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Hi,

My fiancee and I have wanted a Vizsla since we encountered one in Napa in January of 2010. Until last month, we were living in different cities, and with the amount of travel done to see each other, owning a dog was not possible. Now that we are in the city, we are getting serious about dog ownership. Before we pursue a Vizsla, we want to make sure that we will be able to give our dog everything he/she needs to be happy. We just bought a townhome, so we don't have any backyard that is truly our own. Also, we both work a good amount of hours. Fortunately, I only work about 5 minutes from home. Do you, as V owners, think it would be possible to provide a good home for a Vizsla? How much exercise does your dog get a day? Any insight you can provide would be very much appreciated.
 

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GL 1980,

I'm kind of cranky today so bear that in mind.

The best way I can explain where a Vizsla fits into our lifestyle I need to give you a bit of background.

My wife and I have been married 36 years. We raised two great girls and both have careers that take quite a bit of time. It was not until both girls were through college and had just got married before we started looking for a "hard-driving sporting dog" like a Vizsla. In my mid 50's I wanted a dog that would get me out into nature and active. Watching TV, resting, reading books by the fireplace was getting old. For my health I wanted a athletic dog that would challenge me to keep up with it.

It wasn't about the looks of a Vizsla, but the energy and out-door aspect I was looking for. A German Shorthair or Pointer were on the short list. I had never heard of a Vizsla, nor seen one.

We first thought of adopting, but doing hours of study, we came across the Vizsla breed. Then we met with Vizsla owners and saw what they did with their dogs. Lots of outdoor activity. Hiking, competition, hunting all sounded good to me.

We have a great life with our Vizslas now. We had cocker spanials, and english springer spanials before and liked them fine. They were lower maintenance dogs. Not nearly as demanding as our Vizslas. They fit our lifestyles better as the girls were growing. We had no problem taking them to a kennel as we flew places for a vacation for a week at a time.

Since owning Vizslas, we have not left them for more than a couple days in four years. We bought an RV so they can travel with us. I learned how to hunt upland birds so I could watch them do what nature intended them to do. They are the centers of our world. We have three grand-kids that we love, but we spend a 100 times more time with the dogs than with the grand-kids.

I do not want the Vizsla to become a "popular" dog. The Vizsla is a special breed that should be purchased by people who want the "high-powered hunting dog." That is in their genes and the breed, to remain strong, needs owners who will develop and promote those aspects of the dog.

Sometimes I wished the Vizsla was not so good looking. German Shorthair Pointers are very much like the Vizsla but very few people buy a GSP for its looks. They purchase them to "work" with them.

So, GL 1980, are you ready to commit your life for the next 15 years to a dog that will drive you nuts unless you spend the time to channel its natural energy?

http://redbirddog.blogspot.com/2009/06/jack-sharkey-my-dog-world-inspiration.html

That is your first question to answer.

When you are spending more time with your dog than with your fiancee, will she understand?

What happens when little ones come and demand your time? Where will your Vizsla fit into your very limited time?

Do much to find your answers before committing the dog to your lifestyle.

Rod a.k.a. redbirddog
http://redbirddog.blogspot.com
 

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Rod is right. While some will tell you you can manage a V in those living situations, I do not believe it is best for the dog. V's need family around them, they need their people with them. They require a lot of not only physical, but mental stimulation. Living in a townhouse, without you own patch of grass in my eyes may end in the dog becoming an ill behaved animal. Here is my regime. I have a V part time (between two and 7 days a week depending on the ex's workload) and a German Shorthaired Pointer. The V is 8 months old on the 25th of this month, the GSP just turned 15 months.

5-5.30am- Up for a walk with them for an hour, which includes some on lead and some off lead where they can run.

12.30-1.30pm - Home at lunchtime, eat a sandwhich while I take them for an on lead walk for 30-40 minutes.

5.-5.30- In the car and off to the forest (we call it bush here in Oz) and let them chase birds and track kangaroos till 6.30-7.00pm depending on when they run out of steam.

