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I was just reading an older forum trying to figure out why Kasey cowers when my boyfriend walks into the room but runs to him as soon as he sits down .. I always knew he was sensitive but in reading it hit me that it's just the way he carries his stuff when he walks in from work! lol they say V's are more sensitive than your average dog and they aren't kidding! :p Kasey gets scared of a bush if it's to dark out and we're walking and he's not quite sure what it is..he's befriended the neighborhood cats..mothered a kitten that we found..super terrified of his own reflection when he was little (now he's just vain lol) ..his biggest thing is the way people walk and the way you talk to him if it's not the tone he wants to hear he runs to his crate..or hides behind it if it's shut..So I'm curious to know if this is the case with other Vizslas and just how overly sensitive they are :)
 

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Our puppy Osha is the opposite of what we were expecting. She is super confident and doesn't seem to be scared of too many things. When we first started taking her out on walks she would get nervous whenever a car passed on the street but other than that she's not easy to frighten.

She will run up to any person or dog, she used to bark at her own reflection in the mirror, and she loves going to the vet. The last time we were at the vet's office, both of them (we have a 2 vet office) commented on how confident she seems for her age.

It's actually a bit funny because it started out as a mixture of confidence and dominant behaviour which we spent at least the first month trying to nip in the bud (and I think we did, fingers crossed).

Having said all that, she is sensitive in other ways - very aware of people's feelings and emotions. If there's too much negative energy around her she'll usually start acting up. And she's really sensitive to (and particular about) music selection. If she doesn't like it she'll whine until you change the CD or radio station :D
 

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How fabulous - a dog with musical tastes! Do you think it's the actual music, or the volume or your reaction to the music?

I posted a similar question a while ago- how sensitive is your V to your mood and the answers were, very sensitive. I asked because I seemed to have more problems with Merc playing up on walks when I'd had a particularly stressful day.

Merc approaches people who like dogs with a wagging tail but barks and growls at people who are scared of dogs ( bit unfortunate really). He also gets upset if someone is shouting at the cat. He is super sensitive to sudden or erratic movement and sudden loud noises. I think they are particularly sensitive to movement and body language hence the reaction to people who dislike him. What says 'scared' to a human says 'threat' to a dog.

It certainly makes life interesting living with a creature who seems to be more in tune with how you are feeling than even you are yourself!
 

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Mischa was, I believe, the most confident pup! At about 6 months, she went through a really trying fear stage. Despite all of the socializing, it seemed everything was scary. She's thankfully finally grown out of it, but she'll still get spooked or be unsure of random things every now and then.

I also notice when I'm extremely stressed or mad, she looks at me like she's really concerned lol. It is the cutest thing. Yesterday, for example I had a 'tiny temper tantrum.' I'm a little embarrassed to share this lol but I was taking her out and may have slammed the door a little and she kept looking up at me with those big eyes. It was an amazing walk at heel for about 5 minutes and it was so sweet I wasn't upset anymore. :p
 

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Jake has very sensitive feelings. If he gets yelled at for something....he will just sit and stare at you with puppy dog eyes (literally) until you give in and say, "Come here" and then he comes right over and puts his paws on your shoulders and gives lots of kisses and nuzzles his face right into your neck. Of course, you cannot stay mad at him.

He really isn't scared of anything except things blowing in the wind. The neighbors behind us have a fence and if its windy, anything blowing around gets caught in their fence (plastic bags, etc) and he just freaks out. He barks and barks and barks until I go out there and try to get to whatever it is that's blowing around. I've tried to tell him and show him that it's nothing scary but it doesn't matter. He also is a bit neurotic if things get out of place. For instance, if the garbage bins fall over outside, that's enough to send him over the edge. Or the lid to our firepit fell off in the wind the other day and he will bark at it until you go fix it. Weird!
 

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Holley is still afraid of somethings but is getting much better. She is no longer afraid of things blowing in the wind. She actually goes charging toward it, pulling us behind her. It is usually just a leave but she has to check it out. She cowers sometimes if she is standing by the coffee table and one of us comes up from behind her. We immediately show her it is just us and she is okay but I think it is just the puppy fear in her still.
 

