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Hi everyone,

My husband and I have our first viszla and have been checking out this site for the past 8 or 9 months looking for solutions, suggestions and getting some really good advice, so thank you!

We would love any suggestions as to how to get Brodie to know that his biting is unacceptable. He seems to do this when he wants attention or has to go to the bathroom. He is pretty good at ringing the bell to be let out but seems to think barking is a much better approach to getting what he wants.

We have tried the following knowing that going to the bathroom is not the case: ignoring the behaviour, spraying him with water in a spray bottle, leaving the room, using a sonic bark device but to no avail. For the biting, we grab his snout and say "NO BITE", yelp like a pup being hurt, walk out of the room only to have him nip us in the butt or mid back. Note: He does NOT do this to my husband or father in law who stand over 6', but us vertically challenged, watch out!

He also has been known to jump, nip and continue barking at some of our family members which is both annoying for them and frustrating for us. For this we have tried the above (excluding the sonic bark device thingy) and kneeing him in the chest when he jumps up.

Thanks in advance. Any help would be appreciated!
 

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How old is your dog?

I went through a lot of this with Clyde and I swear he learned his lessons at the dog park from other dogs. Granted I was a nervous wreck for a while there because he was so obnoxious to the other dogs and sometimes they would let him know that they were not havin it!

One week around 7 months maybe we went to the dog park everyday and everyday he got taught a lesson. It was hard to see but since then he rarely jumps and never bites.

My advice is get him around other dogs and they will teach him right from wrong. Hopefully it does not end up in a trip to the vet.

Your probably not going to want to hear this but Clyde does not bark. In the past year we have only heard him bark four times.
 

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Brodie

I don't know that age of your dog, but I'm assuming about a year old.

Biting is the one cardinal sin for me. I'll tolerate a lot of other behaviors, but not that one. If I ever turned my back and my dog bit me, even nipping, I'd spin around as quick as a snake, grab the dog by the collar and forcefully put it into a crate. Do not let the dog get away with biting or nipping ever. You go over the top and rock his world. Everytime a dog touches you with it's teeth, correction needs to occur. They know exactly where their teeth are, there are no "accidents". If all else fails get him to a pro trainer.

If you are going to grab him by the nose and say no bite, use your index finger to catch a fold of skin and push it into his mouth at the rear by his molars. If he wants to continue to be a jerk he's going to be biting himself.

The other behaviors need to be corrected also. When he jumps up on people and barks, put him away. I don't know what a sonic bark device is, but if it's a normal bark activated shock collar, it's not working properly. If it's not a bark activated shock collar, look at the offerings by Innotek and Tri-Tronics.

For the jumping up, follow the knee by putting him on the ground immediately afterward. You can also keep a short 3' length of lead connected to his collar and when if he begins to jump up, step on the lead.

Finally you can try an electronic collar. I'm not a big fan of them, but they do have their place. If you get one, invest in a good one, and leave the cheap models alone. You're looking at Tri-Tronics. Be sure to get the videos also.

Please don't misconstrue any of this to mean that I endorse abusing or beating your dog. All of this correction needs to be administered in a very controlled systematic manner so that your dog gets a crystal clear picture in his head. If you find yourself too frustrated, put him in his crate for a timeout, and objectively review the behavior and come up with a clear plan. Discipline administered during frustration, or with emotion will almost always be a step backward.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Brodie will be one next month.

Doglover: Serious? Clyde doesn't bark? That would be great! Though, I kinda like it when Brodie starts his bark/roo :)

Gunnr: Thank you for your tips. We do make him bite his lip when we say "no Bite" and the past couple of days he has done a lot better with the whole jumping and nipping bit. My husband and I tag team (if I'm not quick enough) to make sure that if he jumps/nips he goes straight in his crate. He seems to be getting a better picture that it is NOT acceptable so we'll see what happens the next time we're at a family members house. (yes, the crate goes with!)
The barking sonic device thing ( http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2751312 ) is getting returned as it definitely does NOT work with Brodie. We'll look into the Tri-tronics next.

We'll keep you posted how things are going with our dear Brodie boy.
 

