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HI

Okay this is my first time here and I'm sad to say I am coming from a place of desperation and dispair.

We have a 8 month old male V and his behaviour is getting worse by the day. I am getting to the point where I am often in the verge of tears over his behaviour, and increasingly regret getting him in the first place. I know he is a well behaved dog, and see's me as his master but my patience is at its limits.

His problem comes from when he is off the lead. I take him to some fields for a good run around off the lead everyday, and upto the first half of his walk (this is about 30-40 minutes into the walk) our V looses the plot. He starts running up at me and biting my hands and arms really hard. I instruct him to stop, sit etc and he just gets worse in his behaviour. When I manage to get his lead on it then becomes a game of jumping up and biting the lead (and seems preferably for our V to get his teeth into my hand).

I have tried turning away from him (he just jumps up more, and then swings around to bite my hands), telling him to stop etc, keeping my hands at my side etc but to no avail. It then means a painful 20 minute walk home, as he jumps up at his lead / my hands.

Our dog trainer suggested we should hold him down to the ground until he calms down, but this makes him even worse! He becomes super-hyper at this stage.

In my dispair I am now going to put a muzzle on him so at least I can manage his jumping up without getting my hands bitten. Other than that I'm thinking of not taking him off the lead until he grows up.

Some background info...our V was the first male pup born in his litter, and always seemed to be the most mouthy in his litter (biting his peers), he has been neutered and yes he has been to puppy classes for training. He sits (mostly) when commanded, sees me as his head of pack.

In desperation I have said to my partner I want to put him up for adoption, but my partner says I go before the dog goes...and of course, deep down I would never do this, but just feel that I have let our V down. I guess I also need to know that our V will grow out of this.

Okay I am repeating myself....any advice would be greatly welcomed.
 

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Hi Kentboy. Welcome! I'm typing on a phone at my daughter's riding lesson, so I will have to be brief. I'm sorry you are having such a hard time. I would start by keeping your V on a check cord. This will allow some off leash type freedom while giving you some control (prevent taking the leash on & off). I would refrain from pinning as this is not helpful in your case, IMO. Make sure your trainer has V training experience! Yrs of training many breeds does not make someone qualified to handle the Vs unique temperament. Does your V have a job? Does he hunt, like to carry things in his mouth or a dog pack on his back? Something you can use to distract the energy? He may see you as his pack leader, but he's not respecting that role while out. I would avoid giving commands you know or think he may not follow. It teaches them to ignore. Only give commands you know he will listen to or you can reinforce to happen. I'm out of time, but I know others will respond with good suggestions. Hang in there!
 

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Kentboy,

You have a teenage boy Vizsla! This will be the roughest time from aobut 7 months to 15 months.

He will TEST YOU!

Here are a couple posts I feel may be of some help.

If parents gave up on their teenagers as they went through these stages no adults would be alive.

http://redbirddog.blogspot.com/2009/12/history-and-misconceptions-of-dominance.html

http://redbirddog.blogspot.com/2009/10/i-read-they-were-good-with-kids.html

http://redbirddog.blogspot.com/2009/09/horny-male-vizsla.html

You had made the choice to bring home a high-energy hunting dog. He is strong-willed and tough.

Males are different than females.

Not everyone is cut out for this breed. You can do it, but the committment is very large.

I would stop all off-lead walks for awhile. Everything on-lead all the time and long tiring walks. Avoid all other dogs when you can.

Gain control and don't let go of it. This too will pass.

Good luck.

RBD
 

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Good advice from kellygh and redbirddog!

I'd like to add just one thing... Please bear in mind that your dog is actually a puppy until the age of two. (Some say 18 months, but in my personal experience, two years is closer to the truth.) He will become more mature with time.
 

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Hello,
Also my first time on this forum, but have read lots of great info on here already.

I have pretty much the exact same problem as Kentboy except mine is a 3.5 month old female and she has these episodes ON the leash.

Originally she took to walking on the leash pretty much perfectly but in the last couple of wks she either at the very beginning of walk or pretty much
exactly half way through the walk has complete maniac episodes of jumping up, biting at the leash and me very roughly to hurt.

Some of the time I can snap her out of it with a tug and a NO and try to get her to sit until she has calmed down but these episodes do seem to still happen
and maybe are happening more frequently.

I would really love advice on this too. I have been told to turn around and not go any further if she does this but being a V I know she REALLY needs these walks!

Help!!!

Thanks
 

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:'( Sorry. Normal behavior you are describing. He is excited, and you are his play toy, play mate. the trick is to focus his attention away from your body.

