Vizslas are working dogs. They need a lot of exercise to keep them healthy and happy. This requirement changes at different ages and can vary a little from dog to dog, but it is very important to observe them and make sure they get the amount of activity they need.
About the Breed
To understand the exercise needs of the Vizslas, you need to know the history of the breed. They are built to be able to perform the jobs they were bred for and still retain the stamina and energy levels necessary as working dogs.
Vizslas have a very interesting history. They can be traced back to Europe where they were used as hunting dogs who kept up with their human owners on horseback.
They were widely used as hunting dogs and were trained to track down or flush out prey both on land and in water. Magyar warlords brought Vizslas to Hungary and they soon became a very popular Hungarian breed.
Vizslas also became the companions of Hungarian nobles in the 18th century. Their proficiency at hunting and their affectionate nature made them the natural choice for pet owners.
Vizslas came to the United States in 1950 and became popular very quickly. The Vizsla Club of America was established in the 1950s and by 1960, Vizslas were officially recognized as a distinct dog breed by the American Kennel Club.
Vizslas have been accustomed to intense physical activity and have been trained to perform a variety of hunting activities. While they are very well suited to be family pets, they need a rigorous amount of activity and mental stimulation to stay healthy.
Active families that can devote adequate time to taking care of the dog will be a good match for a Vizsla. Failure to give them enough exercise and care can make them turn destructive and unhealthy.
How Much Exercise Do Vizsla Puppies Need?
Vizslas are an incredibly active breed. It becomes apparent the moment you meet them—they are very enthusiastic and have insane levels of energy.
They need more activity than the average family pet. Working dogs usually have more energy and Vizslas were specially bred to have more stamina and energy to be able to keep up on long hunting trips.
The average Vizsla puppy can do with 15 minutes of exercise 2 times a day. With every passing month, add 5 minutes to the exercise sessions.
So the puppy will need 20 minutes of exercise twice a day at 4 months and so on. Do not try to overdo it as puppies are still growing and you shouldn’t be stretching their limits yet.
You can play with a Vizsla puppy for hours on end, but do not go beyond the recommended time limits for proper exercise or training.
Here are some activities that are suitable for Vizsla puppies:
- Short walks around the neighborhood while on a leash.
- Let them play off-leash in your garden or backyard. You can also introduce some toys to keep things interesting. Calm them down if they get overexcited.
- Take them on a small walk around the house. It is good practice for guiding them on outdoor walks and helps them get some exercise too.
- Teach them to play fetch or play tug of war with a toy. These games are always a hit with puppies.
Here are some activities you should avoid until the Vizsla puppies are older:
- Do not make your Vizsla puppy accompany you on a jog or bike ride yet. You need to go with their pace at this point, do not try to make them catch up with you.
- Do not engage in any rigorous activity or make them run for long distances. It is not appropriate for puppies who are still developing.
- Going uphill, climbing stairs or any activities performed for a long duration should be avoided till they are older.
- Keep an eye on your Vizsla puppy and make sure he is not overexerting himself. Engaging in rigorous activity will create stress on the joints and hamper their development.
When Can Vizsla Puppies Start Running?
Vizsla puppies are extremely energetic, as we’ve mentioned and will start running as soon as their legs are developed enough to support running.
This happens at 5 or 6 weeks of age. The puppy will start running on his own as soon as he is ready, you do not need to try to coax him into it.
At around 1o to 12 weeks, Vizsla puppies start showing their playful personality and will be playing with other puppies in the litter. It is actually a good sign if they are a little mischievous as it means that they make curious and intelligent adult dogs.
Signs That You Are Overexerting Your Vizsla
Overheating is not something you need to worry about with Vizslas as they have thin coats but it is possible that you are overdoing it with exercises. Here are some signs that you need to cut back on exercise for your Vizsla:
- Excessive panting.
- An increase in drooling.
- The Vizsla’s face is hot when you touch it.
- Higher than normal heart rate.
- Wobbling due to weakness in the legs.
- In extreme cases, the dog might throw up.
