inside. A backpack is recommended if you plan to build on your Sprointer's endurance. After acquiring your supplies, get started exploring weighted walks. 

Step
1
Consult with your veterinarian
Begin this activity by speaking with your veterinarian to ensure your pooch is physically fit and capable of enduring this activity. Weighted walks are not recommended for puppiess, dogs with heart conditions or elderly dogs. Get the okay just to be safe, because you don't want to cause your Sprointer any injury.
Step
2
Getting comfortable with the gear
It's recommended that you allow your Sprointer to get comfortable with their new vest or backpack by wearing it first around the house. Try the unit on and adjust it to fit your pup. Let them explore wearing it without a leash so they can get a feel for it.
Step
3
Heading out for your walk
With your pooch comfortable with their new pack/vest, attach a leash and head out on your walk. Weighted walks are more strenuous than a standard walk, so keep in mind that your walks should be shorter, especially to start. A 15-minute weighted walk is equivalent to a standard 30-minute walk. As your pup builds their muscles, you can adjust your walk length, but be sure not to overexercise your Sprointer.
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Running Games

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Any Day
Free
Easy
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Ball
Set of Stairs
Activity description

In addition to using an agility course and taking weighted walks to get your German Wirehaired Sprointer moving, you could also incorporate a series of running games into your activity schedule. Running games can challenge both the body and mind, depending on the activity. 

Little equipment is required for the following three activities -- stair drills, hill drills, and fetching games. Aside from the stairs and hills themselves, the only thing you will need is an object to throw. Running games are effective at wearing out your Sprointer, and they're cheap and easy to do. Try out all three running activities and see which your Sprointer enjoys the most. Vary your session lengths, but remember not to overexert your pup. Sessions that range between 15 to 45 minutes will suffice in getting your pup's heart rate up! 

Step
1
Stair drills
Stair drills are a good way to spend a rainy afternoon if you can’t take your Sprointer outside. Stair drills involve your pup running up and down the stairs. These drills work both the front and back leg muscles. Stair drills can improve hip strength while giving your pup a thorough cardio workout.
Step
2
Hill drills
Hill drills are essentially taking the stair drills outside. For hill drills, you will need to find an area with one large hill or a series of small hills for your pup to run. Like with stair drills, hill drills will get your dog’s heart pumping while working their leg muscles. Hill drills are a great way to amplify a run and will work wonders at tiring out your Sprointer.
Step
3
Fetching games
Fetching games, such as tossing a ball and having your pup retrieve it, is a great way to add an element of play to their exercise. Standard fetch involves tossing an object and waiting for your pup to return it to you. To step up your game, try throwing a ball then running in the opposite direction of the toss. This will force your pup to run even further, and likely harder, to get the ball back to you, making it a more difficult game!
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More Fun Ideas...

Dock Diving

Dock diving is a fun way to amplify your Sprointer's experience in the water. To dock dive, your Sprointer will need to have access to a dock. For this activity, toss an object high off the dock, into the water, and command your Sprointer to go get it! They can try to catch it mid-air or retrieve it from the water, then swim back for more. The activity is more physically draining than a typical swim, and it's engaging for your Sprointer.

Socialization Time

Adding time for socialization into your Sprointer's schedule is recommended because all dogs need to socialize to develop into happy, healthy pups. You can arrange doggie play dates with a friend or visit your local dog park regularly to give them opportunities to mingle and bond with other four-legged friends.

Conclusion

German Wirehaired Sprointers are medium-sized pups with an abundance of energy. With a hunting instinct inherited from both parent breeds, the Sprointer needs regular "oppawtunities" to exert their excess energy each day! To meet this need, simply fill their exercise schedule with activities that work both your Sprointer's body and mind. 

For starters, build an agility course in your own backyard so you can challenge your Sprointer with obstacle training. Take them for daily walks, and intensify their walk by adding a weighted backpack or vest. You will also want to give them ample opportunities to let out their energy through running, such as by completing stair drills, hill drills or playing different variations of fetch. If you're interested in visiting the water, try out dock diving. Finally, be sure to include chances for your pup to build relationships with other dogs through socialization activities. Without a doubt, Sprointers are loving and active companions who need an active handler to keep them satisfied!