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Sota (Soda, Suvi)
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, all

I recently adopted an 18-month old female. She‘s lived most her life in Toronto, ON but recently moved to California. She’s the gentlest soul I’ve ever met — eager to please and give lots of kisses to strangers.

She’s new to me and my area, so I’m keeping the 3-days, 3-weeks, 3-month adage to mind. But I’m also trying to get her into a routine and schedule so there’s something consistent she can count on.

I did my research the past several years before adopting V, but one area I feel like I don’t have a great grasp on is how to mentally stimulate them. I don’t foresee hunting in the near future, but would like to start with something doable at home (small area) before graduating to something more complicated. I’m trying to set both of us for success.

I’ve got plenty of opportunity for physical exertion — running, hiking, fetch. I’m assuming all the new sights, sounds, and smells might be enough stimulation for the short term. She hasn’t had much training from her previous family, so I’m starting with basic training for the next several weeks.

This forum helped with a lot of tips before to get me started. Here’s hoping she’ll flourish even more.

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She looks like a sweetheart 💗 Any time they are using their nose will be good mental stimulation. Hiding treats around the house, putting her food in a snuffle mat, letting her follow a trail on your walks. I don't personally have any, but I hear their are puzzle games that hide treats. Training in general will both strengthen her brain as well as your bond. Remember to make it fun!
 

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No worries, you’re on the right path.
Get the obedience locked down. Assume nothing, and start from ground zero.
Two devices from the hunt community will be of great value to you.
Get some type of a location collar on her. A bell, electronic tone, etc. When you are finally able to turn her loose, you can keep track of her audibly. You be stunned at how fast they disappear into the background. You may not see her, but you can hear her.
If you have no aversion to using an eCollar, I highly recommend one. They’re not a shortcut, but they will condense the time for you. Some models can perform the role of obedience, location, and point. ( If she goes on point naturally on her own, she will be dead still, and make no noise. You need to be attuned to this, to avoid correcting her, incorrectly.)
If you can get her out, and off leash, as often as you indicate, she will take care of the mental stimulation herself.
You don’t need much space to train the obedience component.
 

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Sota (Soda, Suvi)
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you. I have been considering and looking into those collars.

We have a few off-leash areas nearby that I plan on taking her to. She did well at the fenced dog park running around and chasing me, burning off stress. She comes to me when called, though not perfectly yet. But I’ll take it. Once we both trust each other enough to have reliable recall, I’ll go into the trails where she can really let loose and do her thing. That place I was researching the Garmin collars because we get very poor cell reception there.

As you said, assume nothing and start from scratch. We started with a 1+ hour walk + jog + run/chase in the dog park then some “find the treat” game with my hands.

She’s knocked out for the night. Phew!

now I know what people mean by a tired V is a good V. I know she’s still growing, and I’m excited we can grow together.
 

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If you’ve not used a “ check cord” previously, it is insensible for getting your girl off on her own in the brush,
Buy 50’ of soft cotton rope, make a loop in one end for a snap to put on her collar, but preferably a full body harness. Leave the other end bitter, no knot.
When she starts moving about, that 50’ of rope gets tangled in brush, and kind of “ ground ties her in place” until you free her.
The reason for not putting a knot in the bitter end, is that you want the rope to act like a progressive brake, and slow her down to the stop. A knot can get caught and bring her to a very abrupt stop. You don’t want that.
Have fun with her.
 

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Sota (Soda, Suvi)
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks. I’ll try the check cord and longer leash next week after getting in a solid, 1-week routine as we work on her loose-leash skills.

I know she desperately wants to run, but between the distractions and new environment, I’m at the bottom of her interest when trying to get her to me. She does seem to return when she’s scared or tired. I’ll be working with whistles as my lips don’t do a good job in the rain.

I’d like to ask for tips on getting her used to being alone even for just short bits of time. I believe this falls under the separation anxiety umbrella of stuff, and I don’t know if it’s harder for an 18-month old whose training is non-existent.

