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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Happy Friday, all!

Looking for some renewed support and some advice with regards to my male vizsla who is just about 8 months old.

A little background: years before I ever knew that I would be getting a vizsla, I was sure that (under regular circumstances of course) I would not neuter any large breed dog of mine, if and when I ever got one. I have seen firsthand the impact that a pediatric or even just an early neuter has on the overall growth and health of a dog. As a biologist by trade, my science background got the best of me and hours of research later... I'll just say the issue is very complex but there are many more factors for me to consider than just prohibiting reproduction and controlling the animal population when it comes to neutering my dog.

Now, I was and have been very steadfast in my stance on leaving my dog intact for as long as I can or at least until he has physically matured (for my own pet, others are always free to decide based on their own situation - NO judgement from me!) but something that I never expected and was very unprepared for was the sheer amount of social backlash that I have been faced with in recent days. I would consider myself to be a very responsible dog owner but it never ceases to surprise me how fast judgement is passed on me and my own dog. Perhaps I look like I could use advice as a young, single female with a very rambunctious albeit HAPPY vizsla, but I have had some pretty horrible things said straight to my face about my choices and about my dog (eg. "If you can't afford to neuter your dog, you shouldn't be allowed to own one"... I think everyone here knows that a vizsla is not the most "economical" dog to begin with and my dog is my absolute first priority!! "I hope you're prepared for your dog to die at a young age" "That's disgusting that you're not neutering" "Are you trying to prove that you're macho by leaving the balls on your dog?"... on and on). It is now to the point where last night I began to revisit the idea of getting my dog neutered.

I will not deny that he humps other dogs when he is excited, when the other dogs are new to him, or when he is very overtired. In hindsight, initially and especially when he was young I don't feel like I did enough to send a clear message to him that humping was not acceptable as it seemed relatively harmless just a few months ago so I often just let it work itself out and intervened only if it appeared problematic. Usually my intervention style was to just leave the situation or distract him. I never condoned his humping behaviour and he has never once attempted to hump anything other than another dog (both male and female) or his blanket, but I also never actively tried to stop it in any strict way. Well, it has sure taken a turn for the worse in the sense that he humps almost all new dogs within a short time of meeting (off-leash setting) nearly always now. I attribute this to his adolescent age and do hope that it will begin to subside, but am I ever taking a lot of heat for it in the meantime! I try to explain that he is a teenager and he is still figuring out his manners but most of the feedback I get is that he is "asserting his dominance". I do not believe this is the case whatsoever... it may be for many other reasons (excitement, play, hormones/sexual, nervousness, overtiredness) but what I see is definitely not attempted dominance in him - I would be happy to hear others thoughts on what dominant humping entails or what I should look for. He would be what most consider a very very submissive dog and always has been, though never to the point that it hindered him or lead to any debilitating shyness or fearfulness but he would always be the first to back down in a play setting if challenged.

Now and for roughly the past month or so I have been implementing the "time-out" strategy where he is removed from play when he humps until he calms down and then he can rejoin. If he still doesn't play appropriately, we leave the situation. The corrections from other dogs (and believe me, they try!) seem to have little to no effect on him to the point I worry he may get seriously injured by another dog who is annoyed with his constant attempt to mount them. However, sometimes in social settings at friends' houses or even at my parents' place, I need him to be able to handle himself appropriately and I can't always just leave at the drop of a hat (I will crate him at my parents' though). I don't want to frighten him or him to lose his trust in me by yelling or treating him unfairly when he humps, but I am starting to get frustrated. Some advice I have received is to just avoid social settings involving other dogs altogether with him for a while but I don't want to isolate him completely and feel that its more important for him to socialize and learn appropriate behavior now when he is young than keep him at home with only me and have problems later on as a full grown dog. I would appreciate advice on this - how should I handle my dog at this critical (and oh-so challenging) age in these situations? I feel like all of my attempts to remedy or curb this behavior are not working and he is showing very little improvement.

I do worry about him being persecuted by other neutered (and intact) males as he gets older and for the rest of his life. I have already experienced a few "close calls" and despite all of my reading and research, nothing could have prepared me for the challenges that owning an intact male dog brings when living in a society where it is of very unpopular opinion to do so. I have equipped myself with many responses to shut down the discussion respectfully when it comes up with strangers and try to hold my own but it is starting to get difficult when I am defending my intact male who is madly humping their dog as I attempt to build a case for my decision not to neuter.
All advice is greatly appreciated!
 