Home for dinnner. Then at about 9.30-10.00pm, I wake back up (I've been ill, so I fall asleep early about 8pm) and take them around the block one more time before bed.

I sometimes skip the lunchtime walk if I am busy at work or travelling around the metro area for work during the day. When this happens, the GSP and the V are pretty **** excited to get out for a run. I have a large backyard sitting on about an 1/5th of an acre, with lots of bushes and trees and a huge grass area for them to run around and play when the weather is nice and a covered outdoor area about 10 metres by 30 metres for them to play when it's raining.

My weekends are much like Rod's, it's all about doing something with the dogs. I take them camping a lot in the nicer weather. Mostly to the beach, where I have found a bush camp which is dog friendly, as is the beach in front of it. It's about 30 miles long, so you can walk all day if you want to. Otherwise, it's up into the Aussie bush in winter while the snakes are hibernating, tracking deer, kangaroos and wombats and chasing birds.

If all that sounds like the sort of thing you are up for, then go for it. But, you will need to look for a very chilled out V! Also remember, with just one, they get very lonely while you are at work. So, best you get two!!! :)
 

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What redbirddog and Ozkar describe is truly the perfect life for a Vizsla! Their dogs are lucky dogs!!

I found my Willie Boy on Petfinder.com. He was a lost dog in the middle of a very cold Michigan winter. Someone called Animal Control and they came and picked him up (and saved his life), but when I spotted him online he was sitting on death row. That particular facility has a 70% kill rate. Yikes! And he was only about 2-years-old.

Now, I do take Willie for regular walks, but not nearly as much as Ozkar, and I KNOW he doesn's get as much exercise as Rod's dogs, either. He does have the benefit of his own back yard, and spends a lot of time out there hunting and sunbathing. His manners are perfect in the house, and he is the light of my life!

If Willie could talk, and the question was put to him -- Which would you prefer: 1) Euthanasia at the dog pound, or 2) a relatively laid-back life with Momma? I KNOW he would choose answer #2. The Vizsla needs plenty of exercise, but is also an adaptable dog. ;D And Willie is far from being a couch potato.

p.s. Maybe you could consider adopting a young adult Vizsla from a rescue group. That way you avoid that frenetic puppyhood, have a calmer dog, and also a grateful dog. They do know when they've been rescued. Willie bonded to me like Super Glue!
 

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Wow, Ozkar! My boy is jealous of your dogs' schedule. Lucky dogs. :)

GL_1980: If you are willing to be quite flexible with your schedule, and presumably willing to devote most/all of your free time when you're not working to the dog, you can make it work. It may certainly require sacrifice on your part! I think that you are the only one who can answer your own question.

When you say you both work a good amount of hours...what is that, truthfully? How much time will the dog be left alone? I personally would not make a habit of leaving your dog home alone more than 8 hours a day (but that's just me--perhaps others have had success with longer amounts of time? [edit: and definitely not even close to this long if you're bringing home a puppy--I was talking about older puppies and adult dogs]). Will your employer be flexible about you running home in the middle of the day to take care of things? I do know Vizslas that do just fine in apartments or even houses without fenced in backyards (mine, for example!), but it will require more effort on your part, and since you've bought a townhouse, that likely (?) means that you'll be putting forth this effort for nearly the entire lifespan of the dog. Is there a place where you can provide a Vizsla with some regular (probably at the very least every other day, if not daily) off-lead romping and exploring? Not just a dog park, since some dog parks are horrid (some are really lovely, it all depends), and it'd be good for you to have more than one option in that regard. It would also be good if you could provide him with lots of opportunities to socialize with other dogs and people. They will, for the most part, be able to adapt to the kind of life you give them, as long as they're still getting plenty of activity and mental stimulation. They're not good dogs to have around if you're not going to be able to offer them these things.