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Savannah was also a super-confident young pup. She finally hit her 'fear-stage' around 6 months, but it was limited to big items in the wrong place - like the trash bin at the curb on garbage days or strange cars in the driveway. We spent a day learning the command 'CheckItOut! OK!' Now when she hears me say that (obviously in a happy voice), she will approach whatever it is cautiously with her head lowered, sniff it, circle it, then dismiss it from consideration - much more fun to chase the leaves blowing in the wind than to worry about something that has been ok'd.

Savannah also is picky about her music. She whines in the car to remind me to turn on the radio and if she doesn't like a song, she will whine to have me switch stations. The volume doesn't seem to have an effect - it's the actual music. Thanks for the post Clover - I had assumed it was the beat to a song, but thinking back, it isn't. I may have to trend what songs trigger the whine. :)
 

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Cali is almost a year old now and she's the biggest scaredy cat in the world. She's afraid of anything that isn't in its place. For example the recycle stays in a certains spot until we have to take it out. Everytime you move it she freaks out and starts barking with her tail inbetween her legs. She's also afraid of people who wear hats.
 

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I can relate to all of this. Rosie definitely does the worried stare if anyone is upset or agitated. It's become a cliche in our house for me to say, "shh--don't upset the dog" whenever someone is talking about something upsetting and raises their voice. She also stares with a worried face to be sure we're okay if one of us coughs or sneezes. We definitely have the fear, and with it, I'm afraid, fearful aggression. We don't have large groups over very often, and we had an unusually large gathering at the house on Sunday, including children [she does not trust them]. Rosie greeted everyone with a crouch and a pee, and was literally quaking with fear. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but in spite of our attempts to counter-condition her to be less reactive to children, Sunday was too intense for her level of progress and there was more than one occasion where a sudden movement from a child led her to have an outburst with no warning, barking, snarling and lunging. She had to be banished to her crate.* It's clearly fear based, but no less scary for the child on the receiving end, or for us. She does not like sudden movements on TV, dogs barking in the sound track, and real-world sounds that she can hear outside of the house. Also decorations, especially anything that looms above, like balloons [major panic attack--literally runs from them, cowering all the way]. Doorbell is a big one, major barking fit.

Jld640, I've known dogs that respond with howling to any music in a minor key.

*edit: I should add, all visitors were forewarned of Rosie's issues w/ children, and the kids also knew to steer clear. The mom of the kids that came over is my cousin. Her family had gsp's when they were kids, and I actually can remember being cornered by one of their gsp's when we were kids who I guess must have had similar issues w/ visitors. Another one of their pets (a different gsp) tried to snap at my dad when he was an overnight guest and the dog encountered him trying to get to the bathroom at night! So fortunately, my cousin kind of takes the whole thing in stride. The kids were good sports, but I feel bad for them being exposed to Rosie's worst.
 

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You know, I was just wondering a couple days ago if Osha is going to hit a fear stage when she gets to 6 months old. I can't imagine her scared, really, but most Vs do go through it at some point it seems, so it pays to be aware (and prepared). It would be great if she would be a little more frightened of the cats ;)

I think we both wish that O would be a little more cognizant of when she's 'getting in trouble' for something. She never gives us the oops-i'm-so-sorry face. Instead, if she does not want to listen, she has this nervous tick/distraction tool of scratching her neck with her back leg when she thinks what you're saying lacks merit.

Mercutio: As for the music, it's not a volume thing as far as we can tell. She really just does not seem to like certain songs or music types. We've spent quite a bit of time playing her different music to see if we can figure out the trends. So far I've personally noticed that she loves piano and bells - if she hears a piano solo or bells in a song she will stop whatever she's doing, perk up her ears, tilt her head to the side and just freeze and listen. Then sometimes she does this little excited dance, wags her tail furiously and then calms down again to listen more. (She does the same thing when she sees cartoons of some kind on TV too). I think she like music that is light and pretty. Maybe that's because she's soooo intense that it calms her down?? Ha!

jld640: Yeah it's good to know there are other V music critics out there! Maybe one day when Savannah and O are big girls they can get jobs with Rolling Stone.

sarahaf: I am going to check out that minor note theory!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Oh! I have recently come across the balloon fear as well! He's so scared when they are bouncing around he runs between my legs and just shivers. He'll check stuff out but his body is literally stretched so far he's almost lying down lol..Nothing with the music yet but he's usually so busy hanging out the window i don't think he notices much :p.

