Nightmare Puppy - Help! - Hungarian Vizsla Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-02-2018, 03:12 AM Thread Starter
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Nightmare Puppy - Help!

Hello

We have a 14 week old V girl, Bear. Itís the second Vizsla weíve had.

We received Bear from a breeder at 8 weeks old, so have had her with us 6 weeks. Itís been a very testing time.

Bear was a lovely, sweet thing the first couple of days we had her - but quickly gained her confidence and has since then, been a feisty wee firecracker.

We have her crate trained, she sleeps through the night and we are midway through a five week puppy obedience class. Sheís more or less housetrained.

The issue I have is that Bear is exceptionally testing and defiant 80% of the time, in many, many ways. Her biting is next level bad, you basically canít be near her (unless sheís sleeping) otherwise sheís trying to nip you - and she has a VERY hard mouth, as also reported by a professional trainer weíve had do a home visit. Weíve tried all the usual - yelping and stopping engaging with her, distraction with a toy, time out in her crate (she just starts again the moment sheís let out). The only thing that seems to work sort of is a gentle Ďlip curlí, but I donít feel comfortable doing this constantly - as sheís constantly trying to bite.

She also does not respect boundaries that have been taught to her and that she DOES understand - ie the sofa. She jumps on it and digs at the cushions the moment she isnít getting attention. She also jumped up and peed on it today for no apparent reason - sheís housetrained so this is odd and seems like attention seeking behaviour.

She also barks at you very demandingly whenever she feels sheís not getting attention - ie at puppy obedience class while the trainer is explaining something to everyone, Besr barks incessantly which s hugely distracting for the whole class.

Sheís almost never gentle or affectionate and it makes it ver difficult to bond with her, which Iíve never experienced with a V before. She just wants to bite you or get food, pats or scratches donít interest her.

I work from home so sheís certainly not isolated. She gets three walks a day (still awaiting final vaccination before we can do some serious dog park tiring out!). She gets several play sessions a week with other puppies and adult dogs, so Iíd have hoped that would help with her bite inhibition?

My last Vizsla was not like this. Certainly she chewed and tested us and had her quirks, but she was manageable, and affectionate with us - which goes a long way with being able to bond and forgive some of the other stuff.

Right now we are REALLY struggling with Bear. Itís a constant battle. I feel weíre very consistent, firm and methodical with our training and interaction with her, but every day is just hard work.

Help! Have a got a nightmare puppy or is this a normal phase and I just had a lucky run with my first Vizsla?!

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Thanks.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-02-2018, 09:05 AM
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I don't think you have a nightmare puppy.
You have a bold puppy, that tests her limits. Some pups really want to please, and others think the world is their oyster.

Have you tried pushing your hand further in her mouth, when she's biting? You never want to hurt them. It's just enough to make it uncomfortable.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-02-2018, 06:26 PM
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Our pup is 15 weeks old and still bites a lot too, Iíve noticed he just seems to always want something in his mouth though and often our hands are the closest thing so I try to grab a toy before approaching him to offer it first- almost like a shield. However, there are times the bites are very hard and Iíve done what TexasRed suggested. If you push your hand/arm in more they donít like it and it forces him to stop. Ours is also barking at us to get attention and in class, itís frustrating but we have been told to ignore the barking and then praise when he becomes quiet. I hope this begins working soon. Itís hard to take him to the office when heís doing this. It sounds like our pups are the same and just strong willed. ?
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-02-2018, 07:54 PM
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Don't use the crate as punishment. The best "Punishment" for a V is simply to turn your back and ignore them.


Dogs also do not "test". Mercifully, they are not people that way, so if you find that she is being naughty, it's most likely the result of her not fully understanding your expectation and the anticipated consequence. Double down on that, and re train so it's clear what the expectations are, use different words, and deliver them differently. If she jumps on the couch take her off, tell her "NO!", and then give her an alternate place to curl up.

Some V's are more intuitive and pick this stuff up easier, and yours might not, so you have to re calibrate your messages and your training techniques so she can understand and then comply.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-02-2018, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by babybear View Post
Hello

We have a 14 week old V girl, Bear. Itís the second Vizsla weíve had.

We received Bear from a breeder at 8 weeks old, so have had her with us 6 weeks. Itís been a very testing time.

Bear was a lovely, sweet thing the first couple of days we had her - but quickly gained her confidence and has since then, been a feisty wee firecracker.

We have her crate trained, she sleeps through the night and we are midway through a five week puppy obedience class. Sheís more or less housetrained.

The issue I have is that Bear is exceptionally testing and defiant 80% of the time, in many, many ways. Her biting is next level bad, you basically canít be near her (unless sheís sleeping) otherwise sheís trying to nip you - and she has a VERY hard mouth, as also reported by a professional trainer weíve had do a home visit. Weíve tried all the usual - yelping and stopping engaging with her, distraction with a toy, time out in her crate (she just starts again the moment sheís let out). The only thing that seems to work sort of is a gentle Ďlip curlí, but I donít feel comfortable doing this constantly - as sheís constantly trying to bite.

