Raising a well-adjusted, balanced Vizsla – Crush’s adventures (thunder and lightening)

Just a quick note to talk about thunder-phobic dogs and how challenging they can be.  If you’ve had one–you know how stressful each thunderstorm can be. If you haven’t, google it and after 5 minutes of research you’ll quickly understand why you hope your pup will be proofed against this.

Tonight (here in Denver) we have quite a bit loud thunder and bright, cracking lightening. We’re using it as a training opportunity to proof our puppy, Crush against it:

  1. Like with everything else–NO coddling of any uncertainty
  2. We’re not pushing her either. We took super-yummy treats outside and practiced a number of behaviors while flooding her with treats–especially right when we knew the thunder was coming
  3. Thankfully, our adult dogs are unaffected by the sound/sensation of thunder and their confidence helped with puppy-proofing.  We all went outside to PLAY and work on our best tricks. We were careful to not let too much time transpire between commands/treats/rewards with the goal of distraction+LOTS of super-yummy treats while thunder/lightening  happened (we hoped as something insignificant in the background).

I was thinking about how many people don’t use Mother Nature’s spontaneity as an opportunity to train.   I do know if Crush had been very afraid or overly nervous about going outside, I would NOT have forced her to go out.  Instead, I would have turned the TV or radio on to mute the sounds of thunder and then trained/played/stayed HAPPY inside.  I would have observed her discomfort levels and made note to keep working on proofing her against thunder.

Another quick thought–from what I’ve read, it seems there are dogs who’s “sound sensitivity” has more to do with their genetics than appropriate socialization.  This is yet another reason you should be so very thoughtful and PATIENT when researching a responsible breeder.  I’ve written and researched a bunch on this topic because it is something I feel so very passionately about.  Check out:

  1. Puppy Buyer Etiquette,http://rufflyspeaking.net/blog/puppy-buyer-ettiquette/
  2. Is the Vizsla the Right Breed for You?, http://www.rmvc.org/rightbreed.html
  3. How Does the Vizsla Compare to a Lab or a Golden?, http://www.rmvc.org/vizslalabgolden.html
  4. “The Versatile Vizsla” By Jenny Peacocke, http://www.trader.co.nz/versatiledogs/breeds/vizsla.htm
  5. You Don’t Want a Vizsla If, http://www.barbenvizslas.com/dont.html
  6. “Finding a Reputable Breeder”, http://www.rmvc.org/reputable.html
  7. “Traits of a Responsible Breeder vs. a Backyard ‘Breeder'”, http://www.woodhavenlabs.com/comparison.html
  8. “Why Health Tests Are Important”, http://www.fusionvizslas.com/healthtests.html
  9.  “Understanding Pedigrees”, http://www.fusionvizslas.com/pedigrees1.html

And, I’m not a professional trainer and so read the training stuff with a grain!  :-)


Written by Mel Reveles and Aaron Davis of www.FusionVizslas.com. We are proud to be founding members of the Rocky Mountain Vizsla Club–”The Specialty Vizsla Club of Colorado”, and members of the Vizsla Club of America. We are also members of the American Kennel Club’s Breeder of Merit Program.

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