Look at me- I get to do monthly baby updates again! Half kidding. However, since we feel like we have our feet back under us a little bit since we first brought her home, I felt it was time for an update on our vizsla puppy at 4 months old!
Let me first tell you, we definitely forgot how demanding the puppy phase is. We got Koda when we were a young, engaged couple. We debate whether Koda (also a vizsla) was a calmer puppy (doubtful) or we just forgot/have a more demanding schedule now (more likely). However, we are slipping into a bit of a routine now and it’s making my sanity begin to return.
Finley is all puppy- crazy energetic (I love the zoomies) followed by crashing into a nap. She’s very curious and a bit mischievous. She knows what she is allowed to do and not, and usually opts for the latter. She is very smart and knows how to sit, stay, lay down, go to crate, go to bed, and shake on command. She is also very distractible and trying to do any of these outside is anyone’s guess if she’ll obey. But gosh darn in, she’s as cute as it gets!
Vizsla Puppy Training/Behavior
We are putting a lot of time and effort into training right now. We started with clicker training, which I recommend as it help connect the correct behavior immediately with the reward. We have now transitioned to the word “YES” instead of the click so we can train without the clicker always with us.
We recently bought this ecollar. At first we just had her wear it without using any features to get her used to it. We are starting to use the pressure now (for both training purposes and for deterrent of unwanted behavior) but she doesn’t seem bothered by it at all (she sleeps through it). So we are still in the learning phase with this.
Some high points: She does amazing in her crate at night time, but also during car rides or when we need to put her up for a bit during the day. Koda always hated the car, so this has been a welcomed change. She has learned to ring the bell at the front door when she needs to go out to do her business. She loves to snuggle with us, when we sit on the ground with her (we took away her couch blanket to help establish the pack hierarchy for now). Luckily she loves her snoozer bed!
Our biggest behavioral struggles right now include her jumping up, both on people and up on countertops. We’re starting to get the people jumping under control (have her sit when a person walks in, no attention unless all paws are on the floor), but the countertop behavior is out of control at the moment.
I feel like we are over the hump on learning how to feed Finley a raw diet. A little caveat first: when I had a conversation with a friend that feeds raw on IG she recommended I not talk about it because of potential backlash. What?! I’m sure you agree that we need to stay in a place where we can continue to share ideas with each other, right? I understand people have differing opinions, but half the things I know now I wouldn’t have known if people hadn’t shared their “crazy” ideas with me. So, much like raising kids, I believe we all love and want what is best for those we love, even if we have different approaches on what that looks like. Let’s keep the conversations open!
Back to the raw diet… we did not take this approach halfheartedly. I was super nervous at first and sought out a lot of information from books, the internet, and from friends that feed raw. I have a vet that fully supports natural rearing and raw diet and it is working well for us. If I ever see evidence of the contrary, I have no qualms about switching things up.
So what does Finley eat? She eats a blend of raw muscle (usually lean beef), raw edible bone (usually chicken feet or chicken backs), liver, kidney, and spleen (both beef and chicken). She also eat sardines, raw goat milk and vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, parsley, pumpkin, and others.
Our local butcher makes a grounded blend of the meats, bone, and organ that we started with, but now we mostly meal prep her food on our own, about a week’s worth at a time. She eats three times a day right now, so we portion it out into small tubs, then just dump it into her bowl at meal time. It took some getting used to but we are in a good rhythm now.
For treats we use dehydrated cow lung or Fruitables Skinny Minnies in apple bacon flavor because she gets really excited over both of these.
Vizsla Puppy at 4 Months Old Daily Routine
We are early risers, so I open her crate at 6:00 AM when I get up for the day and take her right outside for a quick potty break. When I start the grinder on the coffee machine, she goes crazy and I have to hold her. After that, she goes to her Snoozer bed and goes back to sleep.
She snoozes until around 8:30 AM when the kids get up and moving. I feed her breakfast, take her out again, then get some kind of chew or toy to keep her busy while we get our day going.
Our days don’t have a set routine but typically mid-morning I’ll take her on a a two mile walk. Sometimes she is still wired when we get home so if she can’t keep herself entertained, I’ll put her in the crate so we can do some homeschooling. We feed her lunch around 12:30 or so, then take her back out. She’ll alternate between playing around the house, doing some training, or sleeping throughout the afternoon.