I too have the first of the litter, male dog.

You don't have to take my advice, I had German Shepherd, male before the V. Ppl crossed the street when we were walking.

I got a prong collar, and all it takes is a sideways split second hard correction. The prong collar is 100 times kinder than any flat collar for corrections. The flat ones, even the so called hunting collars are for well behaved dogs and pulling on them needs a lot of force, can damage the dog's thyroid.

I also got a pair a soft all leather work gloves - in the event the dog nips me.
Keep the leash on the dog and let him drag it around and when he jumps at you step on the leash, grab hold of the leash and pull sharply sideways. After a few times he WILL get the message very clearly.
I must mention I didn't have to correct the Vizsla hard at any time. He gets the message surprisingly fast.

Ask the trainer, if unsure or afraid to use a prong collar. It worked wonders for me, esp. on my previous dog.

-------------------------------
Another way is to carry a towel or a leather belt he can focus on instead of your body. As you move away or run, hold the towel or belt so he can grab hold of it. This way the dog will always bite the belt. You can allow him to have it to chew on it for a while. You can even chase him and make a fun game out of it.
I also carry an orbi ball which I throw and instead of waiting around for the dog to bring it back to me I run away as he fetches the ball. He will not only bring the ball back but he will also chase me without biting. I ask him to drop the ball and start the game again.
We both get a workout.

Again, I am really sorry and hope for the best.
 

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I am now going to put a muzzle on him so at least I can manage his jumping up without getting my hands bitten. Other than that I'm thinking of not taking him off the lead until he grows up.
If your dog is mouthing you to the extent that he's inflicting pain, causing you to be fearful or anxious in anticipation of bites, then a muzzle is exactly the right tool. You're dealing with an excitement-based issue and you can't begin to address it until you're feeling calm and in control of your own energy.

Also, kellgh suggested a check-cord, and I think that's terrific advice. Buy one that's 10ft or 20ft and tangleproof and let your dog drag it. That way he can still run free -- he needs to burn off the energy that's eating him up inside -- but if he gets out of control you can pick up the check-cord and calmly take control of him. Hold him at heel and be very, very, very boring until he calms down...then drop the check-cord and send him off to play again. They tend to quickly learn which behaviors inhibit their fun.

Otherwise, just hang in there and keep loving and forgiving him. He's maturing every day and with maturity comes the ability to master himself. They're amazing dogs and it will get better.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks folks for all the advice.

I did realise after I wrote my message that my desperation levels must have been showing. I do appreciate Monty (that's his name) is a teenage pup with lots of energy, its jsut preventing his behaviour from becoming a habit!

Okay, so from what I've read it sounds like this is partially a teenage thing / partially testing boundaries. So what to do...

I shall keep him away from lose lead walks and keep him on a lead (and then move back onto putting him on a track cord) and see he how he does.

Will consider a prong collar. I should have said we live in the UK so prong collars aren't readily available, however you can get them via the web. They just look scarey (and cruel) but hey this is what they look like...but if they work.

Monty does get lots of long walks but will make these longer. I do appreciate that his behaviour is not aggession (i mean a teenage V could do serious damage if he wanted to) and Monty when he bites, never draws blood...its just the perpetual biting that's his (excitment) problem.

I shall perservere...so thank you to all who responded. Any further advice would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Me again...just want to thank Redbirddog for his weblinks...very helpful and reassuring.

A quick question for everyone...Monty gets three walks a day (morning, lunch and evening). I work from home so I am home more or less 6 days a week. My question is this:

besides his walks, I keep Monty in a very large kitchen, and visit him about every 2 hours when im working in my office upstairs. I appreciate Vizslas like human company so should I bring him upto my office to be with me during the day?

I am open to this, except Monty gets all excited and starts eating my work papers (bless him) so happy to have him in a crate in my office. However, would this increase his sense of power / standing in the family, or will it make him more relaxed when we go out for his walks?

Advice please...
 

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Monty knows you're not a dog. I think that bringing him with you into your work space would be reassuring and calming to him. Vizslas, more than any other kind of dog I've ever known, LOVE being with their people. I'd give it a try, even if it means he is crated while near you. :)
 

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I think it really does a vizsla, or any dog, good to learn to be by himself and not need to be near you all the tiime so I would be careful about bringing him into your office and then creating separation anxiety problems if he is not with you.
Someone commented that he is not respected you whilst out and I really agree with this. You need to let him no that biting/mouthing is not acceptable ever.
I think a great way to learn about dogs is to watch how an older dog interacts with other dogs. I am sure if your pup did this to an older dog he would not stand for it and would grow/ put him in his place.
You could try getting something like pet corrector to distract him and then ask him to sit, down etc and really praise when he is calm submissive.
Where abouts is UK are you?
 

