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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there!

I've been researching and reading endlessly about Vizslas as we are deciding upon embarking upon this lifelong journey of being a Vizsla owner. A very dear friend of ours has got puppies (approx 2 weeks) and we are doing all the research we can before potentially welcoming one over the next few months.

We are a very active family living in a small town in the countryside. We have a very calm and well behaved 6 year old daughter, my husband is an avid long/short distance runner (running between 10-20k a day) and we're hoping when the pup is old enough they can join those runs and cycles/hikes etc. We both work but have flexibility and often work from home. We'd be looking at one day doggy daycare per week with a couple of small 2-3 hour bursts of crate time but nothing more than that. We have a medium sized garden and are aware of the exercise requirements and feel we can offer that to a new pup.

I've done so much reading online I've been slightly traumatised by some of the stories and it's making me nervous... shark bites, chewing, barking, tearing stuff up and just generally being a handful. I have to really hunt for positive stories, and wondering if that's just the joys of the internet, or is it really that challenging?? We would get to spend time with puppies before choosing and are only 5 mins away from the mother which I think is nice. We've wanted a dog for a really long time and having a connection with a friend with puppies so we know the enviroment they've been bought up in (first and only litter... KC registered family dogs) is really valuable to us rather than just buying an unknown dog from an unknown breeder.

Sorry for the long post, I suppose I'd just like some reassurance and positive stories. I know it's not going to be easy, but is it really really that intensely hard!
 

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Laika
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Hi Sophiedb,

Me and my partner got a vizsla this January. Our pup Laika was the 3rd smallest of a litter of 11. At the beginning she was not very food driven until we found the kind of food she liked. In our experience the first two months were the hardest ones waking up in the middle of the night to let her out and work on her crating. The biggest thing in my opinion is having everyone in the family to "buy" into the same training and routine in order to get the young pup familiarized with the new surroundings. At the beginning we had her on a training leash inside the house and would pull/distract her from going to places where she wasn't allowed. This helped A LOT and luckily she never found any of the furniture desirable to chew on and if we saw her sniffing around we would direct her attention to a toy or something else.

She's almost 7 months now and in her "teen" phase which brings its own set of challenges as she's trying to get away with stuff but besides chewing through some old blankets and towels that we had designated for her, nothing major has happened in terms of behaviour issues.

With that said, vizslas have a TON of energy and sometimes they will try to nip at you if you're not paying enough attention to them. Laika usually gets crazy like that when she wants her morning "puppy massage" be given to her (something we didn't realize until a week ago!) We try to take her out for one or two 45 minute walks a day. A tired pup is a happy pup!

Ultimately, as long as you're consistent with training and give tons of positive reinforcement and love, you should have a loving pup that will mellow out while the family is watching tv in the evenings and give the best cuddles ever!

Not sure if I answered any of your questions, haha but hope this helps a little bit with your predicament! Here's a recent photo of Laika just being Laika.

Cheers!
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Vizsla puppies are work, I won't sugarcoat it. They do have zoomies and like all puppies, will be mouthy until they learn. You will have some moments when you are sure you are in over your head. Despite all that you've read and researched, you will most likely wonder if your puppy is just plain nuts.
But that is not the entire story. You will also have deep moments of connection that shape your soul, you will make sweet memories as she grows and learns your ways, and your heart will explode with a love that grows exponentially as the days go by and this will (somehow magically!) be a match for every new challenge.
In short- ITS WORTH IT.
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It sounds like you have a good set up to be a V owner. Just be prepared for the first 6 months being nuts and probably a few months of interrupted sleep. With that investment you will have one of the most loving and eager to please companions available in the animal world (in my opinion). Ensure you have open spaces for the pup to safely run on a dragged long lead w/harness (after all vaccines,etc of course). Doing this saved my family and was learned from reading on this forum by other very wise veteran V owners. Leash walks are not enough and the pup will be too young to take for structured human runs until he/she fully develops.
 

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All the bad things you read are true. But WORTH it!
V puppies are a handful and lots more. At 6 months it starts to get better , by a year you will have mostly forgotten the first 6 months. :)

When yours is old enough for runs a human pace is just a slow trot to a v. If you can provide some serious off leash time running thru woods it will make it better for you and your pup.

We are on our third v and are are so pleased with the 2 we have now.

No matter how prepared you think you are, you are not!o_O
 

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I got mine in November. I'm a first time V owner. Zumi is now 10 months. The first few months are crazy. Yes there are the bite stages, the potty training, the training, the training, the training. It is worth it, even when they wear you out every. single. day. Puppyhood is a phase.

