English pointers were originally bred as gun dogs, used to help hunters find game birds in the field. While they remain capable hunting companions, English pointers have also evolved into a popular family pet. Known for their extremely friendly nature and affectionate devotion to people, the English pointer is a perfect pet. If you own an English pointer, you will see that there are many activities in which you and your best canine friend can participate. However, activities devised to draw upon your dog’s natural inclinations will prove to be some of the most enjoyable.
Hide and Seek
Even if you do not hunt, taking your English pointer to the fields in search of game birds, you can still experiment with activities that draw upon your pointer’s hunting instinct, according to the American Kennel Club. For example, you can create a simple game of hide and seek. Purchase a few inexpensive stuffed animals, preferably birds, and conceal them in some bushes or a pile of leaves; places where you might imagine actual quail or pheasants to hide. After you think you’ve hidden the animals as well as you possibly can, let your English pointer loose and see how well he tracks them down. Once he finds something, his body should stiffen while he points with his nose. Reward him with a treat every time he successfully seeks what you have hidden. If you wish, you can even take your pointer into the park or woods to see how well he seeks actual birds.
English pointers are affectionate and friendly dogs with tons of energy. They love to be around people and crave attention. With this in mind, you can devise an activity that pleases your dog, helps others and makes you feel good about yourself all in one fell swoop. Contact a nearby hospital or nursing home and ask about any programs they have for therapy dogs or, even if no such program exists, if it would be allowed to bring your pointer in for a visit. Whether it’s an elderly person in a nursing home or a young child in the hospital, taking your dog in for a visit could brighten the patient's day immensely. Your pointer doesn’t have to know any special tricks or anything of that nature. All that’s needed is a friendly disposition and a love of being petted.
It’s in your English pointer’s DNA to be athletic, with endless stamina and a deep reservoir of energy, according to the Your Purebred Puppy website. Plus, pointers require constant stimulation and a great deal of exercise to be happy. Therefore, creating an activity based on agility is the perfect solution. All that’s required is a good amount of patience on your part because pointers can be stubborn and a few everyday objects with which to create an obstacle course. Find some hay bales, a few boards and some old car tires to construct your course. Use your imagination. Place the board between two bales to create a balance beam. Set up some tires for your dog leap through. You can even place a bale of hay on its side with a long board balanced on top to create a rudimentary see saw. As your pointer advances, you can make the courses more difficult. However, be sure to have a pocket full of treats to reward your pointer every time she finishes a portion of the course.
Arthur Barnhouse has written numerous short stories, contributed content to various websites and was an invited speaker at a university symposium on creative writing. He began writing in 2002 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Pittsburgh. Barnhouse has driven across the United States numerous times and draws upon his travel experiences in his writing.