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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking to get a new dog in September/October, and a Vizsla is one of my shortlisted dog breeds. I'm really drawn to the breed for a number of reasons, and I've done a lot of research on their behaviour and high energy level - I would just love some opinions from people with actual Vizsla owning experience!
My main concern is the usual question of: how much exercise would be enough??
The kind of routine I believe I would be supplying for my dog is, a 30 mins approx morning walk on the lead/leash, a lot of playing and training throughout the day and a longer walk (1.5 hour to 2) in the evening, OFF lead/leash. This would either be in one of the many big dog parks around here, or up in the woods nearby. Would this generally be enough to keep a Vizsla happy?? I've read some opinions about Vizslas requiring at least 2 hours running off leash a day - anything less and they will go nuts. How much truth is there in this?
I'd also be interested in trying some agility and some tracking just as a hobby, and I'd be spending a lot of time doing training - tricks, obedience, that kind of thing. Do you think this is an appropriate lifestyle for a Vizsla, or should I consider a less high-drive dog? I don't hunt, and I've read some opinions online that Vizslas really do best with hunting homes.
Hope you can offer some suggestions, I'll take everything on board!

P.S. It might also be worth noting that for the first year or so of the dog's life, I'll have a lot of free time - I won't be working, as I'll be doing the final year of my part-time degree. I figured this would be an appropriate time to raise a puppy, as I'll be able to provide it with plenty of socialisation and training to give it the best possible start. I do however understand that Vizslas will need a lot more exercise once they are fully grown, so again, the question of how MUCH exercise is cropping up again!
Thanks.
 

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Looks like you have all the bases covered when it comes to exercise - what ever pup you get will be going to a great home - hope you pick a V - Welcome to the forum !
 

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I am a new vizsla owner, Otto came home in October of 2011. To me, it sounds like you are willing to dedicate plenty of time exercising your pup. Getting him/her involved in agility or tracking would also be helpful keeping them busy and stimulated. A hunting household would be ideal for this breed, but myself and others on the forum do not hunt. Just be aware that they really always want to be with YOU. And you will end up always wanting to be with him. However, that's just not realistic - so prepare yourself to sacrifice some of your favorite past times (like laying around at the beach!) and prepare to hike and walk a lot more!! When you do have to leave them alone, it's necessary to keep them confined in a crate or closed off, puppy proofed room. It is the only way to ensure their safety and also to keep your house intact!

Depending on the dog and his personality, they can be very trying on your patience. I have heard tales of easier vizslas (although I don't believe they exist! ;)). You can meet the litter and rely on the breeder Or trust your instinct but a lot of it is the
Luck of the draw! Ours is a hand full and has been a lot more challenging than I expected.

Also, know that they will be a puppy much longer than one year. From what I've heard from others, the exercising and training is constant for YEARS.

Alllll that being said, Otto brings me so much joy everyday. He dominates my conversations. Every Monday at work, even the customers ask me "how was your weekend, what did you do with the doggy?". ;D. They weasel their little ways into your heart and soon you can't imagine life without them! Good luck, I'm sure you'll get lots of helpful advice from others! Let us know what you decide!!
 

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Hiya, I had the same issue re exercise questions before we had our V back in jan 2010. Other than an unsettled start (3months) I would not swap to another breed ever!! Our V is a complete member of the family and so easy its unreal. I do walk her for about 30-45 mins off lead in the morning but she is fine to be left till later if the weather is bad or you have other plans.
The main issue I have found is that they think they are human and enjoy being with you - or on top of you whilst sitting in lounge but they are so still and sleepy when your settled that you forget that they are there.
We chose a V as they are family orientated and we I have 3 step children (16, 21 & 29) that visit infrequently and I didnt want an issue with them being accepted by our V. I needn't have worried as they are so highly intelligent they do not forget family memebers even after 2 months or so. Our V can recognise my parents car halfway up out road and she knows they are arriving before we can see them (the imminent Bonios are an incentive too!)
Your lifestyle sounds perfect for a V so dont delay, get one today!!! Beware though they do make you wonder why you ever bothered with a partner lol as far more loyal and loving haha only joking! (had to put the last bit incase the hubby reads it X :D
 

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Sounds like plenty of exercise to me. Our pup is almost a year. She's in her kennel during the week from 9-5, and gets a 30-60 minute walk in the morning, and then after work gets 1 hour off leash at the park (sprinting, swimming, playing) or a 1 hour run with us on the leash. This routine keeps her pretty tired and doesn't feel like it takes over our day. However, it does get exhausting keeping it up EVERY day.

One other thing I'll note, with this amount of exercise she pretty much just lays around the house when it's just my husband and I. But any outside stimulation (company, other dogs, neighbors when we're in the yard) and her "OFF" button does not exist.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That's so helpful guys, thank you!
I really appreciate the support, too - I asked a similar question in a general dog forum a while back, and mainly received the general response of "don't get a vizsla, they're for hunting homes, their drive is too high" etc. But I'm just so drawn to them, and although I'm not 100% decided I must say I'm leaning more towards a V now... I can honestly say I've wanted another dog for years, (though my first passed away at the end of January) and I really would be dedicated to giving it a great life, and hopefully I will end up with a great companion! I have also looked into crate training, and it's definitely something I would be doing from the start. And yeah I've heard about their long puppyhoods - I was forgetting that, but hopefully if I pretty much dedicate the first year of my life to their earliest development and socialisation, it'll lay a reasonable foundation for the next few crazy years!
Out of your own experiences, does the dog go a bit stir crazy if, on the odd occasion it gets a slightly shorter evening walk? Like, is there any room for flexibility or is a solid hour and a half the minimum amount they can deal with?
Also, do you find them reasonably easy to train when it comes to tricks and obedience? Are they reasonably handled focused, or are they quite independent thinkers? I've read a few contradicting opinions on this. Thanks again!
(P.S. I just read the most recent comment, again more great advice!! Really encouraging - it's important that my dog will be great with children too, I have a 2 and a half year old nephew who I'd love to get along well with my dog, as his mum (my sister) won't allow him one!!
 