Here is one thing (ok maybe two) that I learned. Physical exercise is not the answer to every Vizsla issue. Mental exercise is just as important as physical. You don't need to physically exercise your V when they are little as much as you might think. They will play and play and play and then crash. Yes, you do need to walk them, too but the physical exercise really phases in as they get older. Each month you will see how much more physical exercise they can handle. From the start, commit to exercising them mentally. There are lots of ways to do this, almost all of them beginning with some physical activity or play to get wiggles out. A slow feeder or puzzle feeder forces them to use their mind to get food. Teaching them commands like wait, stay, sit, stand, come, leave it, drop it, down, etc keeps their minds busy. Use hand signals for each command. This gives your V another puzzle to figure out. Find it is a super fun game for you both. I use cheese or chicken, put Zumi in her room, hide one or two pieces under a toy, around the corner, on a couch cushion, etc then tell her to find it. You can give commands to guide your V to the treat. Then, back into their room for the next round. The routine, the command, the search, and the nose work all keep their minds engaged and wear them out. Another thing to realize is that fetch is a game that you must teach. Fetch is a combination of wait, find it, and come. Once they have these commands down, then you start putting them together using toys your V loves! When you transition to outside, the learning starts again.

Soon, 6 months will have passed, your dog will have an impressive command set, other dog owners will be impressed, and your dog will be happy!

Sometimes your dog needs attention, not exercise. Attention for Zumi usually requires me to be on the floor engaged in play with a toy of her choosing. I don't count this as exercise. This is just play and social connection.

Discipline. Your dog will respond to discipline in unique ways. I know what works for my dog, but I had to figure it out. One key thing is that when my dad voice comes out and she understand that I'm upset, as soon as she corrects her behavior, then my tone and demeanor must change to happy and loving. It works great this way and is disaster otherwise. She will go from crouching, because she knows she was bad, to happy wiggly tail in under 3 seconds. Once the discipline is administered (verbal discipline 99.9% of the time), the event is done and gone in dad's mind and actions. Zumi thrives on this.

It is worth it. It is all worth it. Vizslas are very fun, very eager to please, will make you laugh, and will make you crazy, but they are worth it.
 

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All the bad things are definitely true lol! I found that the first two years were the hardest, but this was my first dog on my own out side of family dogs I'd had while I was younger and I had watched and read everything I could get my hands on before deciding on the breed, it still didn't prepare me for what I was in for. I can vouch for every bad story you've heard because I think we went through just about all of them. Barking, holes in the dry wall, holes in the couches, rugs, BED!! wrecked blinds, you name it.
In hind sight, if I could give you any tips it would be
-structure: The sooner you get a routine in place the easier things become, find what works for both your family and the dog.
-Exercise: But remember you can't exercise the crazy out so that's were structure comes in, down time, mental stimulation and being present during training and engagement with your puppy.
-Training: obvs this is the best time to lay the ground work for the type of dog you want, I wish someone had told me to pick my training style early ( food vs play as a reward etc.) it will really help you later if you have direction from now.
-commitment: these dogs are definitely a huge commitment and you might have to sacrifice doing things you'd like just to keep your dog happy and give them what they need ie. coming home from a long day, having to till cook dinner, kids home work, kids to bed, in the middle of that the dog still needs his hour of flat out running

If that hasn't put you off, after the first 1-2 years you will honestly have an angel of a dog who will win you over every single day and bring so much joy and happiness into your life that you wont think twice about doing it all over again.
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SO MUCH good info in the posts above!!!

Indeed, raising a vizsla pup through the first several months can be viewed as a challenge if that's the way it's mentally approached. I, like you, did an immense amount of research (years) into the vizsla breed before bringing Aly into my life at 8 weeks old. I too, was anxious about what a vizsla puppy might throw at me.

Some things I did to mentally prepare:
1) Ensure I had a clear understanding of what makes a vizsla tick. While every animal is unique, vizslas have been bred for nearly 1200 years to "please" and "work" for their human(s). It's genetically pre-programmed into them to be an integral part of our lives. Therefore, the more constructive attention we give them, the more we will get out of them.
2) Vowed to cherish the difficult times of the first several months. Aly would only be a puppy once... and when that stage is over, it's gone forever.
3) Vowed to take personal responsibility for anything Aly did "wrong". If she was naughty, it was my fault!
4) Commitment to give her everything she needed to develop into a very social, well adjusted adult dog.
5) Understood and accepted my day to day life would change. Through my journey of research, it became abundantly clear that those individuals who had so much trouble raising a vizsla where the same individuals who brought the dog in and expected it to perfectly fit into their "schedule".

Yes, the list above is quite "personal" and abstract. Though, I feel they are important points in developing a solid approach to attitude/mental state... especially for the first several months.