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It sounds as if the folks you're encountering are responding not so much his anatomy but his behavior...I have a well behaved intact male and other than the very rare observation brought about by the proper placement of balls..usually prudishness...we're golden.

You might want to rethink a couple of things. The first, is that he might not be ready for the overstimulation (not puberty!) of being off lead in the park just yet...maybe off lead in the woods and on lead in the park where you have much more control over him...young V's really need that. And relatedly, rethink your use of discipline. There's a chasm btwn proper corrections and harshness, and if you see any form of correction as "traumatic", then he's never going to learn to control his impulses...which as you rightly are aware, can and will get him into some real trouble with other, more alpha males as he grows older.
 

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It's age, and manners. It's not because he's intact. Neutered dogs will act the same way. Even older ones, that have not learned the correct way to interact with other dogs. It's just rude puppy manners, but at his age other dogs will find it unacceptable
Try and find some group training classes.
You, and him can learn together.

The world is being taken over by the spay, neuter people. It's not your fault that they are not educated on the medical reasons to leave a dog intact. Or atleast let them mature first.
Most are the same people, that are against breeders of any kind. They preach, Adopt Don't Shop.
I'm for do whichever one suits you. Just do your research, and chose wisely.

I help with rescue dogs, and have adopted dogs . I also have bought pups from breeders. I will not work with a rescue, that talks trash on good breeders.
I also will not work with a rescues that spay/neuter tiny puppies.

You are your dogs voice.
He only has you to do what's right for him. Get in some training classes, and tell those other people how sorry you are for them, and their dogs. : )
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both for your insight - I sincerely appreciate it. I recognize that this is likely an issue of poor manners (he also swats at other dogs with his front paws to elicit play) but I am not quite sure how to appropriately teach him manners with respect to other dogs. We both participated in 2 rounds of puppy obedience as well as adolescent obedience and now he is enrolled in agility lessons (Trik/Fit) so he has good manners with adults and with my friends and family, but the minute another dog is around he has a very difficult time with any type of self regulation. I am worried it may be because he is under socialized but definitely not for lack of trying... He is quite a young excitable thing so I have focused in on impulse control training since day one with everything from a flirt pole to requiring that he wait to be released for doors, food, in and out of the car, his crate...etc. Other dogs seem to be his weakness. Do you think this is something that he will grow out of or can I actively work to address this now (if so, how??)? Or both?

As much as I would love to work with him on lead in the dog park, I know that he would just pull as hard as he could and have zero regard for me. I have tried to do this already at a great distance from the dog park and work our way closer, however as soon as even the shape of another dog enters his sight, I've lost him and he is transfixed (in an antsy "let me go play NOW" kind of way). He is very rarely motivated by food so even cheese or tripe won't hold his focus when another dog is around. This was the case in all of the classes we took as well - constant whining and barking to get to play with the other dogs or to get them to notice him until about the 4th class when he is familiar with all the players and then is willing to work for some high value rewards. I guess my woes have turned into more a cry for help to get my dog's obsession with other dogs in check! Lol

And texasred, I couldn't agree more with "do whichever one suits you. Just do your research, and chose wisely". Thank you for reminding me what's important and to keep my priorities in check!

Gingerling - what would constitute a proper correction in a situation where my dog is mounting another dog? So far, I have physically removed him and restrained him until calm and then let him return to play and I have also used a loud "Hey! HEY!" upon approach to let him know it's not acceptable, and then remove him but otherwise I am not sure how else to address it. I recognize that I do need to reconsider my use of discipline as perhaps I have been too lenient. I know my (very strict) parents sure think so... LOL
 

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It's a work in progress, so take it a step at a time and have patience.

All the things you're doing are good, but you might need some 1:1 time with a good trainer. Agility is good, obedience is good (probably in a group, right?) but the best training is really with YOU as the owner, and you don't get nearly as much of that in group settings.

There's a lot of different approaches to corrections, but one way is to take him to the park on lead (so you have control)..what type of collar does he have? I bet one of those snazzy nylon or leather ones, right?...ditch it. Instead get one of the very medieval pincher collars...like the Pit Bulls wear....they do NOT hurt, but they do give a correction that feels a lot like what mom used to do, that little chew on the neck thing.

