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Docile, sensitive, and gentle, the Hungarian Vizsla is the perfect dog for an active owner who enjoys regular exercise or field trials. So, new Vizsla puppy owners may be surprised when their bundle of love suddenly develops a nipping and biting problem.

Commonly called the “sharkies” because these playful attacks come with razor-sharp teeth, any owner can quickly become fed up.

Whether your Vizsla is growling, nipping, biting, or destroying your favorite shoes, you’re probably wondering how long this phase will last?

Why does my Vizsla puppy bite?

Like all puppies, Vizslas use their mouths to learn about the world and relieve the pain and irritation of teething. But in Vizslas, this instinct is exacerbated because of their hunting background.

This means their prey instinct makes them more inclined to bite and tear at things (and you) because it’s in their genetic make-up. In essence, biting is how Vizsla puppies play until they are taught otherwise.

And, since they are Velcro dogs who will stick to you like glue, their favorite thing to bite might quickly become… well… you.

Nevertheless, there is more than one cause of biting in young Vizslas. It’s essential to identify them before deciding on a solution.

Vizslas may bite or nip because:

  • They are overexcited or over-stimulated
  • They are over-tired, need a nap, but don’t want to settle down
  • They are anxious or displaying fear-aggression (or simply aggression)
  • They are resource guarding

If your young Vizsla is biting, take time to identify what kind of biting it is, and move from there.

vizsla-puppy-biting-toy

How to get a Vizsla puppy to stop biting

Assuming your Vizsla is play-biting, then it’s essential to take a consistent stop-and-redirect approach.

The keyword here is consistency because if you allow the play-biting sometimes, your message will be mixed. You may actually encourage your Vizsla to keep trying until you give in.

When it comes to finding something to sink their teeth into, there’s no more persistent beast than the Vizsla!

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The stop-and-redirect technique is simple but requires commitment. It involves the following steps:

  1. Make a habit of carrying around a favorite chew toy or a range of favorite items at all times that are more appropriate for your pup to bite.
  2. Try to anticipate the sharkies before they arrive. From the moment your pup gets that glint in their eye, be ready to present the toy or chew for them to grab onto.
  3. If you find yourself ambushed and now have a full set of milk teeth stuck in your big toe, use a high-pitched voice to yell “ouch!” or “no!”. Be as dramatic as possible. The idea is to startle your Vizsla into letting go.
  4. Immediately turn around and refuse to give your puppy any attention. Count to 10 or 20. Refuse to interact until your pup is calmer.
  5. Once calmer, present the toy and resume the game.

Be careful to foster peacefulness in your Vizsla from a young age. Even when playing, try to keep the tempo and level of excitement moderate.

Engage in games that teach them impulse control and emotional regulation, rather than something that gets them too worked up. Vizslas are extremely sensitive and “handler soft”. This means that harsh treatment can destroy your relationship with them.

By carrying treats around and rewarding your Vizsla every time they display good behavior, you can shape a well-behaved dog from a young age. This will prevent many behavioral issues as they grow older.

One often overlooked method of puppy control is using the “Place” command, and we’ve gone into detail about when you should use it and how to teach it to your puppy here.

Be sure to also read our post: Out-of-Control Vizsla: Will they ever calm down?

At what age will a Vizsla stop biting?

Vizslas are individuals and stop biting at different ages. Some have stopped as early as fourteen weeks, while others kept going until between six and nine months. Vizlas can take a long time to mature and may exhibit some juvenile behaviors for up to three years.

However, with persistence and commitment, you can teach your Vizsla to only bite appropriate items. We have a great post on when will your puppy stop biting here.

To be clear, you cannot teach a Vizsla, especially one that is teething, to stop biting altogether. But you can shape their behavior so that they know what they are allowed to chew on.

When nothing works and your Vizsla puppy won’t stop biting

Only a Vizsla owner truly understands the horrors of obsessive biting that happens in a burst of the real sharkies.

