Vizslas are highly energetic and good-looking dogs that can be a great companion to individuals and families alike. They are known for their loyalty and love towards their owners. However, they are also known for being needy and people-centric dogs who can get anxious if left alone.
Let’s take a look at some of the common concerns that prospective owners of a Vizsla may have about leaving their dog alone when they are out working or running errands.
The Temperament of a Vizsla
Vizslas are also known as Velcro dogs because they follow you around everywhere—even to the bathroom. They require constant companionship and do not like being left alone.
They are not a very independent breed unless given consistent training. You need to train them to hang out on their own and above all be tolerant of their neediness while trying to train them to be alone.
Loving and Loyal
Although they look imposing and regal, Vizslas are very friendly dogs that form strong bonds with their owners and family. They are great family dogs because of their loving and doting nature. They are even friendly towards strangers.
This loyalty and love can turn into needy behavior. And if you neglect them when they are seeking attention they can get quite mouthy.
Vizslas are highly sensitive breeds that don’t respond well to harsh training techniques. Building their confidence is very important and the only way to do this is through positive reinforcement and gentle commands.
It is best to start socializing them from a young age and carry on this socialization even into adulthood.
Since they are sensitive dogs they do not take well to harsh behavior. So if you’re being heavy handed with your Vizsla, they can shut down completely. They are stubborn animals that can resist training and refuse to work if you lose your patience with them.
Vizslas are very intelligent dogs that were originally used as hunting dogs in Hungary. They tend to get bored with the same routine and training activities so you will have to mix up your dog’s routine consistently.
They do well under the guidance of an inventive owner who tries to find creative ways to engage the dog. Flexible and creative training methods and a positive attitude towards the dog must be maintained by all members of the family.
Can Vizslas Be Left Alone?
Vizslas are needy dogs, at the same time they are also curious dogs. This might be a problem if you intend to leave your Vizsla alone at home.
Since they are needy they can get anxious when separated from their owners for long durations. Their high energy levels mean that this anxiety can also result in destructive behavior as they need an outlet to spend all the accumulated energy.
They need constant attention and movement. In fact, it is ideal not to leave your Vizsla unsupervised even after it has grown up.
How Long Can Vizslas Be Left Alone?
Constantly spending time with your dog might not be a viable option for many. You might need to leave your dog at home while you go out to work, run errands or even take a trip. The problem here is not leaving your dog alone as much as the long hours of absence.
Each Vizsla has different needs. Some cannot be left alone for more than an hour whereas others have no problem staying alone for six to seven hours. It all depends on training and how you approach the problem.
People-oriented dogs like the Vizsla will definitely notice your absence so you need to find creative ways to calm down your dog and keep it occupied when you leave the house.
Proper crate training is also essential to keep your Vizsla from getting into unsafe and troublesome situations when it’s alone at home.
Separation Anxiety in Vizslas
Whenever you leave your dog alone or show signs that you are about to leave the dog alone your dog may exhibit certain negative behavioral traits. This is a result of stress and not a one-time thing that will go away automatically.
People-oriented breeds like the Vizsla are especially prone to develop separation anxiety. These are some of the signs that your Vizsla may be suffering from separation anxiety:
- Attempts to leave the crate
- Excessive barking, howling or whining
- Destructive behavior like chewing, scratching and breaking things around the house
- Peeing or pooping inside the house
- Vigorous pacing
Tips for Leaving Your Vizsla Alone
The first and most important thing you must do to reduce your dog’s anxiety and neediness is to ensure that you train it to be independent. You can do this by gently easing your dog off its needy behavior. Start by giving it space and reduce physical displays of affection. Instead of constant companionship break up the time you spend with your dog so that it gets used to its own company.
Most of the problems that arise from leaving your Vizsla alone at home are due to its pent up energy and lack of outlets to let off some steam. Ensuring that your dog gets in a proper workout before you leave for work, will help calm your dog down and tire it out for a while.
Leave out Toys and Food
A good workout sesh followed by some food will get anyone drowsy, the same goes for your dog. So leave out some water and food before you leave.
However, these breeds don’t nap for long so you should also leave out some toys to keep the dog entertained. You can put out things that calm your dog down like his favorite blanket or chew toy.
Mentally stimulating activities like leaving small treats around the house for your dog to discover can also be really useful in reducing destructive behavior.
We’ve already established that Vizslas are needy dogs who need constant supervision and companionship, so they might make a mess of your home once in a while when you leave them alone.
Try not to scold your dog on seeing the mess. It’s in their nature to get disruptive when left alone for hours on end. Try to correct the negative behavior calmly, patiently and gently.
If your dog has severe anxiety issues you may have to get him on some medication. You can get a prescription from your vet or opt for natural supplements like herbal or homeopathic remedies.
Hire a Sitter
If the training, exercises and treats don’t seem to be buying you enough hours you may have to consider hiring a sitter to look after your dog while you are away. This will ensure that your dog gets the attention and exercise it requires throughout the day even in your absence.
Consider a Dog Daycare
Dog daycares are another option to consider if the other tips don’t seem to be working. For a high energy dog like the Vizsla, you can consider either a separate play area style daycare or a dog park style daycare.
Your dog’s safety should be your utmost priority when leaving him at a daycare. Ensure that you do the necessary research and inquire about safety policies and other relevant information before you leave your dog at the daycare.
You might also need to pass on information about your dog, this might include spaying, neutering and vaccination records.
One of the best ways to ensure that your Vizsla doesn’t end up doing something naughty while you are away is to meet all of your dog’s exercise requirements. Being a high-energy, active and intelligent dog the Vizsla needs at least one to two hours of exercise every day.
This includes not just physical exercise but also activities that stimulate your dog mentally.
Vizslas enjoy jogging, hiking and even swimming. They were originally hunting dogs so they like a fair amount of physical activity every day. Off-leash exercises and activities are very important in keeping your dog calm and happy.
Even if you meet all your dog’s physical exercise requirements you will still be falling short if you fail to stimulate your dog’s mental faculties. These curious dogs can create a lot of trouble if they are not allowed to exercise their brains as well.
You can help channel your Vizsla’s innate traits through any of the following activities:
- Taking some extra time on your walk to let your dog sniff around and take in all the natural scents.
- Teach your Vizsla some new tricks like rolling over, shaking hands, tracking and retrieving objects using scent, etc.
- Make your dog apply the fetch and retrieve tricks that you’ve taught around the house. You can hide treats with a strong scent in different corners of the house and make your dog find them.
- Playing hide and seek with your dog
Each Vizsla is different so you will have to figure out what works best for your dog and move things around accordingly. It is always best not to leave your dog unsupervised, but if you must leave your dog at home you can try out some of the tips and tricks covered above.