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Hi guys,

We adopted our V Bruce about a month ago. He is absolutely lovely and silly, if getting more and more cheeky by the day most of the time. He had lived with a couple who had a small child for the past 4 months, they had bought him from a breeder at 5 months so we have limited knowledge of his early months. They lived in a very isolated situation in a small village in the countryside, before us he had only met both sets of grandparents, we were the first strangers. When we first brought him home, he seemed to keep forgetting who most family members were, and displayed some growling, barking and nipping behaviours when they looked him in the eye or came back into the room. Over the last few weeks his confidence has really grown and this has almost completely stopped, he seems to recognise us most of the time. He now lives in busy South West London so despite the situation is meeting many more dogs and people than he ever has before. He is a little nervous and unsure of strangers when we are out, but this varies, some days he is okay and even accepts a stroke or pat and some days he barks and moves away from them. The issue is that with one member of our family he is sporadically aggressive, barking, growling or lunging at her, despite having been cuddling up to her that same day. We cannot figure out why he is this way specifically with her or what sets him off and understandably it is beginning to become quite upsetting for her, and she is starting to be a little scared as he seems very unpredictable with her. He also growls at nearly everyone if he is sat in the living room with my father, who we suppose he sees as his owner. We really want to understand and prevent this behaviour continuing or escalating in the future.

The issue became more clear when someone had to come to the house to pick up an item that was sold the other day. Of course because of the current situation there have been no strangers coming in to the house since he got here a month ago, but usually there are different friends and partners of family members every week. When this person came in across the threshold he bounded toward them growling and barking and lunging for their hand. He then did it again, actively coming toward the person. We of course grabbed him and closed him off outside, but naturally this was very traumatic for everyone involved, not least the person the launched himself at. He did not bite but he was very aggressive, nipping at their sleeve. It didn't really look fearful in as much as he was actively seeking them out to go toward, but this is perhaps my naivety and inability to recognise what is happening in the split second it occurs. We really want to resolve these problems as soon as possible as naturally as we start to ease out of this situation, there will be more and more people in and out of the house, not to mention the family member that he sporadically growls and barks and lunges at is beginning to feel quite worried. He also now barks and growls any time the doorbell goes off (which is regularly does as we are all at home and not always taking keys out).

I should add that he is still in tact, and we are unable to do anything about this at the moment because of the lockdown rules, not to mention we have received lots of conflicting advice about bone strength and development vis-a-vis castration. Please help! If anyone knows or could recommend a behavioural trainer in South West London who is working during this time through socially distanced measures, or any advice that might help we would really appreciate it. We just want a happy family dog, and want to avoid anything horrible occurring and there is so much conflicting advice out there.
 

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I wonder if his previous owners had some issues with him. People aren't always as honest, as they should be.
Did they give you the information on his breeder. If so, I would contact your local Vizsla rescue. Ask them if they know of this breeder, and have they seen this issue in any of his dogs? It would give you a better idea if it's nature, or nurture causing the problem. They might also know a good behaviorist in your area.
 

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His person should not be letting him do this. He should not be allowed to hyper focus on people like that... it sounds like everyone is allowing this behavior to happen. Nobody is stopping the dog. The owner needs to BE A LEADER. Work thresholds, that’s NOT his doorway to protect. Work him for his food, train obedience. Teach a place command.. no spoiling him with pets and treats. He has to earn and learn. Teach him to ignore other dogs and people, outside of your household he doesn’t need to have constant interaction with the public.. just walk politely at your side, in a nice structured walk on leash. HE NEEDS someone to take charge of his life. He is carrying a huge stress thinking he has to take it upon himself to protect what he Perce

WHY ARE YOU LETTING STRANGERS PET YOUR DOG. You said he lets some people pet him and some others? That’s a sure sign you should be advocating for your dog, by saying no you may not approach my dog sir/mam.

that being said if there really are no triggers, he is being completely unpredictable, and you know his breeding is questionable- you might have some neurological problems. Few dogs actually have this. But see a professional or have the dog properly assessed.
 

