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!
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.