Aly is now 19 months old... and is a phenomenal creature!! She's obedient, gentle, loving, social (with people and other dogs), entertaining and ALL VIZSLA, in that her favorite thing is to be with me. Personally, I so very much enjoyed the "journey" of raising a vizsla pup... and now as we are transitioning into "the destination" of adulthood, with fond memories!!

Oh.... one other thing! Aside from my mental approach, I attribute a huge part of Aly's success to utilization of a simple, coherent "Communication System"!

Below, I'll link "Michael Ellis Talks About Dog Training" video. I found this video to be INVALUABLE! Ellis' approach is SIMPLE... positive reinforcement, relying on Pavlovian theory (he explains, in the video.) Unequivocally, the best 1 hour and seven minutes I personally spent, as a training resource. Actually, the video contains SO MUCH, I've watched it numerous times. Aly has been trained EXCLUSIVELY from the theories and methods contained in this video!

Good Luck... and do your very best to enjoy the ride!

 

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All the bad things are definitely true lol! I found that the first two years were the hardest, but this was my first dog on my own out side of family dogs I'd had while I was younger and I had watched and read everything I could get my hands on before deciding on the breed, it still didn't prepare me for what I was in for. I can vouch for every bad story you've heard because I think we went through just about all of them. Barking, holes in the dry wall, holes in the couches, rugs, BED!! wrecked blinds, you name it.
In hind sight, if I could give you any tips it would be
-structure: The sooner you get a routine in place the easier things become, find what works for both your family and the dog.
-Exercise: But remember you can't exercise the crazy out so that's were structure comes in, down time, mental stimulation and being present during training and engagement with your puppy.
-Training: obvs this is the best time to lay the ground work for the type of dog you want, I wish someone had told me to pick my training style early ( food vs play as a reward etc.) it will really help you later if you have direction from now.
-commitment: these dogs are definitely a huge commitment and you might have to sacrifice doing things you'd like just to keep your dog happy and give them what they need ie. coming home from a long day, having to till cook dinner, kids home work, kids to bed, in the middle of that the dog still needs his hour of flat out running

If that hasn't put you off, after the first 1-2 years you will honestly have an angel of a dog who will win you over every single day and bring so much joy and happiness into your life that you wont think twice about doing it all over again.
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Beautiful photo of you both ❤
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thankyou so much to everyone's guidance and experience! It really does mean a lot and helps greatly. I'm really excited about starting this journey, it reminds me of when my daughter was a baby and how quickly it goes. Try to enjoy every bit, even the wobbly ones :))
 

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You're welcome!

Haven taken little hints from your original post, my bet is that you'll navigate early puppyhood just fine!!

As it relates to all the horror stories you've read about... consider the tens of thousands of vizsla pups brought into the world each year and anecdotally do some simple math. Individuals that voice difficulties are really a very tiny percentage!

Have you ever read negative product reviews on Amazon? Enough said!😂🤣😂🤣

One other thing... I refused to equate Aly's vizsla puppy antics with "work"! Her young months were an adventure... and how I dealt with her was an "investment"...

... and the investment paid off in spades!

Don't fret! It's all worth it! Super worth it!
 
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We went to meet the puppies yesterday, they are now 6 weeks old and I think we've found our boy! I've been seeing lots of videos of him and he seems to prefer human connection over getting too stuck in the puppy chaos with his 6 siblings. When we went to meet him yesterday he hung back whilst the others jumped and scrabbled all over me and then we sat and had a lovely cuddle! So exciting.

Thought I'd share as I know how much the group loves a photo!

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These pictures are amazing!!!

I hope you are enjoying your new little man :)

Ozzy is our 2nd V and has just turned 1. We thought we were 'experienced owners' having had a total of one V before, but a V puppy and a child is different to a V puppy if you are a couple (our 5 year old son arrived, when our old boy Hercules ('H) was mature and chilled out.)

It sounds like your boy is going to have a lovely time with you guys :) a tip would be get your daughter involved in the training as early as possible, so your pup listens to her and respects her. I got a baby gate to separate Ozzy and my son when either got a bit crazy, as they will nip. My son's a bit on the wild side and was about to turn 5 when we got Oz, so I think you'll have an easier time with your daughter. I remember when we got Oz, I thought we should have maybe waited another year at the time, as my son's behaviour can be variable. However they utterly love each other now and my son loves showing off to his friends that he can get his giant lanky dog to sit, stay and lie down :). He's also actually really good with other dogs now, doesn't run up to them, waits for permission to stroke etc.


A long tug toy is also a good investment (tug e nuff from Amazon)- has a long handle so puppy can play with fluffy bit on floor so doesn't jump/nip)

Agree with all the great advice above, mental exercise is great, Ozzy loves finding hidden boxes of treats in the garden and my son is a ninja at hiding them- 20 minutes of that and you have a tired dog!

