Superior Pointers - Fine Bird Dogs - Elhew Pointers


The temperament of most pure Elhew pointers is not typical of the pointer breed. Pointers, as a breed, have a well earned reputation for being strong willed and independent. Dogs with such temperaments require a firm hand, and many repetitions, to train. They also invariably require regular “tune ups” to “keep them right”, as most horseback field trialers can attest.

The customary temperament of the pure Elhew dog is markedly different. Elhew dogs are more sensitive, compliant, and requiring of approval. In that sense, the Elhew temperament is similar to that often attributed to setters, with the notable exception that the Elhew pointer typically matures, and can be developed, much earlier.

The submissive, more sensitive temperament of the typical Elhew Pointer may be directly linked to superior intelligence, an attribute for which Bob Wehle bred for 66 years. It is difficult to determine whether Elhew Pointers develop easily because they are especially compliant, exceptionally intelligent, or simply possess uncommon natural ability. It is likely a combination of all of these attributes.

The owner of an Elhew Pointer must understand and embrace the comparatively sensitive, compliant, temperament of their prospect, and tailor their training techniques accordingly. Effective training methodology capitalizes on the exceptional natural ability, and eagerness to please, that characterize this bloodline. Elhew Pointers will not respond favorably to, or even tolerate, rough treatment. A harsh tone of voice, accompanied by a stern look expressing disapproval, is almost always sufficient to correct undesirable behavior. For those rare instances of willful disobedience by an Elhew dog who clearly knows better, a quick, painless shake by the scruff of the neck to re-assert dominance may be added for emphasis. Electric collars must be used very sparingly, if at all, in training Elhew pointers. Any Elhew pointer can be completely trained and finished on game without ever wearing an electric collar. Conversely, any Elhew pointer, or any sporting dog, can be permanently marred, or ruined, by the improper use of this device. The electric collar is, therefore, most appropriately used to teach an avoidance of potentially dangerous behavior- such as chasing deer, attacking porcupines, pointing rattlesnakes and approaching highways.

Bob Wehle often observed that Elhew pointers were “genetically trained”. This characterization was a direct reference to the exceptional natural instincts and eagerness to please that distinguish this bloodline. In fact, Elhew pointers are really developed, rather than trained. When properly socialized, yard trained, encouraged to hunt to the front, and exposed to game, they will become effective hunting companions at an early age.

If, therefore, the prospective puppy owner is even tempered, and comfortable developing a dog that is responsive because it wants to please rather than fears the consequences of disobedience, an Elhew pointer is a good choice. If, however, a prospective owner is heavy handed, “short fused”, and accustomed to obtaining results by intimidation, then he- and the Elhew dogs- will be happier if he selects another bloodline or breed.