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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I adopted a Vizsla puppy a month ago, and I'll start by saying it's been a rough month.
I've had major issues with depression and anxiety among other things, but have been slowly putting things together. I'd taken to the line of thinking that a dog is good for someone in my circumstances; particularly the companionship and responsibility aspects. I felt like I was ready for the responsibility of a dog. Unfortunately I was completely unprepared for a vizsla puppy, and perhaps like many an unprepared puppy owner my stress levels, irritability, exhaustion etc have been through the roof. As you can perhaps imagine for someone with my sorts of issues this is causing all sorts of negative thoughts, too. I've been getting particularly frustrated that I feel like I've lost all but any freedom to get anything done on my own and the realisation that I honestly just don't know what I'm doing when it comes to raising a puppy (I mean I have general ideas it's not like I haven't been reading up, but there seems to be so much conflicting information, and there's simply no substitute for having someone competent show you what to do).
I'm not overly busy but I don't have much of a routine as I have work 3 days a week in the evening and have to go out for an hour or two at inconsistent times most days throughout the week for appointments and the like which is making establishing any sort of routine difficult.
Reading what people have said here I feel like I'm getting mixed messages; some are encouraging and others are very dissuasive. Whatever the case I feel like the information I got online before adopting was worthless and I wish I'd found this website earlier because I seem to have completely underestimated the energy levels and commitment required of a vizsla. I thought maybe I just have to survive puppyhood but my impression now is that things are not going to change significantly.

Then in just over a week I'll be coming off break and taking classes. I know for a fact with the way things are right now there's no way I will cope, because as things are I'm rarely managing to spend more than a couple of hours a day doing my own thing.

So I'm fairly sure I already know the answer, but is my situation salvageable?
Thanks
 

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Vizsla puppies can be exhausting, and so can teenage vizslas. I can’t tell you whether you should let him/her go. I can say, if you keep the pup, you need to be committed to fulfilling its needs. If you can not make that kind of commitment. Then talk to the breeder, or rescue that adopted from. Good breeders, and good rescues will be happy to take the puppy back.
If you happened on a not so good breeder, vizsla rescue is always willing to help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What would you say the commitment is, precisely?

I came home from work last night and I could hear him whining like mad from the street. I walked in to the smell of a fresh turd, and he'd pulled the rug I put over his cage off and through. Upon this I feel like I accepted defeat - "I'm in over my head. I don't know what I'm doing."
I mean if I could go back and remake the decision I absolutely would. At least for another year when I'm hopefully more stable and fully prepared, knowing what I'm getting in to. Also better off financially (in my infinite wisdom I borrowed a bit from my mum; at the time of making the decision my mood was unusually high and I was like "I'm ready for the responsibility, I know it will be good for me, it's the perfect time since I'm on break and have lots of time available". Also I think I got gouged... I paid $5000 but now I see some ads asking $3000-3500).
I can see my thoughts right now are being influenced by my emotions. Maybe I could make things work, but I can see what I really need is a stable mood, much better preparation, something resembling a routine, and ideally the help of someone who knows what they're doing. And I don't think it's realistic for me to achieve that wile I'm trying to juggle work and study whilst treading water with the pup.
 

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Normally new puppy posts including my own involve major concerns over Vizsla related manic puppy stuff like sharkies, zoomies, interactions with children, etc. Your post here is more related to whether or not you feel that you are in a position as to whether or not you can fit one of the more higher maintenance breeds of dogs into your life. A person with the time, devotion, and resources can learn to raise one of these puppies and incorporate them into their lifestyle so that it enriches everyone/dog involved. If any one of those things is missing, it would be a rough road. I would weigh my fuel gauges in this regard along with what I really want as a goal with the pup later in life. Only you can make that decision.

