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Hi! Long time reader, first time poster here! I have a beautiful 5 month old female Vizsla who is doing great. She has learned to settle and entertain herself at home relatively well. The issue comes when we visit a new indoor environment (friends house, etc.). I expect a little craziness for awhile, but she struggles to settle down at all and reverts back to some other bad habits (chewing on carpet) and sometimes has accidents (never does this at home).

I know there is some stress in a new environment, but curious if anyone has any tips n tricks for helping her settle down and be comfortable in a different place for a few hours!

Thanks!
 

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Oscar, 14 months, Vizsla
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Hi there!

When Oscar was younger we had this issue when visiting friends and family - he was so excited and simply could not calm down. We traveled with one of his blankets and we asked people that we were visiting to allow him on the couch (after carefully covering their couch with our own props). He usually sits on the couch and we figured that if he gets comfortable, he will settle down easier. We bring our own chew toys and when we visit family with yards, we give him a big bone to chew on (mainly at my mother's house, so he doesn't chew on her roses, or dig her flowers out🤦‍♀️). We try to overtire him even now before we arrive in a new place. So, if we are going to have a family dinner with more people, we run him very good prior to arriving and he will be more than happy to make himself comfortable and take a nap. We made sure that he can see us and that he feels somewhat part of the gathering by sitting on the couch, when we are at the table, eating. He settles in nicely. The blanket helped us create the illusion of "his spot" in all new environments. So it made it easier to send him to his spot in a place where he did not have a spot. Now, in all houses that we are visiting regularly, he has taken over the best spot of the couch, but I am happy that he never bothers anyone and we can enjoy our time together without him up our butts.

It does not help if the family or friends keep engaging him. So we kindly ask everyone to ignore him and refrain from talking in a baby voice, or call him and then expect him to go away within a few seconds. If you want a chill dog, you do not touch the ball, you do not mention the ball, you do not call him over and you most certainly do not speak in a squishy voice. If anyone does that, they just brought the madness upon themselves and it is their fault. You must learn what triggers your pup and avoid doing all those things when you want her to stay calm.

My pup still follows around the people he likes most, especially if they go into the kitchen, but I suspect at least my mom keeps giving him something good to eat in the kitchen when nobody sees her. So, I'm not sure I can blame the dog. Be mindful of what your friends and family are doing because some of them may take actions that lead to bad habits when unsupervised. So I also supervise the humans, not just the dog 😂.

It was certainly more difficult in the beginning. 5 months is really young, and it is normal to settle down harder. Also, the accidents may be the result of over excitement. I would try to enforce some good manners upon arriving (sit, greet nicely, you get to be petted, lay down and wait while we take our coats off, and then straight to your place with a chew toy) - this will help create structure and will not leave much space for going crazy. The issue is that you also need to discuss this with your friends (let them know that you would like them to give you space for one minute after you get in, and follow your lead - pet the pup when you tell them to and do not engage her when she is following one of your commands). Oscar was quite annoying at that age and he did not have the manners he has today at almost 1 year and a half. They take time to learn manners and as puppies it is difficult, but things will get better (keep enforcing the rules and boundaries you wish to be respected when visiting, and she will learn, but have patience, she is soooo so young).

It is great that you take her with you when visiting, because this way, you will see, that when she will be 2, she will be exceptional in all social contexts and she will be a delight (I can almost promise this, because I can see that compared to other dogs that have not been exposed to so many social contexts and as often as possible from an early age, as Oscar has, now he adjusts so nicely in all environments - not just new houses, but restaurants, terraces, offices etc.- and I am sure it is all connected to early exposure and consistency from our part to behave in a certain way).
 

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Everything @[email protected] said for sure. Ours girl just turned 7 mos and we have been taking her all over , meeting people, dogs, dog day camp, family homes, softball practice, puppy class, parks, etc. Every month you will see a difference in how they handle new social events. My mother used to be nervous about having Ellie over her house, now she's great in just a few months time. She even has her own dog bed there that she settles in when we are all sitting down for dinner. I remember 5 months, I wouldn't expect too much from her. Just keep up the socialization!

I met another Vizsla on a walk recently. She was so timid and scared even with us standing 10ft away. It was clear the poor pup had some issues. One problem could be she was never properly socialized when young. I don't want that for my Ellie so we keep it up as much as we can.
 

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Great post! I also have a 5mos old male and left my mom's house the other day almost in tears bc he was behaving so poorly we couldn't even have lunch. She has a 5yr old Weimaraner and we took them on a long walk off leash, but our guy would not settle down after the fact. It was so frustrating. But of course the minute we got in the car he crashed and slept. I will definitely be working on him having 'his spot'.
 

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Fred was exactly the same, we worked on leashed settling on a mat. First at home, then other places and last week I took her on the train and she settled the entire ride (1h) on her mat! I was soo proud! She is now 1 y/o. At 5 months we started working on it with very short sessions (1 min). Goodluck! You’ll get there 😃

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