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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! Looking for some advice for my 6 month old male viz who is showing increasing aggressive episodes to my partner.

For context he has a history of resource guarding with food and the sofa which we have been working on with a behaviourist but recently his behaviour is becoming more directed to my other half. From what I can understand his triggers seem to be:

  • evening time when he is more sleepy (but not alseep)
  • lashing out/growling has mostly happened when his head is being scratched (usually fine in the day though) or harness being put on by my other half

We’ve been to the vet on two different times to rule out anything medical and seems to be a desentisation process we need to work through with him being touched in the evenings.

I spend a lot more time with the pup, especially walking/training and feel our bond is a lot stronger so this behaviour is much less directed towards myself (unless he is majorly overly stressed) but my partner has understandably lost all confidence in trying address the problem due to his unpredictability and risk of being bitten. My question is would a muzzle help ease this stress for both or stress the pup more? I know he is beginning to push his boundaries but is it him just trying to assert his dominance with my other half as he feels unsure about him at times? What are the best ways we can build on their bond?

It feels like one step forward and ten back after a good day we then have an incident happening in the evening and super keen to minimise this so it doesn’t become learned. I’m really at a loss of what to do and I’m not sure how much my OH can take of it. We do have another behaviourist session booked but nothing is available until the new year so any advice/moral support would be hugely welcome. Does it get better?!
 

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I'm feeling it might be the almost teenage pup asserting his dominance in the 'pack' and jostling for position with your partner. Vizslas are in general not at all aggressive as a breed and I'm finding your post unusual. Is the aggression you describe the typical young Vizsla 'nipping' which they all do or something more?

I would hope some of the more experienced Vizsla owners would jump on your post and reply who have had multiple pups, I have had only the one. But from viewing posts on this forum for over 3 years now, aggression has not been usually more than puppy 'nipping' when described in detail by other owners. I'm hoping this is just a phase with your pup for you both. Does the pup have any sort of sore head? Seems strange only shows this when his head is touched.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
He’s pretty nippy but there is a very different attitude to this behaviour where it’s more of a definite ‘back off’ than the usual nips which we’re used to.

He’s mostly well behaved (as much as a 6 month old can be) and perfectly fine with his head being touched throughout the day/by others in the day too but this seems to be the only possible trigger we’ve managed to identify other than it being nighttime.

Checked with the vet for a possible ear infection and this was ruled out, and now currently on a pain relief trial for a couple of weeks to see if that helps but understandably it’s causing a lot of stress for all with the unpredictability. Currently enforcing some earlier nights to get ahead of the behaviour continually happening but as you said, really hoping it’s just a phase.
 

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Truthfully I would stick with a behaviorist.
While most Vizslas do not have a aggressive nature, it can happen. So a professional that is able to see him interact with the family, is going to give you the best advice on how to move forward.
Hopefully is just a phase that can be worked out.

FYI some pain medications can increase aggression in some dogs. You didn’t mention what pain med he was taking, but tramadol is one them. Some of the heartworm/ flea med combinations can also make some dogs more tired for a few days. This also can make them grumpy.
 
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Hi! Looking for some advice for my 6 month old male viz who is showing increasing aggressive episodes to my partner.

For context he has a history of resource guarding with food and the sofa which we have been working on with a behaviourist but recently his behaviour is becoming more directed to my other half. From what I can understand his triggers seem to be:

  • evening time when he is more sleepy (but not alseep)
  • lashing out/growling has mostly happened when his head is being scratched (usually fine in the day though) or harness being put on by my other half

We’ve been to the vet on two different times to rule out anything medical and seems to be a desentisation process we need to work through with him being touched in the evenings.

I spend a lot more time with the pup, especially walking/training and feel our bond is a lot stronger so this behaviour is much less directed towards myself (unless he is majorly overly stressed) but my partner has understandably lost all confidence in trying address the problem due to his unpredictability and risk of being bitten. My question is would a muzzle help ease this stress for both or stress the pup more? I know he is beginning to push his boundaries but is it him just trying to assert his dominance with my other half as he feels unsure about him at times? What are the best ways we can build on their bond?

