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Discussion Starter #1
Hi There,

I just got my V a couple of weeks ago (he is 10 weeks now).
So far he is doing great. Sleeps the whole night in his crate (mostly, he woke me up at 5:30 this morning).
Also understand Pee-Pee for #1
and Poo-Poo for #2
Although we are still having some accidents inside.

Now, to my question...
I have been training him a little, he already know sit (which he does quite consistently) and down (only if I have a treat on hand). He is just started to learn "check" where he taps my hand with his nose.

Leash walking has been a big issue so far, I think he is not getting the concept yet. If he is off leash he does much better as he is aware of my position and I only have to call him (with a very excited voice for him to follow me).

When does the "serious" training can start? When can I expect more concentration from his part?

Thanks,
 

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Sounds like y'all are doing great. Your pup is 10wks, very young, so you can expect his attention span to be short for many more months. Play, introducing commands, setting consistent boundaries, & keeping the positive tone is serious training for a puppy ;) You are laying the foundation now, so taking it too serious too soon can set you & pup way back. Our V pup, Pumpkin is 10m, and she is still easily distracted & only engaged in obedience training for short periods of time. When your pup is old enough, I highly recommend a puppy class. We did a STAR puppy class via AKC, and it was great @ a reasonable price. Start with 5m 2-3x a day. Do attention exercises, and be careful not to introduce too much at once. I am a fan of clicker training. I also found the book How To Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves by Joan Bailey very helpful. Even if you are not going to hunt, the book provides a foundation for having a well behaved, happy dog. There are many other good books & opinions, but I have found the clicker and having a hunting type approach to training to be helpful and structured. I too am having to learn to be patient. Vs do not mature until approx. 18m, and generally do not thrive under pressure too soon. You are just where you need to be :) Your pup will catch on to the leash with consistent, positive, short sessions. Have fun & good luck!
 

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Hi, I was wondering the same thing. We got our V at 7.5 weeks.
I love the way V's seem to have A.D.D.
So fast and so much to do cannot slow down for some boring obedience lessons.

We crated him and every time he did not like his crate we politely invited him out and trained him (Sam - sit, Sam - down) so we did not let him run around by himself and chew on anything he finds or reaches. The idea was that if he puts a fuss in the crate he is has enough mental energy to focus for a 15 minute session.

Food (especially when hungry) is the ultimate motivator.
We tried exclusively ideas from Dr. Ian Dunbar and found they work with our V but only if he's hungry.
He's focus is on positive reinforcement techniques only.
Check this out

http://www.ted.com/talks/ian_dunbar_on_dog_friendly_dog_training.html


Negative reinforcement techniques do not work with V's but work with German Shepherds (min. 6 months old).

Anyway, we did have only 3 mistakes in the house (our fault for not recognizing the sings)
At around 11 weeks I put a leash on him and didn't take it off until I noticed slight acceptance (about 10 minutes). 3 days later we celebrated victory.
Now Sam is 15 weeks and is walking on a leash (20 min/day) and off leash in the back yard.

Good luck and have lots of fun.
 

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Leash walking can be difficult, especially with distractable puppies! You say he doesn't seem to understand the concept...do you mean he is pulling on it, is afraid of/annoyed by it, or just won't move while the leash is on?

Jasper's a hard puller, and at 4.5 months he's not quite consistent on it yet, but we can get where we need to go as long as I allocate about 10-15 extra minutes in walking time. That just takes lots of patience and lots of treats! The smellier the better. "Leave it" is the best command I've found on walks--it reminds him not to lunge towards people, dogs, or birds (the latter is harder for him to ignore). "Leave it" will also save you chewed power cords, ruined shoes, and whatever garbage he might pick up in the street. There are tons of threads on the forum about leash pulling and ways to train better walking habits. Just know that as puppies they won't be consistent all the time--Jasper and I celebrate the small victories as far as that aspect of training goes!

If he's afraid of or annoyed by it, I recommend just putting the leash on and letting him drag it around for a while. Give him some treats when you clip it on and while he's dragging it around. If he does pick it up in his mouth and carry it around, just don't grab it and tug it out--then it turns into a tug-of-war toy! Eventually he'll get used to it and understand it's not a bad thing. If he doesn't want to walk while on it, it might be tied to fear/annoyance and the above will help. Otherwise you can try luring him into walking with some nice, smelly treats. Luring is not a bad thing, as long as you gradually phase it out so that they no longer need the lure.

Jasper's attention span changes depending on the conditions. At home, we can now do ~10-15 minute training sessions a few times a day, with about 50-60% old tricks, and the rest new (I usually only teach 1 or 2 new ones at a time). If we're outside where there are a lot of people around, it's a little harder to maintain focus. If we're absolutely surrounded by dogs and people, it's almost impossible to maintain his attention for more than a quick "Sit" every five minutes. We're working on that.