Around the commitment question , there is no exact answer. I look at the basics for the pup being loved, mentally stimulated, and physically exercised. I would not want to leave the dog once grown more than 3-4 hours straight alone in any one day, after that I'd look into daycare or have dog walkers/sitters involved. I feel the dog would need multiple trips outdoor with at least 2 walks with one involving at least 1 hour off leash where he can open up and explore running about. I also feel much time especially young should be spent socializing. Bringing the pup to walk around markets, parks, events, even stores and such. Anywhere the pup will be exposed to new sights, sounds, smells, and people with lots of interactions.

Also remember there is such a thing as the "puppy blues" that many people go through including myself. It happened for us around the 3-4mos time-frame. We questioned ourselves if we can do this and if it was such a great idea. One of those "what did we get ourselves into" moments with severe doubts. I had even contacted my breeder about my reservations. She said give it a week, and we did which turned into a few with each week getting better. We were sure glad we stuck it through as around the 5 mos time-frame things greatly improved for the better for us with our girl.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hmm. Logistically I should on paper be able to fit in all those requirements to care for him, but I'm trying to get myself into a routine, get over time wasting habits etc... With the classes coming up I'm increasing my study load to close to full time. Along with work, well I know myself well enough that trying to concentrate on study with a puppy demanding my attention will be hard, and those commitments are likely to leave me with little mental energy to then raise him (and learn how to) properly.

As things are right now I might be able to pull through, but I know going into a semester of study like this is absolutely a recipe for disaster. I think I've been trying to do too much too fast, and need to work myself up to being able to handle increased responsibility and commitment, or I'm going to get overwhelmed.

He's a handsome little fella and I do like him when he's not got me on the ropes. The lifestyle of vizsla ownership still appeals to me. Ah, but it seems I've learned the hard way that that is well beyond my current means. It's an expensive and emotionally taxing lesson but what I've learned about dog ownership and my decision making process is valuable, I guess.
 

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Can't comment on your personal circumstances, but can confirm having had similar feelings and emotions regarding the decision to have a vizsla puppy. I had read puppy advice books and like you say there is so much conflicting information regarding puppies generally, but when it comes to vizslas, much of the information doesn't apply. Vizslas need a bit more practical information about what to expect and the demands they will put on new owners.
That's where I found this website so helpful as there is much to be learned and that is helpful here. I was cracking up for a time, but getting to understand the puppy and his needs was crucial and how best I could meet those needs. I think in the short term at least you have to be resigned to the fact that your time is no longer your own. I was not able to operate as normal when the puppy arrived. My routine was gone and had to be remodelled to suit this very demanding presence. I say this as someone taking on the responsibility alone and I'm sure, although still demanding, it must be heaps better to have someone to share the job with so you can have a break. That said, I have gradually regained a lot of my previous 'life', but it now includes time built in to include the needs of my puppy. At first I'd go out for a short time and come back to him barking, but he has changed and is now more content and happy when I return, appearing to be waiting patiently and relaxed. Other benefits are that my fitness levels are increased with daily walks, so mentally and physically I'm benefiting too.
Things don't always work or go to plan and in terms of routine I have found that you try something, if it works great, if not, modify or try something else. The other thing I found was I was going too far in the direction of changing my routine to completely accommodate the puppy, but then thought hang on there should be a happy medium. There are still issues I need to work out, but they are decreasing as the weeks go by, and that balance I hope will eventually be achieved, where I can have the life I want, and sharing it with a happy and contented dog.
 

