She might just be a Vizsla - Hungarian Vizsla Forums
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-21-2017, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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She might just be a Vizsla

Hi!
My husband and I recently found a roughly year old stray dog that was very hungry and "run down" looking, wandering around a mobile home settlement in southern Georgia. When we asked around, no one claimed it as their dog and we didn't have the heart to leave the poor thing outside in the cold, so we took her home.
I am a graduate student and my husband works maintenance in the apartment complex where we reside (a 2 bedroom apartment). We are generally gone 8 hours a day during the week, with a one hour lunch break at home. Several people we know have dogs under these circumstances and have no issues with it, so we figured we could adopt one as well. We knew 4 walks a day would be possible for us (morning, lunch, after work, before bed) and were determined to keep the times regular for housebreaking purposes.
It was a rash decision, for sure, but we did not want to relinquish her to a shelter because they only have kill shelters in the area, with a high kill rate.

So... sounds lovely right? Well, it became very obvious quite quickly that a crate was needed. She tore up everything in sight and pooped in the house and refused to hold her bladder, even if she had just been outside. With crate training, we managed to get her to the point where she "mostly" holds it while we are supervising her, but the moment we leave her alone, she will poop in front of the door. Not always, but it happens.
Did I mention that she chews on everything? Even door frames? Ultimately, this has resulted in banishment to the crate during all times when we are out of the house for more than a few minutes. Banishment is perhaps a hard word - we have tried to associate the crate with toys and snacks and play with her while she is in it. However, we have had to remove any blankets etc. due to the fact that she immediately starts tearing into anything left inside. She cries the moment we leave the house and it took quite some time for her to stop "generally whining" while in the crate. To be honest, I cannot be sure how much she cries while we are gone, since the neighbors haven't complained. Barking is thankfully rare.
While she has shown improvements, it has been four months and we still cannot leave her in the apartment unsupervised without her crate. The moment we do, she destroys things.

I tried to research this and stumbled upon Vizslas when I noticed a physical similarity while Google imaging her photograph. I had always thought she was a mixed breed of some undistinguishable nature, but her appearance does highly resemble that of a Vizsla, making me wonder if she is not mostly Vizsla. That is when I saw all of the characteristics and requirements....... and I was shocked.

There are actual warnings and caveats associated with getting a Vizsla. Basically, the description of A VIZSLA MIGHT NOT BE FOR YOU, fit us to a T. It became painfully obvious to me that we could never accommodate the high energy demands. At all. We don't have ATVs, a huge property (or even a yard), don't hunt and are generally pretty busy during the week when we get home from work. I have to do a lot of reading, have a pretty sedentary lifestyle and my form of exercise is in the form of longer walks and Daily Burn strengthening videos. Neither one of us is very rompy or super energized and while we enjoy the outdoors, you won't find either of us running through the forest. Walking, yes. Running, no. Knees, joints... even though we are young, we already have injuries that prevent us from bouncing off the walls.
We have tried taking her out to visit friends with larger properties, but she vomits in the car and cries when we leave her in a fenced yard to play. When we let her off leash in open areas, she tends to disappear and we end up walking around everywhere trying to find her.

We don't mind the Velcro thing, the cuddles etc. and would gladly let her sleep in the bed, if it wasn't for the fact that she doesn't stay there. Without fail, she will get up and, being unsupervised, will find something to destroy or poop on.

:-\ We know that if she is a Vizsla, it is probably the lack of exercise that is causing her "bad" behavior. She is a really good dog otherwise, very friendly and sweet, even if she does pull on the leash and acts like an overgrown puppy. Distracted, distracted. Yes, that would be her.
The question is - well.... what can we do? We can't turn into people we are not. We don't have the money for ATVs or day care or anything like that. We figured taking her in was the best option at the time. We don't want to give her up, but we don't want to mentally and physically destroy her either.
I have attached a photo. If she is NOT a Vizsla, then we can at least rest assured that time will mellow her out. We are certainly patient and willing to put in the training effort.
If she is a Vizsla, we are in trouble. Any advice appropriate to our situation would be appreciated. Please do not tell us to start running, rollerblading or tying her to a bike. I know such comments often have the best intent, but they are unrealistic and impossible to realize. We don't know how to rollerblade and my mother once broke her arm when a dog jerked her off while riding a bicycle. That would be us as well. We aren't those other, super active, well coordinated types of people.

I know it was probably stupid to just take in a stray dog off the street. But our heart was in the right place. We just wanted her to be safe and get her inside. It wasn't a situation where you could research and look into things before deciding. We weren't being entirely irresponsible while being irresponsible, if that makes any sense.

What do you guys think?
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-21-2017, 01:03 PM
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Re: She might just be a Vizsla

Bless your heart for taking her in, and not taking her to a shelter when times got tough.
Have you had a vet scan her to see if she's chipped? In her picture she looks vizsla, but even with pictures it can be hard to tell. Do you have a close up picture of her tail. I foster vizsla mixes, and they can look purebred in pictures. But seeing them in person, I can tell the difference.
I can tell you a good many vizsla owners don't run marathons, or own UTVs. We walk while the dogs run off leash. The main thing we teach is reliable recall. That way the dogs get to burn off energy. Even if you had a big fenced yard, they want you to be outside with them.
I guess the main questions are do you feel you can provide her a good home? Are you willing to train her, so she can be off leash? Is she vizsla, or part vizsla? If she is, do you want help from a breed rescue?

