In regards to loyalty, affection, and activity level, the Hungarian Vizsla is hard to beat. Also known as the Magyar Vizsla, this breed was originally bred to be both a loving member of the family and a hunting companion, tracking, pointing, and retrieving prey for hours at a time.
Vizslas have a beautiful, golden-rust colored coat and a face full of inquisitiveness. The Vizsla’s intelligence, eagerness to please, and highly affectionate nature plant him firmly in the hearts of everyone he meets.
Do Vizslas bark a lot? The breed tends to be very vocal, using barks, whines, moans, howls, and grunts to communicate. Excessive barking, however, typically indicates an unhappy or improperly trained dog and should be addressed immediately.
Understanding a dog’s behavior is key to addressing any negative issues like incessant barking. When you identify the cause, you can take steps to resolve the problem and enjoy a more well-behaved dog. Let’s take a closer look.
Common Reasons Why Vizslas Bark
All dogs, Vizslas included, bark for a variety of reasons. On occasion, this is a very good thing, as in the case of imminent danger approaching. Other times, the barking accomplishes nothing except for a vicious headache and a pile of nasty notes from angry neighbors. So, why exactly do Vizslas bark?
Most Vizslas are protective of their family and will not hesitate to sound the alarm if they sense danger may be present. For example, a stranger approaching the house, a stray dog wandering through the yard, or a snake lying in the path may trigger the instinct to bark. In these instances, or in cases of other potentially dangerous situations, it is both desirable and beneficial to have a protective, barking Vizsla by your side.
Out of Boredom
Vizslas are quite intelligent and require lots of mental stimulation to keep them well balanced and content. When not often engaged in mentally challenging tasks, Vizslas can become destructive and – you guessed it – obnoxious barkers.
Not Enough Exercise
The energetic Vizsla needs lots and lots of vigorous exercise daily. In this article, we talk all about the Vizslas specific exercise needs, including whether they make good running partners. A quick walk or a dash around the yard will not cut it with this breed as he was initially bred to work hard for hours in the field. Modern-day Vizslas still possess high levels of energy and must be provided with an outlet.
If not given enough daily exercise, a Vizsla will be full to overflowing with pent up energy. This excess energy might often be expressed by an inordinate amount of barking or destructive behavior. Simply put, there is just nowhere else for the energy to go, so out it comes.
Due To Loneliness
The Vizsla is what is called a Velcro dog, always desiring to be right beside (or on top of) his owner. This intense need for close proximity is deeply ingrained within them and is why Vizsla owners often find their laps occupied by their dog.
Did you know that Velcro was invented in 1941 by George de Mestral after closely examining the burrs that frequently were stuck to his dog after a day of hunting?
If unaccustomed to being left alone for long periods of time, a Vizsla who suddenly finds himself in this position may vocalize his unhappiness with the circumstances by barking repeatedly. Dogs, unlike people, can not pass the time by reading a book or watching a movie and just do not know how else to deal with being alone unless properly trained and prepared for it.
Separation anxiety can be common among Vizslas, so be extra diligent to prepare your dog for any time spent alone.
The happy-go-lucky Vizsla might, on occasion, bark out of sheer joy. A family member returning home, realizing that he is on the way to his favorite swimming hole, or playing tag with a canine friend may all elicit a joyful bark or two from a Vizsla. After all, life is too short not to celebrate the happy, everyday moments.
To Communicate A Need
Perhaps a favorite toy has disappeared underneath the couch or supper is late. What is a Vizsla to do? Well, bark of course. Lacking the ability to speak, a dog will often resort to barking in an attempt to inform the owner of a particular need or want.
While the reasons listed above are not the only triggers for barking, they are the most common ones. While barking to warn of danger is usually a good thing, barking for hours on end is not.
Tips To Stop Or Reduce Unwanted Barking
Before attempting to correct unwanted barking, take the time to determine what exactly is causing the behavior. You will then be better prepared to treat the issue at its core and eliminate the problem. Also, keep in mind that Vizslas are rather sensitive dogs and will respond much better to upbeat, positive methods than to harsh, negative ones.
Crate training is a great method to ensure that your Vizsla remains secure, calm, and perhaps most importantly, quiet when you need to be away from home for a short period. Most dogs quickly learn to associate their crate with relaxation and quiet time.
Another option is to teach the “quiet” command. By giving the command and then immediately rewarding the desired behavior, over time your Vizsla will learn that the command means no barking.
A common mistake and one that should be avoided is to inadvertently reward barking. For example, if a Vizsla barks when thunder booms and the owner quickly drops everything to comfort the dog, the dog learns that barking leads to attention, and the behavior has been reinforced.
When training a Vizsla not to bark, avoid shouting at him, however tempting it might be. A dog will either think that you are joining him in the fun or develop a fear of you, neither of which is the goal here.
Distract And Desensitize
Some Vizsla owners prefer to immediately redirect their dog’s attention as soon as barking begins. Some might issue the “come” command followed by “sit,” while others might engage the dog with a favorite toy. The idea here is to instantly replace unwanted behavior with a better choice.
If your Vizsla is barking at everything that moves outside, try closing the curtains. You could also leave a radio playing to mask any outside noises that might be setting him off. If he goes berserk when the mail arrives, ask your mailman if he’d be willing to meet your dog and make friends so that next time the dog will recognize a friendly face and not bark.
Plenty of physical activity is critical for a Vizsla. Intense exercise several times a day will make for a tired dog, and a tired dog is usually a quiet dog. If you need tips and ideas for keeping a Vizsla well-exercised, check out this article where we unpack the topic in more detail.
If you must be away from home all day, consider finding a responsible dog walker who is familiar with the breed and willing to go the extra mile, so to speak, to ensure your dog gets a proper workout.
Are Vizslas good guard dogs?
If you are looking for a guard dog to fiercely protect and defend your home and possessions, then a Vizsla is not a great choice. Most Vizslas will bark to alert you of strangers approaching your home and are protective of their families, but they just aren’t hardwired to be guard dogs.
Can Vizslas be left alone?
Vizslas who have been correctly crate trained from a young age and are given plenty of vigorous exercise can adapt to being left alone for short periods of time. Keep in mind that Vizslas have an innate desire to be with their families, so try to limit alone time as much as possible.
They make fantastic family dogs for a couple reasons, which we talk about here.
While Vizslas do tend to be a vocal breed, there is no need to endure hours of repetitive barking. Understanding why your dog is barking so much is pivotal in correcting the issue. A variety of training methods and tricks can be implemented to remedy the noise problem should one develop.
You’ll find answers to your other Vizsla questions and some you haven’t thought of, HERE.