Sunday, May 24, 2015

Birdman Birddog

learning what she's bred for

No, not that Birdman (great movie), this is the birdman that Whiskey LOVES. We are working to train Whiskey with birds (trying to get her to hold a point right now). Eric has been our very informative trainer and this time Whiskey recognized Eric's car and just jumped right in. It smells like birds, fun, and dog. We met up with, his brother and Yoffi, his now-junior champion Vizsla. Yoffi ranked 7th in puppy field trials (dogs up to 1.5 years of age) out of all pointing breed dogs in Canada and was the only Vizsla to place! I was so stoked to watch Yoffi "work". Now we don't want to compete with Whiskey because it's a full time commitment but it's really nice to see the dogs work and learn. They are happiest doing the work they are bred for and I just love learning.

wading into the field
Yoffi, handsome junior champion

Puppy in training
We went out to a big field to practice and Eric brought some birds. He set up a bird tied to a string that was fluttering around and both dogs were so excited. This is expected in an experienced dog, but really key for Whiskey. I then tried to walk Whiskey in a big loop around the bird to a pre chosen position, then encouraged her to stay still and hold a point, lifting her back into place when she lunged ahead. After a couple rounds, she got much better and understood what we wanted.

initially Whiskey was so hard to hold back

Putting Whiskey in a "suitcase" and learning how to handle

these dogs are so beautiful

getting better!

Yoffi showing us how it's done

birdman and birddog

watching from the sidelines

Switching to something else before the dogs lost interest, we kept Whiskey while Yoffi got to go "find" and point a bird. Eric took a bird in a launcher 500m away, came back to Yoffi and released him. It was pretty crazy to see Yoffi run full speed tracking the bird and pointing it out way before we could catch up to him. He held the point until the bird was released and is currently training to keep his point while the bird takes off and flies around.

Yoffi finds the bird and holds point

walking up and he doesn't move

Still holding point while Eric encourages good style

pointing another bird

I'm really excited to continue her bird training as I just love to see these dogs point. I can tell Whiskey loves it and she's so keen to learn.

Happy tired Whiskey

very focused Yoffi


  1. Hi,
    I came upon your blog when I was doing some research on Vizsla. I love the breed! What happens to Whiskey when you and your partner have to work? I want to get a Vizsla, but I'm currently working full time, so I can't be with the dog all the time. Will leaving a Vizsla at home during the day be okay?

    1. Hello! Thanks for visiting. At first my partner took 3 months off with the puppy so we could make sure she was well trained, ok with separation, eating well and having no issues. I don't think you need to do 3 months off but I would suggest as long as you can afford to because your life will be difficult if your dog is not well trained and balanced to start off. So work very demanding contract jobs so when we are working 9-6:30 we have a dog walker take her from 12-3 out hiking in the woods with other dogs. Minus the transportation time, she gets about 1.5-2 hours off leash in the mountains. We also take her for an off leash walk in the morning, and as soon as we get home from work. She is very easy if we stick to our schedule. I would say it would be best if you either come home for lunch or have someone come and let her out because they need the stimulation (imagine sitting in a boring room for 8 hours a day) and also puppies will need to pee more often. I personally wouldn't suggest indoor daycare because no one is really paying full attention to them the whole time and they aren't free to run. They tend to be crowded and it's easy for dogs to pick up bad behaviours. I would never leave Whiskey for more than 4 hours alone but I do know people that do. If you are leaving a grown dog (not puppy!) for a whole work day, you will need to commit several hours outside with them as soon as you get home. Vizslas are not easy that way! Though they are the best dog ever if you are an active outdoor person. Good luck!

    2. Thank you for the info. It was very helpful.
      If you don't mind, I have a few more questions.
      Do you find that Whiskey will miss behave in the 4 hours that she is left alone?
      I'm worried that all the training will only work when someone is there to constantly supervise. If the dog is left alone, he/she will ignore the boundaries and rules set for them. Does that happen?
      I am also planning to hire a dog walker. Do you give your dogwalker a key for your house, so she/him can take Whiskey out for walks? Or do you leave Whiskey outside in the backyard?
      If that's the case, then what do you when it's raining or during Winter? I also live in Vancouver.
      Lastly, may I ask from which breeder did you get Whiskey from?
      Thank you!

    3. When we are gone, we've first kept her in her crate only until she was about 6 months old. Then we would introduce her to the rest of the house for short periods of time, lengthening to 4 hours. The only thing she's done is torn up a slipper but that was my fault. Start off in the crate, then short time periods unsupervised after exercise. Whiskey is not a chewer.

      If you've made it clear what are her toys and what is yours, you should be able to slowly pay less attention during the day and "trust" your dog will behave. If you set a good foundation and slowly give them freedom, you should feel confident to leave for 5mins, then 10, 20, 30, etc. We started with the bedroom, removing anything that could be trouble but have never had an issue other than one pee (when the walker was late and she was still young). After a couple months I opened up the rest of the house.

      My dogwalker has the key, yes. We live in an apartment downtown but I would never leave my dog outside as they are frequently stolen and need to have shelter as well.

      If you check out the "Whiskey's breeder" page under "Home" it has all the links to her breeders. We made the extra step to fly into Montreal to pick her up but the time and money really don't matter when you want a good dog for 15 years. Just get the breeder you really believe is the best fit for your dog's life. You will be soooooo happy when you do. I promise :)