It feels like one step forward and ten back after a good day we then have an incident happening in the evening and super keen to minimise this so it doesn’t become learned. I’m really at a loss of what to do and I’m not sure how much my OH can take of it. We do have another behaviourist session booked but nothing is available until the new year so any advice/moral support would be hugely welcome. Does it get better?!
 

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Greetings Scoobz,

I had very similar issues with one of my Vizslas,
A few things to consider - diet, genetics, environment ... something is affecting your baby,
We found that Wifi was a factor, having a safe and healthy home free from EMF/ RF radiation helped,
I would not recommend the use of a muzzle yet,
Look for the triggers that cause his reaction,
Keep working with a behaviourist,
 

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I’m worried about even the nipping. Mouthing is different and expected in a pup

Aggression, biting…. that’s not really normal for Vizslas at that age/in general

I’d definitely work with a behaviourist
 
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Hey,
I have a Vizsla 5months old. I found he can get crazy during evenings when he is tired. Sort of like a cranky tantrum. He nips a lil, does crazy zoom runs, and gets more vocal.

I notice he also gets more aggressive towards my partner and less so me during these episodes.

Here is what I think it could be from what I’ve seen with my 5 month old pup. Tiredness, sexual frustration he’s getting older, dominance.

My Vizsla after those tired outbursts usually settles downs and goes to sleep.
 

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My V also tended to show some anger towards my sister at nights for some reason around 6 mo of age. And my sister being pretty uncomfortable with the dog added to it I suppose. Issue solved when I left the two along to bond a bit.

I suppose the issue was I was the primary care giver at all times and he did not simply knew that my sister could also feed him, take him to pee breaks, walk him etc. But I got my V at 5 mo anyway. So the issue solved itself rather quickly. He insisted that she did not enter my room at night times etc. Whenever that happened I simply placed him in another room and let him back when he got to his senses. To me it was like "get along with my sister if you want to be here", so he did.

I think working with a behaviorist is the perfect choice.
 

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Hi! Looking for some advice for my 6 month old male viz who is showing increasing aggressive episodes to my partner.

For context he has a history of resource guarding with food and the sofa which we have been working on with a behaviourist but recently his behaviour is becoming more directed to my other half. From what I can understand his triggers seem to be:

  • evening time when he is more sleepy (but not alseep)
  • lashing out/growling has mostly happened when his head is being scratched (usually fine in the day though) or harness being put on by my other half

We’ve been to the vet on two different times to rule out anything medical and seems to be a desentisation process we need to work through with him being touched in the evenings.

I spend a lot more time with the pup, especially walking/training and feel our bond is a lot stronger so this behaviour is much less directed towards myself (unless he is majorly overly stressed) but my partner has understandably lost all confidence in trying address the problem due to his unpredictability and risk of being bitten. My question is would a muzzle help ease this stress for both or stress the pup more? I know he is beginning to push his boundaries but is it him just trying to assert his dominance with my other half as he feels unsure about him at times? What are the best ways we can build on their bond?

It feels like one step forward and ten back after a good day we then have an incident happening in the evening and super keen to minimise this so it doesn’t become learned. I’m really at a loss of what to do and I’m not sure how much my OH can take of it. We do have another behaviourist session booked but nothing is available until the new year so any advice/moral support would be hugely welcome. Does it get better?!
May be one simple thing you can try is , for all meals have your partner hand feed him … for every time he hands him food let him command him to do something … sit , stand , stay , etc… nothing is free … have him on this hand feeding schedule for some time… there is some chance it will help him build a relationship with your partner
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
My V also tended to show some anger towards my sister at nights for some reason around 6 mo of age. And my sister being pretty uncomfortable with the dog added to it I suppose. Issue solved when I left the two along to bond a bit.

I suppose the issue was I was the primary care giver at all times and he did not simply knew that my sister could also feed him, take him to pee breaks, walk him etc. But I got my V at 5 mo anyway. So the issue solved itself rather quickly. He insisted that she did not enter my room at night times etc. Whenever that happened I simply placed him in another room and let him back when he got to his senses. To me it was like "get along with my sister if you want to be here", so he did.