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AML93.
You're kind of "all over the place", with no specific information. It's very difficult to try and help, without specifics.
Vizsla puppies can be a lot of work. Any puppy, of any breed, can be a lot of work so this is not something specific to Vizslas. Fo rthe first few months, yes, your routine is going to be based on the puppy's needs.
To even begin to try and help and advise, I have a few questions.
- What is the age of the Vizsla puppy? From your posts I get the impression that it is about three to four months old.
- What are the biggest obstacles that you're trying to overcome?
- What are you trying to achieve? and do you have a time table?
I have had some absolutely brutal schedules throughout my life. Any help I can offer is readily offered.
In the end, only you can decide whether or not you will be able to keep the puppy. That decision absolutely cannot be based on the financials involved. Any monies that you have spent may not be recoverable at all. Whether you overpaid, or underpaid, is meaningless. You have to do what is right for the puppy. That being said, the younger the puppy, the easier to rehome if required.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the replies.
Of course he spent yesterday endearing himself to me - and my dad, too, when I took him there (and was exceptionally well behaved). I can see he's got a good temperament and that I've got a good dog.
I sat down last night and spent a few hours writing everything out. From a logical perspective I'd be better off letting him go. But I figure unless you're herding cattle or something, dog ownership seems to be about emotion, not logic.

I realised that if I managed to shift my attitude and had the belief that I can pull through, it seems doable. And it would be good for me.

To answer your questions:
-He's 12 weeks old
My biggest frustrations have been:
-I don't know how to train beyond the basics (e.g. crate training, lead, recall, fetch, training him to be alone or even how to play with him) and while I've had the intention to learn it via the internet my exhausted has made me struggle to find the motivation; I am usually procrastinating or wasting time or wanting to do other things when I do get time to myself. However he's just had his vaccinations this morning which means I'll at least be able to take him out, take him on walks, obedience classes etc now.
-Having a shadow/superfluous helper gets irritating at times. I've learned that trying to do anything that requires concentration while he's active and wanting attention just doesn't work.
-The barking/whining I find particularly irritating and even aggravating. That's usually when he wakes up from a sleep in the crate. It also frustrates me when he does that (albeit not excessively) when I go to the cordoned off side of the house and feel guilty for leaving him alone (plus I know I'm meant to be keeping an eye on him at all times pretty much). At least I don't have to set an alarm now.
-I'm contending with my own unstable mood, a feeling that I've lost all freedom and ability to do my own thing, and a tendency towards defeatism when things aren't going well.
Overall I don't want to half arse it. I want to be a good master, train him well and not allow him to get into bad habits. Perhaps the desire to do so combined with the frustration of failures and not knowing what I'm doing has been a significant factor in my distress.

-I suppose what I'm what I'm trying to achieve is in there all that; I want to train him well, bond with him and have companionship. I want to be able to enjoy things like hiking with him. But I also want some level of independence to do my own thing when I need to. I need to keep up my study and I need to work. Time frame is not something I've thought about.

After the advice I received I came up with a bit of a framework/schedule. Tell me if this sounds reasonable:
-I'd dedicate an hour or so to solid exercise or play in the morning
-Even if I'm home during the day I'd set him up in a play pen and try and escape and do my own thing for 3-4 hours either side of lunch. Maybe toilet breaks every 90 mins or so.
-I'd spend about 45-60 minutes at lunch time with him; make lunch, do chores etc.
-I'd take him for a walk in the evening. 30 mins?
-Hopefully he'll be satisfied enough to not be too boisterous and he can hang around with me while studying/watching TV/reading/playing video games at night until bed time (I've been aiming for 9-9:30pm. Is that reasonable?)
-And if I need to do something in the evening, although my mum and sister are both busy and have their own things going on, they are around sometimes to step in.
 

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I think it is great that you are looking to create some structure for him. It is important for dogs to have that. With that being said , in addition to the structure there's a lot going on in-between. A young puppy at 12 weeks old will pretty much need to be with you when not sleeping during prescribed nap times, sleeping at night, or when you need to run out for no more than an hour or two max at that age. I really can't see having much non-puppy time in the next few months besides the above listed times when he will be napping or when you have to run out for a bit. We used Ellie's nap times during the day to have our "alone" time and get most things done in puppy-less fashion. We did 1.5-2hr naps two times per day morning/afternoon. Occasionally if we all had to leave the house we'd crate her for no more than 1.5-2 hours at the 12 week age when fully crate trained during one of the scheduled nap times. Outside of those times , it will take a lot of juggling a puppy while working/studying for the next few months. Incorporate the playpen near where you work/study. It will be difficult at first but the pup will eventually learn that fighting the pen won't get them out. You'll probably be taking lots of mini breaks to play/entertain the pup throughout. Of course you may have a super chill V puppy that will just hang out in the pen while you work and study, but so far it seems that is a rarity with this breed. Work to incorporate the pup in your schedule doing chores, etc. Have him follow you around the house while you kick a toy around while you do things, etc. Having the pup with you as much as possible and multitasking interacting with him while you get things done is like two birds with one stone.