On the other hand, if your dog is unnecessarily hyper or keeps chewing on things around the home all the time, it is a sign that he is not getting enough exercise. They will also express their boredom by bringing over a toy or whining at you for attention.
Engaging in play time or taking them outdoors is a good idea in these situations.
Vizslas are usually very lean, so if they are getting overweight, it is a serious sign that they need more exercise. It is extremely rare to see an obese Vizsla, so you need to be cautious and consult a vet if the problem persists despite adequate exercise.
There are many health conditions and gland issues that can cause a dog to be overweight. Getting more exercise will not solve the problem in these cases.
The vet will also be able to tell you if the Vizsla is healthy enough to be put on a more rigorous exercise program. You shouldn’t push your dog to its limits, all progress must be made gradually and at a comfortable pace for the dog.
Exercise for Adult Vizslas
Adult Vizslas need a lot of rigorous exercise. Depending on the stamina of the dog, you should give them 45 to 60 minutes of high-energy activity every day.
This includes running, bike rides, long playing sessions and swimming. If the weather is bad, you can make them go up and down the stairs or play hide and seek inside the house.
Obedience training is also a good idea as the mental stimulation coupled with some form of physical activity keeps them engaged.
Remember that they used to follow nomads and took part in herding livestock and helped in hunting down animals. They were used to a very active lifestyle and hence still need a good amount of activity to stay healthy.
Vizslas are a smart breed. When you factor in the high energy levels, they can get into a lot of trouble if they don’t get enough activity.
Giving your dog enough exercise means that they will not turn destructive when you leave them unsupervised. Vizslas are also known to get separation anxiety.
Getting them enough exercise and stimulation every day lowers the chances of them developing separation anxiety and saves you a lot of time and energy in the long run.
Staying occupied with different activities and getting the chance to burn all their extra energy will keep Vizslas both happy and healthy.
Just physical activity isn’t enough for your Vizsla. They are a very smart breed and need mental stimulation too.
The right kind of mental stimulation in the first few months also helps them socialize and develop a good personality. Playing with their paws or muzzle is a good way to stimulate them and keep them engaged as puppies.
Toys for puppies and puzzle games are great for mental stimulation. You can also just play tug of war or fetch and it will keep them stimulated and happy for a long time. Food-based puzzle games are also good for mental stimulation.
You can start with basic commands like ‘Sit’ to get them started with obedience training and to keep their minds engaged.
Vizslas are very smart but they have very short attention spans as puppies. Repetition is key to getting them to remember commands and tricks.
You need a lot of patience and consistent training to be able to train Vizsla puppies.
Best Outdoor Activities for Vizslas
Switching up the form of exercise will help keep your Vizsla engaged and enthusiastic about his daily dose of exercise. Here are some activities you should try out with your Vizsla:
- Hiking: If there are any hiking trails nearby you should definitely take your Vizsla hiking. It is a completely new environment and all the different sights and smells keep the dog engaged and on his toes. Before you go, make sure that the trail is suitable for dogs and keep your pup on a leash to keep him safe.
- Running: Vizslas are great dogs to take on runs. They love t0 run and have the stamina to keep up with you. You will need to train them so that they know how to behave on a run with you, but they make excellent partners and running will help them work out all that extra energy.
- Swimming: If you have access to a dog-friendly pool, you should definitely take your Vizsla swimming. It takes up a lot of energy and doesn’t put any stress on their joints, so it is a very suitable form of exercise for dogs.
- Frisbee: Vizslas have a natural hunting instinct and playing with frisbee will engage their prey drive. Chasing a flying object is good for both mental and physical stimulation. Do not play frisbee for too long as it involves a lot of jumping and could put pressure on your dog’s joints.
- Playgroups: Getting together with other dogs to play is a good form of mental stimulation and helps them learn to socialize. You can create a puppy playgroup with your friends’ dogs or find groups like these on social media.
Vizslas are an amazing breed and make amazing pets. They have great personalities and are very affectionate towards their families.
However, they have a lot of energy and need adequate exercise to stay healthy. If you plan on getting a Vizsla, make sure you will be able to devote enough time to give them the care they need.