The Hungarian Vizsla has become a trendy pet to a lot of people. Essentially the Vizsla is a remarkable hunting dog that is considered natural in the field with little encouragement needed. Any well-informed dog owner will know the benefits of a dog’s discipline and training, but what about the Vizsla? We will take a look at how to discipline a Vizsla and the essential dos and don’ts.
To discipline a Vizsla should not be confused with punishment. A Vizsla needs firm leadership from a puppy and consistent, clear direction. They are slow to mature, so a lot of patience is necessary when correcting your dog. The Vizsla does not need aggressive correction and does not respond well to it.
Depending on the type of application you need your Vizsla for, you will have specific training styles that you might need to apply. With the training, you will encounter various obstacles, and as with any puppy, you might face a situation where you need to discipline your Vizsla; how do you go about that without causing distress to your dog? Let us explore.
Why Do You Need To Discipline Your Vizsla?
Discipline and punishment are not the same thing and are often confused with one another. A dog will thrive on knowing what it is that pleases its master, and it will attempt to do that on command or naturally. Let’s look at reasons you need to discipline your Vizsla;
- Puppy stage. As a dog with a natural drive to hunt, it is crucial to start with primary discipline when your dog is a puppy. Commands like SIT, STAY, HEEL, and DOWN are your framework for future controls.
- Small animals. Their hunting instinct will naturally draw your Vizsla to any small animal they will try to point at, flush, or chase. Your dog will need to be able to discern what is prey and what is off-limits.
- Children. Vizslas are considered good with children but will respond if children scream or yell with high-pitched voices; it sounds like prey or something that needs to be hunted. Children also need to understand the limits of the dog and respect it.
- Separation anxiety. Some situations will require your dog to be without you for certain hours of the day; Vizslas are known to suffer from separation anxiety and can become destructive quickly. Crating your dog might be an option for short periods.
- Crating. For sleeping, transporting, or safety while you are not at home, it is essential to go through with crate training and discipline for your Vizsla. Most hunting dogs get crated when transported to the field and are required to be still and calm.
- In the field. When you hunt, and your dog is acting up or disobeying a command, correction is needed very quickly and on the spot to prevent bad habits from forming.
- Other hunting dogs. As a hunter, you will very rarely be on a bird hunt on your own. Chances are you will be with several other hunters and dogs, and you need your Vizsla to behave amicably and follow commands still. It would be advisable if you did not tolerate aggression towards other hunting dogs in the field.
A great way to start your training would be to ascertain the purpose of your Vizsla. Is it going to be a family dog? Is it going to be your right-hand hunting companion for the next ten years or so? With that in mind, you need to plan your training accordingly as the discipline will be for you to follow through with daily commitment.
What Is Discipline?
Disciplinewhen talking about gundogs is how you teach the dog that good behavior and commands that are followed are rewarded. The controlled and consistent discipline will usually lead to good behavior and a delighted dog and owner.
When you talk about a Vizsla discipline, you will need a lot more patience than you think. The Vizsla is known as a very sensitive dog breed that does not respond well to harsh words and, indeed, not any physical contact that can harm the dog.
Discipline is about positively reinforcing the commands your Vizsla will need in the house, in the field, and in society to be a well-rounded dog.
Where Do You Start?
The best place to start with your Vizsla will be in the garden. It would help if you had a secure, quiet place with no distractions and give your dog all your attention. Dogs know when you are half-heartedly engaging, so a mere 15 minutes at a time, in the beginning, is more than enough to build your trust bond.
Start with the basics of essential dog etiquette. No is no. Come when called. Sit and wait. Walk to heel. Learn the WHOA to stop and COME to heel for fieldwork, which must be obeyed instantly.
Puppies love to play, and the Vizsla is no exception; they are not called Velcro dogs for no reason either. They are a high energy breed that seems to live only to please. Due to their high intelligence, early discipline is essential because the Vizsla can be stubborn. They need to learn to follow you and not the other way around.
You can incorporate a lot of your field related commands from your basic training exercises. Once you start introducing your Vizsla to hunting, he is familiar with your orders and will obey.
When you are starting to train your Vizsla and have family members, everyone needs to follow the same commands with the puppy consistently. That way, there are no bad habits that can stem from confusion.
If there is a puppy school in your area and you are not sure if they can socialize a gundog like a Vizsla, visit them, see how the puppies are treated, interact with one another, and if it will be a good match for your Vizsla. You never want your puppy to have a bad experience when socializing, like being attacked by a big dog; this can cause fear and aggression in the field towards other hunting dogs later.
Basic training and discipline go hand in hand, and your Vizsla will have a significant advantage if you follow through with the basics and the essential dos and don’ts.
What Are Bad Habits You Help Cause In Your Vizsla?
When your Vizsla puppy is introduced to his new home, the chances are that it will take a few days to settle into the rhythm of the family. Although it might seem restrictive, there are certain things you will need to enforce from the first night.
Your puppy needs his own sleeping space, and the best place would be a safe crate. Chances are the puppy might cry and whine, do not give in, and take it out of the crate. As hard as it is might be for you to ignore the whining, taking the dog out will show it that crying will get your attention, and they will not stop until you respond.
This critical first step shows the puppy its place in the pack and helps build trust between you and your Vizsla.
Hunting dogs should not have free play time with toys such as stuffed or squeaking toys; this will bring out the prey drive in your young Vizsla and could potentially cause nasty habits with obedience and when confronted with either live or shot game.