Mid to late afternoon, we take her on another two mile walk and play with her outside when we get back. She eats her dinner around 6:00 PM then starts to wind down for the night. She’ll usually chew on a toy or a bone for a while then around 7:00/7:30 PM she is snoozing soundly on her bed. We take her out right before bed, usually about 10:00 PM, then she goes willingly into her crate in our bedroom (the larger, wire one) for the night.
Helpful Puppy Items
There are a few things that have been really helpful to us.
First of all, baby gates! We should have gotten these sooner and confined the space she was limited to from the beginning. When she was younger, she would sneak away upstairs to try and do her business instead of going outside. We realized that if there was no carpet she could sneak away to, this wasn’t an issue. So we cut off access to the upstairs and keep our master bedroom door closed and viola– no more accidents!
This easy walk harness was recommended to me by a friend and it’s made a big difference in our daily walks because she can’t pull with it! Ideally we want to train her to walk nicely by our side off leash, but we’re a long way from that right now so this no pull harness works great!
The doorbells. They naturally jingle anytime we opened the door to take her out. I’d like to say we “trained” her somehow, but I think just associating the jingle with going potty work on its own. A couple weeks ago she started walking up and jingling the bell when she wanted to be let out.
The snoozer bed. She loves curling up in this thing! It’s warm and cozy and often it’s just her paws sticking out from the inside.
The soft and squishy crate liner. We have two crates, a large wire one in the bedroom and a smaller travel crate in the living room. This liner fits in the large bedroom crate and creates a comfortable and cozy sleep spot! We keep thinking we’ll have to get her a larger travel crate but she likes the coziness of it for now.
It’s a job to make sure she gets enough exercise, but it’s been great at getting all of us outside more in the cold weather. I usually take her on two 2 mile walks a day and the girls will spend 20-30 minutes running around in the yard with her.
She’s added a lot of energy and chaos to our home and though she sometimes drives David and I crazy with her curiosity, we find ourselves looking at her when she is curled up at night and feeling quite smitten. Plus, the girls still tell us at least once a day how happy they are to have a dog. So yes, it’s a bit crazy right now, but we sure do love that funny pup!
Also, can we talk about how vizslas are some of the happiest pups yet somehow always look completely stoic in pictures?! Don’t take her serious face… seriously. She’s a silly little nut job! Next time I’ll have our little photo shoot outside while she’s running amuck. We love you, Finley girl!
She’s adorable. I think Vizslas are so beautiful! I can’t imagine living through the puppy stage again at this point in my life but I know someday we will do it again years after Ryder passes.
He’s almost 11 now and is such a smelly old man dog! we love him but I feel like older dogs get weird in their old age. He always wants to be outside even in the freezing weather and if he’s inside when he’s not asleep he’s super needy.
That’s impressive you’re able to go on two two mile walks a day! I get Ryder about 1 mile and it’s such a chore haha. Of course he always saves a poop for a walk so that’s fun! He is happy with his one mile walk though. He’s got bad knees.
Brittany Dixon says
I feel the walks are necessary for my sanity- ha! It’s like I can chase her around inside as she bounces off the walls or just go outside. Guess it’s a healthy problem to deal with… extra walking.
Ryder sounds like such a sweet old man. I’d trade a few crazed puppy tantrums for some old pup snuggles right now 😉
Love this update! What a cute pupper you’ve got there. I’ve been feeding both my dogs raw since the first was a pup and I agree with your friend that it’s controversial. You’re lucky to have a vet that is onboard. I’ve finally found a vet that will just agree to disagree with me on it after I put my foot down about my decision. I actually had one vet caution me about giving my family salmonella poisoning from having raw chicken on the counter. I asked him if he’d warn me of the same thing if I told him I was cooking a chicken for dinner. I’m an adult women who is smart enough to not rub raw chicken on the counters whether I’m cooking for my family or feeding my dog. Sorry for the rant. I was so insulted. 🙂
Also, looking into snoozer beds – what an awesome thing that looks like!!
Brittany Dixon says
Rub chicken all over the countertop- lol!
If you have any raw diet tips, I’m all ears. I’ve learned so much but am certain there is still plenty more to learn. 🙂