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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

This is my first time writing so forgive me in advance for any redundancy.

Our Vizsla Blaze (not to be confused with another Blaze I read of in this forum) is 9 weeks old and we have him a little over 1 week. While playing outside with him, I went to pick him up and he growled aggressively and snapped back to bite my hand (or anything he could get his teeth on). This happened again with my son. Blaze was chewing on a pigs ear and my son picked him up to put him in the car. Again, Blaze growled aggressively and actually bit him on the face and hand breaking the skin. My son put Blaze down, who then went right back to his pigs ear. I immediately approached the dog and removed him from the pigs ear. Sure enough he tried the same on me so I pinned him until he submitted, but not without inflicting a strong skin ripping bite to my thumb.

I called the breeder who acknowledged this is not normal Vizsla behavior. This actually made my wife and me feel worse about our situation because it made us start to believe we may have a "not quite right" Vizsla on our hands. I was wondering if anyone has experienced this sort of aggression and lashing out and how they dealt with it. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.
 

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That definitely seems out of the ordinary, for any 8 week old pup. How was your pup raised by the breeder? Have they offered to give you another pup out of the litter?

On another note, pigs ears are bad for dogs, especially puppies. You are setting yourself up for some bad diarrhea, and possible intestinal blockages.
 

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Oddly enough, we purposely put our fingers in Blazes bowl while he's eating and he's totally fine with it. We're not giving him pigs ears anymore either. Heard many good and bad things about them so why chance it. I was hoping to hear that this sort of behavior may occur due to his age and the fact that he's only been with us just over a week. Other than those 2 incidents, he's a great and loving pup.
 

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You did the right thing by pinning him. The aggressive behavior is a dominance thing and you need to make sure that he knows that you are the Alpha in the pack. We used this on our male Rottie years ago and called it 'dominance down'. It worked great he grew up to be a very well behaved XXL dog. ;D
 

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Hi,

no problems with Peanut at he moment, just puppy nipping in excitement, but could someone explain how to pin down safely, just in case. Also when do you know they have submitted properly?

Graham
 

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I just put him on the floor and pin him down by the throat, you'll know he submits as he doesn't move and looks very worried!! I don't seem to have to do it at all nowadays! Only when he was very young
 

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Lots of nipping and biting is normal at this stage. Not so sure about the growling. Maybe you should hand feed him for awhile. Specifically have your son hand feed him. Let him know that if he's patient good things will come from you.
 

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Same thing happened with our puppy ...

We gave him a treat that he was chewing on and we went to go get it and he growled and nipped and bit at me ... my husband did the pinning thing and we said NO! He did it two other times, but each time we would play "who is the boss". We then started to give him a different treat to get the raw-hide or whatever he has away from him ... he drops it right away and we say good boy. Since we've been doing that, he has not growled or anything. We can actually hold the raw-hide/bone in our hand now and he'll chew on it ... try that ... try holding it for him and not physically giving it to him.

Dont' get down on yourself!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Makes us feel better knowing it didn't just happen to us - not that I wish it to happen to anyone. We've been having our son hand feed him and so far so good. I will try the toy/treat swap and see how he reacts.

Anyone notice if their V likes to be on his/her own when chewing their toy?

Thanks for the feedback!
 

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Sometimes Kian if he is gnawing away on one of his toys I will go to pet him and he will just walk away. He;s never been aggressive with us in that regard.
It's like... "Leave me alone, can't you see I am chewing here ;D"
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Same with Blaze. When focused on his chew toy, sometimes he likes to be on his own. But he's always close by. And after a short time, he's right back wanting to be with us. They have some personalities these guys!
 

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Okay, I've been reading a lot about various training techniques so I'm probably being overzealous in posting on the forums today. Truth be told, I'm new to training dogs, but I have done a fair amount of research here lately. Sounds like resource guarding aggression. One viewpoint I've read lately is that the pinning or other dominance-based corrections in response to this sort of aggression can intensify future resource-guarding aggression by confirming what the dog already fears--that you ARE a threat when he has something he is afraid you're going to take away. You are right to be concerned. I would get a trainer to work with you and the dog. My advice--look for a trainer who uses "positive training" methods.

I also found a good book on this in my travels, because Rosie has mild resource guarding aggression with locations where she is sleeping (will growl if asked to move). The book is called "Mine!" by Jean Donaldson. Until you have started working with a trainer, you could try to identify the items your dog "guards" (as evidenced by growling if you approach when he has them, e.g., food, treats, chewies), and not give him those when the kids can approach him until you've had a chance to work with him on the training.

The reward-based training I've read about is basically like desensitization--teaching your dog through a series of training exercises that no one is trying to take his stuff and that good things happen when people approach him while he is (e.g., eating, etc). With Rosie, we've started pairing approaching her and moving her while sleeping with the clicker and a food reward. But she hasn't actually bitten and we don't have children--again, in your case, a trainer is really the best idea.

As for growling--that's a good thing, it's how they warn us before escalating to biting. We don't want to train them out of that per se, but we do want to make them less likely to be disposed become aggressive at all, to even have a need to growl.

Sarah
 

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It's definitely a dominance thing with a vizsla. If you show them early on that you are the Alpha, they rarely challenge it. From my understanding, pinning them down has been the a method adopted by many breeders and trainers. I've also been informed that if a V has shown dominance over a child, you should pin down your V, then have the child stand over him/her and strongly give a command (ie, STOP, NO, I'M THE BOSS, etc).

I do agree with sarahaf in regard to future resource-guarding aggression. When ever we correct Charlie, we then have him do something 'possitive' (such as SIT, or DOWN) and then he can continue with what ever he's doing or have the item in question back. They then associate the aggression with 'losing' and associate the positive behavior with 'gaining'.

Right now we're working on COME while playing with other dogs (as Charlie tends to go deaf when he's playing). We have him COME (either voluntarily or we physically go and guide him back), reward his with praise and a treat, have him stay for a short while. Then, we tell him GO PLAY and he's back to playing. He's learning that just because we tell him to COME, doesn't always mean that he's done playing. I think I read this technique somewhere in this forum, and it's working wonders!!!
 
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