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Personally, I would avoid a prong collar. I think Monty is too young for a soft breed who does not have a basic understanding &/or respect for what you are asking. I agree with allowing him to be around you a little more. It can be accomplished without making him overly dependent; in addition, it creates more bonding time & opportunity to take advantage of teachable moments in a less excited atmosphere. You may gain additional insights into his behavior and how he respects your space, things etc. Just my 2cents :) Best wishes!
 

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Hi and welcome,
I am sorry that you're going through this! Vizslas can be really challenging at times. I was wondering what your dog's social life is like with other dogs. Has he been around others much? Rod, you had suggested keeping him away from other dogs, but I wonder if finding a good playmate or two might help him a) burn his energy and b) learn bite inhibition if he hasn't already. I had read somewhere that pairing nippy puppies with other dogs may help them get out the nippiness in a more appropriate way than on human hands. I could be wrong, wondering what you guys think.

Also, I would suggest incorporating a few mentally stimulating things each day and starting to build impulse control. Just a few short sessions-- during the teenage mos, it's really tough for them to focus, but that's why training is so great, it helps them to learn to focus and rewards them for their attempts. I just finished reading Pat Miller's, The Power of Positive Training, 2nd ed. and it was SO GOOD. It has very clear explanations of how to train in a positive way. Even 5 min or less each day is something! Work on getting those fundamentals down with your dog in the house. You're going to need them to be solid to begin working on them outside (much more challenging). Spend a few minutes with your dog asking him to sniff something and then hiding it so he can find it. Another fun game is to ask him to sit and stay and while he's watching, walk around and sprinkle a few treats around your house and come back to him and release him to find the treats. Work on teaching your dog the "leave it" command so that he has to control his impulses even when he wants something. The book teaches how to train your dog to do it; otherwise, people here have posted about it too. Work on calling your dog's name in the house and treat as soon as he looks at you. You can also teach him a "look at me" or "watch me" command so that you can start getting him to focus on you. When you have these things in the house, transition slowly outside. Good luck!

You'll get through this!!!
 

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I have a female, not a male, so some of these suggestions may not be applicable.

Savannah and I have gone through that phase with a few relapses now and then. Turning away from her, telling her to stop, etc. didn’t work for us either. Here is what did…
1) We stopped all off-leash walks for a few days and added additional (not longer) on-leash walks and played indoor ‘hall-ball’ to make up the exercise deficit. When possible, I would let her play with known, calm, adult dogs.
2) I started using a slip-lead about every other walk for a few days. In retrospect, I don’t think it was the slip-lead that was important. I think it was something new that required her concentration. You might try having Monty wear a bandana or something equally distracting if he is already used to slip-leads.
3) For those walks that we weren’t using a slip lead, I carried a stuffed toy in my pocket. I gave her the toy about 25 feet before we got to anyplace she had jumped on me on previous walks and then asked her to drop it about 25 feet after we passed those places. The toy went back into my pocket. The idea here was to give her an activity other than jumping. She never got the toy either while she was jumping or if she had just finished jumping. Think preemptive distraction, not reward. (Yes, the toy was revolting by the end of the walk – it was a small price to pay for an episode-free walk).
4) For some of the walks each day, walk slower and take breaks for calm praise. It took me a while to discover this one. I thought if I walked faster it would be a better energy outlet. Oops. It turns out that the faster pace was exciting her more. Stroll for a few minutes. Stop and sit down or crouch down and tell him what a good, calm dog he is. Stroll a little longer. Stay standing and tell him again what a good, calm puppy he is. Stroll some more, sit back down. On a few occasions, Savannah actually crawled up into my lap. 30 seconds or so later, she got down, I got up, and we actually had some loose-leash walking for a minute or so.

Here’s one more thing for the biting the lead, but I’m not sure it’s a good one for you. Savannah never got to the point that she would bite hard. Regardless, for your consideration, when she started biting the leash, I would make that ‘tsst’ sound and I would grab the leash where she was biting it with my hands. That way, by biting the leash, she reduced her own freedom. It took her a few episodes before she figured it out. Occasionally, she will still look at the leash with an expression of consideration, but she doesn’t bite it.

