Hungarian Vizsla Forums banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just started taking my 4 1/2 month vizsla male to a new doggie day care (I am single and need to work!). The owner is a certified trainer/behaviorist/nutritionist. I generally like her and think much of what she's explained is decent common sense. However, upon picking him up after his first full day, she was dealing with other dog getting overexcited with another and picked him up by the scruff to place him in a timeout and explained it shows them dominance and what a mother would do. She also has told me I shouldn't let my V sleep in my bed because I'm communicating to him that he's an "equal" and he will exhibit dominance issues.

Okay. So I get there's truth in both of these, so not denying she isn't qualified. But I have read picking up pups by their scruff can be damaging and pose mental/behavior issues too. I also think V's are especially affectionate and just want to be close to their humans...regardless of dominance. My 4 1/2 month old will go in a crate if I put him in (whine for 2 minutes and then conks out or if sufficiently tired will willingly go in), so I'm not concerned about crate training. Yes, he has his "moments" of "defiance" but he must sit before being invited on furniture (including the bed) and eats in his crate.

Should I be concerned about this trainer/day care provider? Should I ask she not discipline him by handling his scruff, even if she uses with others? Should I really be forcing my V to sleep in a crate, when he sleeps so nicely with me in my bed? (never one accident, I put a dog bed on my bed to control his creep into my space until the last 15 minutes before getting up, lol). I have limited options to care for my V pup when he's unneutered (after 7 months) so trying to find a responsible, feasible option. Welcome your thoughts.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,013 Posts
I really don't like this "dominance" perspective. Rather than being the dominant one, I like to think of myself as the leader - the one my dogs look to for direction. An important part of that is not being physical to maintain leadership. V's are sensitive (yeah, that makes them sound like sissies, but they're not) and being physical with them can lead to them fearing you and not trusting you. I want my V's to follow because they want to, not because they're afraid not to. I know that picking up by the scruff isn't the same as hitting, but it's still physical.

Again, the sleeping in bed with you being related to dominance. I think that you have established a perfect sleeping situation - in his own bed until the last 15 minutes!? Seriously - that's ideal.

You say that you generally like the day care provider, but if dominance is at the core of her training beliefs, then your boy might be better off in a different daycare. Oh, on re-reading, I see that you have "limited options", so maybe you could try to get her to change. You might need a bit of luck for that :).
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
9,229 Posts
I’ve had plenty of vizslas sleep in my bed.
Unless you have a dog that has some behavioral (guarding food/claiming spaces) issues, there is nothing wrong with them being in your bed.
Yes dogs do pick up puppies by the scruff of the neck.
Unless they grow hands, they have no other way to carry a puppy. 😆
 
  • Like
Reactions: rsarvis

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,263 Posts
Listen to your gut...I have had some bad experiences with trainers and my initial bad feelings about them turned out to be right unfortunately. It is not easy to find different options / places, but sometimes having a dog walker coming in, playing with your pup, walking them if the weather is right and you playing with them/ training them when you are not working is more beneficial than a daycare where you are not sure of the person running it.

In terms of sleeping in your bed: I made sure that my vizslas are crate trained as I find it makes them more versatile when traveling or if I need to travel without them, but most of the nights they sleep in my bed, both of them, and I have never felt that they would challenge my leadership because of that. In fact, in my experience since they spend some time in their crates during the day, they really cherish the nighttime when they can be in my bed and would not risk losing that privilege.
Funny story: at one of the daycares Bende used to go to, they had 2 big chocolate Labradors and 3 cats. Sometimes I boarded him there when I had to travel for work. The labradors were sleeping on the floor, as they were simply too big to be on the bed, and the cats kept them company. Bende started the night with them, but he usually ended up crawling up to the bed and under their cover, the humans only noticed it in the morning, as he did it so carefully that they did not even wake up, lol.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,758 Posts
Your trainer is off base.
Yes, Vizsla mothers will pick up their "puppies" by the scruff of the neck, to move them. However, that physical behavior has stopped well prior to 4-1/2 months of age. There is no breed of dog, or predatory mammal, in the world that picks up another of it's species as a display of dominance. It doesn't work that way. Correction amongst dogs is very, very, quick, and then it is done.
It has been pretty much universally accepted that dominance based training methods will not work well long term with a Vizsla. There are periods of their life where the "correction factor" is more prevalent, based on age and immaturity. Generally, by two years old, those days are getting further away in the rear view mirror.
I have known of countless Vizslas through the years that have been allowed free rein of the furniture and beds in the house, and they were just fine. Mine have never been allowed on the furniture, or in the beds, but that is a personal decision on my part, and were no better, or worse trained than the dogs that slept with their owners.
In my experience, Vizlsas like to be "included" in the process of training, and not a victim of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
I would definitely find another daycare. I like the positive reinforcement / clicker training better, especially for a vizsla!! And all of our Vs have slept in bed with us! I will need to find a daycare when summer is over so I’ll be in the same predicament. Good luck!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
My wife and I have had Vs for year since we have been married. Actually our first one one bought for her after an issue that scared her when I was away. She ask a patent that was a vet about what to get. High on the list was a V. After checking out we knew this was the breed for us. And we named hie Beau and a friend mentioned that your Beau got him for you. Everything was fantastic until we made a regrettable decision to take to a kennel when we went away. Understand this was mid 80s. It’s something we have thought of often, we had a feeling but we wrote it off as it was us. Do as as one has already said, follow you gut. Beau, the sweet loving boy was never the same.