Let other dogs approach him, and reward profusely when he interacts appropriately, bring some kibble. When he's obnoxious, pull sharply immediately (do not pull or yank!) and loudly growl "NO!". Bend down and make eye contact as well.

Rinse and repeat as often as necessary.

Part of what is happening is that your message is garbled.."hey Hey" isn't exactly a correction, and if he's off lead you have zero control. Freedom is earned, make him earn it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for the feedback! I appreciate you ringing in on this.
Unfortunately, it's just not in me to use that level of negative reinforcement with my dog but I am not discrediting it by any means. I am sure for some this would be the perfect solution!
I just wanted to revisit this post because I feel like I have made a breakthrough and I wanted to update in case another forum member is going through a similar situation.

As I mentioned, I didn't feel like a good solution was isolating my dog completely from other dogs, so I decided to start taking him places where he would be on leash but near other dogs in a relatively controlled setting. When we were invited to a Christmas open house at the hall where he goes for agility a few weeks ago, I thought: perfect!! All of the dogs were on leash and Scout was very well behaved. However, there was a neutered male schnauzer who kept growling at Scout. The dog had on a "service dog" vest, I unfortunately made the assumption this dog had social skills and a well adjusted temperament... boy was I wrong! I didn't take the growling cues seriously enough and when I was talking with Scout's trainer, the other dog just snapped. He went into full on attack mode and had Scout by the face, shaking him back and forth and wouldn't let go. I was in a total state of shock and just stood by watching my poor puppy get taken down. He eventually let go and I pulled Scout away quickly. He had bite wounds on his neck, nose, and ears and a chunk missing from the top of his head. I immediately apologized to the other dog owner, noting that I should have recognized the signs and body language of her dog sooner. She was very irate with me and told me that I should neuter my dog and that Scout shouldn't be sniffing the private parts of other dogs. She is the owner of a prominent boarding facility in town so I was very surprised and dismayed by how she handled the situation. Regardless, we immediately left. I didn't sleep for a few nights because I was so stressed that Scout would be now be afraid of other dogs or worse, become a fearful-aggressive dog. Much to my surprise, he didn't and still doesn't seem too phased by the ordeal as far as I can tell.
Since the attack, I have only allowed him to play one on one with a close friend's English Setter who is roughly the same age about 4 nights a week.
I have been monitoring his behaviour and body language closely and this morning I decided that we would do a short stop and test out the dog park. When we arrived, no one was there so I decided instead to hike the trails nearby for roughly an hour or so. When his paced started slowing (aka not a sprint), I decided to pack it in and head back towards the car. Upon returning, I noticed there were 2 dogs at the park and Scout seemed to suddenly get his second wind (he hadn't noticed the dogs yet). We went in and his behaviour was stellar! He played very respectfully, gave the other dogs space, even went off on his own to sniff around. It was great! Slowly more dogs started arriving and he even came bounding over to me when I called his name. It was amazing! The other dog owners even complemented me on how well-trained he appeared to be. Of course, I was watching him like a hawk and knew that it was only a matter of time before he would be overtired. When the dog count hit 8 dogs and the chaos level began to climb, I noticed that he started losing his self control. He had the overtired zoomies and started swatting other dogs with his paws. I took this as our cue to leave. He never mounted another dog - a total miracle!!
I am not sure if he was just having a good day, if he was tired out enough to keep from getting overexcited, or if the humping was just a phase... but from now on I will be exercising him thoroughly before any organized socialization with other dogs. That seemed to do the trick! I guess I have always known never to bring a wound up dog to a dog park where there is even MORE excitement, but now I know the secrect recipe to positive and productive socialization is just a few, friendly dogs, lots of space, and a well-exercised vizsla (just not TOO tired)
 

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You are too nice for your dogs own good, when it came to that supposed service dog. That dog should have never passed the test, with reaction like that.
People like her, give true service dogs a bad name. Instead of wearing a vest, her dog should have had on a muzzle.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have to admit that when I got home I was VERY upset. Before the attack happened, I had a hard time respecting those pet owners who use a service dog vest as a guise to bring their dog in places dogs aren't permitted but now it really doesn't sit well with me. It also doing service dogs who have undergone immense amounts of training a disservice.
Just before we left for the evening, I overheard that owner tell another woman that she had done the training herself and printed a certificate off the internet and that she brings him to daycares and nursing homes. That was quite infuriating to hear, especially seeing how aggressive her dog was - what a liability to have around children and the elderly! Wow. I was thinking I should get Scout a vest that says "I'm still learning how to be polite!" LOL
 

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I'm not really sure why you apologized. (I wouldn't have -- I probably would have chewed the other person out) Yes, there are things that you both could have done better, but her dog's correction was WAY over the top. I would have been mortified if my dog had bit another dog like that and I know if it had happened at a social we've taken our dogs too, the trainer would have asked me to not bring my dog again. She's had to ask certain people to stop bringing their dog because they have more complicated issues than normal puppy behaviors.
 