Ozzy is in teenage mode now but is MUCH calmer in the house, provided he's had walks/training he just lies and cuddles ideally on top of someone :)

Please keep posting pics- your boy is gorgeous :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ahh Thankyou! So we’re 24 hours in! A few more pics below from yesterday/today. So far, so good. He’s been a dream. Sleeps more than I expected! Has had a few naps in his crate and slept last night from 10.30-5.30 with just one wee break needed. We’ve set up a mattress in the kitchen and sleeping a few feet from him just whilst he settles :) quite happily going to the loo outside every 20/30 mins without much fuss too.


he seems to have a busy 30 mins or so and then crashes out on a lap, his dog bed or floor! He got a bit nippy at about 7 after dinner/training/play and I was sooo pleased after I put him in his crate, covered, for a nap and he fell asleep for about 45 mins. Woke up more settled and chilled.

Really pleased with how he’s settling in. Feel like he’s always been here! He is sleeping a lot, probably had 4-5+ hours across the day split into small chunks here and there. Sleep has seemed to be key though in everything I’ve read so trying not to worry 😂

he has been eating well and we’ve been doing training throughout the day in small chunks. He did have some diarrhoea, but I think it may just be a big change and maybe a few too many treats? He’s had some carrot and cheese today too. Perhaps too much for a first day! Will make it simpler tomorrow food wise

Thanks so much for everyone’s comments. It’s been a huge resource! X

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sounds like a great start, and a very warmly welcomed puppy:love:.
as for diarrhea and treats: single ingredient freeze dried treats usually don't bother their puppy tummy plus in case he is on kibble, you can use those too for training as well. you can get goats milk powder at the pet store here in the US (my favorite has been esbilac for pups), I used to add that for my second vizsla to his meals, and he never had any stomach issues, not sure what types are available in the UK.
 

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What a cutie! How in the world did you get 4 pictures where he wasn't moving?!?!! The first day home with my Zumi, 9 out of 10 pictures were blurry! Maybe having other people in the house helps.

It sounds like you had a great first day. Enjoy it! There will also be days where you want to pull your hair out, but trust us, it is worth it. You are on the right path.

One thing I figured out very quickly is that I needed multiple crates. Zumi has a bed crate in the bedroom, a living crate in the living room, and a travel crate in the vehicle.

The training begins the moment you got him, and won't stop until...well, ever. You mentioned that he sleeps a lot, and yes they do sleep a lot. 18-20 hours a day of sleep is not uncommon at this age. When they are awake though, they are active!

When Zumi was young, I drove her to a park twice a day (only a few blocks away). It sounds like a lot but I was very intentional about this. It was training for how to ride in the vehicle. I would take her to the vehicle, ask her to 'load up' and then get her into her travel crate. Once at the park, we would 'unload' and then play for 20 minutes with a toy. Another round of load up and unload on the way home. We would do this again later in the day. Yes, it took extra time, but she learned how to get into the vehicle and was not scared during travel. Plus, once we got home, she would crash and I could accomplish something.

For the first two weeks here, his life is all about play and connection. You need to teach some commands, yes, but this is building connection. When he starts to learn the commands and obey, play is a great reward. The combined mental and physical exercise will wear him out quickly. All members of the family need to give commands and commit to play with him.

It sounds like you are doing great. Keep it up and have fun!
 

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Ahh Thankyou! So we’re 24 hours in! A few more pics below from yesterday/today. So far, so good. He’s been a dream. Sleeps more than I expected! Has had a few naps in his crate and slept last night from 10.30-5.30 with just one wee break needed. We’ve set up a mattress in the kitchen and sleeping a few feet from him just whilst he settles :) quite happily going to the loo outside every 20/30 mins without much fuss too.


he seems to have a busy 30 mins or so and then crashes out on a lap, his dog bed or floor! He got a bit nippy at about 7 after dinner/training/play and I was sooo pleased after I put him in his crate, covered, for a nap and he fell asleep for about 45 mins. Woke up more settled and chilled.

Really pleased with how he’s settling in. Feel like he’s always been here! He is sleeping a lot, probably had 4-5+ hours across the day split into small chunks here and there. Sleep has seemed to be key though in everything I’ve read so trying not to worry 😂

he has been eating well and we’ve been doing training throughout the day in small chunks. He did have some diarrhoea, but I think it may just be a big change and maybe a few too many treats? He’s had some carrot and cheese today too. Perhaps too much for a first day! Will make it simpler tomorrow food wise

Thanks so much for everyone’s comments. It’s been a huge resource! X

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Aw, little one is so cute 🥰
Reminds me of our boy Oscar with the little white flash on his chest ❤
enjoy the puppy time, doesn’t last too long (thankfully) 👍🏼
 
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