She also does not respect boundaries that have been taught to her and that she DOES understand - ie the sofa. She jumps on it and digs at the cushions the moment she isnít getting attention. She also jumped up and peed on it today for no apparent reason - sheís housetrained so this is odd and seems like attention seeking behaviour.

She also barks at you very demandingly whenever she feels sheís not getting attention - ie at puppy obedience class while the trainer is explaining something to everyone, Besr barks incessantly which s hugely distracting for the whole class.

Sheís almost never gentle or affectionate and it makes it ver difficult to bond with her, which Iíve never experienced with a V before. She just wants to bite you or get food, pats or scratches donít interest her.

I work from home so sheís certainly not isolated. She gets three walks a day (still awaiting final vaccination before we can do some serious dog park tiring out!). She gets several play sessions a week with other puppies and adult dogs, so Iíd have hoped that would help with her bite inhibition?

My last Vizsla was not like this. Certainly she chewed and tested us and had her quirks, but she was manageable, and affectionate with us - which goes a long way with being able to bond and forgive some of the other stuff.

Right now we are REALLY struggling with Bear. Itís a constant battle. I feel weíre very consistent, firm and methodical with our training and interaction with her, but every day is just hard work.

Help! Have a got a nightmare puppy or is this a normal phase and I just had a lucky run with my first Vizsla?!

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Thanks.
Hi,

I would continue with redirection and have plenty of toys to give her. Lots and lots of toys. Once she settles a bit I would start the OFF command training. I think I may have posted this to a similar situation (canít remember).

You may take quite a beating with this training but please donít lose hope and be patient.

Put a very tasty treat in your hand (hotdog or meatball) and close your hand by making a fist . Place your closed hand in front of Bearís nose. She will try to nibble, paw and lick but donít open your hand. As soon as she backs off from your hand, open your hand and give the treat and use a marker word (such as YES). Donít name the command yet.

Repeat the exercise several times. I would name the command and use OFF once Bear exhibits the behavior you were training her for, backing off when presented with your hand. I suggest doing several shorter sessions (10 to 15 minutes) of training rather than straight and non stop longer sessions (an hour or more). Puppies at this age respond well when thereís plenty of puppy play time involved in between training sessions.

After a few days of training and getting consistent good response from Bear, you can now try the OFF command in Bearís biting/nipping behavior episodes you described above.

As soon as she mouths or nips your hand, close your hand and say the word OFF. Pay with treat as soon as she backs off. You can even offer one of her toys as soon as she backs off.

See how this goes and please update us. Iíll address setting boundaries a bit later.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-02-2018, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by texasred View Post
I don't think you have a nightmare puppy.
You have a bold puppy, that tests her limits. Some pups really want to please, and others think the world is their oyster.

Have you tried pushing your hand further in her mouth, when she's biting? You never want to hurt them. It's just enough to make it uncomfortable.
Yes, I tried both the lip curl and pushing my hand further into her mouth and found the lipcurl tended to be more effective so have stuck with that. She definitely stops when you do either... for about ten seconds!
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-02-2018, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by NW17 View Post
Our pup is 15 weeks old and still bites a lot too, Iíve noticed he just seems to always want something in his mouth though and often our hands are the closest thing so I try to grab a toy before approaching him to offer it first- almost like a shield. However, there are times the bites are very hard and Iíve done what TexasRed suggested. If you push your hand/arm in more they donít like it and it forces him to stop. Ours is also barking at us to get attention and in class, itís frustrating but we have been told to ignore the barking and then praise when he becomes quiet. I hope this begins working soon. Itís hard to take him to the office when heís doing this. It sounds like our pups are the same and just strong willed. ?
Hey there! It definitely sounds like they are similar! I'm hoping it's some kind of right of passage to having an awesome dog. We also ignore the barking - but I find if I turn my back on her or walk away she will try to jump up on me or bite the backs of my legs!
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-02-2018, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gingerling View Post
Don't use the crate as punishment. The best "Punishment" for a V is simply to turn your back and ignore them.


Dogs also do not "test". Mercifully, they are not people that way, so if you find that she is being naughty, it's most likely the result of her not fully understanding your expectation and the anticipated consequence. Double down on that, and re train so it's clear what the expectations are, use different words, and deliver them differently. If she jumps on the couch take her off, tell her "NO!", and then give her an alternate place to curl up.

Some V's are more intuitive and pick this stuff up easier, and yours might not, so you have to re calibrate your messages and your training techniques so she can understand and then comply.
Hey there - thanks for the reply! We don't use the crate as punishment as such - I just find when she gets to a certain level of over excitement and her barking/biting and behaviour gets out of control, we walk her over to the crate - sprinkle some treats into it, along with a 'In your crate!' and she'll walk in voluntarily. Then the door gets closed and she gets ten minutes in there to cool off a bit. I find if she has free run of the house when she's in a 'mood' or over excited, it gets her into situations where she can misbehave, which we try to avoid.