Now at 9 months, we are comfortable leaving Ellie up to 3-4max hours when we have to all run out. At 9 months there are no more prescribed crate times when we are home as she is mature enough to nap on her own.

An example is that I work from home and have a dog bed under my desk. After our off leash hike in the woods at lunch, she mostly sleeps under my desk for the next 2-3 hours while I work.

It is a gradual process and the first 4 months is really tough when they demand a ton of attention. Just remember after that they are not a device that you can just turn off and put away , but there are plenty of things to do where you have your me-time with the dog or when the dog is resting especially as they mature.

Hang in there and try to push through the "puppy blues"! BTW , I had come across this reddit sub about this very topic. Sometimes it helps to know you are not alone. There are many success and not-so much success stories. It is comforting that what you are experiencing is not unique and perhaps you may gain some insight. r/Puppyblues
 

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AML93

You have to determine what is important for you. Owning any animal requires sacrifice, and a dog, in particular, requires alot.
With cats, it's fill a tub with sand, a bowl with water, and throw down some dried food and you're basically good to go. With dogs, it's not such luck. You have to be there to let them out, feed them, make sure they have water, and train them. It is no small committment.
Break your daily schedule down and find the holes in it. Time when you don't "have to be doing anything". Time when you're doing what you want to do, and not what someone else wants you to be doing. That time now needs to go to the puppy. Video gaming, clubbing, watching TV, etc, have to take a back seat to the puppy. Those are the kind of activities that can be suspended without penalty. School work and the job, are not. There is a penalty to not showing up for work , or not being prepared for class.
You can't compress the puppy's time into blocks for training. His brain is not capable of handling that. He will need multiple sessions, 5-10 minutes long during the day. You need a break from your studies for a few minutes, grab the leash and play with the puppy for 5-10 minutes.
Every single time the puppy wakes up from a nap in his crate, he is going to whine, cry, and bark. It will be the rare times he does not. Be proactive in this moment. As soon as you hear him stirring about in the crate, open it up, get him outside to relieve himself. Play with him a bit and bring him back in. This is 10-15 minutes of time. Puppies do 4 things. Eat, sleep, play, and go to the bathroom. If your puppy is not actively engaged in the first three activities, it is getting ready to do the fourth. Anticipate the puppy. Yours is a little older now, and can possibly "hold it" al little better, but the rules are the same.
Barking is how the puppy is communicating with you. He has no other mechanism and at this point in his development, you need to be learning his patterns, s that you can better interpret his needs down the line
Dogs are not "trained" to be alone. They are conditioned to it. Some breeds prefer to be left alone, most do not. Vizslas definitely do not like to be left alone. They want to be where you are at. He will be underfoot for the next few months and will always be finding a toy to engage you in play. It is just their nature. Vizslas can develop some destructive habits if left alone. Keep him in the same room with you as much as possible.
The first few months of a puppy's life are critical development phases. You really want to capitalize on these phases, as they will save you a lot of extra time later on. Your puppy will have is "adult brain" intact in the next two weeks. He will not be the same as he was for the first four weeks. You really, really, want to commit your time from weeks 12-14 to introduce him to things. He can't handle any training for long periods of time, 10-15 minutes max, but a lot of training can be done during playtime.
Weeks 14-20, is when you begin the rudiments of obedience training. Leash work, sit, stay, fetch, down, etc. You'll be exposing him to all of these training concepts. Some he'll pick up quick. Some he won't, and some he'll fight you on. Begin to incorporate him into your routine.
From weeks 20-40, keep him on a leash and take him everywhere you possibly are allowed to take him with you.
Remember that he does have to sleep quite a bit. 12-14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period is not unusual. Unfortunately it doesn't come at one time. It would be nice if it did. ;)
Dogs are actually pretty adaptable creatures when given a chance. Keep their "basic" routine intact and they'll adapt. You just have to get them through puppyhood.
 

