Vizsla forums are full of people asking why their dog is digging holes in the garden and how to get them to stop. Their owners describe these dogs as “mischievous diggers”. If you don’t want your garden looking like a moonscape, you must be willing to spend time and energy on your Vizsla.
A Vizsla is a high-energy dog that needs to be heavily involved in his owner’s life. He may start digging up the garden because he is bored, lacks physical exercise, is burying or recovering bones, or needs attention. His strong burrowing instinct may surface due to a need to keep busy and occupied.
Many dogs love digging, whether it’s to hide a bone, have fun, follow an attractive scent or find a cool place to lie. However, when a Vizsla gets bored and starts landscaping your garden, it is usually a sign that he needs exercise. The experts say that if he gets enough physical activity, he won’t want to dig.
You Can Train A Vizsla Not To Dig
Some Vizslas can be taught not to dig up the garden, but it takes time and patience because digging is a natural instinct. Distracting him when he digs can also help. The solutions that various owners recommend are –
- Putting dog poop in the hole, he has dug before filling it in;
- Leaving fun toys outside for him to play with when you go out;
- Getting another dog to keep him from feeling lonely;
- Making sure he gets plenty of physical exercise, love, and attention;
- Walk outside with him and claim the space where he starts digging by standing calmly over it;
- Keep his nails trimmed;
- Remove him from the area immediately he starts digging;
- Don’t leave him alone for long periods.
Constant supervision may be necessary at first until the dog gets the idea that you don’t want him digging. Vizslas are highly intelligent and can learn relatively quickly. You just need to be persistent.
A Vizsla should get at least an hour of solid exercise every day, whether it’s running or walking, biking or jogging with you, or playing retrieving games like fetch. They also enjoy water sports because they have webbed feet designed for swimming.
How To Manage A Vizsla’s Digging
If your Vizsla doesn’t stop digging, despite your best efforts, you may have to allocate a particular spot in your garden where he is allowed to dig. The site can be surrounded with rocks or stones; otherwise, a walled-in sandbox may do the trick.
You will still need to train him that this is the only acceptable place to dig by taking him to the digging spot whenever he starts digging somewhere else. If you hide a bone or other favorite treat in the digging area, this will provide a strong incentive for the dog always to dig there.
Consistency is key. Sometimes, the dogs will cache bones and other treasures and only dig them up again just for fun. Vizsla’s love water, so don’t think you will stop them digging by putting the sprinkler on.
Vizslas Need Love And Attention To Distract Them From Digging
When Vizlas are denied the personal love and attention that they crave, they become bored and will “act out” in order to entertain themselves and try to get your attention. This will often manifest in the dog reverting their natural instincts, one of which is their instinct to dig.
If you find that your Vizla is starting to revert to this instinctual activity of digging, try some positive reinforcement to discourage the digging and give your dog additional attention to keep them happy.
Vizslas love to burrow under the bedcovers because they enjoy close physical contact with their owners. The Vizsla bonds deeply with his human family and needs to be around them continuously.
Vizslas are highly affectionate and loving dogs and can attach themselves to their owners like a second skin. They provide constant companionship and loyalty. Because they are active dogs, they need a lot of exercise and attention and want to do be engaged with their owners.
It is known as a “Velcro dog” because it likes to lie or lean against its owner. If you keep him outside on his own, he will resort to destructive behavior like digging up the garden.
When Vizlas are denied the personal love and attention that they crave, they become bored and will “act out” in order to entertain themselves. This will often manifest in the dog reverting their natural instincts, one of which is their instinct to dig.
Vizslas Love To Snuggle And Are Protective
Vizslas are snuggle bugs and want to be near their owners all the time. For this reason, they will usually prefer your bed to their dog bed. They are also known for shadowing their people everywhere, even to the bathroom.
They are very loyal and protective and make good guard dogs. Vizslas feel genuine attachment and affection for their particular person. Sometimes their constant mouthing of their owner’s hand can become irritating. The best solution is to distract them with plenty of toys to chew.
