Intact Male Training
Our vizsla Rogan is coming up on two years old. He is a happy, healthy boy and is still intact. We plan on keeping him intact because 1) we believe he is healthier that way and 2) we may stud him out one day given he has good bloodlines. We have NEVER had a problem with him and another human being- friend or stranger. He has been around many different types of people and is sweet to everyone from elderly people to infants. He has played with kids and let them roughhouse with him. He has never marked in the house and does not hump anything in the house. He does occasionally hump other dogs, but they are usually neutered males. I think he does it when he is frustrated, over-excited, or just to show dominance- its not sexual. He has never run away looking for mates, and he listened very well when called. All that being said, I am looking for advice regarding the following issues which may or may not have to do with his higher testosterone levels...
1) Over the last six months he has become (inconsistently) leash protective. Sometimes he is fine with meeting other dogs on-leash and is very inquisitive and friendly. However, he is also hostile towards some dogs on an increasingly frequent basis. He will growl (always growls first) and at that point I usually make him heel and avoid the other dog. If the other owner has their dog off-leash or is not in control (let's them rush up), Rogan growl louder and will lash out. I am always quick to pull him back and make him sit, but its still embarrassing. Sometimes he acts fine and excited (tail wagging) when the other dog at a distance, but when the other owner and I allow them to approach each other (because all seems well) Rogan gets aggressive. My husband feels Rogan is just being protective of me and says I need to be more "alpha" when walking him so that he doesn't feel he needs to protect me. Maybe this is true and I could somehow change my body language. But even when he is heeling and I am standing in front, he will growl. Any tips on training Rogan to be less leash protective? Or simply managing it?
2) Rogan suddenly has no tolerance for most puppies, which is ironic given he used to be the energetic little puppy always getting put in his place. I think this has less to do with him being intact and more with being an adult- I have seen neutered and spayed dogs who don't tolerate puppies well. He growls at them and, if off-leash, will lash out and try to get them to submit. As you all know, seeing a vizsla lash out can look worse than it is because they move with so much speed and energy. He has never hurt a puppy, but has definitely scared the crap out of a few. I think maybe some more socialization with puppies (which he got a lot of early on, but not so much anymore) would help, but I doubt any responsible owner would volunteer their puppy to be around Rogan after seeing him lash out,and I do not blame them. I know of one other vizsla owner who has this issue with a male vizsla, even after neutering, and the dog ended up getting banned from the dog park. We stopped going to the dog park after a couple incidents before anyone complained and we got banned. Has anyone else had this issue with puppies? Is their any way to temper Rogan's reaction to them? We eventually want to get another vizsla, so this issue is especially concerning.
3) Rogan has a dominant personality when it comes to other intact males. There are three other intact male dogs in our apartment complex, and he is the only one who cannot play nice. He has known them all since he was a puppy and used to play with them. He doesn't see them often anymore- just from time to time. Still, he should know them by smell. Now that Rogan is grown up, he wants to fight- not play. In general, on the rare occasion when a fight has broken out between Rogan and another intact male and neither owner had the ability to break it up immediately, it lasted only a few seconds. Once the other dog submitted, Rogan tolerated the other intact dog's presence for the rest of their time together. Sometimes they will even run around together, but both dogs seem to know not to play-wrestle should it become another fight. Should we accept this as a facet of his personality and gender? Or is there a way to train Rogan to to keep a lid on his aggression, which I suppose stems from a desire to establish himself as top dog. Some people have suggested we use an electric collar and zap him when he becomes aggressive, but I am nervous that zapping him in this situation would make things worse. Then again, maybe it wouldn't and an electric collar is a good solution?
Any other advice on managing and training intact males is most welcome! I suspect there may be some special methods that apply based on their natural behavioral tendencies.
Last edited by Rogans_Mom; 06-06-2018 at 04:37 PM.