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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone!

I have a 10 week old vizsla girl, Tilley, and so far she has been pretty great. Of course she's a typical V and is driving us insane lol but she is so smart and a bold/very confident pup.

We had our 2nd week of puppy socialization/training class tonight and it was a nightmare, I was almost in tears. The thing is, she can do all of the commands amazingly at home, especially for being the youngest puppy in class. But during the class, there are 4 other dogs and she is SO fixated on wanting to go play with them that she chokes herself on leash the entire time.. I mean the whole hour. She will not take even the highest value treats during this time. The trainer told us forget about the tricks and just reward for any type of focus back on us or away from the dogs and we couldn't get it for even a second. The first week we thought it was just her being out of her comfort zone but tonight she was 10 times worse. The trainer let them all play together at the beginning of class this week (last week it was at the end) so I feel that made it worse. We felt horrible for her as she was clearly stressed and we were embarrassed as it must've looked like we've done no training with our dog.

I'm wondering if anyone else had an experience like this with puppy class? Should we find another type of trainer, or just one who does private sessions and we can slowly work up to other dogs as distractions instead of being in a room with multiple dogs from the start? We are honestly considering dropping out of the class even though we've already paid, as it seems to be only harming her mental state and she is not learning anything. We're worried we've already damaged her and it will be harder to be able to bring her to places with us in the future.

Any advice would be appreciated, thanks guys!
 

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Hahaha ohh this reminds me soo much of my first puppy classes. I remember Fred was so excited and had no focus at all. She wouldn’t react to her own name and I couldn’t get her to sit or focus. I felt exactly the same as you did. All these other puppies were so much better behaved. But you’ll quickly realize you have a Vizsla. Their energy is something else, and in puppy class is when you first realize that. Once they learn to focus, you’ll be top of the class, because they’re so eager to learn and work with you. Just give it a few more weeks of bonding and getting used to puppy classes. You could try and skip the 10 minutes play time, and focus on getting your dog to calm down and watch from a distance. I’m not a fan of puppy playtime with a lot of puppies.

Focus on trying to grab her focus (“look at me” / “name”) with great treats, we used dried fish (smells nice). But you’ll have to train it af least 3 times a day for 5 minutes for it to start working. Once you can get her to focus on you with other dogs around, things will quickly change for you guys. You can start at home (no distractions) and move outside, then puppy class as your ultimate challenge. But you’ll have to practice at home and during walks during the week.

When Fred turned one we took her to hunting classes and encounter she exact same situation again. She was so excited so couldn’t focus at all. I was so frustrated. Fast forward to a few weeks later and she was at the top of her class again. You’ll learn soon how to channel that energy, once you get focus you’re going to rock it!

I wouldn’t recommend dropping out, once you work through this, you’ll both have a better relationship and you’ll learn to thrust the process of working together
 

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Oh we had a very similar experience with Ellie. She was one of the youngest in the class. It was super frustrating and embarrassing but you have to not let it get you down. She just wanted to play and can care less about me or anything else. I started using a mix of all kinds of very interesting treats as this was the only way I could attempt to get her attention on me. Otherwise I spent a lot of time stepping on her leash while she tried to get away from me. After some weeks it got better where she was starting to focus in on me for treats and repeating our training that we do at home. In fact the trainer started getting very impressed at our progress , when Ellie could focus for just a few minutes, she sure impressed the class exceeding what the other dogs can do!

Keep it up, the socialization of puppy classes is invaluable. It will be a challenge but just learn to roll with the antics and keep playing that calm and collected handler no matter what the pup is doing. If needed take a decompression walk away from the group then re-engage.
 

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Headed to week 4 of puppy class later today with our 13 week old Katy. Experienced exactly the same challenges and was so frustrated, but she's making good progress at home so I use the class as a socialization outing. Any real training is a bonus. I expect her to do better in that type of setting later.
 

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We currently have a 5 month old V and like everyone else on this page has mentioned, our first few weeks of puppy class were similar. The other pups in the class would fall asleep mid lesson and Jasper spent every class just trying to play.

