If you already have a Vizsla and you are expecting your first child, you need to know how your dog will react to having a baby in the house. It’s difficult to know for sure how your Vizsla will respond but researching how the breed handles infants can give you an indication on how to prepare. On the other hand, if you have a family and are looking for the perfect canine addition, you need to know if a Vizsla will fit into your family.
Vizslas are not aggressive towards infants and toddlers, but they are boisterous and can knock small children over by accident, so supervision is required. Vizslas are loving and enjoy the company of children, especially as they grow older and become playmates. Good ownership is key to a happy child/dog dynamic.
Almost any dog can be good with babies and toddlers if the dynamic is handled properly. It’s more about good ownership than anything else.
Are Vizslas Good Family Dogs?
Vizslas are very attached, very dependent dogs with a tendency to bond deeply with one person, even in family homes. Vizslas will follow this person around the house, sleeping at their feet or preferably on their laps. This has led to them being dubbed as Velcro dogs.
Although Vizslas are one-person dogs, this does not mean that they don’t have love for the other members of the family! They have tons of affection to share out and are even friendly with strangers.
Family homes are actually a really good idea with Vizslas for two main reasons.
The first reason is that Vizslas can suffer from separation anxiety when away from their owners. In a single-person home, if a Vizsla’s owner goes out, they are alone and can become very distressed.
If they live in a family, they will still be sad not to have their favorite person around, but the other family members can console them. At the very least, these other family members can make sure that the Vizsla does not engage in destructive behavior while its person is out.
The second reason is that Vizslas are incredibly high-energy dogs who require hours of vigorous exercise every day. This can be a heavy burden for one person, but in a family, there are more people to share in the Vizsla’s demanding exercise requirements.
Do I Need To Worry About My Vizsla Hurting My Baby Or Toddler?
Vizslas certainly do not fall into the category of nanny dogs, but they are not a breed you have to avoid if you have small children. As a breed, Vizslas are affectionate and not at all aggressive.
The biggest issue is that their energy levels make them quite boisterous. Boisterous dogs can knock small children over in their exuberance. If you have a nervous child, a high-energy Vizsla may scare them.
How Will A Vizsla Respond To A Baby Or A Toddler?
It is difficult to say how each Vizsla will react to a baby or toddler because they are all different and unique blends of nature and nurture. However, there are steps you can take to help them get along. In this article, we look at what to do when you have a Vizsla and then a baby, and then we will discuss how to introduce a Vizsla into your young family.
Scenario One: Vizsla Before Baby
Let’s look at ways in which you can help your Vizsla to adapt to having a new baby and then a toddler in the house.
Socialization involves exposing a dog to various stimuli. This includes different sights, smells, and sounds, as well as people of different genders, sizes, colors, and ages. Socialization is ideally done when the dog is a puppy, but you can also socialize an adult dog.
A Vizsla who has never seen or interacted with a tiny human might not know what to do or what is appropriate. But one who has already been around children should know how to behave and won’t find the introduction to your baby so overwhelming.
Sometimes, Vizslas are exposed to children when they are still with the breeder. Even if you do not have the opportunity to further this socialization when you take the puppy home, they have at least had a good start.
If your Vizsla has never been around children, ask your friends who have children if they would be happy to help you socialize your dog.
If you do not know anyone with infants or toddlers, don’t worry. Your dog will just have on the spot socializing when the baby arrives. Take it slow and be patient with your Vizsla and yourself. You will be making even more adjustments at the time than your dog!
Introduce Baby-Related Stimuli
All of the equipment that you are amassing, such as a stroller, crib, baby gates, etc., can be introduced to your Vizsla beforehand. You can even do things like play baby sounds and use some of the baby products so that your Vizsla gets used to the sounds and smells of a baby.
You need to make sure that your Vizsla can respect boundaries. For example, they need to know that the baby’s crib is off-limits, and they cannot jump against it or climb into it.
Furthermore, it is vital for your Vizsla to know commands like ‘stop’, ‘sit’, ‘lie down’, and ‘come’ before the baby arrives.
Give Your Vizsla A Baby-Free Haven
As new parents, your child’s things will probably spread like a flash flood around the house. You need to make sure that there is at least one spot where your Vizsla can go to find security if they feel overwhelmed by the baby. A good option is a dog crate.
Then as your baby grows up into a toddler, you need to teach them that the crate (o whatever place you have given to your dog) is your Vizsla’s special space, and they should not go there.
Getting Your Dog Used To Less Attention
This sounds terrible, but it’s just a fact. As much as you love your Vizsla, you will have less time to give your dog attention when the baby comes. Don’t suddenly stop everything, but slowly reduce it.
A note of caution: Vizslas are incredibly needy, both emotionally and physically. You can cut back on how much attention you give them, but never to the point at which they feel neglected, or their exercise needs are not met. Remember, a distressed, pent-up dog is not going to behave at its best.
Something that you can try is to hire a dog walker or ask a family member to start helping out in the time leading up to delivery. Then when the baby arrives, your Vizsla is already used to the attention of these other people, and their exercise needs will be met each day.
Introducing Your Vizsla To Your Baby
A proper introduction is essential. You need to be calm when introducing your Vizsla to your baby. Never leave them alone together, but don’t keep them separated. If you never allow your Vizsla to see or sniff the baby, it will never grow accustomed to having a small human in the house.
Furthermore, you need to be careful that you do not accidentally create competition between the baby and the dog. Children and Vizslas are both very demanding of your time. But, instead of leaving your Vizsla in order to attend to the baby, invite your dog to join in the moments and be a part of the family.
Teaching Your Child How To Treat A Dog
Just as your Vizsla needs rules for interacting with your child, your child needs rules for interacting with our Vizsla. They need to be taught that biting, pulling, squeezing, and pinching are not acceptable.
Scenario Two: Babies And Toddlers Before Vizsla
As previously mentioned, Vizslas are not aggressive or dangerous to have around children, so if you choose to get a Vizsla as your family dog, you shouldn’t have issues on this front. Furthermore, many of the tips shared above in scenario one, such as socialization, training, a baby-free haven, etc., can be applied to scenario two.
The biggest question you have to ask yourself before adding a Vizsla puppy to your young family is if you can physically and emotionally handle it.
Vizslas are extremely high-energy dogs, and they also require a lot of emotional attention to be happy. An adult dog who is already trained is challenging to manage at the same time as children. A puppy may be too much for you to handle.
Vizslas are not aggressive dogs, and they absolutely love children, especially as the children get older and they can run around and play together.
You will need to socialize and train your Vizsla to ensure that it knows how to behave around children. Likewise, you will need to teach your toddler how to treat a dog.
You certainly do not have to give up your Vizsla if you are expecting a baby, but you should ease it into the changes that are sure to follow the baby’s arrival. Then, if you are thinking about getting a Vizsla for your young family, make sure you are prepared for the level of work and energy this will require.