I agree that rescuing an adult dog might be better suited to your lifestyle than training a puppy--they do get the crazies! Plus, if either one of you is a runner or biker, you can get the dog on that right away, instead of waiting for the dog to finish growing. It'd be a great way to help keep the dog active.

Jasper and I used to have a pretty tight schedule, but I'll confess that this has changed recently. Regardless, he normally gets at least one to two hours off-lead, plus about a total on-lead walk time of about an hour or a little more--I expect this amount of time to grow a bit as he gets better on leash and therefore requires a little less mental exertion on both our parts. This is interspersed with some interactive play around the house and many short training sessions. This all means that I am pretty much devoted to his needs when I'm not at work or sleeping. Right now, my social life truly revolves around him. If I want to do something during the evening, I ask myself, "Can I take the dog?" If the answer is no, the next question is, "Can I make sure he's had enough exercise and stimulation so that he won't be bored and anxious while I'm gone?" Of course, Jasper's a puppy and demands more of my time than an adult dog might, since he needs to be under relatively constant supervision.

Anyway, there are lots of questions you have to ask yourself about whether the sacrifices to your time are worth it. Not trying to sound like a Debbie Downer (because again, I think you could probably make it work out great for you and the dog), just want to make sure you're asking yourselves these questions and answering them honestly. :) Sorry so long and rambly--got no sleep last night!
 

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We are not retired by any means but are very fortunate because we can keep our V with us all the time. Our winters are cold making for a problematic outings, sometimes.
Our breeder stongliy suggested to keep our V active even during -20C, every day.
If dangerous to go outside we were asked to cut some calories and use a treadmill. Sam learned to walk on the treadmill very early on.
I gave up gyms long ago.

IMO, there are other dog breeds that suit your living conditions. Please, do not pick this dog based only on looks.
 

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GL.....
We on the other hand are the opposite of the others.

We work 30 minutes away from home, do not have a backyard and do not own our house. We live on the second floor of a house and in a big city but not in the downtown core.
We have a vizlsa and he is a good dog.

We have invested lots of love in this dog, lots of time and he gets a TON of exercise.
Yes, it was tough when he was a pup but we made it work. In the perfect world I would work from home and live north of the city and be able to do what the others do but that's just not reality for us.

Our boy hunts (for competition) he goes to obedience (in hopes to get him in to competition), he gets lots of off leash time and he gets to head up to the cottage where he can swim all day, run around and sniff something other than City smells and just enjoy being a dog.

If you truly feel a V can fit in your life then go for it.
Just remember these dogs are a lifestyle....they will get you out and about walking in forests and just plain exercising more than you would imagine.
They are wonderful dogs and great athletes.

Good luck with your decision.

ps...I have been a huge follower of RedBird's blog, one of the better ones in my opinion.
This pretty much sums it up. ;)
redbirddog said:
http://redbirddog.blogspot.com/2009/11/life-before-and-after-vizslas.html

Above post shows how it changed ours.

Happy trails,

Rod a.k.a redbirddog
 

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Agree with Crazy Kian about making it work when situations are less than ideal; however, I think to do that, you have to be very honest with yourselves about your work hrs & lifestyle. If you work a lot, are you prepared to invest in having someone walk your dog during the day, take time off from work if you get a puppy, and devote almost all of your free time to your V? While many dogs adjust and do fine with work schedules, I do not advocate leaving a dog by themselves for 8 hrs; in addition, I do not think it is fair to leave a young pup more than 2 hrs at a time. They need attention, house training, and bonding. That is just me though, and I know there are others who do not feel that way. Crazy Kian does a fabulous job with their boy, better than many (most) with yards & houses, but you must have the energy & commitment. Vs require a lot of mental & physical stimulation to be healthy. I am currently at home with my kids, and our life/activities center around Pumpkin. We are constantly planning when she will get her next off-leash exercise (at least 3-4 a day). Rain, snow, sleet, shine, sickness, and health. Best of luck with your decision :)
 
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