Leaving your Vizsla alone for extended periods will almost certainly lead to neurotic behaviors and the dog turning destructive. This is something that can be detrimental to your sensitive Vizslas mental wellbeing.
Not correcting your dog with a stern voice for fear of the dog becoming scared is often a misconception because discipline is confused with punishment. When your Vizsla is doing something contrary to your training or is being destructive, immediately correct with a stern NO and get the dog’s attention on something else. Never correcting your Vizsla will be helping bad habits form.
Why Are Vizslas So Sensitive?
Due to their superior intelligence, Vizslas are known to be sensitive and susceptible dogs. This is a trait that can become complicated if not dealt with early and with patience and understanding.
Vizslas go through a stage like a puppy or young dog where they are scared of everything that looks out of place. This can start suddenly and will need a lot of patience to help them navigate new smells and visuals. The sudden onset of fear can cause them to drool and is a stress response.
A name that most Vizsla owners will be familiar with is the term Velcro-dog. They seem to become attached to you and will do just about anything to stay by your side; this is a deeply ingrained characteristic in all Vizsla and the reason they display anxiety when separated from you.
The hunting ability is already embedded in the Vizsla. Very little encouragement is needed to get them to hunt, point and retrieve; their intelligence needs a gentle hand but firm in maintaining disciplined behavior while working.
Vizslas are also sensitive to their owners and will very quickly pick up on tension, raised voices even in a happy environment or if somebody is feeling ill. They will either hide, which is an undesirable reaction in a hunting dog.
Essential Do’s When Disciplining A Vizsla
With all the training methods out there and so many opinions about what is right and wrong, when you have a Vizsla, there are some essential things you need to concentrate your attention on.
Nothing you read can replace practical training. Essentially it would be best if you did as much research as possible, speak to your breeder and as many Vizsla owners as you can. Depending on your application, whether hunting or obedience, you can watch and learn and use what will work for you.
It’s not really recommended to send your puppy off to a training school where you will not be involved and expect a trained dog upon its return. The Vizsla wants to bond with you, its owner, and that bond grows stronger with every training session.
The basic do’s you need to know;
- Use your voice. For your Vizsla to know when it is on the mark or doing something you disapprove of, use your voice.
- Use your hands. To steady your Vizsla, it might be necessary to hold the puppy by the chest or at the scruff. This is not to harm the dog but to create an association with a sit and stay command.
- Set the rules. Your Vizsla will most certainly test you and your boundaries; make sure you are the alpha, and your dog knows that.
- Be consistent. A dog that is consistently praised after discipline will not associate it with a negative memory. Be consistent with your rules and with discipline.
- Praise. Always praise your Vizsla when it has followed an instruction.
- Reward corrected behavior. If you discipline your Vizsla and they change the behavior, reward them on the spot.
- Correct as you train. Training in the field can have its risks but can result in great discipline scenarios.
These are just a few necessary do’s when you discipline your Vizsla; however, every dog is an individual, so patience and consistency are the keys to success.
Essential Donts When Disciplining A Vizsla
The following list of don’ts is essential to be aware of when you need to discipline your Vizsla.
- Don’t scream at your Vizsla. Using your voice to address your Vizsla when they are out of line sternly is very different from yelling at your dog. You do not want your dog to start to fear you but to respect you.
- Don’t hit your Vizsla. Hitting your Vizsla to discipline it or to correct action is not acceptable; this will not only break trust, but it is harmful to your dog. Hands are supposed to bring comfort and food.
- Don’t isolate your Vizsla. Isolation for a Vizsla could be the worst thing you can do because they are so clingy to their owners. Willful isolation will cause a great deal of fear and anxiety to your dog.
- Don’t ignore aggression. Usually, Vizslas are extremely friendly and loyal. They are kind dogs, and if appropriately socialized when young, they will comfortably live in peace with other animals and children. If your Vizsla shows aggression out of the ordinary, do not ignore it, correct the behavior is possible and remove the dog from the source. Aggression towards children should not be tolerated.
- Don’t neglect exercise. A happy dog will not need to be disciplined for being destructive; Vizslas are high-energy dogs and need to burn excess energy daily. Do not get a Vizsla If you will not have time for them.
- Don’t push your Vizsla. Although very intelligent, the Vizsla is slow to mature, and if you make the dog perform things it might not be able to do, you will end up with a dog that will disobey you out of stress.
- Training and estrus. When your Vizsla bitch is in heat, it is not advisable to do too many outdoor activities as her hormones and instincts will far override your commands. Disciplining her will be counterproductive.
There will always be exceptions when training your dog; however, these few essential don’ts should be a permanent guideline to things not to do. Building good habits in a dog is easy. Breaking bad habits is almost impossible.
Because of the Vizsla’s naturally sensitive nature, it is almost not necessary to discipline them. A sure and steady hand while training your new puppy is so important that they are the building blocks for your partnership.
Remember that anyone can make a mistake with specific discipline methods, and thankfully the Vizsla is a very forgiving breed of dog, which will go a long way while building a bond that requires little to no discipline.
Making sure you have ample time to spend with your Vizsla is essential; this will keep your dog happy, content, and much less likely to become destructive and anxious.
To effectively discipline your Vizsla does not mean you have to be strict and punish it; you don’t need to scream or hit your dog. They are responsive to love, consistency and respect.