We were fortunate that the trainer had experience with Vizslas and GSPs in the past. Instead of focussing on commands, she gave us some fun games to play with him to grab his attention.We gave him lots of praise every time he looked our way or sniffed one of the treats.

If it’s any consolation, this is normal vizsla behaviour. We stuck it out through all the lessons because it was a great opportunity for him to have supervised puppy socialization even if he wasn’t as productive in class as the other puppies!
 

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Very similar case for us with our Viszla (he's 11 months old now). We started a puppy class with him at 12 weeks of age up until he was 24 weeks old. The trainers specialised in gundog training for labradors. Alvin started really well but we found that as the weeks progressed he was getting very frustrated at sitting and focusing for prolonged periods and would bark and whine during the classes. The trainer started to make a point in front of the class and said things like "ooh that vizsla needs a head collar (which she conveniently sold) ", "you need to be much harder on that Viszla!" or "you need better treats!!".

It was at that point I decided I wouldn't take him to those classes anymore as I didn't believe the trainer understood the behavioural characteristics and training requirements for the vizsla. We've since been going to 1-2-1 gundog training sessions with a trainer that owns a Viszla and has a good experience with Viszlas, from 24 weeks to now.

He absolutely loves the training, he is extremely well behaved at the sessions and I firmly believe he is head and shoulders ahead of where he would be had we stayed with our first trainers classes.

This is my opinion, everyone will have different view - all I know is that I am happier and the dog is happier at the sessions and that is all that matters to me. Don't let anyone make you feel that your dog is wild - a HPR is a different beast and you will feel in your gut if your trainer knows how to guide you or they are simply taking your money.

Tom
 

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Very similar case for us with our Viszla (he's 11 months old now). We started a puppy class with him at 12 weeks of age up until he was 24 weeks old. The trainers specialised in gundog training for labradors. Alvin started really well but we found that as the weeks progressed he was getting very frustrated at sitting and focusing for prolonged periods and would bark and whine during the classes. The trainer started to make a point in front of the class and said things like "ooh that vizsla needs a head collar (which she conveniently sold) ", "you need to be much harder on that Viszla!" or "you need better treats!!".

It was at that point I decided I wouldn't take him to those classes anymore as I didn't believe the trainer understood the behavioural characteristics and training requirements for the vizsla. We've since been going to 1-2-1 gundog training sessions with a trainer that owns a Viszla and has a good experience with Viszlas, from 24 weeks to now.

He absolutely loves the training, he is extremely well behaved at the sessions and I firmly believe he is head and shoulders ahead of where he would be had we stayed with our first trainers classes.

This is my opinion, everyone will have different view - all I know is that I am happier and the dog is happier at the sessions and that is all that matters to me. Don't let anyone make you feel that your dog is wild - a HPR is a different beast and you will feel in your gut if your trainer knows how to guide you or they are simply taking your money.

Tom
I had pretty much the exact experience when I had taken Pillu at 11 to 16 weeks at a puppy socialization and training class … the puppy socialization really helped him I think , the training was complete nonsense. I then bought some online subscriptions from some really good trainers and spent a lot of time learning and training with him … the whole journey has been fun for both of us.. we are still learning everyday … I don’t hunt … but wonder if gun dog training will still help
 

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Hi everyone!

I have a 10 week old vizsla girl, Tilley, and so far she has been pretty great. Of course she's a typical V and is driving us insane lol but she is so smart and a bold/very confident pup.

We had our 2nd week of puppy socialization/training class tonight and it was a nightmare, I was almost in tears. The thing is, she can do all of the commands amazingly at home, especially for being the youngest puppy in class. But during the class, there are 4 other dogs and she is SO fixated on wanting to go play with them that she chokes herself on leash the entire time.. I mean the whole hour. She will not take even the highest value treats during this time. The trainer told us forget about the tricks and just reward for any type of focus back on us or away from the dogs and we couldn't get it for even a second. The first week we thought it was just her being out of her comfort zone but tonight she was 10 times worse. The trainer let them all play together at the beginning of class this week (last week it was at the end) so I feel that made it worse. We felt horrible for her as she was clearly stressed and we were embarrassed as it must've looked like we've done no training with our dog.