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You have a rough few months ahead of you, but as long as there isn't something medically wrong with the dog, you can come out ahead.
Firstly, you are trying to socialize an adolescent Vizsla at warp speed. You need to slow that down, because I suspect you are overwhelming him, and his anxiety level is very high. Quiet his environment down significantly,and restrict the amount of new people, and especially new dog he has to interact with. You are right now sort of forcing him to make his own decisions, and you should be the one making his decisions for him. He needs to recognize a predictable, regular pattern to his day to feel safe. He has to have this, without it, the results are unpredictable.
If you're working out of your home, establish a "place" for him to go when clients come to the door. A crate is an excellent "space".
Hands are "targets", he is going for hand because he doesn't know what to do. In that moment his anxiety level is high and he is reacting. You need to control this situation and introduce the elements of it via training and conditioning.
As of right now, he should be on a harness, and leash, pretty much at all times, and he should be training for his leash manners. Sit, Stay, Come, Down, Heel, Place, etc. Take absolutely nothing for granted, because it is an odds on bet, he has not been formally trained to the leash. Treat him as if he is a 9 week old puppy, and not a 9 month old dog. Assume he knows nothing. Start from square one.
My dogs have always gone absolutely ballistic when someone knocks on the door, and that is what I want them to do. I want good doorbells, and intimidators if need be. But, this requires that either I, or my wife, take control, put the dog away, and answer the door. People coming in are introduced, the dog(s) is allowed to approach the person, and usually a few handed treats, and a thrown toy, and new friends are made.
Never assume, that the dog will simply accept anyone coming through the door. If that is to be the expectation, that will have to be trained after he is initially trained.
As for the person in the family he is reacting to, you need to look for the trigger. I'm sorry, but there is something different that this family member is doing that the rest of you are not. This absolutely does not mean that they are being mean, or cruel, or antagonizing the dog in any way. There is just something "different" in their approach. Without seeing the interactions, it is impossible to say. When my niece was little she used to squeal, as little girls are prone to do, but it would set the dogs off. They just did not like that high pitched squeal and would get very agitated about it. She meant no harm whatsoever and was genuinely excited to see the dogs, but I had to put them away, until we calmed her down, and then the dogs could come back out.
Do not come at him head first, or try to dominate this dog, or use physical intimidation, to condition his response. You will be in for one heckuva fight. Use positive encouragement and treat him as if he is a puppy. He does not know you, and there is no reason right now he should acknowledge you.
He recognizes no "leader" at this time. He's actually trying to figure out who is actually in charge and where his place is. Until that is established, he has no recourse other than to make his own decisions. Not a good place for any parties involved.
The best advice I can give you is to put him to work training and make sure that everyone in the house is onboard, and treating him exactly the same. The more predictable, and repetitive, his environment, the faster he will adapt to it.
I "started" an 11, and a 22, month old female dog, at the same time. It was 3 months before the 11 month old ever even looked at me, and the 22 month old would look at me, and do nothing, for a few months. The 11 month old had been with a fairly "physical" trainer, and it took years, before she would let us touch her ears, without crying out in sheer panic. You never know the complete history of a puppy, and what they have experienced. The 11 month old was Gunnr, and once we got through to her, she was something really special.
I've also "started" an 8 month old male that fell through cracks. it took a bit with him also, but he had just the nicest personality you could ever want once he came out of his shell. There was a different score of music running in his head for all his days, and that was just that. He was a total goofball. Put a bell around his neck and put him in the woods, and he was a completely different animal altogether.
Don't expect neutering to be any type of a magic cure for his behavior. I wouldn't advise it until you resolve the issues at hand, as it may present a completely different set of variables into the equation.
 

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[QUOTE="Libb_Greet, post: 165044, member: 85890"
Please help! If anyone knows or could recommend a behavioural trainer in South West London who is working during this time through socially distanced measures, or any advice that might help we would really appreciate it.

Hi there! You may have already started down the road with a behaviourist, but if not Ella at Kirby Dog Training (have a look on insta) is doing virtual 1-2-1 training and is great - I believe she’s LDN based. I’ve been using her tips and tricks with my PointerXVizsla and they seem to be getting through. We have a problem with sleep aggression and sporadic lunging aggression (still trying to work out triggers) and her engagement and training techniques are helping us build a stronger relationship.

Good luck.
 
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