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Our boy is driving us bonkers and we are at our wits end trying to help. Best I can figure is he’s developed a behavioral problem and we can’t figure out how to fix it.

We have an almost 5 year old neutered V who is EXTREMELY high needs. My friends vizslas are nothing like him. I know they are high energy velcro dogs but he takes it to the next level. He follows my every move around the house. If I take 2 steps to the left, he takes 2 steps to the left. While we are doing things like eating or sitting on the couch he will sit there and stare the whole time and the second you stand he immediately gets up to follow your every move. He also whines constantly. Constantly. It’s maddening. He is also all over us any time we sit on the floor and has to be aggressively pushed back to stop him from jumping on us or between us and our 1 year old. Every time we close a door he sits outside and whines. He was like this before the baby, but’s it’s gotten worse. He has quite a few toys and I’ll give him treats that take work, which he loves but as soon as he’s done he’s back to his insecure/codependent behavior.

I thought he was just bored, so we will play fetch with him every night for 30 minutes, keep him running until he stops and goes to the door because he’s tired but he’s back to this behavior as soon as he recuperates. I’ve taken him to daycare while we’re at work and also hired a dog walker, same thing, he is literally never tired or happy/relaxed except for maybe 10 minutes after exercising. I’ve also done obedience training and he’s a quick learner. He’s very obedient except when he’s excited. I’ve tried ignoring his behaviors and nothing changes. I’ve tried taking a few minutes to specifically pay attention to him with pets and praise, but that doesn’t seem to change anything either.

I don’t think we would ever give a pet up but it’s nearly that bad. I think my descriptions don’t do it justice. I understand this is the breed’s nature but his is like no V I’ve ever met. He does not have any health problems.

Can anyone recommend behavioral modification or make suggestions as to how we might be creating this behavior? The vet has recommended sedative calming treats in the past which did help but I would like to help him be happier and more confident, not just drug him.
 

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I don't see where you have ever taught him to settle, or mention how often he gets on/off leash walks.
These dogs become very bored/OCD just being at home. Also while retrieving works the body, it also amps up most dogs brains.
In older high drive/needy dogs. I don't play retrieving games, unless there are clear rules. IE ball to hand, not dropped on ground, sit or down before ball is thrown, a release word before they can retrieve. The other one that seems to work them mentally. The dog has to sit or down, on a place command. You don't throw the ball, instead you walk and place 2-3 balls in different areas. Walk back to the dog, make him wait until you release him. Make him wait 30-45 seconds between getting each ball, in either a sit or down. Don't release him, if he is whining, or moving around. This just works the brain, and on impulse control.
 

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I don't see where you have ever taught him to settle, or mention how often he gets on/off leash walks.
These dogs become very bored/OCD just being at home. Also while retrieving works the body, it also amps up most dogs brains.
In older high drive/needy dogs. I don't play retrieving games, unless there are clear rules. IE ball to hand, not dropped on ground, sit or down before ball is thrown, a release word before they can retrieve. The other one that seems to work them mentally. The dog has to sit or down, on a place command. You don't throw the ball, instead you walk and place 2-3 balls in different areas. Walk back to the dog, make him wait until you release him. Make him wait 30-45 seconds between getting each ball, in either a sit or down. Don't release him, if he is whining, or moving around. This just works the brain, and on impulse control.
You are right, I’ve tried to teach him to settle but I don’t think I’ve got a good technique. What do you recommend? Those are good pointers for fetch, I agree it’s provably mental stimulation that he’s missing.
 

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You kinda snuck the part in there about the one year old human addition to your pack! V is 5, baby is one, so V has been displaced now for a year, after being the Only Child for 4 years! What did you expect? And more to the point, how has his life changed? Probably too much.

You probably don't want to hear this, but if you want him to settle, you have to use that accurate understanding of who he is and what his needs are and try to rebalance things and give him at least more of that back. So more daily hikes and fun off lead things. More time and presence he was so accustomed to receiving, at least a little less distracted by more mundane things like a human infant and your understandable exhaustion.

Try to give him as much of what he had before baby arrived, his behaviors are a signal that he misses you and what he had and is having a hard time adjusting.
 

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You kinda snuck the part in there about the one year old human addition to your pack! V is 5, baby is one, so V has been displaced now for a year, after being the Only Child for 4 years! What did you expect? And more to the point, how has his life changed? Probably too much.

You probably don't want to hear this, but if you want him to settle, you have to use that accurate understanding of who he is and what his needs are and try to rebalance things and give him at least more of that back. So more daily hikes and fun off lead things. More time and presence he was so accustomed to receiving, at least a little less distracted by more mundane things like a human infant and your understandable exhaustion.

Try to give him as much of what he had before baby arrived, his behaviors are a signal that he misses you and what he had and is having a hard time adjusting.
I suppose if there were two of me and I didn’t work we might be able to keep up with his attention needs. To be honest, this seems to be more of a developed behavioral issue than an exercise/attention issue. He’s always been much more high needs than any vizsla I’ve met but it’s been slowly getting much worse. To be honest I’m starting to think that the best think for him would be to find a new home for him which kills me.
 

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They are "high needs" generally, it's part of who they are. And although there's no doubt what you're experiencing is "Behavioral", the behaviors are likely the result of your divided attention with new baby. This isn't a situation you can "train" away, you'd have to give him the time and attention that's wired into them to resolve this. Can you find time to take him out alone, off lead more? Can you find time to include him more in your new activities? It's why I take a skeptical view when folks come in here looking for one based primarily on their appearance and their generally sweet nature. Yes, all that... but they are very needy, and not everyone can manage that. Interacting with one on the street or the park doesn't really give you a sense for who they are and the commitment required to fulfill them.

I'm sorry you are having this experience, but based on your life situation and understandable priorities with new baby, it seems like rehoming him might be the best thing here.
 

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You can't just compare one Vizsla to another.
Just as each dog has a different home life, each dog has slightly different needs.
Between work, and the new baby. I don't see him getting better. He will probably get worse.
As you said, there are just not enough hours in the day.
If you haven't spoken with your breeder already, that would be a good starting place. If you purchased him from a responsible breeder. They will take him back, or at the least help rehome him. If you purchased him from one of the other breeders, get in touch with your area Vizsla rescue.
 
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They are "high needs" generally, it's part of who they are. And although there's no doubt what you're experiencing is "Behavioral", the behaviors are likely the result of your divided attention with new baby. This isn't a situation you can "train" away, you'd have to give him the time and attention that's wired into them to resolve this. Can you find time to take him out alone, off lead more? Can you find time to include him more in your new activities? It's why I take a skeptical view when folks come in here looking for one based primarily on their appearance and their generally sweet nature. Yes, all that... but they are very needy, and not everyone can manage that. Interacting with one on the street or the park doesn't really give you a sense for who they are and the commitment required to fulfill them.

I'm sorry you are having this experience, but based on your life situation and understandable priorities with new baby, it seems like rehoming him might be the best thing here.
2X
So many people would see me out, and about with Ranger.
I would get so many compliments on how calm, and well-behaved he was in stores. What they didn't see was that we had been in weekly obedience classes for a year.
Plus driving an hour each way, to run him in the fields two and three times a week. Calm well-behaved dogs don't just happen.
 
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So many people would see me out, and about with Ranger.
I would get so many compliments on how calm, and well-behaved he was in stores. What they didn't see was that we had been in weekly obedience classes for a year.
Plus driving an hour each way, to run him in the fields two and three times a week. Calm well-behaved dogs don't just happen.
X3! What they also don't see, Deb, is the amount of work that went into them being so "Calm" and "Socialized", too. AJ is the model canine citizen b/c his needs are in total synch with his owner's.

Breed characteristics are the most important part of matching the needs of the breed to the needs or wants or abilities of the owner. Success isn't an arbitrary thing, nor determined by sheer force of will or desire. It's really a match btwn the dogs inherent qualities and an awareness of one's own (human) qualities.
 
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