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Brodie

If the barking is only a problem when he jumps up on folks, or with family members in the house, you might want to pass on the bark collar and just use a correction collar. Of course you have to be prepared to manually stimulate him with the collar. I'm not sure which would be easiest.
I can tell you that a bark collar will do in about 3 minutes what would take you months to achieve.
I was working a 12 hour backshift once for about 7 months, 7pm to 7am, and my V would bark during the day and keep me awake. The bark collar fixed that about the second time he tried to bark. After that though he figured out how to make this really weird yoddling growly noise that wouldn't set the collar off, smart aleck dog. ;) He was "manually" stimulated after that.
Don't worry that a bark collar will inhibit them from barking permanently. Somehow or the other, they connect the collar to the barking. If it's removed they'll bark and still be a good doorbell. :D
 

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Hi Brodie,

We're learning with our first Vizsla also! He is 8 months old now and used to be a real barker. He would especially bark whenever he got excited with any type of ball game we were playing. For example, when we would play basketball outside he would try to get the ball and bark the whole time, or if while playing ping pong we would have to tie him up and he would watch and bark nonstop. What we did which seemed to work was punish him by taking away what he wants when he barks. My husband started playing basketball with him (which he loves!) by just dribbling the ball around and sort of playing keep away and whenever he would start barking he would say "no bark" and stop playing with him. It took time, but eventually he stopped barking at balls and games. He also would bark constantly when left alone in the backyard so we started using a manual shock collar while commanding "no bark". This has helped a lot as nothing else would in that situation. He still barks in the backyard when we aren't home so we might have to invest in an automatic bark collar to keep the neighbors from going crazy!
 

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To me, the fact that the dog continues to bark when you’re not there or he doesn’t have the collar on just indicates that you haven’t solved the barking problem or taught him not to bark. All the dog has learnt is that when the collar is on, barking is unpleasant, when it comes off barking is fun. My friend’s dog used to run and hide from her whenever she pulled the collar out. They work in the short-term and can help but you also need to try to make it so that he doesn’t want / need to bark endlessly and pointlessly.

We had a neighbour (shift-worker) complain about Merc barking. Fortunately he was nice about it and gave us some time to solve the problem. It was fixed in about 2 weeks by giving Merc more activity toys (kongs, treat balls etc) when we were out and doing more training (as opposed to walking) in the evenings.

Same with the jumping up. It might help to teach him something else to do when he wants attention. I went with “sit” because that was easy for me, it doesn’t matter what it is just make sure the dog knows an alternative to jumping that gets him what he wants (attention) and make sure he gets nothing for jumping.

I found the concept of rewarding the dog for not doing something really hard to get my head around until I thought of it as teaching the dog to do something else instead. So with Merc, when a cyclist comes past I started telling him to watch me and reward him for doing that rather than growling at the cyclist. It took several months but now as soon as he sees a bike he looks at me.
 

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Mercutio-
Yes, we're still trying to work out barking issues, but at least he stopped with the barking while trying to go after the ball. It doesn't matter if he has his collar on or not in this situation he just doesn't do it anymore. The collar helps him from barking when he's separated from us and he knows we're home, but when he knows we aren't there I think the barking has to do with separation anxiety. We crate trained him in the beginning because we got him in the winter and didn't want to leave him outside in the cold when we were gone and he used to bark in the crate, but doesn't anymore. I think it's because he is used to it now. But, now that the weather is nicer I would like to leave him in the backyard when we're not home so he isn't cooped up in the crate for hours but he freaks out the whole time. He stands at the back sliding door and barks, then runs to the fence and barks, then back to the sliding door. I will try your suggestion by leaving some activity toys for him, hopefully that will help distract him enough to stay settled and take his mind off of being left alone.
 

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Hi reggie,

Sorry I didn't read your post properly - i guess i was thinking about my situation more than anything. I just assumed he was barking because he was bored - not because of separation issues. I re-read my post and it doesn't come across quite how I was thinking.

We also found that telling Merc off for barking didn't work. If he knew we were home he would sit in the yard, look at the back door and bark - he obviously just wanted some attention or something to do so for us I don't think a collar would have been much help although if the activity toys hadn't worked I would have tried an automatic one for when we weren't home.

Sounds like you've done a good job with the barking and the ball games though - I would have thought that would be a harder problem to deal with!
 

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No problem! I just thought I'd try to explain what I was trying to say better. Sometimes what I'm thinking in my head doesn't come out in words quite right. We're still trying to work on lots of issues and this forum helps a lot especially since this is our first Vizsla.
 

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Reggie21- Congrats on your first Vizsla! We have been doing the "no bark" when he wants something we have as a warning. If he continues, we use Gunnr's time out method. Between the two of these, it's been a big improvement already!

Mercutio- We have been working at getting him to sit when he wants attention and ignoring his unwanted behaviour - worst when we're having dinner. Once we are done eating, he gets to eat as his reward for being patient. He usually just goes for his nyla bones now instead of barking.
 
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