Vizslas are highly energetic dogs with good temperaments and excellent social skills. They are intelligent and good with kids, and if you decide to add one to your family, you will likely see how attached they get. No wonder most people refer to them as Velcro dogs! Undoubtedly, a Vizsla is likely to make a great addition to most families. But do they make good hunting dogs?
The good news is that they do. Their natural build and instincts make them an excellent choice for a hunting partner. This article will explore everything you need to know about Vizslas, their temperament, and why they make good hunting dogs.
Vizsla Hunting Skills and Abilities
Vizslas have a strong prey drive. This means that they have an innate desire to chase and capture prey. This, coupled with their abilities and instincts, makes them great hunting companions.
Some characteristics that make Vizslas a good choice as a hunting dog include the following:
A Keen Sense of Smell
Vizslas have a highly developed sense of smell. This makes them excellent companions during a hunt because they can pick up on a prey’s scent fast.
Vizslas can diligently track scents of any wounded or elusive game that’s trying to escape. This, coupled with a keen sense of smell, increases their chances of catching prey significantly.
Vizslas have a natural pointing instinct where once they have located prey, they freeze in a characteristic pose indicating the direction of the prey. This allows human hunters to quickly locate and approach game without alerting it.
Vizslas have soft mouths and gentle handling abilities that allow them to retrieve and deliver prey to their human companions without causing any damage.
Stamina and Endurance
Vizslas have plenty of energy and endurance, allowing them to keep up with their human companions over long distances and varying terrains. This also allows them to keep up with prey during a chase which significantly increases their chances of success during a hunt.
Trainability and Versatility
To be an effective hunter, it is necessary to train your dog to hone its innate abilities. Luckily, these dogs are highly intelligent, which makes them trainable.
Training includes helping them sharpen their already excellent hunting skills. Remember, Vizslas have a hunting background that dates back more than a millennium. They have a built-in desire to explore their surroundings that is driven by their exceptional sense of smell.
Consider the following techniques when training them.
Positive Reinforcement Training
Vizslas require reward-based training techniques that involve treats, praise, and playtime to help foster good behavior. During training, consider using rewards to reinforce proper hunting behaviors such as pointing, retrieving, and staying on track to better refine their skills.
This includes employing dummy or scent-retrieving exercises during training to help refine their retrieving skills and teach them how to follow different commands, such as fetch. The good thing about this kind of training is that you will build on their naturally occurring retrieval skills.
Scent Work and Tracking Training
This includes introducing Vizslas to scent trails or hidden objects and encouraging them to follow and locate the scent source through positive reinforcement. This kind of training improves their focus and concentration on top of improving already existing abilities.
Clicker training introduces distinct clicking sounds that accompany a dog’s desired behavior. This is especially good for Vizslas because it allows them to further develop their behaviors, such as steady pointing and controlled retrieves.
Once training is complete, Vizslas can comfortably adapt to different hunting scenarios and game types. Whether you are hunting birds in the uplands or small game like rabbits, Vizslas can adjust hunting styles and techniques due to their athleticism, agility, and quick thinking.
Their ability to handle different terrain also makes hunting easier for them.
Ultimately, proper training for Vizslas doesn’t just make them better hunting companions, but it allows them to fully utilize their potential and live healthy lives.
Factors to Consider Before Owning a Vizsla
Clearly, Vizslas are a great hunting breed and will likely fit in well in most hunting parties. However, your Vizslas won’t just be available for your hunting excursions. It is likely going to be a major part of your life.
Therefore, you want a dog that can hunt but is also well-adjusted enough to fit into your day-to-day life. As such, there are things you need to provide for their Vizsla before you bring them home. Some of them include the following.
Size and Space
Vizslas require sufficient space to move around comfortably. While it is possible to provide them with regular exercise even when living in an apartment, it is important to consider having them in a place where they can access a yard or open spaces for exercise.
Time and Attention
Vizslas are highly affectionate dogs with no issues spending most of their time with family members. Therefore, they are prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. This could lead to destructive behaviors.
This means that they are not suited for families frequently away from home for long periods. They also don’t do well with owners with limited time to dedicate to the dog’s needs.
Therefore, before owning a Vizsla, check your schedule and determine whether you can provide the necessary companionship and attention they need.
It’s highly likely that your Vizsla will chase small animals around, including birds or your neighbor’s cats.
Remember, they are bred for hunting and have a strong prey drive. Therefore, make sure that their surroundings won’t pose such a challenge, and if it does, you are able to provide appropriate outlets for their hunting instincts.
Vizslas are highly intelligent dogs with a high prey drive that makes them an excellent choice as hunting companions. They have great characteristics, such as a keen sense of smell and retrieving abilities, that help them adapt to different hunting scenarios and game types.
Despite these good qualities, it is important that you socialize your dog early to foster good behavior and to train it patiently and consistently to make a good hunting partner out of it.
Featured Image Credit: martine552, Pixabay