I know this post is oooold, but for the sake of anyone doing a Google search on Vizslas and looking for information, I thought I might add something to it.
I once found a stray dog and took it in, feeling sorry for the poor animal and worried it would be picked up by Animal Control and deposited in a shelter. My parents had owned dogs my whole life and I was sure I could handle having my own, especially since the dog was already an adult.
Except… the dog turned out to be a Vizsla.
I had no clue about the breed, but I quickly noticed the dog was having problems. For example - after 6 months, I still had to crate it. It took an extraordinarily long time to potty train, even with a regular schedule. Leaving it alone outside would result in horrible damage, including mangled door frames and chewed drywall. Crating solved the destruction issue, but reports from neighbors indicated that the dog was still whining and howling during my absence.
I walked the dog 4 times a day for the sake of potty consistency, but apparently my walks weren’t long enough. The dog was constantly crawling on me, trampling me, jumping up on furniture, counters and wouldn’t leave me alone for 5 minutes. I would try to give it toys, treats to calm it down, but to no avail. The dog insisted on interacting with me, not just passive cuddly, but ACTIVELY, almost the entire time I was around. If I didn’t respond, it would charge around the apartment or pace nervously, whining. It would drive me crazy, since I didn’t trust the dog, even after months, not to pee in the house.
Training the dog was extremely difficult, because it responded negatively to raised voices and would relapse on learned behavior at will. Basically, if it understood “no” or “sit” on one day, it would selectively choose to forget aspects of learned behavior the next. It knew, for example, that stealing food or any of my private belongings for chewing was a no no. Did that matter? Nope. As soon as I was out of the room, the dog would sneak into the restricted area and repeat the unwanted behavior. I ended up getting TWO doggie gates, which the dog then proceeded to attempt opening.
When I went online for help, people recommended dog trainers and obedience schools. Expensive much? None of my parents dogs required dog school. Training with treats and firm commands worked just fine. They also understood the premise of a raised voice.
If you yelled at the Vizsla, this dog acted like you’d just smacked it over the head with a 2X4.
Walking the dog on a leash was a nightmare. It pulled and pulled and was distracted by absolutely everything. I kept it on a very short leash and tried treat training it to stay by my side, but as soon as it saw a squirrel… yank went my arm. It was highly unpleasant to take a stroll with this animal, as the majority of the time was consumed by exerting body strength on the leash.
Makes sense, since it was essentially a hunting dog.
And that is basically what it comes down to. I am not a hunter. I am not a marathon runner. I am not living at the edge of the wilderness and go for hour long hikes. I am an urban person with a busy schedule who considers 30 min a decent walk.
Completely unsuitable for a Vizsla.
So. If you don’t want to spend ALL YOUR TIME devoted to this dog, if your hobbies don’t coincide with the needs and interests of this dog, don’t get a Vizsla. The only time I have felt similarly stressed and annoyed was when I helped care for a colicky baby. The anxiety levels are just enormous. If you aren’t 100% committed to it, or find pleasure in the lifestyle this dog literally forces you into, you and the dog will be miserable.
I ended up having to rehome the dog to a more suitable environment (not an easy feat in itself, so beware!) and since it was adopted, my life has been a sigh of relief.
I am glad I saved the dog’s life, I am happy it found a good home, but no Vizsla is coming anywhere near my life again in the future.
My situation wasn’t intentional, as I did not go out and select a Vizsla based on ignorance. It couldn’t be helped. But if you are actively seeking out a Vizsla, don’t just stop at “good family dog”, “cuddly”, “Velcro” and “loyal”. Depending on your lifestyle, there is a dark side to the Velcro you need to know about. Make sure this is something you embrace, something you are looking for in a dog.
Don’t end up like me!