I think working with a behaviorist is the perfect choice.
That's helpful to hear and along similar lines as my partner hasn't had a much one on one time with him as a pup just due to me being around the house more, so definitely going to work on alone hang out times. Currently trying to configure a sensible time out space for him too when something does occur - but a bit tricky with an open plan living space!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
May be one simple thing you can try is , for all meals have your partner hand feed him … for every time he hands him food let him command him to do something … sit , stand , stay , etc… nothing is free … have him on this hand feeding schedule for some time… there is some chance it will help him build a relationship with your partner
Thats a great suggestion, we've been having him put meals into the bowl but not the hand feeding so will try giving this a go - thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Truthfully I would stick with a behaviorist.
While most Vizslas do not have a aggressive nature, it can happen. So a professional that is able to see him interact with the family, is going to give you the best advice on how to move forward.
Hopefully is just a phase that can be worked out.

FYI some pain medications can increase aggression in some dogs. You didn’t mention what pain med he was taking, but tramadol is one them. Some of the heartworm/ flea med combinations can also make some dogs more tired for a few days. This also can make them grumpy.
Thank you, yes I'm hoping the behaviourist will help us out - I've started noting down incidents and how frequently they're happening so hoping we will see some improvement. I don't believe he's aggressive at heart but there is definitely a trigger and determined to work on it.

Medication wise he was prescribed 'dog paracetamol' (don't have the proper name to hand right now!) so pretty mild stuff - he's just getting over a stomach bug so the vet didn't want to give him anything too strong but good to know about heartworm/flea meds.

We've actually had a good few days but an unwelcome flare up of conjunctivitis today has put us back to square one. Eye drops and this sort of behaviour does NOT go hand in hand ☹
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Greetings Scoobz,

I had very similar issues with one of my Vizslas,
A few things to consider - diet, genetics, environment ... something is affecting your baby,
We found that Wifi was a factor, having a safe and healthy home free from EMF/ RF radiation helped,
I would not recommend the use of a muzzle yet,
Look for the triggers that cause his reaction,
Keep working with a behaviourist,
Hi, thank you will have a thing about these factors. I've now started to log incidents when they're happening so we can try and better identify the triggers with the behaviourist, hopefully the logs will become more infrequent as we (fingers crossed) progress!
 

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Thank you, yes I'm hoping the behaviourist will help us out - I've started noting down incidents and how frequently they're happening so hoping we will see some improvement. I don't believe he's aggressive at heart but there is definitely a trigger and determined to work on it.

Medication wise he was prescribed 'dog paracetamol' (don't have the proper name to hand right now!) so pretty mild stuff - he's just getting over a stomach bug so the vet didn't want to give him anything too strong but good to know about heartworm/flea meds.

We've actually had a good few days but an unwelcome flare up of conjunctivitis today has put us back to square one. Eye drops and this sort of behaviour does NOT go hand in hand ☹
For things like that you can slowly condition
them to a muzzle. You start slow and use treats. That way they don’t look at it as a bad thing. I’ve conditioned some to a muzzle, that get scared at vet appointments.
 

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Hi! Looking for some advice for my 6 month old male viz who is showing increasing aggressive episodes to my partner.

For context he has a history of resource guarding with food and the sofa which we have been working on with a behaviourist but recently his behaviour is becoming more directed to my other half. From what I can understand his triggers seem to be:

  • evening time when he is more sleepy (but not alseep)
  • lashing out/growling has mostly happened when his head is being scratched (usually fine in the day though) or harness being put on by my other half

We’ve been to the vet on two different times to rule out anything medical and seems to be a desentisation process we need to work through with him being touched in the evenings.

I spend a lot more time with the pup, especially walking/training and feel our bond is a lot stronger so this behaviour is much less directed towards myself (unless he is majorly overly stressed) but my partner has understandably lost all confidence in trying address the problem due to his unpredictability and risk of being bitten. My question is would a muzzle help ease this stress for both or stress the pup more? I know he is beginning to push his boundaries but is it him just trying to assert his dominance with my other half as he feels unsure about him at times? What are the best ways we can build on their bond?

