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This is our second Vizsla, 1st one recently died. We absolutly loved him and aside from chewing all of our garden hoses up for a couple of summers he got along great with our old dog and cats. We don't hunt, just wanted a good pet. We have lots of room for him to run.
We just got a 16 week old vizsla about a week ago. The 1st nite Virgil slept all the way home on my lap and was kinda scared so he slept in the bathroom and I checked on him alot, he only cried a few times. Second day he was playful. Third day he got vet checked and some shots. That evening he lunged at our cats when they were close to a toy. He has also growled at the old dog a couple of times, not playfully on two different days. I am not sure what to do to correct this behavior before it gets out of hand. I have put up a kennel for him to stay in for now, but really want him to be able to mingle with the other pets safely. Do I just make sure no one bothers him and his toys and food for a while or do I try to make everyone get along.
 

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I have three suggestions, the first two are in reference to your last sentence. "Do I just make sure no one bothers him and his toys..." If Virgil is a new member to your "pack" it's his job to adjust, no one elses. Your pets/family have been living peacefully and everyone knows the drill, he's the new guy in town, he's the one that has to get in line with everyone else.

All toys should be communal. If he starts to growl at one of the other pets/family members take it from him. Make him sit or lay down and put the bone in front of him, but you claim it as yours... keeping it under your one hand and holding him off with the other. (not in a teasing way more like "this is mine too not just yours)

Food is a slightly different story, depending on how you feed your pets, but I would recommend that you put your other dog's food down first and make Virgil sit and wait for his. This shows him his place in the pecking order, then when/if he behaves/waits patiently you can put his food down and let him eat.

As far as the overall growling/behavior with the other pets you have to break him of this early on. I don't suggest using his crate as punishment because the crate is supposed to be a place that he's comfortable and thinks of as "home." I recommend that when he starts to growl/lunge at other pets you firmly grab him by the neck and make him lay down and hold him down while the other pets will most likely come to "check him out." It sounds harsh, but really you're doing two things - 1. calming him down and 2. showing him that he's not in charge.

That being said, keep in mind that dogs don't interact the same as humans and sometimes they growl/play rough because that's what dogs do. Make sure you're consistent with your discipline and you should see some good improvements.
 

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Thank You so much for your answer. Virgil has already started to share his toys.

I like the holding down idea as discipline because it sounds like it could work anywhere. The vet suggested we use a smaller crate to correct him, but that doesn't work when were out on a walk. I have also been taking along treats and when Virgil just sniffs the cats and doesn't bother them he gets a treat.

I think feeding the older dog in front of Virgil sounds like a good idea also.

I understand that the dogs can play/growl rough together, but the cats are a different story. I am seeing some improvement overall. Thank you so much for your suggestions, they all make good sense.
 

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tbone13 said:
It sounds harsh, but really you're doing two things - 1. calming him down and 2. showing him that he's not in charge.
This is very effective. Many owners we meet who have dogs who display aggression to others tend to keep them away from other dogs but in the dogs mind, the owner is confirming that the other dog is a threat and the problem is perpetual.

If young Virgil is showing aggression to other dogs, he's being defensive because he feels responsible for yours and his own safety which is a sign of dominance in the family unit, something which needs correcting.

What worked for us is when out walking, introduce yourself to other dogs first, establish a bond, then once the fear has gone on both sides, allow the dogs to meet. This way, there's no need to be protective and establish authority and they can get on with doing what dogs do best, chase each other about and fight over sticks.

It's up to you to teach Virgil his place and as Tom mentioned above, staggered eating times are another good method for getting the point across too.
 

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Don't have any experience with pup growling or biting when being woken up, but w definitely had growled and snapped before as a little pup. Immediate correction and never did t again. You own the house and he needs to know that. Good luck
 

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Ed. said:
tbone13 said:
It sounds harsh, but really you're doing two things - 1. calming him down and 2. showing him that he's not in charge.
This is very effective. Many owners we meet who have dogs who display aggression to others tend to keep them away from other dogs but in the dogs mind, the owner is confirming that the other dog is a threat and the problem is perpetual.

If young Virgil is showing aggression to other dogs, he's being defensive because he feels responsible for yours and his own safety which is a sign of dominance in the family unit, something which needs correcting.

What worked for us is when out walking, introduce yourself to other dogs first, establish a bond, then once the fear has gone on both sides, allow the dogs to meet. This way, there's no need to be protective and establish authority and they can get on with doing what dogs do best, chase each other about and fight over sticks.

It's up to you to teach Virgil his place and as Tom mentioned above, staggered eating times are another good method for getting the point across too.
Regarding the highlighted comments above, potentially it could be as you state. However, given that the new pups has been in the new pack for only a few days, I would attribute it more to a lot of uncertainty with a pup in a new environment and not knowing what it can and can't do. It's insecure. It's frightened and it's growling as a bluff. As in....act tough and they will leave me and my bone alone.

Sure, it needs to be worked on. But I would suggest just leaving things alone and allowing pup to settle first. If I had reacted to every little thing Astro did when I re homed him, we both would have ended up in therapy! :)

As for the cats. Continue to praise when they are left alone and teach pup "Leave" as soon as possible. Just keep in mind pup may never have had cats as house mates. I am currently re training Zsa Zsa and Astro to leave the King Parrots alone that come and feed on my verandah each morning and night. They're getting there. They still watch intently, but they are no longer trying to catch them and bring them to me. :)
 
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