It is essential to give a Vizsla a lot of attention and reassurance because they are highly sensitive dogs. They are very affectionate and thrive on positive reinforcement of their self-esteem. Although easy-going, they need a great deal of exercise, making them unsuitable dogs for a sedentary owner.
Vizslas Can Make Good Family Pets
Vizlas make good family pets in a home where they will get the love and attention that they need and have the space to get the exercise and stimulation that they require for their nature.
If, however, you have a rose bed that you love more than your Vizla, then this is probably not the right family dog for you. Unless you are willing to spend the time with them to keep them entertained and to train the digging behavior our of them, they will dig up your roses!
Vizslas are excellent swimmers and have keen noses. They are easy-going with other pets, but it is not advisable to leave them with hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits. They are very vocal and talk to their owners with whines and little cries to get their attention.
If they don’t get enough exercise, Vizslas can become bored and destructive. They like to run off-leash and need a lot of mental stimulation because they are really smart. They are not strong-smelling dogs, so they don’t have to be bathed frequently, but they do shed.
Vizslas respond well to training and are eager to please. However, they can be distracted by sights and scents that trigger their hunting instincts. They are susceptible to the cold and should not be kept outdoors. Since they are easy to train, if you should be able to train them out of their digging habits if you address this behavior early on.
They need to play every day so teach them tricks, give them puzzle toys and teach them to fetch. This is in addition to one or more hours a day of exercise. They can also leap up on furniture and countertops and will steal food if you leave it out.
If they don’t have enough human contact and attention, Vizslas can become neurotic or depressed. They need to be involved in daily family activities and feel like they are part of the pack. Vizslas like to occupy your personal space as much as they can and will climb onto your lap or you if you are lying down.
Because they are sensitive, harsh words and raised hands don’t work with a Vizsla. They need gentle treatment and correction. They can suffer from separation anxiety if their owners are gone for long periods. It helps if they have other pets to play with, as Vizslas can be clingy.
Some Vizslas are nervous dogs that don’t do well around children, but many will happily play with kids. They are inquisitive dogs that want to be part of whatever you’re doing. They remain playful throughout their lives.
Vizslas Are Bred For Hunting And Need Activity
Although Vizsla’s were bred for hunting, the digging aspect of their nature was not part of the hunting aspect that was bred into these dogs.
The type of hunting they were intended for was pointing and retrieving rather than burrowing and chasing the quarry from holes or warrens.
The digging part of the Vizsla’s nature likely harks back to the natural instincts of the original breed.
Since they were bred for hunting an have a lot of stamina, these dogs do well with active owners who like a lot of exercise. They can do just about any kind of physical activity with you and will keep you on your toes.
Vizslas were bred as hunters, pointers, and retrievers, so they have quite a strong prey drive. These dogs continuously remain in touch with their handlers while in the field, unlike some other breeds that may go off on their own mission.
Vizslas can chase for hours and have high stamina. This makes them ideal biking and jogging companions. If you are the sporty type, consider getting involved in field trials, fly ball, agility, nose work, obedience, and dock diving.
In dock diving, the owner throws a toy into a body of water, and the dog leaps from a dock to retrieve it. However, because they have no warm undercoat, Vizslas don’t do well in frigid water.
Start Training Your Vizsla As A Puppy Not To Dig
Start training while they are still puppies, if only for just a few minutes a day initially. As puppies, they are notorious chewers and diggers, so keeping them supplied with a variety of toys can distract them from these destructive behaviors.
They are natural pointers and will start pointing even as puppies. When they are young, training should be done through play so that they see it as fun.
Vizslas are loving, intelligent, loyal dogs that form close bonds with their owners. If they are neglected or don’t get enough physical exercise and mental stimulation, they will engage in destructive behaviors like digging. They like a great deal of physical contact and will burrow under the bedcovers to lie against you and snuggle.