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I feel that we, as the ones who made the choice to own the dog, have a responsibility to groom them into dogs who are accepted in polite society. Your dog is young, impressionable and smart. He is learning a lot about you. One of the things he is learning is that you don't like to correct or punish him. There is no way in the world I advocate painful punishment by I do advocate consistent correction so that punishment is not needed.
He needs you to tell him what is and is not acceptable behavior; he has no way of knowing himself except by being corrected when his behavior is not acceptable...as the schnauzer did to him.
I apologize if I am not reading your posting accurately; here is what I read: "I was talking to the trainer and my dog was beside me. I wasn't really paying attention to him because I was deep in conversation. I heard the smaller dog warn my dog but I was in conversation and didn't want to move away or move my dog from being so close to the schnauzer. The schnauzer warned again but my dog just wanted to get to know him and I didn't see any harm in it. "I didn't take the growling cues seriously enough and when I was talking with Scout's trainer, the other dog just snapped."
Her dog didn't "just snap." He warned your dog several times that his behavior was inappropriate but neither you or your dog paid any attention to the warnings so the schnauzer had to take it a step further to protect himself from unwanted behavior.
Because the schnauzer took it upon himself to school your dog your dog gained a new understanding, and respect, for male dogs. The exercise may have helped the situation at the dog park when you next visited but the memory of being schooled went far to teach him where his place is in the canine kingdom.
Your dog is like your child, teach him to protect him. A loving parent teaches the meaning of the word "No" and the child still loves the parent; your dog will love you more for the efforts you put into teaching him; you've already seen this in your agility class. Now take that training bond into practical life situations.
Neutering prior to 24 months interferes with the growth plates and has been shown, in Vizslas, to create later life cancers. A reference article for your review: https://healthypets.mercola.com/sit...2014/06/13/neutering-spaying-cancer-risk.aspx
I don't mean to sound harsh, and again, I apologize if I do. I just want you and your dog to have the best life together possible.
 

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The correct correction for sniffing, does not leave chunks missing from the sniffer.
Normally you let a dog do a quick greeting, and then move along.

Both dogs on lead, and one wearing a service vest. Yes, I would have payed attention to the growl, even with a vest on. But I know all to well about fake service dogs.
It is our responsibility to teach our dogs correct manners, or in the least warn others. If our dog is not dog friendly.
If I just stand there saying nothing , and don't move a dog aggressive dog away. I would be at fault. I hold others to the same standards.

I worked very hard with my adopted vizsla Ranger. He would take around 10 minutes to warm up to another dog. His first reaction to a dog coming straight up to him, was a low grrrr. We went to pet stores, and outside of dog parks 3-4 days a week to change his reaction. I was not going to let him take a CGC test, unless he could get past the grrr. And his grrr was barely audible, with no snapping, or teeth showing. I in no way compare passing a CGC test, to a service dog.

One of the top complaints, of owners needing medical alert dogs. Is fake service dogs in stores. They bark, snap, and try to go after the working dog.


That dog is a disgrace to service dogs, and so is it's owner for putting the vest on it.

My reply does not mean I disagree with Starrpaths post.
 
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I think you need a trainer here, you seem to have misunderstood this whole, potentially tragic incident. The schnauzer needing to not just tell your dog off....which is what those skirmishes most often are, even though they look far scarier....*but actually attack him*..viciously, with the possible intent to kill him, your dog was injured fairly badly and probably worse if you and the owner didn't intervene....says a lot about your dog's lack of proper socialization, as well as your inability to provide that.

