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Hi Friends,

So I just got a new vizla adopted - 17 months old she has spent neatly 3 months in a dogs home after being given up by her first owners due to behaviour issues. Her indoor and outdoor behaviour are feeling really different tho, and would like any advice.

She obviously comes with some training (they said she had recall in her last house). But may have lost some along the way, with the months inbetween in the home -- she ended up for ages in the dogs home due to restrictions on her being rehomed and covid and it was hard on her (and maybe I am already being too soft on her in the home because of that!). I was worried how long recall would take, but in a matter of days she has managed to learn to come back to me, first in a contained field area, and today she even came back in a busy park. she is learning fast. She is attentive and listens and wants to please me so much outside. And the joy at seeing her be able to run today with a new dog friend is huge -- she was not let off her lead the whole time in the dogs home. I can see how much she needs to get some proper exercise. There is obviously old training in there but I am so pleased with how fast she is working on outside activities.

But here's one thing I am noticing: in the house she is very different. She went straight to the sofa upon arrival and i am noticing some slight aggression when i am trying to settle. I think she's starting to guard it. She is scared to go from one room to another, and I have to help her transition from one room to another - she won't come on command from calling (i.e. I can get her to come to me in a busy outdoor space but not to another room in the house). She won't come up the stairs, without me leading her. but has been whining all night (I ended up sleeping on the sofa with her -- but now she wants my bed). chewing everything in sight. She jumps up like mad also -- and sometimes it feels close to a problem. she snapped quite a few times in last home from details I got and jumped and bitt a child. It sounds like each time was either sofa/bed guarding behaviour or jumping getting OTT.

It feels like two dogs - inside and outside dog. Like I have command outside and not in

It just struck me she has been getting walked in the home and maybe that has been giving her new training (even if not off lead just consistent "listen to me" training). but her behaviour in the house is a repeat of her old home. I think that makes sense. It's my first vizla and my god she is clever i can see - so there's also a world that in only a very short time she's worked out being good outside gets her much needed fun and exercise (i.e. it's not other training it's her big brain making connections)!

Regardless I thought i was gonna be working hard on outside training but it's indoor training I need to focus on. I worry that might involve her unlearning lots! including to be on furniture (to get this weird guarding behaviour i can see developing). Stopping her coming upstairs into my bedroom. I also need to stop her jumping I think cos she gets overexcited and I can see it could end in her hurting without meaning to....Anyone got any thoughts on this (i realise this is a bit vague)? Is it just she's happier outside or do you think this she is displaying different histories? And thus do i need to buckle down to her indoor training by seeing it as a massive unlearning exercise (including no sofa etc, maybe a crate...?)
 

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It's sad because we see all the pictures of Vizslas lounging across sofas, and beds.
The truth is it's a privilege, and not a privilege that all dogs can handle.
Because she has already lost one home due to these issues. My best advise is to hire a behaviorist.
 
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Yep
It's sad because we see all the pictures of Vizslas lounging across sofas, and beds.
The truth is it's a privilege, and not a privilege that all dogs can handle.
Because she has already lost one home due to these issues. My best advise is to hire a behaviorist.
Yer, I agree. And I will get a behaviourist (all more complex in UK with this lockdown!). But maybe I was also preemptively panicking late last night. Cos after I posted she learnt how to be in her dog bed while in my room (a win as she learnt my bed is my bed), after some work on that late into the night. And today she's sat in her bed downstairs and is coming off the sofa when I ask into her bed... Maybe i was making a mountain out of a mole hill...We'll see. I do think the massive amount of exercise she's been getting in last few days is also helping her calm a little. But lets see how her behavior settles in further before I start making it into something I don't need to, and then work with a behaviorist on the really knotty issues. Thanks for the replying !
 

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She needs to settle in, and unwind. Not that you won't need help with her, but she really seems as if she is stressed out from anxiety.
We often don't associate dogs with some truly human emotion, but they're not robots. They can get stressed very easily, and sometimes with that stress, negative behaviors come out.
The name I use, Gunnr, was my female. She wasn't quite a rescue, but she did come to us with a host of issues. It would be almost three months after we got her, that she finally made direct eye contact with me. She had been so stressed out in the first 11 months of her life, that she actually would not make eye contact with a human. She was so scared. She wore paths in our yard, and broke down undebrush from the constant pacing of the perimeter. In time she did settle down though, and became a wonderful girl. I still miss her.
I personally would not "buckle down", or use any dominance based training with this dog right now. At most, I would keep a leash on her so that I could always assume control in a safe, predictable manner, and she has a chance, maybe only 3-5 seconds, to settle down.
Take it slow, and just keep control with her. Don't let her get her own ideas, and redirect her, before she can get locked in on an idea. Give her something to do.
 

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Yes wise advice. Def not gonna try any dominance training on her - lots of redirecting, love, patience and boundaries. I must say, I can't believe how easily she gets bored (puzzles walks toys keep her occupied for so much less time than other dogs). But today i took her for an all day long difficult hike and tonight she's super chilled out. Maybe I just need to up my walking game !

Thanks for the help. I think i was moving too fast with her (even if only in my head), cos I was thinking she's so clever she needs to learn things now. but you're right, she needs to know she can unwind for the first time in months (maybe her whole life!) first and foremost...
 

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Start her at the beginning, and assume nothing. Treat her sort of as if she were a puppy. Lots of praise and just find out what she knows. Give her a regular, predictable, routine that doesn't change very much to settle her down, and gives her confidence. In a few short weeks, you should be able to see the dog you really have, and go from there.

Jumping up is a bad habit. It's kind of difficult to deal with in an adult Vizsla that does it because they're so fast, and their size will put their paws in the middle of your chest.
Use your knees to block her when she jumps, up while commanding "No", and "Down". Praise her when she stops. Don't try to hurt her with your knee, or really make contact. Just raise your knee up so that she can't land her front paws on you, and has to back down. It's going to take a lot of repetition to stop the behavior. You want to make it "unfun" for her.

Good luck, and just go slow.
 

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Yes wise advice. Def not gonna try any dominance training on her - lots of redirecting, love, patience and boundaries. I must say, I can't believe how easily she gets bored (puzzles walks toys keep her occupied for so much less time than other dogs). But today i took her for an all day long difficult hike and tonight she's super chilled out. Maybe I just need to up my walking game !
Hire a behaviorist and try out more mental stimulation (look at A thing that changed everything for Aron and me...). Also on that resource guarding behavior, there's a great book called "Mine!" by Jean Donaldson. Good luck!
 
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