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Sounds like you could give a Vizsla a very nice home! Remember that, at heart, they are hunting dogs... but you don't have to be a hunter to provide them with hunting opportunities.

There is room for flexibility in the exercise schedule once they are past the age of two years. They do settle down a bit, contrary to popular opinion. Throughout their lives exercise is a huge benefit to them (as it is to all dogs)!

As to training, Vizslas are often called "soft dogs" and what that means is that they do not respond well to harsh training methods. Positive reinforcement, lots of repetition and praise, and consistency will get you where you want to go. They are smart but sensitive. Also, I think that whether or not they are "handler focused" depends a lot on how they have been trained. So that's a variable. This is a lovely breed, gentle but also protective. Trustworthy around children... I don't think you can go wrong. I could be a little biased, though. ;D
 

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In our experience, exactly an hour and half is not necessary. Generally, Otto does not act up in the house, although if he is in need of exercise he will whine like mad. As far as training, I think it depends on the dog. Some are extremely independent. At the park yesterday, everywhere you looked there were dogs. One of the owners told me that Otto was the most ADD dog he has ever seen (as Otto was swimming going back and forth from stick to ball trying to decide which he wanted to fetch). In answer to your question, if they do not get 2 hrs one day, he is nOt going to destroy your home or go crazy. Just don't try to make it a habit. You will learn what he needs.


Our breeder told us females are more trainable. From what I have seen, this seems to hold true. (but again I'm a newby.. It's just my observation from the few I've been around). Otto is extremely intelligent and a FAST learner, he just chooses to do what he wants sometimes when distracted. That could be due to my own inexperience training dogs or it could be his independence... Do you know anyone that owns a V? If not, maybe try and find a club in your area and see if you can meet some. I'm sure you'll fall in love as well as see their energy level first hand.
 

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Hi Claire
Well I'll give you my opinion. DO IT! Best thing I ever did. It is hard work and my wife probably didn't realise how much hard work (her 1st dog). I think the exercise thing people get to worked up over, obviously he needs regular exercise but how much is debatable. What I mean is I can walk with Mylo off leash for two or three hours and he won't be that tired as he just walks with me, if I take him out with other dogs for 30 mins he is knackered in no time and if I go running with him for 45 mins he is happy as can be. I make sure he goes out twice a day walking but to be honest as long as he can follow my shadow around and be with me he is happy. I am lucky that for the next two years he can come to work with me pretty much everyday.

I have found that since I started gun dog training the last two weeks he is even happier. I don't think it's just because it's gun dog training it's just training in general, we practice every evening for about 20 mins and he seems to love it.

Hope any of this helps. Hard work but the most loveable, loyal friend you could wish for.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That's all great guys, feeling a lot less worried about my potential as a Vizsla owner now!

I confess, I'm still also considering a GSD, though I know they're very different breeds. Anyone have any experience with them? Do they share any similarities with Vizslas at all? But yeah, I think it's between those two breeds and you've all swayed me a lot more towards a V now!

(P.S. Gingernutter: that's all great - with regards to training, I'll definitely be putting in a lot of time training him/her and working with him/her aside from walks, so hopefully I'll have a pretty happy dog!
 

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I'll just chime in with more agreement. Lots of Vizslas are pets.

Your schedule sounds great. We brought our first Vizsla home when the kids were 10, 12 and 14. The first two years were very intense with training and constant supervision (just like OttosMama said, the dog was either with one of us or confined to a crate or the puppy-proofed kitchen all the time).

At two it was like someone flipped a switch and she became a fairly relaxed grownup dog who could be left alone in the house.

We're at 8 months with our second Vizsla, and feeling the strain of puppyhood again, but we're looking forward to many wonderful years with him. If you're looking for a dog who is affectionate and energetic and you want to spend lots of time with your dog, a Vizsla is a good choice.
 

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I would agree with all the rest here, that a Vizsla sounds like a good fit!

I noted you indicated that you would have a lot of free time the first year of the puppies life, one of the bits of info I read prior to get my puppy was that a common cause of separation anxiety is that folks often get puppies when they will or their kids will be home for months (i.e. summer time after school). The author, Dr. Ian Dunbar, strongly encouraged teaching your puppy to learn how to be left alone, so that when times do arise when it just isn't feasible that you can be home (i.e. when you go back to work or school) with the puppy, it doesn't go nuts as you never taught it how to deal with being alone for any period of time.

Good luck with your future pup! they are a ton of fun - they grow up fast though so enjoy it!



Nate
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yeah that's a really good point actually - I'll definitely be doing crate training from the start, and getting him/her adjusted to lots of different situations like me leaving for gradually increased periods of time.
It's definitely an advantage to having an inordinate amount of free time at the start, because all of the vital early training like learning to be alone etc, can be done on my terms, without many time limits.
 

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I agree. No other dog like a V and everyone and I mean everyone you meet with or without a dog will tell you how beautiful it is...as well as the question "what breed is it"?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Haha I must say, I am very tempted!! My main reason for considering a GSD is their brains - but Vizslas are really smart too, right? Capable of learning a lot of interesting tricks and obeying them reasonably consistently?
And yeah there's no doubt they're one of the most beautiful breeds out there - and puppies so cute it's almost unbelievable...
 

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Are you kidding? Intelligent? The 1st thong Mylo does when I call him is look 360 degrees to see what it is I don't want him to get to! They will amaze you!
 
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