I can find out who is the rescue coordinator in your area, if you would like me to.


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Spread your arms and hold your breath and always trust your cape.

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-21-2017, 01:59 PM
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Re: She might just be a Vizsla

I think she's a beauty; she looks very much like my vizsla! Don't be put off by what you read about the "hig-energy" demands of these dogs. Although I was looking for a high-energy dog I've been amazed by how NOT high-energy my now 9mo pup has been. It DOES take time but they can go alone all day in house with no problems.

I think you would be fine if you can find a park, school playground or wooded trails where you can let her run off-leash (make sure she "Comes" on command first), you can throw a ball for her etc. If we miss a day our dog has much more energy the next but is generally Ok; having these dogs is a great boon to one's own health. I've never seen anyone but C. Milan rollerblading his dogs.

My suggestion for chewing is you try these things called "Best Bully-sticks". I buy them on Amazon and give her 1-2 a day (there are braided, bites, sticks, etc). They satisfy my V and she has NEVER chewed a shoe or anything in our house (I wish I could say same for the German Shepard we got with her, he is MUCH more hyper).

Good luck and don't give up. She looks like a Lover (like mine) and they mellow out tremendously with age! Agree it's the correct thing to do to see if she is chipped,etc. as these dogs are generally extremely well-loved by owners; it is the first thing I'd do. Great you've made such a nice home for her
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-21-2017, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Re: She might just be a Vizsla

Hi!
Yes, we had her checked out and she is not chipped.
Thank you so much, both of you, for responding! I have (tried to) attach a photo of her tail. I hope it worked.
If she is a Vizsla, I do not know if I can provide her with the kind of home she needs. Those internet sites scared me a lot. We live in a very street laden area and there isn't much in the way of roaming space for her to run off leash. She is also very curious about everything, including cars, which always makes me nervous while leading her on a retractable leash. I would be willing to try to get her to listen off leash, although it would be tricky in such an urban setting. If it is purely a question of that, I would say yes. If you can guide me to resources for that, I would be very grateful!
I will also get her a Bully Stick! The fact that you, 1stVizsla, can leave your dog unattended for that long gives me hope. Although my dog is older than yours, she was a stray and I have no idea how long she was out on the streets. So she might be a little more complicated with her adjustment.

The things that scare me, for example, are sites that state Vizsla's require over 2 hours of vigorous running off leash. I rarely walk more than 30 minutes, I don't have 2 hours of time to walk in the evenings when I get home. Usually she gets a 30 minute walk before bedtime and the other sessions are more "around the block" for potty needs. My husband is usually dead tired from work (manual labor which causes a lot of his aches and pains) when he gets home and my schedule is not exactly reliable, as I do research in a lab. We can cover the 4 shifts of potty and walk as we do at the moment, but nothing more extensive. These sites suggest that anything less than 2 hours of full out dog running and the Vizsla will destroy everything and become extremely unhappy!

If she is a Vizsla and this is really untrue and shorter walks off leash will do the trick, then all should be okay once recall is trained. That would be fine!

If, however, this lifestyle will cause her to become disturbed, bored and unhealthy, it is probably best for her to find a home better suited to her needs now, before she gets older and the damage has been done. If you think it is necessary, then yes, perhaps contact with a rescue is in order. I would prefer this be a last resort, but I am also very realistic and know that I cannot turn into the type of Vizsla owner described by the frightening resources I have found online. I have seen people in denial about their dog's needs before and what it can do to a dog's health. That kind of thing was not what I planned for this poor innocent animal.
What you guys are saying, however, makes me hopeful that we may not need to. Right now she is lying pressed up against my lower back, all cuddled and warm.... moments like these make it hard to imagine having to give her up.

If she is not a Vizsla, then these "Vizsla like" tendencies should wear off with age. If that is the case, I guess she is still very young and needs some time to adjust and calm down. We are perfectly okay with that, as long as we know that she won't suffer from our type of lifestyle. We can definitely wait it out in the case of another breed.

Thank you so much for everything! I am so glad we have somewhere to turn to.


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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-21-2017, 03:22 PM
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Re: She might just be a Vizsla

I was trying to see just how short and smooth her coat is. Most of the time a thicker coat is easier to see on the tail in pictures. The picture is to blurry for me to tell.
Not all vizslas need two hours of exercise a day, although some are more geared towards it. It runs the gambit on how much exercise a individual vizsla needs. Some 30 minutes every other day works, and other need tons daily.
I'm going to send you a private message, to see if I can find someone close to you to help you with her. Teaching recall can be very easy, or very frustrating. Having some one on one help can make a big difference.

Not all those who wander are lost.

Life is just a leap of faith.
Spread your arms and hold your breath and always trust your cape.

Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-21-2017, 04:06 PM
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Re: She might just be a Vizsla

Hi molecule! Her face certainly looks very v-like. Maybe some am-staff or lab in there? All very smart breeds! Here are a couple things I can think of....

1. your pooch is kind of a teenager at ~1 year old (for a medium size breed they say 1 year is equivalent to a 14 year olod human). Teenagers of any species test their limits and act like jerks! I have heard of many other dogs chewing base-boards and door-frames (labs, goldens, poodles, etc) around this age too. Nico was crated when we were out until he was 4 months old then he was so well behaved he didn't have to be crated anymore! Until he turned 1 and started pushing the boundaries and destroying stuff haha. Back into the crate! At around 1.5 years we were able to stop crating him again as he outgrew the nasty teenager phase.

2. Is she smart? Intellectual exercise is SO important for dogs! A walk on leash won't tire out her brain Consider signing up for an obedience class or do some positive training at home. Dogs LOVE to please their owners and to get treats so look up how to teach different commands and practice daily - this is bonding time and brain exercise all in one! For some ideas - Nico knows sit, stay, lie down, roll over, beg, shake (other paw), go round (other way round), up-up, give me your face, get your toy, get your bone, go get your kong, go to your crate, go to your bed, go to your bench... as he learns we just think up other stuff to teach him. Now we're trying "give me a kiss" lol.

Another brain game I play is to use silicone muffin cups and hide kibbles under a couple of them and Nico has to wait out of the room then come in and sniff out which muffin cups have the food under them. Then once he's found them all I make him wait out of sight, hide more under the cups, and begin again. Hide-and-sniff.
*edit* frozen kongs with peanut butter and kibbles as well as other chewing games (like bully sticks) could be good brain exercise too! Buy the bully sticks in bulk tho - they don't last long! And avoid raw-hide, it is very toxic :-\

3. I think off leash is key. Walking endlessly at your pace just won't tire out a dog - even human running speed is a mere "trot" for a dog. They need to have the option to sprint sometimes (we call it "monster-trucking" haha!) Are there any off-leash dog parks your could go to? The nice thing about this is that if you're tired you can often just hang out and sit on your butt while your dog absolutely tuckers themself out.

I hope you can find a good balance of things so you can keep your pooch and your sanity! All the best
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-21-2017, 05:02 PM
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Re: She might just be a Vizsla

I am a first time vizsla owner. My husband and I were in a car accident when we went to see our puppy for the first time. We managed our home, our jobs and our little puppy as well as having to be in physiotherapy 2 times a week. We survived. Dharma is fairly mellow and you adapt to what you can do for her and she for you. They are wonderful companions. Dharma still goes in her crate when we are not home. She just gets used to it. You are doing this dog a great service by taking her off of the streets and giving her a home. Don't get so discouraged -like others have said she is a "teenager". You are still just adjusting to a new routine and each other.

Live, Love, Laugh.... Dharma you have helped me to do just that. Born on May 24, 2013
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-21-2017, 09:45 PM
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Re: She might just be a Vizsla

I wish you success! The suggestions above are wonderful...especially the mental exercise idea. That saved me earlier own and still does on rainy days!

If you do decide your girl needs to be rehomed, I know for a fact there is a vizsla rescue in GA. I'm up in the Atlanta area and my neighbor three doors down is on the foster list. She already has a V and a WHV. If TR can't track down the info, I could text my neighbor and pass it along to you.

She does look very V to me. Best of luck!
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: She might just be a Vizsla

Hi!
Just wanted to let you all know that I was out of WIFI reach due to storms and location on the weekend. We were at a campsite on the Suwannee River (yes, with dog!) and I will read your messages here (and in my inbox) and post replies when I get off of work today.
Thank you so much for all of your efforts!
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-12-2017, 09:01 AM Thread Starter
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Re: She might just be a Vizsla

Hi!
Sorry that I have been in hiatus for so long. I really appreciate your insight and help and did not mean to just disappear.
Since I last posted, not much has changed, except that she listens a bit more... occasionally. Lol. She is still not capable of being left alone during the day without her crate, which is unfortunate. Each trial in that direction has resulted in destruction of property.
As far as the walking off leash goes - I checked into it and the bylaws don't allow it. There is a fine if I just take her out and start letting her run on the road. Even the apartment complex I live at imposes fines for off leash dog activity and there is no dog park nearby. The only opportunity she has to run around is on the weekends - IF - I don't have to work in the lab that day and can drive somewhere. We only have one car, so if I have to work, my husband is stuck with the dog at home.
Sadly, this aspect is not bound to change anytime soon. Not until I graduate, get a job and buy a house with some property. lol.
There has been one other development that we aren't entirely sure of - my husband has developed quite severe coughing, itchy throat and wheezing during the last few months. Now, I did not assume there was any connection to the dog, since she was short haired and doesn't visibly shed.
Silly me.
Of course she sheds and has dander. And we have carpet. Do you think this could be alleviated by moving into an apartment with linoleum flooring? Does any of you have experience with that?
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