Training your Vizsla is not only about teaching the commands you say, but also about how you live with your pet.
There are cases in which dogs tear their owners’ hands with their teeth when they try to give them a treat. Many dogs eat treats regularly without taking the necessary care when it comes to delicate human skin.
Some dogs are naturally gentle with the mouth, but most need lessons to achieve this skill. These animals should be taught the “soft” or “slow” signal, which simply means taking the treat well. