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We got Samantha as as a pup - 8 weeks- I cried every day because she was such a handful. I wanted to send her back because it was awful. after a year and training she became fabulous! Fast forward12 years- I love her more
than me or my husband. Please do not give up on Libby.
 

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I can absolutely relate to this, our 11 month old Vizsla is displaying some similar behaviors and we have often been in tears wondering what em we’ve done, it’s been a stressful time! We have changed a few things up and found it helpful, so I hope these may help you too. In terms of the exercise, we found we were over exercising him which was leading to difficult behaviour. Now we take him out three times a day but for shorter stints, he gets 30 mins in the morning, an hour at lunch and another 30 mins in evening as well as some training in the afternoon and this seems to be enough and he sleeps. We implemented some ‘settle’ training, started by putting his lead on, leading him to his bed and saying “settle”, keeping the lead short. When he would lay down and exhale he would get a treat and “good settle”. This helped a lot and we found when he was being overactive and stealing shoes etc we would settle him and he would often go off to sleep.
Our boy also steals hats/gloves, our trainer has said he needs to have something in his mouth that hangs (resembles dead animal) as a ball can feel odd in his mouth. So we have a fluffy octopus whose legs hang down. When he starts jumping/mouthing we make him sit and hand him the toy. Also good to use for some ‘stay’ and sniffing out training in the park.
I hope you get some help here and that things improve, but it’s good to identify when things aren’t working for your family and doing what is best for you. Good luck!

Hi there - looking for some guidance, help, anything. My family and I are almost at our breaking point with our 14 month old Female Vizsla (Libby), and we think we need to re-home her. We've had her since she was 8 weeks old, she was recently spayed and it's just been 1 year of chaos, and it's taken a toll. We have two young kids (3 and 5) which I think together is making a hard combination.

Our Vizsla is terrible with food - she steals food off counters, your plate, in your hand. We had a trainer come in. We did all the practice work with her - which she excelled at, but didn't stop her from stealing. So any meals, we have to put her in the crate for.

She cannot sit still. We take her for hour long off leash hikes where she runs around like crazy - 3 times a week. She will rest for 1 -2 hours after, but that's it. If you are not watching her, she was get into anything and everything. We can't enjoy being home with the kids, because ALL of the attention has to be on the dog. In addition to our hikes, two other days she goes on 1.5 hour long hikes with a pack of dogs (they come pick her up, go hiking in the woods, and brings her back). Again - she'll rest for 1 -2 hours and then back to crazy mode. The only way we can do anything at home, is if she's in her crate, because we know she can't get into anything. And I mean, she'll will find anything to take - I've been really tough on putting our kids toys away, keeping temptation away, but she'll take a my dish towel off the stove if she can't find anything else.

Lastly, if my kids are outside, she will go after their jackets, their hats. Just now playing in the snow, my kids came crying to come in because Libby jumped and took their hats and gloves right off of them.

I am heartbroken even thinking about giving her up, because she is very loving with our kids, she cuddles, but everything else is just overwhelming to the point we're mentally and emotionally stressed and it's impacting our family too negatively. I know she's in her adolescence, just got spayed so we're dealing with a bit there, I just don't know if there will be any light at the end of this, where we can just enjoy her and not be stressed because of the dog. I'm almost in tears writing this, because I am not the person to give up on a dog, but there comes to a point where too much is being sacrificed.

Any thoughts, words of wisdom? Has anyone re-homed a Vizsla before?
 

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We are on V’s #3 & #4, who are sisters, just like our first 2. We are very pleased that we got 2 because much of the attention pressure you described is to be expected and since there is another beastie handy, they pour all that energy into each other. That may not be feasible for everyone, so keep that knowledge in mind as you unravel specific issues.

It is essential to remember that dogs are pack animals whose social framework is based upon a hierarchy. If your dog is challenging you, then in her mind she does not see you (and very other human in your home for that matter) as alpha and she is challenging you for that position — in her mind, the survival of her pack depends on clear leadership. Please do not confuse leadership with harsh treatment; a successful alpha consistently sets the boundaries and guides the beasties in a predictable way back to the right path with much more positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement. V’s are happiest when they know the have pleased you.

From your comments, it sounds like your pup sees your kids as competition for your love, praise, and attention, and is therefore subtly trying to establish a pecking order with the kids. It is okay and good to establish that your pup is the last in the pecking order of your family, but that needs to be achieved without breaking the dog’s self-esteem. I suggest that you simply make it a daily, every time task for your kids to work together and eventually take turns feeding the dog. In the pack, food is shared from the top down, so once the dog understands that the kids are passing food down to her, she will stop with the challenges and in time she will take important commands from them.

If the food stealing is a problem for you, then you will have to make a choice for the sake of clear messaging to the dog: DO NOT give or allow her to eat human food at all without exception, period. If that is too hard for you, then you will have to tolerate her becoming confused about the complexities of when and why she can sometimes have it, but get corrected at others times. Personally, I think the sometimes path is unfair to the animal.

The underlying theme to my comments is “Clarity of messaging,” and that ultimately is about the humans and not the dogs. In the pack, the alpha role is a high stress position, but deep down dogs know in their genes that without strong leadership, the pack will not survive, so when they are challenging you they are actually trying to shake out who is going to take the alpha role on. If you keep your position as alpha clear, then the dog will eventually relax knowing that someone else is leading the pack. Lastly, V’s seem to like boundaries but not rails so much.
 

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Hey! I just wanted to put in my 2 cents because I feel for you. We got our vizsla 4 months ago and I have. 6 year old, 5 year old, 3 year old, and 1 year old. I did so much research before getting him and nothing could have prepared me. I was all about positive reinforcement training only, until I finally started researching e collars and read soooo much about them. I just recently introduced it and I can’t explain the life changer it is. I haven’t even used it yet for corrective behavior- just training him with it. It’s like for the first time, we have consistent communication. He loves it, I love it, and our life has changed. I saw you got yours out and I’m hoping it helps. Don’t immediately use for corrective behaviors.
 
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