How To Train Your Vizsla

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Five years ago at this time a little Hungarian Vizsla puppy was born on a farm in Gridley, Kansas. He had a pudgy body, oddly skinny legs, and a big old head. He was "the outsider" of the group the breeder told me, not quite as "regal" as his brothers and sisters.

I wanted him immediately. Look at him. How could you not?

Truthfully, I knew nothing about the breed. Chris mentioned once or twice he thought Vizslas were cool so one day while he was at work (and I was lonely) I googled Vizslas and found a breeder close by. Of course I would learn the ways of Vizslas quite quickly and basically found a new job so I could work from home to ensure Harlow gets the 5-10 runs he demands per day (3 of which must be off leash.)

Once I found the photo of baby Vizslas for sale close to where we were living there was no going back.

In hindsight, I know Harlow came from a good family/breeder because he was reluctant to let me take him. I don't blame him. I was fresh out of college, living in an apartment, and this was my first dog on my own.

But I managed to convince him I'd give this puppy a good life so he let me take the little chubby awkward one of the bunch home with me. But before leaving the breeder told me that when training a Vizsla, "You can't punish them. They're sensitive dogs and you'll break their spirit."

And I never forgot that he said that, however the breeder failed to mention one very important thing: how you do train a Vizsla.

After living with Harlow for a few years I realized why he never said anything, it's because you don't train them. Vizslas train you.

Let's look at a few Harlow'isms, shall we? Are these Vizsla traits I wonder, or just Harlow traits?

Mr. Wiggles.
He doesn't just wag his tail, he shakes his entire body. When he's really excited he starts walking sideways.

The Leaner
He can't just stand next to you, he must actually lean against you. All. The. Time.

The Paw Slap.
Harlow doesn't bite, but he sure gives a good slap. I've had one too many scratches on my face when I'm not paying him enough attention and he suddenly whacks me across the face.

The Bathroom Rug.
Aka Harlow's spot when I shower... God forbid he be more than two feet away at any time.

The Hello.
Whether I've been gone for 30 seconds, or three hours, the moment I walk in the door Harlow has to find his favorite toy to put in his mouth to greet me. If he can't find something immediately, he starts to panic and will grab a pillow or blanket to present to me.

Open Door Policy.
Harlow hates closed doors. He's known to go around the house nudging every door open with his nose... Which is fine, until guests come over and use the bathroom. Let's just say he catches some people off guard.

The Moans and the Groans.
Harlow is a vocal dog. He's got something to say about everything.

He Plays Hard To Get.
After he gives me the "it's time for a walk" glare/shout for a minutes I'll get his leash out, but then when I try to put it on him he playfully puts his butt in the air, and then runs from me so I have to chase him down. It drives me insane.

The climber.
He'll climb anything; a tree, the couch, a ladder, me (photo above.) In another life he was a circus cat.

The Thief.
Anything left on a counter or table is fair game. There is no such thing as "out of reach" for Harlow.

The Big Vizsla.
Harlow is known as the "Big Vizsla" in Chicago. So far he's the biggest V we've seen in the city. Perhaps it has to do with his stealing habit as mentioned above? He once took down an entire bag of hamburger buns + 12 muffins in an hour...

Snuggles McGee.
Harlow doesn't just sit on you/lay with you. He snuggles. He has to cozy in as close to you as possible. And no matter the time of year (like even in the dead of summer) he wants to be nestled under a blanket.

Like I always say,  where there's a lap there's a Vizsla.

Happy Birthday, Harlow. You've turned me into the over-the-top crazy dog person I always knew I could be.





40 comments:

  1. My Shih Tzu's hate doors closed too, and they have to lay on the rug while I'm in the shower. I've almost stepped on them more times than I can count.

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  2. Happy B-Day Harlow! I feel like I know you even though we've never met. I know you and the sula kids would be the best of pals.

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  3. Cute dog!

    Http://www.bluelabelsboutique.com

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  4. ALL. THE. PUPPY. FEELS.
    ALL OF THEM.

