Vizsla and toddlers - Hungarian Vizsla Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Vizsla and toddlers

Hello,
Greetings from Northern Virginia. I am new to this forum and was hoping to get some advice on having a Vizsla with a toddler at home. I contacted a few breeders and they have expressed concerns about having a Vizsla at home with young kids and how a V pup can feed off a young child's energy levels. I always thought that Vizslas were a kid friendly breed. Our heart is set on the Vizsla and we are looking to get a V pup towards the end of this year or early next year. My son would be close to 3 by then. Looking to hear from others who had a Vizsla with toddlers at home.

Thanks,
Jay
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-25-2017, 01:09 AM
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Hello Vizsla4us! Welcome to the forum! This is a very good question. Every V is different, and I can only give you my experience with ours.

First the bad:

1. We have a 50lb 8 month old Boy. We have an 8 y/o, 4 y/o, and 2 y/o. Just today I got home from work and we were all gathering in the living room for family prayer and my V came to join us, he got close to my 2 y/o and she started yelling at him to go away. I commented on this and my wife said that he had full on plowed her over 3 times today alone, and one of those times he stepped right on her. If he ONLY knocked her over 3 times, and not my 4 y/o at all, that is a really good day in our home. My 4 y/o loves to play outside, but only wants to play where the dogs yard leash can't reach, because the puppy always is running around, and with the leash sweeping the feet out from under my kids...and my wife for that matter.

2.He doesn't mean harm at all by any of this, but he is bigger than all the kids, and has no idea where his body is 90% of the time. We are working on him sitting for the kids, and just being calm in general around them. But the going is very slow. He is still a puppy, and he is starting the so called "teenage years."

3.The next thing is he does have a small problem with resource guarding with food. He has never bitten the kids, but we are in constant fear that he might. We are having to work with him daily to try to get him over the guarding, but the kids are not allowed near him when he has any sort of food. This has been pretty safe....but can you really depend on your 3 y/o to always obey your rules for him? I know I can't with my kids.

4.Potty training a child and a puppy at the same time has been harder for us than we thought it would be.....the puppy has really struggled with it.

5. Two of three of my children often will get hives where he licks them. We did not know they had allergies when we got the dog, but it turns out they do. They inherited their allergies from me. I knew I was allergic, and made the choice to put up with it. They, however, did not get that choice, and I often feel bad about that.

6. Puppies eat toys! Kids leave toys all over! We have worked pretty hard on getting him to understand that he can only chew his own toys, and he does pretty good at it....but there have been a lot casualties getting to this point. He also very much loves my 4 y/o son's underwear....?, my daughters bows, and their socks. He doesn't chew my 8 y/o's clothes much, but it might just be that he doesn't leave them around much.

Now the good:

1.The kids love having a dog. They love to walk up to him and give him kisses when he is laying. They giggle with delight when he licks their hands/legs/tummies/and backs. They even taught him to lick their faces when they say "face" (much to the dismay of my wife and I) They are thrilled when they offer a treat for a trick, and he actually does it!

2.I love to hunt! He was bred to hunt! He loves everything about it (except maybe slowing down when I ask him to) Those instincts even transition to loving to play fetch. The kids love to play fetch with him, he does okay with it, but tires of their short throws quickly.

3.He is fantastic at snuggling. He puts up with the kids snuggling with him when he sleeps, unless they start poking too much, then he will get up and walk away.

4. Kids seem to have endless energy, my V does have endless energy. When they get tired and grumpy, he still wants to romp around.

Summary:
I guess looking at my list, I can think of more reasons why not to get a V with young kids. We love our pup, and are willing to work long and hard with him. If he doesn't get the guarding under control, that would be a deal breaker for us. Our kids' safety is more important. We are spending a good deal of time and money on training because in the end of the day, we do love having him. I don't know if a V was the right choice for us. We definitely wanted a dog, but a V might have been a better choice for when our kids were teenagers.

I hope you get more feedback from other V owners on here. Like I said, all V's are different, and mine seems to be a more challenging one. This subject is not new to the forum. I would recommend holding the advice of those on this forum to a much higher esteem than the author of the "top ten" lists we find on the internet, written by someone with a deadline and 4 hours of google to back up their "expert" opinions.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-25-2017, 11:34 AM
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Wow, great and complete reply from MikoMN!