It feels like one step forward and ten back after a good day we then have an incident happening in the evening and super keen to minimise this so it doesn’t become learned. I’m really at a loss of what to do and I’m not sure how much my OH can take of it. We do have another behaviourist session booked but nothing is available until the new year so any advice/moral support would be hugely welcome. Does it get better?!
In the past, we have had two male Vizslas and two females. Both males had, briefly, aggression issues with my husband. They were brief issues because he came down on them… hard. Biting of growling simply cannot be tolerated. So, yes, they both got smacked for this behavior… hard. And that was the end of it. They learned who was boss in our house. Interestingly, the females were never a problem…

Also, coming down on a dog’s head is an often considered a threatening gesture by the dog, even when we mean well. Come from underneath…
 

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Hi! Looking for some advice for my 6 month old male viz who is showing increasing aggressive episodes to my partner.

For context he has a history of resource guarding with food and the sofa which we have been working on with a behaviourist but recently his behaviour is becoming more directed to my other half. From what I can understand his triggers seem to be:

  • evening time when he is more sleepy (but not alseep)
  • lashing out/growling has mostly happened when his head is being scratched (usually fine in the day though) or harness being put on by my other half

We’ve been to the vet on two different times to rule out anything medical and seems to be a desentisation process we need to work through with him being touched in the evenings.

I spend a lot more time with the pup, especially walking/training and feel our bond is a lot stronger so this behaviour is much less directed towards myself (unless he is majorly overly stressed) but my partner has understandably lost all confidence in trying address the problem due to his unpredictability and risk of being bitten. My question is would a muzzle help ease this stress for both or stress the pup more? I know he is beginning to push his boundaries but is it him just trying to assert his dominance with my other half as he feels unsure about him at times? What are the best ways we can build on their bond?

It feels like one step forward and ten back after a good day we then have an incident happening in the evening and super keen to minimise this so it doesn’t become learned. I’m really at a loss of what to do and I’m not sure how much my OH can take of it. We do have another behaviourist session booked but nothing is available until the new year so any advice/moral support would be hugely welcome. Does it get better?!
Hi! Looking for some advice for my 6 month old male viz who is showing increasing aggressive episodes to my partner.

For context he has a history of resource guarding with food and the sofa which we have been working on with a behaviourist but recently his behaviour is becoming more directed to my other half. From what I can understand his triggers seem to be:

  • evening time when he is more sleepy (but not alseep)
  • lashing out/growling has mostly happened when his head is being scratched (usually fine in the day though) or harness being put on by my other half

We’ve been to the vet on two different times to rule out anything medical and seems to be a desentisation process we need to work through with him being touched in the evenings.

I spend a lot more time with the pup, especially walking/training and feel our bond is a lot stronger so this behaviour is much less directed towards myself (unless he is majorly overly stressed) but my partner has understandably lost all confidence in trying address the problem due to his unpredictability and risk of being bitten. My question is would a muzzle help ease this stress for both or stress the pup more? I know he is beginning to push his boundaries but is it him just trying to assert his dominance with my other half as he feels unsure about him at times? What are the best ways we can build on their bond?

It feels like one step forward and ten back after a good day we then have an incident happening in the evening and super keen to minimise this so it doesn’t become learned. I’m really at a loss of what to do and I’m not sure how much my OH can take of it. We do have another behaviourist session booked but nothing is available until the new year so any advice/moral support would be hugely welcome. Does it get better?!
We had a male Vizsla with aggression issues. It started with gradual food aggression. By 6 months we could not go near him while he was eating from his bowl. He would growl menacingly and bit my husband on 2 occasions when he got too close. Eventually our vizsla’s aggression advanced to growling at us if he was on the couch and we wanted to sit. He the would just growl at us if he didn’t like the way we looked at him. We had to back off and break eye contact with him. It sounds so crazy now. A behavioral trainer could not help. We kept him because we really loved him but we were always on our guard when we knew his triggers. Turns out, he was abused by his breeder and all of this seems to have been imprinted on him. No way to break the behavior.
Hi! Looking for some advice for my 6 month old male viz who is showing increasing aggressive episodes to my partner.

