Barking Hunting dog question


July 3, 2007, 02:20 AM
I want to get a hunting/retrieving dog, but I already have 4 pet dogs at home. Will the working dog be adversely affected by spending time with these pets? I am specifically wondering if the working dog will be ruined by picking up the others' bad habits like Barking at the wrong times?

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July 3, 2007, 07:28 AM
There's a good chance that your hunter will pick up bad habits. I would expect them to be discipline related. If you don't get obedience out of your whole pack it will be hard to get obedience out of your hunting dog in the field.

But there are a few things that will help you out. First buy a dog that is a fanatic for hunting. Meet the parents. My German Shorthair has ZERO interest in play when the hunt is on. Also, start now on reigning in your other dogs bad habits. Few things concerning dogs bother me more than a completely untrained small dog. People make exceptions for them and they shouldn't. Be it a house or hunting dog it should listen.

What other bad habits are you worried about? Obnoxious barking would not be a big worry to me when you have a single dog that is bred to hunt in the field. He'll be focused on his nose, eyes, ears and you if you put in the time with him.

Just curious, what breed are you looking into?

July 3, 2007, 01:58 PM
There are dogs that can be hunting dogs and house dogs, and good at both. Of course, I'm a tad prejudiced.

Our new Vizsla is a natural hunter, from what I can tell. He swam for the first time yesterday, after a very short time experimenting in the water. This was the first time he'd been in a body of water. He is 9 weeks old. My wife tossed a retriever dummy. He went and brought it back. He's never had a bit of training, because he's a baby still. He points honeybees, and he stalks our other dog already.

She's a 5-year-old Pit Bull. He spars with her constantly, and they have a blast. Yes, that's a 9-week-old Vizsla puppy, play-fighting with an adult Pit Bull, and there's no problem. He's friendly and good with little kids, and he's a snuggler, too.

That might be the key: get a really good, as in Field Champion pedigree, VHD (Versatile Hunting Dog) that can switch gears easily. Like islandphish's GSP (German Shorthair, another Versatile breed), a really great hunting dog will be fanatical about it. That doesn't mean he/she won't want to play with other dogs, snuggle with children, whatever. Just be vigilant and learn as much as you can about training. Our local NAVHDA chapter is great for that, BTW.

Our new Vizsla puppy with his new buddy:

What I've seen is that, while they're buddies, each dog will run off and pursue its own interests and ignore the other, if there's something interesting enough. The pitbull likes water retrieving tennis balls. When I tossed a ball 50 yards out in the water, she took off like a rocket, running right over him when he got in the way. If a dog wants to hunt (or whatever activity), then that interest can transcend ALL distractions.

You will have to pay attention and do some extra work, but that's true with training any dog when there's a whole pack. If you have a good "pack", a new dog can be easier to manage. That's one of Cesar Millan's secrets: he lets his already-trained pack do a lot of the work for him, when rehabbing a behavior-problem dog.

If you currently have a pack of untrained, semi-feral dogs, you have a LOT of work ahead of you, though, with all of them.

This much I do know, however. Vizslas tend to be very vocal. Some people who have a bunch of them have Field Champion titles for several dogs. They bark all the time, at each other, at gophers, at the wind, at whatever. Doesn't seem to get in the way of their hunting ability.

Bark collars are effective, BTW, if you need them, or if you have neighbors.:)

Browse around here:

July 4, 2007, 01:29 AM
Just curious, what breed are you looking into?
The overwhelming majority of hunters around here have German Shorthairs, they say that with the large ranches, you need a dog that can cover large areas. A local gunshop owner raises Vizla's and they, of course say that life is too short to hunt with an ugly dog! (I agree that their dogs are beautiful, but I also like my other friends dogs)

I am very fond of Labradors, but have never had one to hunt with. I would actually like to have several dogs, one for every need, just like my need for a firearm for every situation :neener: However, I am happily married (21 years) and I know better than to push on this situation. Once some of our current pets are no longer around, I have a much better chance of getting a dog of my own. Fortunately/Unfortunately, one of our dogs, an Old English Sheepdog, is aging rapidly (11y/o) and the end may be more near than far.

The concern of barking comes from our current dogs territorial nature and the barking that they do in response to the steady flow of foot traffic around our house. They are actually doing a good thing keeping us aware of the flow of people up and down our alley etc.., but I don't want a dog sitting beside me in a blind that can't sit still or keep quiet. This seems to point to a Lab. However, I would also like to have a dog that can hunt, as we are in the middle of some of the best upland bird territory in the southwest! :confused::banghead:

July 4, 2007, 10:32 AM
Primary difference between Vizslas and GSP's is not appearance, though they're obviously different in color/markings. I really like the appearance of both breeds.

GSPs tend to be more aloof and quiet, whereas Vizslas tend to be more interested in their human families, and vocal. Both are very energetic, great hunters. Depending on your situation, you may favor one or the other.

July 8, 2007, 12:42 AM
I don't think it's a concern, but I don't know the issues with your current 4 dogs. My American Brittany is the biggest house pet there is - blessedly rarely barks - only when the mailman steals the mail, the garbageman steals the garbage, or a dog, kid or rabbit walks through the area...but---BUT -- take him out, and he's all business -- not interested in anything but the birds...

July 8, 2007, 01:33 AM
Three out of four of our pets bark like you described,
only when the mailman steals the mail, the garbageman steals the garbage, or a dog, kid or rabbit walks through the area
But the fourth...the fourth one barks to get back into the house. She has to stay outside most of the day, so she is barking quite a bit. She is the Old English, the one that is senile and old and won't live much longer...therefore we have allowed her to get spoiled and rule our lives a bit too much.

I would have thought that a Brittany would be a barking fool in the field, unless you employed strict training at all times. The brittanies that I have been around are very hyper house pets. Is the instinct that strong? Strong enough to totally change the dog's behaviors from one setting to the other?

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