Our niece was born just before we got our first V puppy (Nico) and we often spend weekends (or weeks) at the chalet together in very close quarters. We got our second V puppy (Sam) this January -- our elder niece is now 3 and our second niece is 6 months.

Our dogs are relentlessly interested by the kids. They must taste good... and often have food on their hands and faces or give the dog food or drop food... also just the high pitched voices/noises and energized movements of kids excite them constantly. This relentless interest may pass if they lived together all the time, but maybe not. We constantly have to have an eye out because, yes, our 70 lb and 35 lb dogs can easily knock the toddler over. She is especially afraid of Sam who still nips (although his bite inhibition is now good) and is unpredictable and less gentle than Nico. Literally just need eyes on the backs of our heads.

Since the 3 year old began talking we have taught her (with the help of her parents) to put her hand in the dog's face and say "Leave it!" which she does sometimes; however she will still just as likely squeal and flap her hands which of course has the opposite effect of her intentions... it's a process of training the kids as much as the dogs I think.

Puppies are a lot of work and toddlers seem to be as well -- my 3 year old niece can sure tire me out! Around the same time that we got our 2nd V pup I began feeling ill... and then found out I am pregnant (surprise!). So instead of our plan to have kids in ~3-5 years time when we have 2 mature adult v's who keep each other company, we are going to have a 1 year old V (teenager phase... was very challenging with our first :S ) and a baby. I think the bottom line is that we are committed to making this work and that trumps everything else. It will be hard (it already is!!), but many times it can be made to work. If you haven't already, go meet a V with your son and get an idea of their energy! They have unique personalities too, but it might give you an idea of what you'd be dealing with.

Good luck with your decision!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-25-2017, 11:51 AM
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Some families are able to make it work, while others get overwhelmed. That's why some breeders like kids in the family to be atleast 5.
If you new to the breed, this picture fits well for the first few months.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-25-2017, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, MikoMN. I really appreciate you taking the time to explain with such great examples. Having read your story and also reading other similar posts I am not confident that now is the right time for us to get a V. We have been considering having a V for many years now. Our older daughter is now 8 and probably ready, but my son who turns 2 next month is totally not. He gets hyperactive around dogs and does all sorts of things that would upset the dog. A few of our friends just got new puppies (not V's but golden doodles) and my son was all over the puppy, pulling his ears, tails. We had to constantly keep him away. That was just a short visit but having a puppy of our own we would just have to keep our eyes on him all the time. It's going to be hard to convince my daughter to hold off for a few more years.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-25-2017, 07:00 PM
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I am super happy we got Kaylee when we did. My youngest was 4mths at the time and our oldest had just turned 2. I won't lie it sucked a lot at the beginning. I had many days where I would cry to my husband and ask him how he talked me into this. Mostly I was over tired with a newborn and trying to potty train a puppy that didn't want to go out in the cold. Once we got through potty training it was great. Kaylee has knocked the kids over but she is very tenderhearted and gets upset when they cry so she kind of figured it out for herself that she can't do zoomies around them. We also have worked really hard with her on "sit" and "calm", we make her sit until she settles down and it really has helped.

Kaylee does respond to the little ones' energy but she mostly just bounces along side them now.

The kids adore her and she adores them which is what we wanted. Our breeder had young kids and the pups were kept in the house so Kaylee had been around kids before she came to us which probably helped.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 05:40 AM
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There's some really good information already but I just wanted to add my experience as well. We also researched the breed (our first V) and everything said to wait until the kids were older. Our kids were 12 and 14 at the time so we went for it and all is good but I did find my son (12) crying a few times when Amber was a puppy. Shark attacks sound cute but they're not when you have the puppy lunging at you with those sharp teeth! They don't do it in an aggressive manner, they just play really rough (or are overtired) and until you figure out how to get a handle on them, you almost feel like the puppy doesn't like you!! I think it would be hard with young children. I also would caution about the fact that your dog will be used to your children and vice-versa but then you have to worry about their friends coming over. I would wait or go with an easier breed right now...
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