But it sounds like you're doing great! My trainer just reminds us that as long as you stop the training session while the dog is still having fun, you're ok--always leave them wanting more! You can also enroll him in a puppy kindergarten/socialization class, which usually take dogs as young as 8 weeks old as long as you stay on top of your vaccination schedule. It's up to you how young you want your pup to be around other dogs (in a controlled environment where everyone is up to date on vaccinations, of course!)--we started as soon as we could, while some friends have waited until their dog was 16 weeks old and had received all their shots. Scout around--your city might have an obedience training club, otherwise classes are usually offered at pet stores, humane societies, etc. If there's a Vizsla club in your area, they might have a recommendation too!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your input.
I guess he will catch up to it. I don't think he is afraid of the leash. I put it on and start walking (without grabbing the other end) and he does fine that way. When I grab the leash then he pulls (he has not learn to walk at my pace yet, he runs/stops/runs/stops) and when he pulls I just stop walking and he just sit still of lays down (without looking at me) and does not want to keep going. So far, he has more time/patience than me... when he does that I just drop the leash and keep walking. He will immediately follow me no problem.
 

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Hi, same on our first walks, it happened that Sam sat down in the middle of the street.
We were terrified what if it happened with cars passing luckily almost no traffic on the weekends.

As we have a park near by we decided :-[ to cross the street.

I know now that Sam was overwhelmed by all the new scenery and took a moment to absorb the situation.

After almost 3 weeks of walking we still have a slight pause when we walk...usually when we meet new things.

Maybe a harness might be a good idea.
 

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If I were to train a V again I wouldn't work on heel to seriously until 8 months. I would focus all my attention on come and stay. But before that, I would work on the bond between dog and owner. Once that bond is really solid and the dog admires you, and you admire him/her, the rest will fall into place. I would also play many more training games instead of formal training. You know, the kind where they are learning but don't know it. :) Copper is 13 months now and only in the last 3 months has become more dependable. I'm constantly getting WOW! he is so well trained! How does he stay by your side and stop before crossing the parking lot? If you form the bond and work with him or her daily it will come. :)
 

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Hi Jeffkish,

I have a 5 1/2 month old vizsla and here are some things I've learned that I've found to be of value:

- Put your focus on getting your vizsla pup's attention on you. Make sure to have treats on hand as much as you can and when your pup sits and looks at you, treat immediately. Our trainer made a good point by telling us, "dogs don't have hidden agendas. Where your dog's eyes are is where his/her mind is at." As soon as your dog's eyes go elsewhere-- for instance to a dog walking by or a person walking by-- work on getting your dog's gaze back to you. Granted, at such a young age, their concentration is very limited, but work on getting your dog to sit in front of you and as he stares, give an enthusiastic "good boy" and treat. If he isn't looking at you, make sure the treat has a strong smell and use it to get the pup's eyes on you. Start doing this in your driveway or places outside to build up to more distracting environments (do this very gradually. If he can't do it in a certain environment, go down to a less distracting environment).

- Work on getting your pup to respond to his name. You can do this with a leash by calling him and taking a step back. Reward when he turns around and comes to you. If he doesn't respond, wait a few seconds before you try again. Don't keep repeating yourself b/c you don't want your pup to learn that he's to come after you say his name 3x. If your dog is off the leash, never call him over to you in order to correct/punish/put him in the crate. Go get the dog if that's the case. You want him coming to you to signify only positive things in his mind. Otherwise, you will have taken a few steps back in recall.

-He's very young for heel. Our trainer said that hunting dogs, especially, take longer to learn to heel. They prefer running and sniffing at their own pace to walking at a snail's pace beside us. We were told that it may not be until a year or year and a half to have a strong heel. What you can do in the meantime is carry treats and periodically put a treat in your left hand (assuming you're walking him on your left side) and have it hang down near where the pup's nose should be. As soon as he hits that place and walks with you, say a positive word and release the treat. Keep having him realize that good things come to him when he's right next to you. When you predict that he's about to pull, make a sharp left turn to cut him off and praise and give a treat if he follows. Just try not to pull up on their neck since it's delicate. You can pull to the side, lure him back with a treat, or make a sharp turn to get his attention back on you. Just realize that heeling is probably the hardest thing for your pup to get and that it's not going to come in a few weeks but as he matures.

Hope that helps!
 

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Our little man is 4 1/2 months and we went through the same thing with the leash training. My best advice is practice makes perfect. There are alot of techniques out there to use that work really well but at the end of the day you just have to keep at it.

When we first started, Hunter would squirm and bite at the leash but now when he sees it he sits and waits patiently for us to put it on then goes excitedly to the door. At first it felt as if all we said was "leave it" over and over but it apparently worked because he is doing much better now and we are saying "good boy" much more. We started walking him around 10 wks when we got him.

He still gets excitable when he sees people but to discourage his pulling I quickly pick up my pace to a slow jog which focuses his attention forward and when we successfully pass the pedestrian I repeat "good boy Hunter!".
 
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