Tests for adopting an older dogI am currently working towards adopting an 18 month old pure bred german shorthaired pointer. However I have no knowledge of the dog's background. Are there any small tests I can perform with the dog to judge his hunting ability? Don't worry about the dogs natural hunting ability. If it's a GSP it will hunt. What you need to be concerned with is whether it's past owners caused problems or not. With luck this pup was just a loved house pet that grew out of control during adolescence.
18 months is certainly not to old to start training, In fact it is about right if the dog has been properly socialized. Start by taking a few days to get to know the dog. Spend as much time as you can with the pup and when you can't be with it put it in a porta-kennel. The pup should bond to you quickly and should be bold and happy.
Take the pup to a large open field. Use a check cord or flexi-lead and take pup for a walk. The pup will probably drag you all over the field looking for anything to chase. Be careful not to let go of the check cord at this point or you may loose your new dog. If the dog is bold and searching have someone fire a starter pistol from no closer than 50 yards from the dog. Watch for any signs of fear. If the dog ignores the shot or gets excited your in luck.
As long as the dog is not people or gun shy you can probably start yard training as soon as you want to. Start with basic obedience and work up from there. A good book for this case would be, Point! Training The All Seasons Birddog by James Spencer.
If you start to see specific problems please ask again and I'll try to help.
Good luck and Good Training: Joe Riches
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