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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
And I mean VERY suddenly. This afternoon, an old friend stopped by on their way out of town, moving hundreds of miles away. They have raised this female Viszla from a newborn, and she's about 9 months old now. The deal was, either I take the dog, or they were dropping her off at a shelter, and knowing the record for our local shelter, she would have been doomed. I couldn't let this beautiful dog suffer such a fate, so I took her.

I was left with a tiny amount of food, a leash, a yard tie and stake, a not-too-clean bed, and some pig ears. Now, I'm not a novice when it comes to dogs; I was raised around hounds and pointers, and up until last year had a yellow lab and a Jack Russell. But I am now faced with a dog who doesn't know me (she's peering at me warily from the stair railings as I type), and who is VERY upset, suspicious, and I would guess very scared and missing her old family. I have been very quiet and slow around her this afternoon, but we're going to reach a point where I'm going to have to go in and out of the house (especially for more dog food), and she'll need to go out walking and doing her business.

What I need are some pointers about getting her acclimated without giving up my "alpha" status. (I live alone, by the way.) The former owners insisted that she only eats a certain (expensive) brand of food, but I know that's not always the case with this breed. She is supposedly very well house-broken, but I know there will be occasional "accidents". I know that she'll be a great companion eventually, but I want to make the transition as smooth as possible.
 

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First of all, is she crate trained? If so, that should be an immense help. If not, I'm not sure what to tell you other than I would recommend a crate (how you introduce it at this age, I do not know).

You did not by any chance in the Central IL area, are you? I know there was a Vizsla looking for a new home in that area who was about that age.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No, as far as I know she was never crate-trained. What would be the advantage for this breed in this situation? And is it possible to do so at this age?

I am used to greyhounds and their crating, but I know we're dealing with a different temperament here.

I'm in Orem, Utah, by the way.
 

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Well the advantage would be you have a crazy dog in a crate instead of a crazy dog running free in your house haha. I don't know if it is advisable to do it at this age or how it would be done... I'm sure it can be done but I'd rather let someone more experienced dispense advice in that area.
 

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First off, Breathe a little bit. You definitely have the background, pointers and hounds, to understand the Vizsla.

As for maintaining the Alpha status, I wouldn't really worry too much about that issue. Vizslas by nature are "soft" and don't respond to dominance based training methods as well as a more interactive role definition method. Once mature, they tend to work with you, not against you. They want to be with you, and gain a good deal of confidence from their owner/handler.

As for the super expensive food; Any dog, of any breed, will respond better to a high quality food. However, a quality food doesn't al;ways have to break the bank. I'd avoid the "bulk" stuff from WalMart and such, but I don't think I'd go much less than Purina High Pro. These dogs burn calories standing still.

The advantage of Crate Training is safety. I know that we all like to drive around with our dogs in the front seat of the truck,and my dogs are regulars at Tractor Supply. For long trips and back and forth to hunting areas the crate is safer for them. Should they ever need to fly, being Crate trained may mean the difference betweeen a healthy dog getting off that plane, or a heart wrenching disaster.
The crate also gives you peace of mind. You will at times need to confine your dog, and the crate is the solution.
Give her time to adjust to you. Her whole world just got turned upside down. From experience expect the period of adjustment to be a few months. Play with her. hold her, touch her at every opportunity and you will win her confidence and affection. Don't try to dominate her, it won't work.
 

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I think it's amazing of you for taking on this responsibility and saving a life.

In regards to crate training, you can read up on different threads in this forum or the countless resources on the web, most are quite similar. I would think you can do it the same way as you would for a pup. You just may have to have more patience and gain a little bit of your new V's trust. Try crating her when your home in the same room first, for short periods and give praise and treats as rewards.

In regards to food, it will be entirely up to you and your V as to type. But be warned they can be picky eaters (they may like a food for a few months then get bored w/ it). I'd just ignore the pickiness (unless they really refuse to eat it), and maybe if encouragement is req'd add some peanut butter, carrots, or apples, etc to it to entice. Especially at her age, as mentioned, these guys burn calories big time so higher protein foods are often best, and grain free is often chosen as it can help w/ gas in this breed.

V's are very social so I'm sure in just a few days w/ proper care, she'll be following you around and be thinking of you as her alpha or mom in no time. They need tonnes of exercise and I find that whomever is giving it to them they gravitate towards as well. They are a very smart, sensitive, and affectionate breed, so as long as you rule w/ a soft, yet steady and consistent hand you'll be ahead of the game.

I wish you the best of luck w/ it and hope you find this forum as useful as I have. Any questions keep asking away and always tonnes of people (most much more experienced and w/ better advice than myself) will be more than happy to chime in.

By the way, you've just inherited an amazing dog/breed and no doubt a year from now you wouldn't picture life w/o her.

Cheers
 

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CONGRATS to you for helping your friends and taking in their wonderful dog.

Your place and you are new to her. Be very patient with her and let her get used to you.
Invest in a crate like others have mentioned, this will only help you in the long run.
Remember to praise her for everything positive she does. You have inherited a friend for life, she will be loyal to you and follow you to the ends of the earth.

Keep asking questions on this forum, there is a great wealth of knowledge in these members, new and veteran.
Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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You have a fantastic opportunity! This dog will be your best friend in no time. I would treat the dog like a buddy. Provide the dog with a place of her own and stuff to keep her busy. (Plastic water bottles, towels tied in knots, nylabone. Give her a little peanut butter in a Kong toy daily, and she'll love you. ;D Ask the friend what commands she was taught and take it from there. For the first few weeks concentrate on being supportive and friendly. Set some boundaries but only the important ones. These dogs will destroy the house if you let them. This and the need for them to have a den of their own, is the best reason I can give you as to why a wire crate would help you both. Make the crate a nice place for her with a bath towel on the floor and treats hidden inside for her to find. ;D When in doubt treat her like a 5 year old who needs your support and guidance.
 

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Aw! Im sure you are nevous haha but so is your Vizsla, so just make sure at every interaction you have with her you stay calm and find your "happy place" because they feed off your energy. If youre mad about the situation, shell be able to tell and itll make her that much more upset.

My advice is to get some peanut butter, put a dollop on a spoon, let her sniff at it, ask her to sit and when she does give it to her. Start from there and then see what she can do. This will help her associate you with yummy treats and give you a positive connotation in her eyes. I wouldnt just give her treats for no reason, at least make sure youve walked her or she has to sit first.
Do this same thing when you go for a walk. When she lets you put on her leash, give her a little treat. If you do this the first couple of days then taper out the treats for only big accomplishments she will have no trouble easing up to you!
 

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I feel very sad for the dog. These dogs are sooo attached to their humans, it must be very traumatic for her. I honestly think the only important thing at this juncture is offering affection (including physical contact), consistency, and reassurance. Training comes second--although I agree that contingent rewards for obedience might help build her confidence and develop a bond, and that crate training is a must for safety. But if she isn't used to a crate at this point, I'd do it gradually if you can (starting with feeding her in the crate with the door open and let her develop positive associations to it before you ever progress to closing the door). These were the gradual instructions that we worked off of. http://www.mspca.org/programs/pet-owner-resources/dog-care/dog-behavior-tips/crate-training.html

I do hope we get an update!
 
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