Her jumping on the couch isn't in relation to looking for a place to curl up. She will do it at 100mph and immediately start digging and biting at the pillows and leaping around barking, or as I said, yesterday she leapt up there and peed. When she gets in to this state of mind, she doesn't respond to training at all - even with a very high quality treat or a favourite chew, she seems to get completely wound up and not be able to engage - hence the gentle encouragement into the crate until she's come down a little bit.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-02-2018, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by riley455 View Post
Hi,

I would continue with redirection and have plenty of toys to give her. Lots and lots of toys. Once she settles a bit I would start the OFF command training. I think I may have posted this to a similar situation (canít remember).

You may take quite a beating with this training but please donít lose hope and be patient.

Put a very tasty treat in your hand (hotdog or meatball) and close your hand by making a fist . Place your closed hand in front of Bearís nose. She will try to nibble, paw and lick but donít open your hand. As soon as she backs off from your hand, open your hand and give the treat and use a marker word (such as YES). Donít name the command yet.

Repeat the exercise several times. I would name the command and use OFF once Bear exhibits the behavior you were training her for, backing off when presented with your hand. I suggest doing several shorter sessions (10 to 15 minutes) of training rather than straight and non stop longer sessions (an hour or more). Puppies at this age respond well when thereís plenty of puppy play time involved in between training sessions.

After a few days of training and getting consistent good response from Bear, you can now try the OFF command in Bearís biting/nipping behavior episodes you described above.

As soon as she mouths or nips your hand, close your hand and say the word OFF. Pay with treat as soon as she backs off. You can even offer one of her toys as soon as she backs off.

See how this goes and please update us. Iíll address setting boundaries a bit later.
Hey there and thanks for this suggestion, it's not one I've heard before and it sounds like a great idea. I'll definitely give it a try.

The interesting thing I find with Bear, that I've not noticed with any of the other dogs I've had before, is that she gets very frustrated very easily. Any kind of command that means withholding something from her, or even a prolonged command such as 'sit-down-sit' - she understands it, but will whine and wriggle and get very impatient about the whole thing.

We seem to have no issue teaching her commands in a simple training situation, i.e. standing in the lounge and doing a ten minute training routine - she'll be great with a number of commands - including 'leave' or 'drop'... but then when we try and implement them in a 'real life situation' i.e. if she's got something in her mouth that she shouldn't, suddenly 'drop' seems to mean nothing to her.

She's certainly a strong willed little girl!
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-02-2018, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by babybear View Post
Hey there and thanks for this suggestion, it's not one I've heard before and it sounds like a great idea. I'll definitely give it a try.

The interesting thing I find with Bear, that I've not noticed with any of the other dogs I've had before, is that she gets very frustrated very easily. Any kind of command that means withholding something from her, or even a prolonged command such as 'sit-down-sit' - she understands it, but will whine and wriggle and get very impatient about the whole thing.

We seem to have no issue teaching her commands in a simple training situation, i.e. standing in the lounge and doing a ten minute training routine - she'll be great with a number of commands - including 'leave' or 'drop'... but then when we try and implement them in a 'real life situation' i.e. if she's got something in her mouth that she shouldn't, suddenly 'drop' seems to mean nothing to her.

She's certainly a strong willed little girl!
That's great that she easily learns the required behavior and response. Now the challenge is practicing and implementing the learned behavior consistently and prolonged duration in several settings. Some breeds including the Vizslas learn commands easily, but we need to practice and repeat the exercise over and over. Then test and tweak the exercise to address new issues/challenges.

In the example you gave above on whining and wriggling, this is an opportunity to train and eliminate the unwanted behavior. The idea is to always ignore unwanted behavior and pay (instant and immediately) as soon as the dog exhibits the good behavior.

Let her whine and wriggle as soon as she makes eye contact with you (even for a fleeting moment) pay immediately and continuously in several and small pieces of treat. Use a marker word here and then release her. The goal here is to get her attention and eliminate whining and wriggling (and other unwanted behavior). Practice the exercise and then later on name this command such as "Here" or "Watch me".

In the other example you gave above, Bear not paying attention "leave or drop" commands, I would try other treats (more high value, such as chicken or liver) and see what she responds to well and then practice consistently over and over.

And at 14 weeks I think there should be more practice and repetition on the positive behavior you want out of your puppy especially on leave or drop it. There's not enough time and opportunity for her to get these commands at this point. You'll need to practice with her at different settings and distractions.

But then again, I'm only responding based on your description and not seeing her behavior first hand so I may be completely off base on all my recommendations. Take whatever you can from what I say or completely ignore everything. Please update us when you can.

Marwin Vizslas

Last edited by riley455; 02-02-2018 at 10:55 PM.
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