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In another month, he'll be a different dog with less needs

It gets better. And then when he's 6 months old, you'll have a young dog on your hands... and all of a sudden life with your dog evolves, improves and your bond deepens. This is when the magic happens. Enjoy it and give yourself a break with the expectations. Puppies are challenging! But the good thing is they grow up fast. Keep consistent with your expectations of him and he will respect your boundaries.

I got my first V when I was a single, 28 year old going through major transitions in life. The first few months were incredibly hard and I waffled regularly on whether I could do it.

9 years later.... I am nervous to think about life without my best friend, now that he is getting up there in years.

You can do it, and it will be one of the most important relationships of your life. I promise.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks once again for the advice. I see a lot of practical tips.
I have been feeling a lot better about him the past couple of days.
With the nap thing, how exactly are you supposed to do it? I took from something I read you're supposed to enforce it twice a day, and I was trying to crate him for about 2.5 hours twice a day, which didn't feel like it was working, particularly when I had to work around going to appointments or work. I gave up with that and he is spending a good chunk of the day napping at any rate. What would be an ideal length? And how do you maintain your sanity when he is whining?
 

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Thanks once again for the advice. I see a lot of practical tips.
I have been feeling a lot better about him the past couple of days.
With the nap thing, how exactly are you supposed to do it? I took from something I read you're supposed to enforce it twice a day, and I was trying to crate him for about 2.5 hours twice a day, which didn't feel like it was working, particularly when I had to work around going to appointments or work. I gave up with that and he is spending a good chunk of the day napping at any rate. What would be an ideal length? And how do you maintain your sanity when he is whining?
I think you are over thinking

Your pup will nap when he's tired. When my dog was young and not crate trained, I would move him to his crate when he was half asleep and then open the crate door before he woke up.

Whining... well what is he whining about? Does he need to pee, is he hungry or thirsty, wanting attention? If he has needs and they are legitimate, meet them. If not, ignore the whining and reward him when he stops or when he is behaving well. Constantly reward good and benign behaviour and ignore/let him know when he's behaving poorly.
 

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In another month, he'll be a different dog with less needs

It gets better. And then when he's 6 months old, you'll have a young dog on your hands... and all of a sudden life with your dog evolves, improves and your bond deepens. This is when the magic happens. Enjoy it and give yourself a break with the expectations. Puppies are challenging! But the good thing is they grow up fast. Keep consistent with your expectations of him and he will respect your boundaries.

I got my first V when I was a single, 28 year old going through major transitions in life. The first few months were incredibly hard and I waffled regularly on whether I could do it.

9 years later.... I am nervous to think about life without my best friend, now that he is getting up there in years.

You can do it, and it will be one of the most important relationships of your life. I promise.

My thoughts exactly. I won’t say that our Hannah has “always” been a little angel, but she was never really difficult at all. The only destruction she ever did was to rip out the drippers and drip lines from my flower beds. Yeah it cost a little to fix it, not much, but she was a puppy. Fast forward a year from then and both my wife and I wondered how we could ever love a dog as much as we love our Hannah. She is the sweetest, kindest, smartest, most lovable and cuddly dog we’ve ever had. we never experienced zoomies, sharkies or any other serious problems whatsoever. She never made a boo boo in the house…not even when potty training. She was the easiest to train pup we ever had. Now that she is over 8 years old and is going gray, while I know I have a few years left with her, I can’t bear the thought of ever having to let her go.