He will need to learn..from you...proper doggie etiquette..and you will have to learn how to provide that. The proper use of corrections...not "Negative reinforcement" that is a misuse of the term, and surely not abuse or even punishment....is far safer than the "Correction" he received from the schnauzer...and far less potentially lethal.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Starrpath,

No need for apology. I appreciate your feedback and I do agree that it is my responsibility to ensure that Scout behaves in a respectful and polite way. I will say that you are correct that my dog has learned that I don't punish him, but he absolutely knows that I have high, consistent expectations and he strives to please and live within the boundaries that I have set. I do correct my dog quite regularly but as I mentioned in my original post, I failed to adequately correct his humping behavior when he was young.

I would also agree that I probably didn't handle the schnauzer situation correctly, and should have removed Scout from the situation much earlier. Of course hindsight is 20/20 and I will know for next time. The reason that I felt the dog just "snapped" was because up until then, other dogs that Scout had been around would also growl at him when he was out of line as a warning and give him a chance to back off but it never resulted in such a sudden and vicious attack. I also made the incorrect assumption that this particular dog would likely have a greater amount of impulse control and tolerance for puppies given its "service dog" status. Scout was lying down when he was bitten and definitely not doing to the dog what I would consider "rude behaviour" such as pawing in the face, lunging, or mounting, etc., which I know he is capable of and have been working to correct and address - he is still very young and excitable. I appreciate when the correction comes from other dogs and not 100% of the time from me so that he can understand inter-dog play and manners for himself and teach him to protect himself (as you mentioned), however, I attribute this particular attack to the fact that Scout was likely giving off a scent that left the other dog feeling intimidated and not because I am too nice or inconsistent with my training - though I am also still learning.
Am I incorrect in saying that you feel like the schnauzer's reaction was justified? I personally do not, but there are many complexities when it comes to dog aggression that we have yet to understand.
Thank you again for ringing in on this, something to think about for sure.

Oh, and he will be staying intact!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi gingerling,

I just realized there was a second page of replies after replying to Starrpath! LOL
I do work quite closely with a trainer and have since nearly day one. My dog has been incredibly socialized but he is still young and impetuous. I feel that the lack of socialization may be on the end of the other dog in this situation, but we can agree to disagree. That being said, I will never deny that Scout has a ways to go and lots of maturing to do.
 

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I can't answer for Starrpath, but imo the schnauzer's correction was not ok. Like TR mentioned, a correction shouldn't take chunks off another dog.
 

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Dog attack

He is allowed to get too carried away, possibly not rested enough and not told off enough. Go back to lead work sharp barking no commands and treats for good behaviour.

To the owner of the attacking dog....
a dog that attacks is in the wrong and should be told no. Attacking is more unacceptable than daft puppy behaviour or nuisance behaviour from unschooled dogs.

Why do owners whose dogs attack always blame other dogs or people. If it attacks keep it on a lead and / or muzzle it.
 

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Man, I don't know where you live. But, those quotes sound like you must live somewhere like the SF Bay Area where the politics lean very left. I'm not trying to turn this in to a political discussion. So I'll just say that I've had two male Vs. The first one was fixed and he was a humper. My current 2.5 y/o is not fixed and he has never humped another dog. And I do take him to the various dog parks around here (Auburn, CA). No one has ever said anything to me like what you posted above. And if they did I would just walk away rather than trying to explain my reasoning. You don't owe them any explanation.
I firmly believe that humping is about dominance and has very little to do with the 2 piece McNuggets.
My current V has also never been in any kind of altercation brought on by a dog attacking him because he has the McNuggets. In fact he has never been in any altercation at all. I, again, believe that the altercations happen due to the invisible aire of dominance projected by one dog - or more likely both.
 

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Our intact dog doesn’t hump much but he’s only 13 months old. I’m not ruling out he might start later but we have always disallowed it. He started when he was 4 months old and we’d push him away and refuse to look at him. We’d chastise him if he does it to other dogs. These days he gets humped way more than he ever humps. I would try training before neutering IMO. I think it can be done.

neutering maybe takes care of the humping instinct but my dog is a dog and he has a lot of other instincts he’s not allowed to express like mouthing and he manages that through training. He wants to beg for food but he has to “place” at dinner. Like case in point, he’s super Velcro but he’ll leave my parents alone if they don’t look receptive. We feed him delicious wet food at dinner and he’s always crazy and salivating but he can’t eat it until we allow it. He has to sit in place. Once, I forgot to ok it for 5 minutes and he just sat there whining softly. So I’m not entirely convinced surgery is the only solution.
 
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