If you have a Vizsla, or you’re considering one, you probably know that they are incredibly energetic dogs with a high prey drive due to their history as hunting dogs. You may worry about whether they will be good off-leash regarding recall and fear aggression responses. Are Vizslas good off-leash?
Vizslas are good off-leash if correctly trained and benefit greatly from the more significant amount of exercise and freedom to explore. Patient, consistent training in recall or leash transition prepares them to go off-leash in public. Always keep calm and stay upbeat while training your dog.
You don’t want a dog that’s undisciplined off-leash and runs around, causing havoc, or disappears over the horizon. Ideally, you could let your Vizsla run free and explore while coming when called because then they get freedom and more exercise, and you don’t get pulled on the leash. Let’s see what’s possible with these dogs.
Vizslas Are Good Off Leash If Correctly Trained
While Vizslas vary in temperament, and some are more hyper than others, these dogs generally dash around and make a nuisance of themselves if you have not correctly trained them in recall. If they catch a good scent or a bird flies up, their hunting instincts will kick in, and they will speed off in the excitement of the chase and not listen to you calling them back.
This problem is not unique to Vizslas, any dog that is not trained will misbehave, and other breeds of gun dogs also need a lot of training in recall to behave well off-leash. A well-trained Vizsla is a joy to walk off-leash.
Benefits Of Training A Vizsla To Be Good Off-Leash
There are various benefits to training Vizslas to behave well off-leash. Good behavior is defined as them listening to your commands to come back so that they do not charge at people, cars, or other dogs and create dangerous situations. These benefits include:
- Being able to walk in a more relaxed way
- Having your hands free for carrying shopping or pushing a stroller
- More exercise for your energetic Vizsla
- Discipline that translates to greater control in other areas
How To Train A Vizsla To Be Good Off Leash: What You’ll Need
Don’t expect immediate results when you’re training a Vizsla to be good off-leash. Receptive puppies will learn in a few weeks, whereas older dogs are more set in their ways and will probably take months. Be patient, utilize rigorous obedience training, and gradually increase your Vizsla’s time off-leash.
Practice for 20 minutes every day. As with any discipline, the more regularly you train, the faster you will see results.
To train your dog, assemble the following items: a long leash and treats that they like. People have used hot dogs successfully for this training, so don’t be limited in what you use as a motivator. You can also gather toys to use as rewards for your dog.
Training A Vizsla To Be Good Off Leash: 2 Methods
There are several ways you can train your Vizsla to be good off-leash, and we will look at 2 of these methods.
We do not recommend methods involving negative reinforcement, such as using e-collars. Punishment to teach your dog to obey you will make them fearful and less likely to respond.
Recall To Train A Vizsla To Be Good Off-Leash
This method revolves around ensuring that your Vizsla will come to you whenever you call them. To use it successfully, remember to keep calm and cheerful so that it appears to be a game to your dog.
Begin by playing hide and seek indoors. Hide behind something (so it is easy for your Vizsla to find you) and call them. It does not matter what you say, as long as you are consistent, but “Come” is the most commonly used command. Keep your voice energetic and playful, so your dog sees the training as a game.
When your dog finds you, shower them with praise and make a fuss of them. Give them a reward in the form of a toy or treats within seconds of finding you. Doing so reinforces that finding you was the desired behavior.
Once your Vizsla has gotten used to playing this game indoors, take it outside to your backyard. Here, more objects and noises distract them, so the game becomes more of a test. Play the game daily for a few minutes until they come to you every time you call. Don’t end the game on a recall, as you don’t want them to associate commands with undesirable things such as a game ending.
Once your Vizsla is used to coming on command, start walking them off leash for part of the time and play the recall game every couple of minutes. To begin with, you should not let them stray too far away before you call. Gradually give them more freedom; you will find they stay close anyway and come immediately when you call.
Leash Transition To Train A Vizsla To Be Good Off-Leash
The leash transition method revolves around praising your dog for checking in with you spontaneously. It’s a form of the “catch them doing the right thing” philosophy that works so well when training dogs.
Put your Vizsla on a leash and take them into the yard. If you don’t have a yard, ask a friend if you can use theirs. Your dog’s attention will probably be everywhere except on you, to begin with. However, once they have been looking around at things for a while, they will turn their focus onto you.
When they look to you, say, “Yes!” in a high-pitched, playful voice, and release the leash. Let your Vizsla wander about for a bit. Once they have done so, they are likely to return to you.
When they return to you, say, “Yes!” again in an upbeat, playful tone and immediately reward your dog with a treat. Repeat this process until they are used to sticking close to you. As they become familiar with the idea of staying close, gradually phase out the treats.
Once they have gotten the hang of staying close in your yard, they are ready to go off-leash in public. Remember to keep praising them for coming back to you to check-in.
What About Fear Aggression Responses Off-Leash?
If you have a Vizsla who exhibits fear aggression behavior, you may be concerned about letting them off-leash. While we recommend that you practice counter-conditioning your dog to reduce the fear aggression, you may be relieved to know that the problem is often reduced when the dog is off-leash.
Because a leash holds a dog back, they can feel frustrated that it restrains them from greeting other dogs politely. They may behave better off-leash toward other dogs. If they exhibit aggression toward strange humans, keep them leashed. The consequences of them biting someone are too severe.
Vizslas are great dogs with a lot of energy. They benefit from plenty of exercise, and letting them off-leash helps fulfill that requirement. They are good dogs off-leash if you give them the proper training, and now you know how to do so. Enjoy training your Vizsla, enjoy a relaxed walk while they race around, but not too far, and check in with you often!