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Hello my husband and I are first time vizsla owners. We got our male puppy at 8 weeks old and he is now 6 months old. We have been having some issues with him that seem to be very common but I havent been able to find anything that matches his problems exactly so I was hoping for some info and advice. He has always been EXTREMELY mouthy and bitey, and like I said I know this is a common problem and have read MANY MANY posts on people with the same issue, but ours seems a little different. He is always biting us if he is out of his crate. He will play with a toy or a chewy for a little bit but as soon as hes done he comes straight to biting us. If we tell him no or correct him about anything he bites us as well. And like many others he has his "witching hours" where he is REALLY BAD at night mostly. We dont like any of these things but the main issue that we are having and is scaring us is when he seems to get very out of control biting. We are not sure if its aggressive sometimes or not, that's one of the things we would like opinions on, but like I said, it gets scary. He will wrinkle his nose, showing us all his teeth, and growl very loud and bite us, while jumping or lunging to get to us. He will NOT stop doing this until put him in his kennel usually. We can distract him with a treat or toy for a second but he immediately goes back to it. He will sometimes stop if we pick him up and try to calm him but he usually bites our arms and chest when we do this. He leaves many bleeding open wounds and very bad bruises, so this is not light biting, it is very hard and leaves teeth marks and puncture wounds. The worst time is when we go on walks because we have no where to put him to calm down. We usually just have to pick him up and carry him, while hes attacking us, until he calms down and try again. If we do this a couple times he usually stops and will go on his walk but we are left bleeding and bruised at the end of it. We try and do an hour or more walk (with light jogging sometimes) but we always try and stay at his pace to not over tire him. If we don't do walks he will be worse during the day. Like I said I know this is many people's problem but I didn't see anything about showing teeth and most people say they bite but dont leave marks. Ours is NOT that. We have tried everything we have read: yelping, ignoring, distracting, firm loud voices, not standing down, flipping him on his back, holding his mouth closed, putting his lip in his mouth so he bites himself, water squirt bottle, time out. Nothing seems to work.
The main things we are wondering is if anybody thinks this is aggressive or still just puppy playing and will it go away soon and then of course any new ideas of how to get him to stop. We LOVE him to death but like many others we are exhausted and out of patience and worried if we made a mistake. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
 

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I forgot to mention, when we go on walks he has to wear a mesh face covering because be eats EVERYTHING. He recently had emergency abdominal surgery and was in the emergency room before that because he eats things (natural things off trees and such, we are extremely careful with toys) so multiple surgeons and vets recommend a muzzle or face covering. I wanted to mention that because I know he hates it and we aren't sure if that's why hes worse on walks or not but we have no choice. We still think he would do the "attacking" without the mask, because he does it at home, but we aren't sure if it's worse because of it.
 

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I know doing classes right now is hard, due to covid. But I think they would be a big benefit. It really sounds like he carried the puppy behavior into his early teens.
I think balanced training is a better fit for the pushy ones. Is he ever leashed in the house? It would give you more control. Also have you looked into the basket muzzles for walks. They make it easier for them to pant, and drink, but they still can not get things into their mouth.
 

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That's heartbreaking, and it sounds as if you've done everything you can within your ability.
There is a "trigger" to his behavior.What it is would be virtually impossible to identify via the internet, but it is there. The "trigger" can be many things, but often it is a "hole" in their development and training, or confusion. It can also be caused by pain and discomfort, so don't rule out an underlying medical issue.
You do have a paragraph that concerns me though. It refers to overtly negative correction techniques that will not work well with a Vizlsa. If you try to get physical with a Vizlsa, they can, and will, get physical right back, even at a young age. The "dominance" techniques, flipping him over and getting physical may have had an impact, but I understand where you were at. Don't try to get "physical" with him any longer, until you've identified the issue(s).
At 6 months old, some Vizlsas will still "mouth you". Finn still does it at 9-1/2 months old when he gets uncertain, or afraid, This is a behavior where they grab, but do not bite, and just sort of "gum on you". It's actually a puppy communication tool for anxiety and yielding to an older dog. This doesn't however, sound like where you're at. He has his adult teeth now and he can do a tremendous amount of damage, even unintentionally. You need to put a soft muzzle on him for the time being.He simply cannot be allowed to put his teeth on you.
If it were me, I would go all the way back to the beginning with his training, but he would have a soft muzzle on. I would start as if the dog did not know a single command. This may not help though, and you might want to consult with a person with much experience with Vizslas and training.
 

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Thank both of you for all your advice.

To texasred: he is not leashed in the house, we use a harness and leash because we tried a collar and he pulls so hard we feel like we could be hurting him. When we have used a collar and leash to try and control him we feel like we are choking him because he lunges up at us when we have the leash and we pull back. For awhile we were wondering if the leash is what was triggering him because whenever we tried to exercise him on leash he got really bad. He's not as bad anymore. Do you suggest us having his harness and leash on in the house? Is this just so when he comes at us we can grab it or is it used for another reason. Just want to make sure we are doing it right.