Having a puppy, even a Vizsla, is not always easy (even though ours was and is). But if you slow down, and enjoy the journey, and remember that he’ll be there for you through thick and thin, through loves gained and lost, through depression and anxiety, and even through illness like cancer, the puppy difficulties will be but a moment, and you will enjoy the love your V will give you for a very long time.
 

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If you decide to rehome him, do it through the breeder or find your nearest Vizsla breed rescue. If you need help with that, reach out. Please don't just sell him to a random buyer for cash because he will most likely end up in a shelter.

Not going to sugar coat it, puppies are a PITA. They can be WILD!!! But they are babies. You can't expect a baby to be self sufficient in a few weeks time. You may not be ready to raise a baby. No judging here. They're really cute in pictures and while sleeping but the screaming and the shark teeth can get to anyone. I had one that screamed every time I crated her and wouldn't give up. The one I have now loves her crate. Also, you need to feed on a schedule and figure out how long it takes him to poop after eating. Usually it's very soon. It's not random but you have to pay attention. Same thing on peeing. Pay attention and you will notice a pattern. He will have lots of accidents so don't punish him. He's a baby. Also, something very important I learned through pup training is to quit while everyone is happy. Don't keep going when you're frustrated. It will only set you both back.
 

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What would you say the commitment is, precisely?

I came home from work last night and I could hear him whining like mad from the street. I walked in to the smell of a fresh turd, and he'd pulled the rug I put over his cage off and through. Upon this I feel like I accepted defeat - "I'm in over my head. I don't know what I'm doing."
I mean if I could go back and remake the decision I absolutely would. At least for another year when I'm hopefully more stable and fully prepared, knowing what I'm getting in to. Also better off financially (in my infinite wisdom I borrowed a bit from my mum; at the time of making the decision my mood was unusually high and I was like "I'm ready for the responsibility, I know it will be good for me, it's the perfect time since I'm on break and have lots of time available". Also I think I got gouged... I paid $5000 but now I see some ads asking $3000-3500).
I can see my thoughts right now are being influenced by my emotions. Maybe I could make things work, but I can see what I really need is a stable mood, much better preparation, something resembling a routine, and ideally the help of someone who knows what they're doing. And I don't think it's realistic for me to achieve that wile I'm trying to juggle work and study whilst treading water with the pup.
You got robbed, your V should not cost that much!!! 2K would bring you a fine V & sometimes less. Do NOT beat yourself up over underestimating what a V pup would be like. Just from reading how you feel right now, I feel you would be relieved to have someone else raise the pup, unless you could afford someone to do the training for you & exercise the pup. They are AMAZING dogs, but you do have to do the time training & exercising them, it pays off greatly.
If you do decide to let someone else have this lovely creature, do not beat yourself up over it. Let it go, & be happy with your life.
 

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Where we got our boy, in Germany, it’s actually not unusual for people to take vacation days to welcome a new puppy. When we got our boy my husband worked from home. but when he went on an extended business trip, I took time off. A couple of days fully off, then half days off, so I can take care of him.

For the first couple of weeks we barely slept and cleaned up multiple accidents in a day. During his naps we would hurry to get chores done. We also had to train him out of howling and biting and trying to do dangerous things. When we weren’t doing chores, we were dealing with him or walking him (2-3 hours a day), and socializing him with older dogs.

a puppy is kind of like a toddler with sharp teeth. You’re “on” all the time and no, your time is not your own. You won’t be going to restaurants or having a lot of social time or a while. We were two full grown adults with stable and fairly flexible day jobs and it took a lot out of us.

of course he’s the perfect dog now and I’m constantly impressed by what a wonderful character he has. I’m not convinced we could have done any less than we did, to get a dog like him. Part of it is his innate personality, for sure. But a lot of it is training. His socialization and training are pretty spot on.
 
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