I'm wondering if anyone else had an experience like this with puppy class? Should we find another type of trainer, or just one who does private sessions and we can slowly work up to other dogs as distractions instead of being in a room with multiple dogs from the start? We are honestly considering dropping out of the class even though we've already paid, as it seems to be only harming her mental state and she is not learning anything. We're worried we've already damaged her and it will be harder to be able to bring her to places with us in the future.

Any advice would be appreciated, thanks guys!
I would skip the puppy class and just let her go to daycare a few hours a day in one of those supervised settings once she’s fully vaccinated. You’re doing great training at home- just wait till she’s a little older for a class. Right now she just wants to socialize and play
 

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I would skip the puppy class and just let her go to daycare a few hours a day in one of those supervised settings once she’s fully vaccinated. You’re doing great training at home- just wait till she’s a little older for a class. Right now she just wants to socialize and play
Of course she’ll need to be a bit older- around 17 weeks my V did great socializing at daycare! He’d only go for about 2 hours and would crash for hours afterward
 

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This sounds familiar. I only lasted two classes after leaving in a full sweat and having flashbacks of mommy and me with a colicky baby. Our classes were shut down bc of Covid, but all Mo wanted to do was play with the other dogs, barked non stop etc. We ended up having the trainer come to the house and focus on a few things and then do training walks. Good luck!!
 

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I've had the same thing with both my V's. I used to exercise them with other dogs before class, get to class early so he could play with any of the puppies there before it started. I also did not feed them dinner so they were hungry and brought the best treats I could find (hot dogs and cheese that sat together for an hour or so). It gets better, once we graduated the puppy classes (not sure how to be honest) they both became the superstars in regular training classes.

I also noted that they fed off of my nervous levels. They knew I was nervous and anxious. I was sitting forward in the chair, trying to keep my arms on him to pat him, stop him from choking etc. Had the leash wrapped tightly around my wrist. I once had a trainer that told me to sit back, take some deep breaths and not to worry...and I could see the impact on the dog as well.
 

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I went through two classes, two different dogs. The first class was a dog obediance class. The pup was a female V named Sofei about eight months old. We did go through the whole class but was not the most enjoyable time. A lot of pulling, whinning, and not paying attention to the master. We did get an award at the end of the class though. It was "The most improved with a very difficult dog". I did not view it as much of an honor as it just meant that we did make progress.
The second class was a puppy socialization class. The pup was a male V named Gus about four months old. Things were going kinda ok. We went to the second class and the instructor did a thing where she threw treats into the middle of us. We were sitting in a big circle. She said when I say to, let the pups go. Gus was one of the smaller ones there. He is VERY food oriented. When I let him loose, he ran into the middle like all the rest of them going after the treats like he was starved (which he certainly wasn't). He ran head into a german shepard that was at least twice his size. They were both after the same treat. Gus grabbed the german shepard by the leg and the shepard was whinning and rolled over on his back being subsmissive to him. Gus got the treat. I was so embarassed and disgusted that I never went back. The instructor said it was ok and that they are just dogs, but I felt like that was a poor thing to do with a dozen or so pups.
I guess I will just read books, watch videos, let him socialize with other dogs, but never do the treat thing where they have to compete for the food.
He eats so fast that I did end up getting one of those bowls that have the grooves so that he has to work a little at getting the food out. Sure did slow him down. I would say it takes him 3 to 4 times as long to finish his meal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you everyone for the advice and reassurances that she's being a normal V in puppy class lol! We have decided to stick it out but also agree with what some of you said about finding a trainer who has experience with these specific dogs.. once she turns 5 or 6 months we'll be starting her in a different style of training with someone with more experience in hunting breeds. Our current trainer told us this week in a pretty condescending tone that "this breed needs puzzles and something to do," as if we don't do mental stimulation/puzzles/training with her every single day. I'm not sure she understands Vs if she thinks she will be completely calm in puppy class (at 12 weeks old) just because I gave her a puzzle. Oh well, we will keep working on our training at home and on walks, etc. She is so smart. Thanks everyone 🙂
 
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