4 min read


Why Do German Shorthaired Pointers Shiver



4 min read


Why Do German Shorthaired Pointers Shiver




The German Short Haired Pointer is a smart and active dog that loves the outdoors. He enjoys being in the water and on the land. His webbed feet make him a good swimmer. The German Short Haired Pointer is a great hunter and retriever. He is a good family dog and needs lots of exercise. Why does this dog shiver? There are several possible reasons ranging from just simple excitement and anticipation to more serious health issues like seizures and pain from some illnesses. Generally, a healthy and happy dog, given the desired attention and exercise, would not be cause for concern should he be shivering. Abnormal shivering would need the attention of a vet. As you grow to know your Short Haired Pointer, you will understand his behavior and recognize signs of abnormal or excessive shivering along with the normal show of excitement or some form of attention seeking

The Root of the Behavior

The route to take with understanding the cause for shivering is to work from positive sources of excited behavior, towards the more physical and clinical difficulties associated with pain and illness. The Short Haired German Pointer is an excitable dog because he likes to be active. The anticipation of an outing, while you reach for the car keys and his leash, may just trigger a shivery thrill that welcomes an outing. If you have trained your Short Haired Pointer to point, hunt, and retrieve then he has been bred to go out and get excited about the activity he is trained to do. The German Short Haired Pointer is equally adept at performing on land and in the water. After a spell in a dam or river, your dog is going to shake off the excess water on his coat. The action of shaking off the water and having a good shiver helps prevent hypothermia, as well as dry off your dog. 

He may just have jumped into a very cold expanse of water. The German Short Haired Pointer may be feeling the cold since his coat is of the short-haired variety. Give him a good rub down after his water sports if necessary. A good shakedown also helps with 'excessive energy release' and your German Short Haired Pointer has plenty of that. Unfortunately, shivers can also be an indicator of pain or illness. It is through knowing your dog well that you will understand the signs of physical problems or pain that your dog may be going through. Excessive shivering could be triggered by poisoning of some kind or the onset of an illness. Older dogs often feel joint pain and their legs will shiver and shake, so be aware of you dog’s age and appropriate exercise. Your vet will be able to advise if this should be the reason behind the shaking. Adjusting food and taking supplements can help with joint pain in older dogs. 

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Encouraging the Behavior

Although the German Short Haired Pointer is an energetic and highly motivated dog, he is also prone to seizures. The onset of seizures can start as early as three to six months. As soon as you notice the tremors and shivering in your dog, for no apparent reason, it is time to visit your vet. Your vet will assure you of the right way to handle the seizures and the recommended medication to give your German Short Haired Pointer a high quality of life. There are also emotional factors that can cause a German Short Haired pointer to shiver. These dogs do not do well without their families and will not like being left at home alone for long periods of time. Separation anxiety can bring on shaking and shivering behavior. The German Short Haired Pointer is an intelligent dog and will become frustrated and fear being left alone. 

His reaction when you do return could also be one of sheer delight and a good shiver will just tell you he is happy all over to see you again. The German Short Haired Pointer is trained to flush out game or small birds and then point directly towards the game. Then the hunter can make his mark and shoot the targeted game. The Pointer should be ready to retrieve the game when the command is given to fetch and retrieve. The German Short Haired Pointer will firmly set his body in the point position and wait in anticipation of the next step. He may shiver in anticipation of following through, but he will hold his stance until commanded to move. It is like watching poetry in motion as these dogs respond to their commands and point and retrieve. Nose pointing out, one leg tucked under, body sharp and straight, and tail extended. Maybe just a little shiver of excitement.

Other Solutions and Considerations

The German Short Haired Pointer is a very energetic dog and well suited to energetic families. He does need a strong leader who he can look up to and a leader who knows him well. A very close bond will form between the pointer and his leader. Someone who knows the German Short Haired Pointer and his energetic behavior will be able to tell the difference between shivering for excitement and the shiver associated with an epileptic seizure. It is important to be able to react in the correct manner and bring the dog back to a safe and secure state. The German Short Haired Pointer is brave, affectionate and even-tempered. He will soon find a special place in your heart if you give him all the love and attention he needs.


If you are an energetic and excitable person who loves the outdoors, then everything points to the fact that you and a German Short Haired Pointer will get on famously. You can shiver and shake together in anticipation of the next adventure. However, remember there must be one boss, the person who has the last shiver and shake, otherwise the German Short Haired Pointer will run rings round you. He probably has a top point score for intelligence, and a master’s degree in outdoor activities. He knows how to make his point!

By a Rhodesian Ridgeback lover Christina Wither

Published: 04/26/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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