It is important to understand something about the Vizsla’s style. They are sometimes called the 'Velcro Vizsla' because of their tendency to stick so close to their owners. This is because the breed was developed to hunt close, looking for game with his nose, eyes, and ears, and then indicate prey so handlers can harvest the game. If you are planning on using your Vizsla to hunt deer, you will need to work with and capitalize on this tendency, following your dog closely, as he follows a game trail and then freezes to point out deer.
To hunt deer, your Vizsla will need to learn to identify and follow deer trails. A Vizsla is also a pointing dog. He will tend to freeze and point his head and possibly even his leg to indicate that game is present. If you have a young, excited dog, you will need to reinforce this freezing behavior, as you do not want your dog to rush at a deer. Praise and affection are big with these dogs and they will work for your approval. Vizslas also need their handlers to be calm, but in control, so they can have confidence and attend to directions. Since these dogs are highly trainable, shaping their natural behaviors is the best method to train your Vizsla to hunt deer. You will need to train your dog on the terrain you will be hunting deer on so that he is comfortable working and scenting in that environment. This may mean training and working in heavy bush and over long distances, so make sure your dog responds well to directions and commands without being distracted.
Treats are always welcome for reinforcement and shaping behaviors, although your loving Vizsla will work for praise and affection as well. To train scenting deer, you will need deer scent, available commercially, from road kill, or from a butchered carcass. Deer blood can be used to teach your dog to flow a blood trail, which will be useful in locating a wounded animal when necessary. You will also need to teach your dog to freeze and wait when deer are located. Using a check rope is a method often employed by hunters to prevent their dog from rushing in and frightening game away, spoiling the opportunity to take a shot.
How old before i can take him deer hunting ?
Hello Paul, Once pup is over six months of age, that will largely depend on pup's level of training. Most dogs are ready closer to one year if you have spent the previous year training, but some more mentally mature pups may be ready sooner if they show that they can track, perform competently, and stay calm enough to think through the situation. Mental maturity varies by breed and individual dog between 6-12 months. Few dogs are fully off-leash trained before one year with their level of maturity. If your dog is, they may be ready sooner than the average dog. If not, I would continue training and wait. Often taking pup along for a hunt on leash, while another hunter and their dog handle the deer, can be good practice for pup once trained before they are the one doing the hunting. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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