Lmao I'm famous for saying the same thing Sara! Lol I think I'm gonna get knocked out one of these days if happy voice comes outta my mouth one more time ;D. Funny thing though is our pit mix is just as in tune with our emotions as our v is .. She actually goes as far as throwing up if she gets to nervous

July 4th is not an easy holiday in our house lol
 

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Very funny Kasey. Is that your dog's birth date at the end of your member name? If so, he's a month younger than Rosie. So is it that you speak IN a happy voice, or (how I interpreted it) that "happy voice" is your code for "knock off the negative tone of voice, please?" Yeah, Rosie was so funny one time when she saw a helium balloon hovering at the ceiling in the hall (it was one of those mylar ones with a message on it). I'd forgotten it was there, and I said, "what are you barking at?" So, I turned to see what it was, and as Rosie was crouching low to the ground, I decided to quickly move said offending balloon into a room where I thought I could shut it away out of sight. Well, just moving it freaked her out even more, and--belly still to the ground--she bolted down the hall past me and ran down the stairs at top speed. As far as what we refer to as "the dog in the mirror"--here is a pic I took ages ago of Rosie barking at the evil twin. I know I posted it before, but just for nostalgia sake, here it is again. Sorry so dark (taken w/a bare bones cell phone). She still gets spooked by her reflection occasionally, not very often though.
 

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A late addition to this thread... My Willie is so sensitive to my feelings that if he accidentally touches me with a tooth during a rough play session, he puts himself into a "timeout" (sits, hangs his head down in shame, and will not continue the game). He is such a sweetie! I have to reassure him that I know it was just an accident, and then after a little time has passed, he will take up the game again, this time being VERY careful.
 

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Linescreamer -- HA, HA, HA!! In all fairness, I have to say that I don't know if Willie comes by this behaviour naturally, or if it was taught to him. I am not his first owner. He was a stray, picked up by the dog catcher, and I adopted him from the dog pound. In either case, he really is extremely gentle.
 

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His avatar is so cute! We don't "punish" Rosie, but she does seem very sensitive and responsive to even a gentle, low-key, "nooo, come on now, you know you aren't supposed to chew on that." I always use a "friendly," half-teasing voice when I say these things, but I use a lot of inflection. She knows what I mean instantly, or reads it in my body language, and will back away from the object. She does have a bit of a guilty or apologetic look even when the admonishment was that gentle.

It could be that they stopped play sessions at the dog pound when Willie accidentally made mouth contact to teach him bite inhibition, and that he was a quick study. Hopefully no one was ever harsh with him for play-biting, but regardless, he's in good hands now.
 

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sarahaf -- It is hard to say what happened at the dog pound. He wasn't really well at that time. Quite skeletal, in fact. The day I adopted him, the dog pound people said they thought he might have heartworms, because he was so lethargic. Turned out he was just starving, but otherwise healthy.

Here's another theory about why Vizslas are gentle and sensitive. I read somewhere that back many hundreds of years ago, when the breed was developing, the Magyars "culled" any dog that displayed the slightest aggression toward humans. Of course, that's a nicer way of saying "killed". Only the gentlest dogs were left alive, and allowed to breed.
 

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That may be--but Rosie is, I'm afraid, aggressive toward some people. She's sweet as pie at home and we love her dearly--but if she gets spooked by a stranger, she acts like a maniac. I see it as part of her sensitivity in a way, in that it's based on fear. We got a behavior consult and are trying to work with her on her behavior, but I think it's time for another visit with the "therapist" (behaviorally trained vet). She's no problem with other dogs--it's just people. Especially children, men, and (ironically) people who are afraid of dogs (she senses their tension)...
 

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Dax will be 10 months old in a few days. I love him very much. He is extremely intelligent and the most affectionate dog I've ever had, but I would have to say he's about as sensitive as a brick. :)
 
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