Now that I have your attention, I want to talk about why you should keep your Hunting Dog in shape year round. It is my belief that owning a Hunting Dog is a year round commitment. In fact taking care of your Hunting Dog is a priority just behind that of taking care of your family. Unless you picked out a real head case of a dog, your Hunting Dog should be a part of the family.
One of the things in life that really annoys me is people who buy a Hunting Dog, then barely acknowledge its existence. Then when they take it out hunting and it goes wild with the excitement of its new-found freedom and lack of training, the owner blames the dog. He may even want to dispose of it. Perhaps it becomes so bored from being confined, that it becomes a nuisance barker. Or it tries its best to escape its confines.
Keeping your Hunting Dog in shape includes both the physical and mental health of the dog. To get the maximum performance out of your Hunting Dog, you need to exercise both the body and the mind of the dog year round. Young dogs need mental stimulation as well as abundant physical exercise. Older dogs need mental stimulation and moderate physical exercise such as a swim. The elderly dog seems to be content with moderate to light exercise such as a nice walk.
I can say with confidence that owning German Shorthaired Pointers requires a commitment to both Obedience Training and regular exercise. Regular vigorous exercise for the younger dog is good for both its physical and its mental health. A well exercised dog is a mentally happy dog. Obedience training is also good for a dogs mental health as well. Obedience training forces the dog to use its mind in constructive ways: to focus and concentrate. A bored dog will use its mind for destruction.
To summarize: keeping your dog in shape mentally and physically year round, produces the following benefits. A dog that is healthier both physically and mentally. A dog that is much more obedient and has better manners. And a dog that will be ready from day one of the hunting season to perform like a champ.