For some unlucky souls, none of the above behavioral tricks help.

Yelping noises might make them more excited and turning away might just make them attack your rear end! Ignoring them might only make them more determined to get your attention, and a timeout or cool-off period in the crate can just make things worse.

So, what do you do when nothing seems to be working?

In part, one has to learn to simply control the behavior until the dog outgrows it.

You can start by investing in some heavy gloves and only wearing old clothes for a few weeks in these extreme cases. Accept that some rips and tears will be part of the process. So be sure to keep your good clothes out of reach.

Also, never go barefoot!

During this period, you can carry around frozen veggies or something similar. When they turn on you, calmly tell them, “that’s enough, thank you,” and put the frozen treat in their mouth.

If this doesn’t stop them, you can try a sharp squirt of water with a touch of citronella oil from a spray bottle.

The goal of this period is not to punish your dog or give in but to identify the triggers.

It may be overexcitement from a visitor or a new dog, or it may be from being overtired and irritable. When you understand what triggers your puppy’s biting attacks, you can act to distract them before the episode starts.

And remember, this phase won’t last forever!

How to discipline a Vizsla

Vizslas are best disciplined by keeping a strict daily routine that shapes the correct behavior.

They do not respond well to punishment. It is better to carry a treat bag with you and reward them throughout the day for any behavior you like.

It is also best to start training and socialization straightaway. Make particular use of place training and crate training to give yourself some breathing space during the day.

Ensure that they have toys, such as Zippypaws Skinny Pelt toys with no stuffing, to keep them occupied during this time.

Use structured exercises such as long walks, hikes, and running when your Vizsla is old enough to burn off pent-up energy.

Aggressive Viszla puppy biting: What should you do?

If a Vizsla is biting from aggression, it is crucial to identify the trigger as well. For instance, they may be biting from fear, aggression, or possessiveness.

Some Vizslas may be prone to nervousness, and this can lead to fear aggression. In these cases, it might be strangers or other dogs that are in danger of being bitten.

Ensure your puppy is well-socialized from a young age to teach them to cope with any anxiety or aggression issues they may have.

If your Vizsla is already an adult and they are displaying aggressive or reactive behavior, consult a professional trainer and behaviorist for help.

If your Vizsla puppy is growling at or biting anybody that goes near their food, chew toys, or even you, then they are resource guarding.

It is vital to address resource guarding at a young age so that it does not become a problem when your dog is an adult and can do real damage.

You can handle it by following these steps:

  1. Start by teaching your puppy the basic sit command. Your pup should learn that sit means “please” and is the appropriate way to ask for something.
  2. Wear a heavy oven mitt or glove that is thick enough to protect your hand from a nip.
  3. Place the food bowl (or whatever the puppy is guarding) in front of the puppy but keep your hand over it so the Vizsla can’t reach the food.
  4. Don’t react to any growling, biting, or other bad behavior. Don’t move your hand either.
  5. Be patient and stay relaxed.
  6. Eventually, your puppy should try a new behavior. It could be just standing back. If you are lucky, they may decide to sit.
  7. Take your hand off the bowl. The message here is that if you are polite, you will get what you want.
  8. Repeat the process of covering the bowl or item and waiting for polite behavior before you rerelease the food. Be kind but clear: growling and biting will not get them what they want, but a polite sit will.
Also take the time to read our post: Puppy is Aggressive: Aggression Guide

When do Vizslas stop chewing?

Vizslas may chew destructively for the following reasons:

  • Boredom
  • Separation anxiety
  • Teething

Teething should end at 7 months, but your Vizsla may continue well after that until around 9 months.

The best thing to do is keep your home puppy-proofed, have times when your Vizsla is in their “place” or “crate” with an appropriate toy, and keep to a strict exercise regime.

Yes, at times, it may feel like you are being shadowed by the world’s cutest shark. Still, with patience, routine, and commitment, your Vizsla will eventually mature into the sweet-natured soul you know lurks behind the teeth.

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