To gunnr: I know you said it is usually a trigger that is causing it, many people have said it's because they are teething and in pain and as soon as that is done they should get better. Do you think it could be something like that? The problem is it happens all the time, doing different things, at different times, with both me and my husband so I'm not sure how to pin point the issue. As for the flipping them over and physical thing, I completely understand. Unfortunately when we were first having troubles with him a couple weeks after he got gome we reached out to our breeder for help and they told us to do that. That was the only advice and to use a deep, stern voice but that never helped either. We did do it when he was younger because they told us to but we havent been doing it at all lately the last few months. As for the soft muzzle, do you recommend he wear it at all times. Like you said he shouldn't put his teeth on us ever but that's all he does. Im not quite sure I understand the going back to the beginning of training thing. He knows the command sit and down and little things like that, even though he doesnt always listen to them. Would you be able to explain this a little more of what we should do? We would really appreciate it.

To both of you, do you have any suggestions on training places or people in the Austin, Texas area. We live close to there. We are willing to try anything and we REALLY REALLY appreciate all the time and advice yall have to give. Do either of you think it is aggressive or just puppy behavior?
 

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ok, Ruby was like this, my answer was to take her into the kitchen, straight away, no fuss, just straight in there, 5 minutes let her come back in the living room, if she did it again,,yep, back in the kitchen,,nailed it in 3 days.
 

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Another side note, if it helps at all...when he is not biting us or humping us (which is something else he does often), he is super sweet and loving. He does sleep with us and snuggles up close on my stomach or neck. The exercise that we have been doing lately seems to have helped the sweeter dog come out more often but it just still isn't enough. We do see a sweet, loving dog in there at times so we just hope to see that dog all the time eventually and just need a little help to get there.
 

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ok, Ruby was like this, my answer was to take her into the kitchen, straight away, no fuss, just straight in there, 5 minutes let her come back in the living room, if she did it again,,yep, back in the kitchen,,nailed it in 3 days.
I'm guessing you had like a baby gate to block it off? We used to have a pen set up in the living room we would put him in. Now we just have a kennel. I know they say not to use their kennel as a "time out" spot but we have to do something because he tears us up so much.
 

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no baby gate, just a door shut when she was being "mouthy", no interaction at all. Don't get me wrong...it's hard, bloody hard,,but for a few days it saves some sanity and stops a dog going to a shelter ;}
 

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Ruby was a bit of a "problem child" to be honest, my first V but certainly not my first dog, ( labs gsd's, whippets etc), but first that came to me as an unsocialsed pup, she was taken away from her mum at 5 weeks,,long story, I got her at 10 weeks old,, she's a marvellous dog now at hunting and with family...hates postmen and amazon delivery folk though,,
 

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Ruby was a bit of a "problem child" to be honest, my first V but certainly not my first dog, ( labs gsd's, whippets etc), but first that came to me as an unsocialsed pup, she was taken away from her mum at 5 weeks,,long story, I got her at 10 weeks old,, she's a marvellous dog now at hunting and with family...hates postmen and amazon delivery folk though,,
If she was barking after the 5 minutes would you still go get her? Thats another problem we have with Moose. If he does go in "time out" he usually barks ALOT. We always try and wait till he stops, even if it's just for a couple seconds. We dont have a door on our kitchen, just open areas in living, dining and kitchen area so maybe put the pen back up? Not sure!
 

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I know doing classes right now is hard, due to covid. But I think they would be a big benefit. It really sounds like he carried the puppy behavior into his early teens.
I think balanced training is a better fit for the pushy ones. Is he ever leashed in the house? It would give you more control. Also have you looked into the basket muzzles for walks. They make it easier for them to pant, and drink, but they still can not get things into their mouth.
I posted a longer message to both you and gunnr below your first post but I wasnt sure if you would get a message that I replied if I didnt do it this way. Never been on any kind of forum before so still trying to learn the ropes. Also any suggestions for the exact time hes actually doing the "attacking or biting" that we havent tried yet? Thanks!
 

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That's heartbreaking, and it sounds as if you've done everything you can within your ability.
There is a "trigger" to his behavior.What it is would be virtually impossible to identify via the internet, but it is there. The "trigger" can be many things, but often it is a "hole" in their development and training, or confusion. It can also be caused by pain and discomfort, so don't rule out an underlying medical issue.
You do have a paragraph that concerns me though. It refers to overtly negative correction techniques that will not work well with a Vizlsa. If you try to get physical with a Vizlsa, they can, and will, get physical right back, even at a young age. The "dominance" techniques, flipping him over and getting physical may have had an impact, but I understand where you were at. Don't try to get "physical" with him any longer, until you've identified the issue(s).
At 6 months old, some Vizlsas will still "mouth you". Finn still does it at 9-1/2 months old when he gets uncertain, or afraid, This is a behavior where they grab, but do not bite, and just sort of "gum on you". It's actually a puppy communication tool for anxiety and yielding to an older dog. This doesn't however, sound like where you're at. He has his adult teeth now and he can do a tremendous amount of damage, even unintentionally. You need to put a soft muzzle on him for the time being.He simply cannot be allowed to put his teeth on you.
If it were me, I would go all the way back to the beginning with his training, but he would have a soft muzzle on. I would start as if the dog did not know a single command. This may not help though, and you might want to consult with a person with much experience with Vizslas and training.
I posted a longer message to both you and texasred below your first post but I wasnt sure if you would get a message that I replied if I didnt do it this way. Never been on any kind of forum before so still trying to learn the ropes. Also any suggestions for the exact time hes actually doing the "attacking or biting" that we havent tried yet? Thanks!
 

