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One thing that our trainer/animal behaviorist thought might be a good idea to help our very shy and fearful V pup, Gus, is getting another dog. Of course, since I love dogs and would be happy with 50 of them, I wasn't too upset to hear this :) We do, however have to absolutely make sure that the second dog is extremely confident and outgoing. We have found that when Gus is around outgoing, friendly dogs, he kind of picks up on their cues and feels more confident.

I am not sure I want another V, just because I am now nervous about the possibility of getting another nervous dog, which would be the exact opposite of what we need! So I am wondering if any of you guys have any experience with second dogs, and what kind of breed would be a good companion for a V? We are thinking probably the most outgoing lab or golden that we can find...but I am curious if anybody has suggestions?
 

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Well, here is a strange one for ya, but the breed Riley has gotten along with the BEST so far out of all the others she's met is a doberman. ??? They literally are best pals every time they meet up at puppy social club. I've noticed they have the same play style and like to punch at each other with their front paws. Just an idea. 8)

*edit*:

Link to the AKC description - http://www.akc.org/breeds/doberman_pinscher/
 

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I really don't think this is a question of which breed would be best. Each pup/dog has a different temperament.

Adopting an older dog from the shelter that you can already see how they behave would probably be the best and surest bet
 

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threefsh said:
the breed Riley has gotten along with the BEST so far out of all the others she's met is a doberman.
That's funny you say that, Odin seems to LOVE all Dobermans. He's instantly the best of friends with every Doberman we've ever met. He hasn't done that to any other breed.
 

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Labrador retrievers, as one example, were genetically selected for highly friendly temperament and low reactivity, which makes it a lot easier for them to tolerate all kinds of stimuli. The TSA has been using them to detect explosives in part because it's easier for labs to "block" distractions and focus on the job.

Hunting and herding dogs, on the other hand, need higher reactivity to be successful at what they do because their work is much more complex behaviorally. (That's the reason the Vizsla people emphasize the correct socialization so much - it's probably the only way to balance and manage dog reactivity in the modern environment). The US Department of Defense chose the Belgian Malinois (if I remember right) as the military dog in the mid-2000s, partly due to its high reactivity to stimuli.

This is to say that if your plan is to have another dog as a confidence-boosting companion for a nervous Vizsla, then I suggest looking specifically for lower reactivity (which eliminates many hunting/herding breeds), and for heightened attachment to humans generally (which eliminates many of the guarding breeds).

Labrador retriever seems like a good bet in that scenario. But if shyness is hereditary, special effort would be needed to research the breed lines and the breeders....

And one more point - I would suggest thinking more about the age gap between them. If you get a second dog as a puppy, he's unlikely to be a leader in this duo and be much of an influence on your Vizsla....
 

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Ruby seems attracted to black labs, but she is a confident and outgoing young lady. I had a black lab for 14 years and found him a very sociable fella with other dogs.
I guess you'll need a dog that will fit in with your's and Gus's lifestyles and aims and although a lab wouldn't have the energy to keep up with a V all day I wouldn't hesitate in getting a black lab in your circumstances.
 

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If this is the route you are thinking, then breed will not matter. Maybe you can rescue an older dog that can show him the ropes, perhaps a female V ;D
 

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Crazy said:
If this is the route you are thinking, then breed will not matter. Maybe you can rescue an older dog that can show him the ropes, perhaps a female V ;D
I agree to an extent, but surely you'd need to consider things like walks, as an extreme example a yorkie terrier would be no good on long walks as a companion for a vizsla.
 

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I've been having similar thoughts about the future of our pack and my thoughts are scattered at this point. If we decide to add we will also need a confident member as dozer has become insecure fin light of recent events and I've thought two things. One is that Dozer is drawn to pit bulls I believe because they exude confidence frequently. And two I think to some extent i'd like him to be able to pick his own companion based on personality. We can do the research and narrow it down to certain breeds/mixes but then he'll have to let us know and an adult from the rescue or shelter will already have a personality to "test".
 

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I think you are tarring all Vizslas with the same brush. Perhaps it is just the Vizslas here in Australia, but timidness and a lack of confidence is not a prevalent trait in our dogs? Is it a prevalent trait in the Vizslas of the U.S.???? Or is it a genetic thing with that particular line? If so, then another Vizsla with a more outgoing temperament might be an option.

I have two male V's, both of who are incredibly outgoing, confident and relaxed around petty much all environments. I also have a GSP and she is the same, apart from a little wariness going into a new building that has either tiled floors, or linoleum floors, which I believe is a legacy of being in a shelter for 6 months of her life.

The advantage of getting another Vizsla, or a pointer for that matter, is they play the same way. They are both similar in style and physical intensity in the way they play so will usually get on well providing the personalities fit OK.

As others have said, perhaps an adult dog, either a Re-home or a rescue, may benefit more than a puppy too.
 

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I keep thinking about this topic and for some reason I'm not entirely convinced getting another dog is a bullet-proof plan. It means getting a whole new individual, with its own personality and needs, after all. It may work, but even then it cannot be a substitute for continued and vigilant socialization. Without it, it seems unrealistic to expect one dog to solve a behavior/adjustment issues of the other and in the end it still comes down to the owner's obligation and responsibility.

One thing that I wanted to highlight: a normal human reaction to a shy child is to offer encouragement. We very often do this with our dogs too, petting and talking to them when they are scared, nervous or shy. But I think we may be inadvertently conditioning them and reinforcing shyness by offering petting. It may seem counter-intuitive but a more effective approach would be to expose a shy dog to stimuli very gradually and allow it to get accustomed while simply standing next to it, without petting. It allows the dog to build confidence and doesn't mark shy behavior with attention or praise.

And, of course, nothing beats exposing a dog to new stimuli in the middle of play.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the comments!

