Vizslas are highly sociable and intelligent dogs with boundless energy and athleticism that make them great pets and hunting companions.
Whether you want your Vizsla as a family or a hunting dog, it helps that they are well trained for their own safety and that of your family members. Also, proper training ensures that your dog will not get into destructive behavior.
But given how jumpy and excitable Vizslas are, how do you train them? This article will give you insights into this dog breed and how to train them.
The 8 Expert Tips for Training a Vizsla
1. Understand Your Dog’s Temperament
Vizslas have a distinctive temperament that makes them a great breed to work with. They have unique characteristics that make them ideal for different settings, such as hunting. Understanding these characteristics will make it easier for you to properly train them and unleash their best qualities.
Some of the characteristics you are likely to encounter when you own a Vizsla include the following.
Vizslas are highly intelligent in nature. They can learn quickly and even understand complex commands. This makes it possible to incorporate different techniques during training.
Vizslas are highly energetic dogs. Their athletic ability allows them to thrive in an active environment such as hunting. Such energy is ideal in training because it allows you to engage them mentally and physically.
Incorporating different vigorous activities, such as running, long walks, and play sessions, into their training routines will keep them engaged and focused.
Eagerness to Please
Vizslas thrives on positive reinforcement, attention, and praise. As you get used to your dog, you’ll realize just how hard it will try to please you. This makes things easy during training.
2. Start Training Early
Training your dog early lays a foundation for better learning.
Remember, Vizslas are highly energetic dogs, especially during the first two to three years of their lives. During this period, their natural zest for life and playful nature can sometimes make them restless or hyperactive.
Therefore, it is important to start training early to establish good behavior and manners.
3. Be Consistent and Patient
When it comes to training your Vizsla, consistency and patience go hand in hand because of how Vizslas are designed.
Consistency, in this case, involves frequent training sessions using the same commands and techniques each time. This helps your Vizsla understand what is expected of them and reinforces their learning.
Patience allows you to match your dog’s learning pace. For a dog that is considered hyperactive during the first years of its life, you will accomplish more if you are patient enough. Also, remember that some commands will take longer to master than others.
By staying patient, you prevent yourself from getting frustrated.
4. Use Positive Reinforcement
One great supplement to your consistency and patience is positive reinforcement.
Remember, Vizslas live for your approval. Therefore, it helps to incorporate things such as treats, rewards, and verbal praise in your training. Be generous when your dog exhibits desirable behavior or responds correctly to commands.
5. Manage the Vizsla’s Hunting Drive
Vizslas have a high prey drive, thanks to their long hunting bloodline. This inborn desire to chase and catch prey can lead it to chase other smaller animals, such as rabbits, squirrels, and your neighbor’s smaller pets.
It is, therefore, important to set boundaries and help the dog manage its hunting drive. Even when your entire goal is to teach your Vizsla how to hunt, you have to keep its prey drive in control.
6. Start Crate Training
Crate training involves teaching your dog to be comfortable in a confined space. With crate training, things such as travel and transport, general behavior management, and house training become easier.
It is important here to use a crate that is clean and comfortable. Consider throwing treats in the crate to show your dog that it is a safe space for them. Make sure to combine positive reinforcement, consistency, and patience to have an easier time creating a positive association with the crate.
7. Establish Consistent Training Commands
When training your Vizsla, it is important that you use the same commands during training. This makes sure that you do not confuse your dog. The commands also create the foundation for effective communication and control.
Commands such as their name, “Heel”, “Sit”, and “Stay” are crucial in maintaining their safety, well-being, and overall obedience. Be consistent so that the dog can learn quickly. Also, make sure to practice these essential training commands in different environments while gradually increasing distractions and difficulty levels.
8. Invest in Basic Training Equipment
Having the right tools and equipment enhances the effectiveness of your training. That does not mean that you need an arsenal of training paraphernalia to train your dog. A few basic items will go a long way in getting the job done.
Some of the most basic training equipment includes the following:
Leash and Collar
Getting a leash with the right length and thickness is important for easy handling and durability.
When getting your dog a collar, ensure it’s the right size on the neck. Otherwise, your dog will be uncomfortable if the collar is too tight or slip out if it’s too loose.
It helps to let your dog wear their collar and leash as often as possible so they can get used to them.
Basic Chew Toys
Chew toys are especially useful for puppies that are prone to biting and chewing on things. Consider getting items such as soft toys and balls that your Vizsla puppy can occupy themselves with.
Treats are an important part of helping your dog learn through positive reinforcement. When looking for treats, find ones that are small, tasty, and easy to eat quickly. It helps to test different treats to find the ones your dog likes the most.
Always have enough treats to reward your dog whenever it follows a command or does something praiseworthy.
Vizslas are full of energy, loyal, and protective, but their curious nature can make it tricky to train them. The good thing is that they are intelligent and eager to please. This means that they can easily understand commands and will be happy to execute them. The trick is to employ the right training techniques.
Have a bit of patience and be consistent in your efforts; the dog will surprise you.
Featured Image Credit: bodnar.photo, Shutterstock