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nope, not if she'd been watered, fed, taken outside to pee and poo, anything after that she was "attention seeking",,my dogs are "working dogs" so I may have a different mindset to a lot of members here, but they have to fit into the family first and foremost.
 
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"I'm not quite sure I understand the going back to the beginning of training thing. He knows the command sit and down and little things like that, even though he doesn't always listen to them. Would you be able to explain this a little more of what we should do? We would really appreciate it.

The part that I bolded in red says he does not "know" the command. He understands what you're asking, but he doesn't quite grasp that it means every time and right now. He is making his own decisions, and he should not be. This is what is meant by "a hole". You believe that he knows something, that he actually does not, and he is "filling in the hole" by himself. Not a good place for either of you.That's what I meant by starting again at the beginning and taking nothing for granted.
Please, please, do not beat yourself up over this. It happens to everyone, and I mean everyone.

Finn, my 9-1/2 month old was just an awful puppy. He was a non stop trial. Everyday, every time, every lesson! I'm surprised I never strangled him. He was just willful, stubborn, obstinate, and he bit like a little demon. My hands and forearms used to look like I got hung up in barbed wire some days. Finn also has "holes", and I know it. His critical "hole" is recall. I can command Finn from 50 yards away and bring him in to me every single time, but that last two feet between he and I is open ground.He is not "coming to me". He's close, he's right there, but he is not at heel at my feet. This is a "hole". Finn is making his own decision about what recall, or "come" is. We're fixing that. ;)
Make no mistake about it, this Covid 19 crisis has had an impact greater than folks might realize. At a critical time when you should have been out and about with your puppy, and other people's puppies, we were restricted. In my case it has caused Finn's social development to be retarded. If you were to watch him in the field, you would never see it. He does everything right, and is a hard working honest little Vizsla. Get him in a Petco, Tractor Supply, or around other people and he's a disaster. He is very "reactive".
The Covid 19 crisis also found me working 75 hours a week, 6 days in a row. I was up at 0300 and got home at 6PM. Critical time was lost in his development, so now the obedience work he should be pretty much rock solid at, were redoing again from the beginning. Do not discount the effects of Covid 19 on him and yourself.
The point to all of this is for you to realize that you are not doing anything wrong, or bad, or were negligent. Vizlsa puppies can be a literal trial, as you can read through countless posts and threads on this forum.
These are physically and mentally, tough little dogs. They are not the little "softies" everyone thinks they are. This breed was meant to be an independent, forward, assertive hunter. That's what they are. They are great pets and companions, but make no mistake, at their core, if bred correctly, this is a very adept little hunter killer. I'm sorry, but there is no other way to express it. Some will be driven more than others. Understanding the breed, goes a long way to helping to train them. They're special.
Ad nauseam, I have always advocated to train them to be bird dogs. That's what they are, and if bred correctly they will take to the training program like a duck to water. A well trained hunting Vizsla will do everything a person would ever expect of a pet and companion, and they'll do it 40 yards away, with shotguns going off. ;)
If you can rule out any medical issues, go back to the beginning.
I live in Connecticut, but there has to be a trainer near Austin that can help you. Austin is a pretty big place.
Again. Do not beat yourself up.
 

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Let me ask a couple of trusted people, if they know someone in the Austin area to help you.. I live just outside of Houston.
It's already after 10pm, I will reach out to them tomorrow. Do you mind me asking who is the breeder?
Deb
 

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Also any suggestions for the exact time hes actually doing the "attacking or biting" that we havent tried yet?

Good chance I would wear jeans, and boots when working with him. When he started his biting game. I would stand on his lead. Only giving him enough room to sit, or lay down. Ignore him while he's throwing his fit, and release him, one he has calmed down.

All of my dogs know this type of training. I train it for a way to have my hands free, when they are young. If your checking out at a vets, or pet store. It's easier to use both hands, and have the dog calmly laying at your feet. Even though I have not used it in a while. If I'm standing talking to someone, they get bored and just lay down to wait.
 
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as for "pulling" on her lead, a simple figure of 8 knot over muzzle seems to correct it
We tried front D-ring harnesses with Big Rafa to try to stop him pulling both the girls over, didn't really work just reduced the pulling a little, went onto the simple figure of 8 lead and instantly cured the pulling. Like walking a lamb now and he weighs 66 pounds.
 

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Let me ask a couple of trusted people, if they know someone in the Austin area to help you.. I live just outside of Houston.
It's already after 10pm, I will reach out to them tomorrow. Do you mind me asking who is the breeder?
Deb
We got him from Tamarons Vizslas. They were recommended by a couple of the vizsla clubs. Thanks for asking around for us. We are new to this breed so any help is great! And we will try the stepping on lead thing and see if that works! Thanks again!
 
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