I think I would try two more things if I were you. The first is that from now on, I would have Monty sit to put his lead on. Start by having him sit at any door for his leash before he is allowed through it. The second is that I would remind myself every day that toys are for play and hands are for love. For some reason, Monty thinks your hands are fun to chase. Figure out what activities are making him believe that hands are fun to chase and convert those activities into petting. Ear cleaning was one for me. I had to consciously think to stroke her head during the cleaning process.

Hope some of this helps!
 

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Kentboy,

Jake, my almost 2 year old Vizsla used to do to me and my daugher EXACTLY as you describe. I was also almost in tears and came home and told my husband I was NEVER walking him again! He used to really go after my 12 yr old daughter. Because he only "picked" on us and would never dream of acting that way when my husband was around, I think you need to remind Monty who the boss is. When Jake would do this, I would react faster than lightning and have his butt down to the ground. I wouldn't hit him or hurt him, but would just grab him like his mother would and put him down to the ground and make him stay there. Also, you could put him on the leash and step on it and make him lie down and stay there. Do this exercise in the house even, it reminds him you are the boss. One day, Jake just quit acting that way. Monty will too, hang in there!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks folks for the advice.

I have realised since last writing here that a lot of Monty's behaviour is over-excitement / stimulation. I mean he sees a leaf blowing down the road and he gets excited by that.

My partner and I have introduced a zero tolerance to Monty's training, so it is sit before you leave a room, before he has his leash etc. I will try the toy taken along with me on his walk...but it does appear that when some sudden noise appears he gets all jumpy, biting on his leads and my hands, so it will be a muzzle for him.

We don't know anyone nearby who has any dogs so Monty only meets other dogs when he was of the leash...

I am also reinforcing with him whose boss, but this seems to be taking some time...is there anything else I should be doing that doing his training, eating before he does etc...to show him I'm boss?

Otherwise I shall push on with his training.

Finally, we live in Oxfordshire in the UK.
 

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Hi Kentboy, I'm new here as well. we had/have the same problem with our 6M V-mix Elroy. About a month ago while on a walk he went crazy on me for over 15 minutes, completely tearing up my arms and hands, I could not get him to stop for anything. When I finally got him home I called my wife and told her I was done and that we had to give the dog back. Of course once I calmed down that didn't happen. I haven't had an episode quite as bad as that since, but he tests us everyday with some sort of nipping. If we turn our backs he bites our legs. If we hold him down he doesn't give up. Take comfort in the fact that there are others out there in your situation and hopefully with enough patience and perseverance we will get through it!
 

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I am a big proponent of showing the dog who's the leader by doing lots of training to reward polite behaviors, being fair, and (trying to be) calm in as many situations as possible. Especially for a very jumpy dog, your energy is directly transmitted to him/her on that leash. Keep working on keeping low arousal within you and even when he acts out, try to stay very calm and even keel. I personally don't buy into the fact that order of eating matters, but if you subscribe to it, want to eat first, and you have the time and organization to do so, you can.

I have developed a really wonderful bond with my dog, not by showing him who's boss, but by trying to make everything we do be fun, whether it's training, playing, etc. Lots of praise for things I like- if we play, then in order to keep playing he has to do little tricks like lie down, roll over, etc and then play is back on! The first couple of months were atrocious and I was trying to figure out how to be a leader, how to stay calm (and not get carried away with my voice), how not to take his misbehavior personally, etc. Once I realized that he was acting that way not because he was trying to overthrow me, but because he needed to be taught appropriate behaviors, I started enjoying training and spending time with him more. As I rewarded him for the behaviors I liked and he started doing them more and more, I realized that he really did want to please me not make me angry. Try to learn more about teaching your dog tricks and obedience training in a positive way that you both have fun with. Try hiding things for him to find, give him a purpose, and something that you both can enjoy. If you're having fun, then he's having tons of it! Lastly, try to anticipate what might set him off on the walk and you can 1) avoid them, 2) get his attention first, or 3) distract him with yummy treats before he gets aroused. I know it's hard to predict what will set him off. Hope this helps!
 

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I have to agree with laurita. The more calm you are, the less excited your puppy will be. The key to my Sophie's behavior correction was lots of training through play with patience, consistency and repetition. The moment you feel frustration building up, just take a breather and start all over. If Monty is food motivated, use that to your advantage. Sophie was ready to do just about anything to get the treats! Also, if Monty jumps up on you, just step on the leash, and he should have limited movement upwards :)
 
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