As for sleeping in bed, we have had 4 Vs in our family and they do not always sleep in our bed but they work there way thought the home as they are family dogs. That are so smart !

PS we have 2 Vs now, a 3 yr. Old female (Sweet Nellie) and a big boy 10 months (SunnyBoy) As one of our kids said just this weekend, Sunny was the perfect name for him.

THE VERY BEST WISHES!!!
 

·
Registered
Ellie
Joined
·
534 Posts
I don't buy into the "if you do this one thing your dog will think it is dominant" kind of mentality some trainers have. Your relationship is far more complex than that. It is evolved over time with your verbal, and most important actions and body language. For example, if you have established your leadership role and you decide to let your dog sleep with you in bed, what harm is that? If the dog "pushes" you around making demands and ignoring your communication, then I'd say there is a breakdown as most dogs will happily settle in to take on the leadership role if the opportunity arose.

Be fair and your dog will respect you. Use praise/rewards when teaching desired behaviors so the dog understands what pleases you. Use swift, assertive, and decisive corrections to communicate which behaviors are unwanted, usually exclusively body language and vocal inflections sometimes with a bit of contact/stimulation to get attention. Don't ever brow-beat or be overbearing on your dog, especially Vs to try to "be dominant". It is a very old-school way of things. In some situations I'm sure that old method can work, but now you are leading with threats and fear of harm, not good. It is healthy for a dog to have a degree of fear around understanding that there are repercussions/corrections for known bad behaviors, but it is never a fear as in what a brutalized dog would feel.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
169 Posts
I don't buy into the "if you do this one thing your dog will think it is dominant" kind of mentality some trainers have. Your relationship is far more complex than that. It is evolved over time with your verbal, and most important actions and body language. For example, if you have established your leadership role and you decide to let your dog sleep with you in bed, what harm is that? If the dog "pushes" you around making demands and ignoring your communication, then I'd say there is a breakdown as most dogs will happily settle in to take on the leadership role if the opportunity arose.

Be fair and your dog will respect you. Use praise/rewards when teaching desired behaviors so the dog understands what pleases you. Use swift, assertive, and decisive corrections to communicate which behaviors are unwanted, usually exclusively body language and vocal inflections sometimes with a bit of contact/stimulation to get attention. Don't ever brow-beat or be overbearing on your dog, especially Vs to try to "be dominant". It is a very old-school way of things. In some situations I'm sure that old method can work, but now you are leading with threats and fear of harm, not good. It is healthy for a dog to have a degree of fear around understanding that there are repercussions/corrections for known bad behaviors, but it is never a fear as in what a brutalized dog would feel.
@Dan_A, kudos!!! Awesome post!

I can only go on to say, with a vizsla, use strong, affirmative corrections VERY sparingly, if ever! Build a simple communication system with them which they fully understand and they'll work their tails off to meet your expectations!

FYI: To date.. Aly being nearly 20 months old... and NEVER has had a STRONG correction. She's super obedient and has super appropriate behavior nearly all the time. When she doesn't, it's my fault... and we joyfully go back to work... in a very positive way.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top