Looking at her notes:
  • She slept with previous owner (so I’m assuming no crate training)
  • In the 5 days before transitioning to me, she was boarded in a facility with her own room, with “play time” — maybe every few hours or so
At home, I have her travel kennel with her crate pad; I found a blanket she’s very comfortable with and I’m training it to be her calming area / “place”.

I will try and train her to get used to sleeping in her crate even if only just for naps; unlocked crate for now.

In the few days she’s been with me, she loves being by my side (Velcro?)

When I go to the bathroom, she goes to her place and is calm

However, when I have to leave her alone in my living room to go empty the trash, pick up mail, etc — she starts whining. I’m doing this in short increments first, 1-5 minutes but I don’t know the line between my returning being a “reward” to her whining or “tough love” to let her chill on her own.

thoughts / advise?

I know this isn’t uncommon since there are many adult-rescues, but I’m wondering if there’s a difference between puppy tactics vs some dog that’s had “history”.
 

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I would say that for the first few weeks, coddle her a little bit more than you might normally. The time for some tough love will come, but you really need to know her better.
Her whole world has been turned upside down, and despite what many believe, I personally think that dogs know it is, or has, happened, and it stresses them out to no end at times. Be gentle with her for a few weeks.
The in your pocket, constantly wanting to be by your side, behavior is kind of a breed attribute, so is the whining when she doesn't get to accompany you. My dog, Finn, is three years old, and I can't get in and out the back door without him wanting to "butt in". Finn suffers from zero separation anxiety.
"Generally", true separation anxiety is accompanied by other negative behaviors like tearing things up, trashing their kennel/crate, urination, uncontrollable barking. The dogs also start to really get their heart rates up and pant/slobber like you wouldn't believe. If she's just kind of whining a bit, let her go on some trips to empty the trash, and make her stay for some trips. She needs to establish with confidence, the pattern in her mind, that when you go out the door, you will be coming back.

Even though she has her full adult size at this time, she is still very much a puppy, and will do puppy behaviors. You have to look at her like a puppy, and make no assumptions based on her size. The more consistent, and regular your routine, and the more predictable your behaviors are to her, the quicker she will settle down. Animals thrive on a regular routine. It brings their stress levels way down, when they can pattern associate what is going to happen next.

I think in a few weeks you're going to be fine and having a riot of a time with her.

Oh, one more thing. There really is no limit to the length of a check cord. 50' is just a nice length. I've had mine on 100-150 yards of parachute cord, in big open fields. My dogs are meant to hunt, so I like to get them out and away from me as early in life as possible. As adults, when I cut my dogs loose, they'll typically be within a 50-100 yard radius of me. I don't want them to remain close to me, unless they need to be. That's why I use such long cords.
 

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Sota (Soda, Suvi)
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you very much for your insight and suggestions. She is a giant puppy goofball that I see is very willing to please.

She does so much better with a long leash (30’) than short; often looking back, coming back, and staying within 30’. We’ll continue to build this.

She’s starting to stare and be still with birds, eyes forward, sometimes body trembling, deaf to everything else. Unsure what to do this right now — mark, praise? She even foregoes her liver treats.

Squirrels she goes bananas and lunges. This is going to be a challenge for me while in the suburbs with moderate vehicle traffic.

Fun and new things ahead of us.
 

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Praise, Praise, and more Praise!!! You are a very lucky person. This can be a key behavior to accelerate your training. Let her bring this out to maximum development.
Look up internet articles on staunching a dog at point, and steadying to wing. A dog that does it all on it's own, with no breaking, is very much desirable.
Squirrels and Vizslas are "just a thing". If you don't want her to mess about them, you'll need to train in the "leave it" command. Squirrels are easier than rabbits though. they just run for the nearest tree, and you can get your dog back easily. Rabbits take off and you have track meet on your hands. I am so glad Finn has zero interest in Rabbits! I haven't always been that fortunate.
 
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