    Happy birthday Harlow!

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  5. Happy Birthday Harlow!! I love Harlow's personality when you show him on Snapchat! Dogs are just the best!!

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  6. Hi Tay, I wanted to let you know I found your blog a few weeks ago. And now I come back everyday because you crack me up :D Thanks for sharing your funny stories.

    Jessie
    http://www.jessiemartinblog.com

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  7. Aww. Viszlas are cute, but I don't think they'd be the dog for me. Both you and Julie of PBFingers.com have them, and while I love hearing the stories, it takes a special person to be a Viszla owner. :-)

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    Replies
    1. I totally agree with this sentiment! I love reading the stories from you and Julie! Her dog and Harlow would be BFFs I'm sure :)

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  8. Harlow, you're not just a star.. You're THE star!!!! :D Happy birthday and may you have a great one always!
    That Taylor sure is lucky.

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  9. Happy birthday Harlow! So true that dogs train you and not the other way around. I have a golden really good at most of these things too.

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  10. Every single one of those things is my dog exactly. Except if he can't find a toy to great you with he holds my hand with his mouth, gently of course, however the way he wags his whole body still causes there to be pain involved, but at least I know it's unintentional. Unfortunately I'm not sure what breed he is since he was a rescue, but the vet called him a lab/retriever mix, maybe they are long lost brothers!

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  11. Happy Birthday Harlow! Such a playful handsome dog!

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  12. I was gonna comment on your snapchat but I don't know how to do that - I noticed during his birthday post tantrum that his entire butt wags. It's just the cutest and makes me want a dog again in the worst way. But I think I'll stick to felines til the next house. And just live vicariously thru you.

    Happy birthday, Harlow!

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  13. My lab/Chesapeake mix does ALL of these. Not only was she the only one left in her litter because she was the runt but she's just as demanding as Harlow. I've never seen her climb a tree but we're surrounded by big ol' pines so that would be a little hard. Greets me with a sock or washcloth in her mouth that she has been putting holes in all day and no matter how long I've been gone, it seems like forever. Never have I had a dog as sweet and as spoiled as my big girl but wouldn't have it any other way. <3 Happy Birthday Harlow!!!

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  14. Happy birthday Harlow! What a great guy! Our dog, a goldendoodle, is a grabber too--always needs to have something to show to us or to visitors. One night she really sassed me when I forbid her from dragging a nice blanket up three flights of stairs.

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  15. Our counters are not safe from a low riding basset hound so I can only imagine what Harlow can get into! Happy birthday Buddy!!

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  16. Happy birthday, Harlow! I have to admit that I initially started following your blog purely because you are a vizsla owner. I have had two of my own and I am obsessed. And yes, all the behaviors you listed are totally V behaviors!! And it does take a special person to have one :)
    (I now have a V/pit mix rescue who fortunately is 99% V but has pit ears, and I am in love)

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  17. I'm fresh out of college and living in an apartment and you are giving me MAJOR puppy fever. Gahhhhhhhh help.

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  18. I just love your Harlow posts! Happy Birthday Harlow! Love the blog too!

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  19. Happy Birthday Harlow!

    My Yorkie does a few of these too - the bathroom rug? For sure. He often peeks in as well. Gotta make sure I'm still there. And after a really wild greeting, he finds a ball because - balls are life.

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  20. Happy Belated Birthday, Harlow!!

    My Irish Setter does every single one of these but also add sock hoarder to the mix. She'll even steal socks out of a guest's suitcase & hide them in her stash (location yet to be confirmed). I wouldn't change a single thing though, paw slaps & 6 mile runs included.

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  21. Awww Happy Birthday Harlow!!! Dogs are the best.

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  22. This is so cute! My great dane pup is JUST like that! haha I was reading the list checking off each one :) They sure can be a pain in the patoot but man are dogs the best! :D

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  23. Nice one! Hey guys, did you know about this website:

    http://hungarian-vizsla.com/ ? Lot of useful stuff here...

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