Ozkar- It's my understanding Vizslas are not supposed to be shy; that is why we got one! However, several trainers (inluding our behaviorist guy) that I have spoken to say they see shyness and fear aggression in the breed A LOT (at least around here). Just a lot of poor breeding I think. Our breeder specifically ackowledged the fear of strangers was a genetic trait, but he didn't think it was a problem or a big deal. I think possibly our pup just inherited it to the extreme.

polkan- You are right, the behaviorist we are working with said another dog MIGHT help, but has to be exactly the right dog...so we are just kind of thinking about it right now. We are also proceeding with a "counter-conditioning plan" which so far seems to be working. Also, interestingly, we were advised not to do too much extra socialization until he is 10 months, since supposedly 8-9 months is another "fear stage" and if we freak him out right now, we could do permanent damage. In any case, seems to be slowly helping so far! He at least isn't growling at strangers when we walk by them on the leash anymore...
 

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It's my understanding Vizslas are not supposed to be shy; that is why we got one!
I have both in the Vizsla spectrum (shy and outgoing) in my two Vizslas. Chloe feels "safe" with her tough brother around.

To find a robust Vizsla, find breeders who field trial their dogs. Field trial dogs are almost never shy. This is a wonderful group of Vizsla owners that I have enjoyed being around for the last few years. But they will be looking for owners that know how to channel the hunting energy.

http://redbirddog.blogspot.com/2009/08/pet-or-sporting-dog.html

Realize that Gus will be relegated to a lower-ranked dog in the pack. That is just how it will be. Gus won't mind, but humans sometimes do.

But I don't know your lifestyle. Most of my friends with Vizslas have two or three Vizslas. They go well in pairs.

Chloe loves her tough brother. Her brother loves his soft sister. Works for us. Good luck on your choice.

RBD
http://redbirddog.blogspot.com
 

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My 8 1/2 month old V is not shy. We have spent an enormous amount of time socializing her - taking her to the dog park, she plays with other dogs on our farm in the country, we bring her around people a lot, etc..... She is very outgoing, friendly girl - with people and dogs. Some of it is her personality but some of it is the steps we've taken.

You should try a dog park for a month or two before you get another dog - unless you really, really want one.

My V plays with all types of dogs - Labs (don't get a choc. female, they can be kind of agressive), boxers, weimeraners, she loves other pitt bull puppies, and also loves lots and lots of wonderful mutts that are her size (you can pick one out that is already an adult and has the personality you want).

You can also get another V - just tell the breeder you need one from the litter who is very outgoing.

I also recommend a dog of the opposite sex.

Good luck!
 

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jjohnson said:
Thanks for all the comments!

Ozkar- It's my understanding Vizslas are not supposed to be shy; that is why we got one! However, several trainers (inluding our behaviorist guy) that I have spoken to say they see shyness and fear aggression in the breed A LOT (at least around here). Just a lot of poor breeding I think. Our breeder specifically ackowledged the fear of strangers was a genetic trait, but he didn't think it was a problem or a big deal. I think possibly our pup just inherited it to the extreme.

polkan- You are right, the behaviorist we are working with said another dog MIGHT help, but has to be exactly the right dog...so we are just kind of thinking about it right now. We are also proceeding with a "counter-conditioning plan" which so far seems to be working. Also, interestingly, we were advised not to do too much extra socialization until he is 10 months, since supposedly 8-9 months is another "fear stage" and if we freak him out right now, we could do permanent damage. In any case, seems to be slowly helping so far! He at least isn't growling at strangers when we walk by them on the leash anymore...
I have never agreed with this opinion. I think it is imperative to continue to socialize them right through to adulthood. I notice that the socialisation is less confident if we have not had our regular weekly visit to the puppy park. I socialised all my dogs as they grew (I've had 14+ dogs over my time) I have never had issues by continuing to socialise them as they grew up regardless of what "Stage" they were in. Puppy parks can be fraught with danger, but are also a great socialisation tool.

As to another dog Not fixing the problem as Polkan suggests. That is certainly a possibility. However, from my experience another dog instils confidence in it's housemate. I watched as Ozkar became more and more adventurous after we got Zsa Zsa. It gave him confidence to approach something or someone when she was doing it. So I believe if you get the right personality, the dog will lead your pup along.

Good luck whatever path you take.
 

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I'm also quite skeptical about delaying socialization for that long. Puppies have a "sensitive" period, when they perceive unfamiliar things differently. The most common recommendation that I have seen, based on the observation of feral dog behavior, is 12 weeks. That's when feral puppies begin exploring the world outside of the den and the assumption is they gain enough confidence as well as curiosity to do it without feeling pressured and put under stress. However, many types of socialization can take place (and should take place) even earlier, such as strangers coming to a house where the dog lives, car rides, observing things from inside the car, etc.

But that window is short and, in domestic dogs, it must be leveraged to avoid problems later on.

After that window closes, the dogs automatically prefer familiar to unfamiliar. Unfamiliar begins to represent a risk, a possible danger, stress and so on. It's a perfectly normal behavioral response in natural conditions, the only thing humans are doing during socialization is reducing the amount of things a dog would consider unfamiliar and therefore potentially risky, in order to reduce adverse reactions from a dog.
 

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Aimless1 said:
I really don't think this is a question of which breed would be best. Each pup/dog has a different temperament.

Adopting an older dog from the shelter that you can already see how they behave would probably be the best and surest bet
Good advise. A puppy would be a definite No, No.
 

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Ozkar said:
I think you are tarring all Vizslas with the same brush. Perhaps it is just the Vizslas here in Australia, but timidness and a lack of confidence is not a prevalent trait in our dogs? Is it a prevalent trait in the Vizslas of the U.S.????
Definitely! They are know by some, as the "Nervous Dog".
 
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