On 10th May I got an eight week old Hungarian Vizsla and I’ve called him Fergus. This was something I was thinking about for a while, but kept dithering over the idea. I got a big shove from my sister Cath, who was keen for me to jump into the pet scene as she has two dogs. Well actually three dogs, as her and brother-in-law Gordon loved the look of the Vizslas that they got one too from the same litter.
I had been reading puppy books on how best to look after him and I have to say I was, and still am, a bit conflicted over the different approaches suggested by various authors. While most are very similar in approach to general puppy behaviour, they didn’t really prepare me for Vizsla puppy behaviour.
During the first week I was completely shocked when this lovely angelic little puppy suddenly turned into the puppy from Hell. We would be playing in the garden and it was as if someone had flicked a switch, Fergus changed from friendly little puppy to vicious wild animal, snarling and growling, then attacking my legs and arms as I tried to fend him off. It was really scary as he was completely out of control and I was powerless to do anything about it. I also had multiple cut on arms and legs.
I thought I had maybe had the awful luck to get a rogue aggressive puppy and began to panic that he was this bad now, imagine what he will be like as a grown adult dog of considerable size. As the first week ended with little sign that things were going to change for the better, I started to notice that the mood swings seemed to happen when he got tired. I wondered how my sister and brother-in-law were getting on as they hadn’t mentioned any odd behaviour.
Looking on the internet I found a Vizsla Forum, which was very helpful in that I read so many stories of people with Vizsla puppies describing the same very difficult behaviour. People were as distressed as I was, and in an odd kind of way, this was reassuring to know it wasn’t just my puppy. Other seasoned Vizsla dog owners confirmed this was normal Vizsla puppy behaviour and we should be prepared to put up with it for about six months. I’m already exhausted with many more cuts, I wasn’t sure if I could last that amount of time, although they were talking of puppy age, so just three and a half months, (not that I’m counting 🙂 )
After two weeks I am still working him out. At the first sign of growling, biting, I bring him in and he calms down and goes to sleep on my lap. He does this about five times during the day and I must say I look forward to these breaks. I have to deflect with a stick if he tries to bite me when we are out walking, but the cuts are less frequent now.
We have been learning some commands like ‘come’ and we have a whistle sound that he comes to as well. He can do ‘sit’ and ‘stay’, the last two we do when he is excited about meal time so he sits on a mat until the food is ready. He is mostly very good about that one. Fergus is good at doing his business outside, although had had the odd pee on the kitchen floor. I do praise him for doing everything outside, but he isn’t that bothered and just ignores any attempt to give him a treat.
I also made up some challenges for him, like putting a treat inside a toilet or kitchen roll tube, or small box. He seems to enjoy trying to get to the treat, although sometimes when he flips the tube about the treat flies through the air and he doesn’t notice. I watch these activities so I can take the card away in case he eats it.
After two weeks, some progress, but look forward to these needle sharp teeth being replaced with something more tolerable in the next few months.
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