For context he has a history of resource guarding with food and the sofa which we have been working on with a behaviourist but recently his behaviour is becoming more directed to my other half. From what I can understand his triggers seem to be:

  • evening time when he is more sleepy (but not alseep)
  • lashing out/growling has mostly happened when his head is being scratched (usually fine in the day though) or harness being put on by my other half

We’ve been to the vet on two different times to rule out anything medical and seems to be a desentisation process we need to work through with him being touched in the evenings.

I spend a lot more time with the pup, especially walking/training and feel our bond is a lot stronger so this behaviour is much less directed towards myself (unless he is majorly overly stressed) but my partner has understandably lost all confidence in trying address the problem due to his unpredictability and risk of being bitten. My question is would a muzzle help ease this stress for both or stress the pup more? I know he is beginning to push his boundaries but is it him just trying to assert his dominance with my other half as he feels unsure about him at times? What are the best ways we can build on their bond?

It feels like one step forward and ten back after a good day we then have an incident happening in the evening and super keen to minimise this so it doesn’t become learned. I’m really at a loss of what to do and I’m not sure how much my OH can take of it. We do have another behaviourist session booked but nothing is available until the new year so any advice/moral support would be hugely welcome. Does it get better?!
We had an aggressive male vizsla. We could not go near him while he was eating. In fact as soon as we put his bowl down he’d growl in an aggressive way. Hand feeding was fine because we were not going near “his” bowl. He bit my husband when my husband walked behind him while he was eating. Eventually his aggression moved to other behaviors until finally he’d growl aggressively if we looked at him. I guess he felt threatened in some way. Turns out he was abused by his AKC recommended breeder, who eventually went to jail for animal cruelty. We kept him, loved him, and learned his triggers. Most of the time he was a great dog. Don’t give up but keep your log so you understand what his triggers are.
 

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I’m no expert but it sounds like you are right in that he is unsure of your partner. Resource guarding is often triggered by anxiety in the dog that he will lose the thing he most wants so he has to protect it. It sounds like he is protective of his space as well, and when your partner approaches him this his triggers his anxiety.
Does he give any clues in his body language before he reacts? Ie arched back, lip licking, wide stare. I agree it sounds like he needs reconditioning/ desensitisation to certain things like the harness. If he’s showing these signs back off/ remove yourself from the situation if possible till he appears more relaxed, and then it may not escalate into a growl or bite.

your pup needs to associate your partner with good things :) handfeeding his meals is a great idea, and also some good training games with you and your partner ( we do hide and seek recall with cheese)

Our 5m is bit of anxious boy, and quite vocal when he’s not happy. He also hates his head being touched and he’s not a fan of the harness. We have a trainer for him and this is what we are doing:

we have taught the nose touch command which he loves doing and will now almost head butt You- this gets him used to hands in his area near his head.

With the harness we let him come to us to put it on (with the help of treats or a lick mat). If we walk up to him to try to put it on he will back off, I would imagine if we tried to hold him to put it on him he may well growl at us.
It sounds like evenings are the worst for you, perhaps having your partner call the dog, then treat and reward, may help, so he’s not going and standing over him as that may be making puppy uncomfortable ?

i Am not sure about a muzzle, I wouldn’t force him to wear one if he’s really not happy about it as then he may end up reacting every time you go to put it on, but if introduced gradually and carefully then it may work?
Hopefully the behaviourist will help and with consistency and positive reinforcement he will grow out of it. I feel for you and your partner though as this behaviour can be really stressful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi all, just wanted to say thank you for all for you comments. We’ve worked on a lot more bonding with my partner which has worked wonders, we’ve only have a couple of minor resource grumbles lately but other than that (without jinxing it) his behaviour has been loads better.

Spoke to our behaviourist who noted his improved confidence and she gave some good pointers in moving forward especially when people are over to ensure his anxieties around his space are managed appropriately. She put it down to most likely hormones so just a matter of managing through until he’s through teenage phase!
 
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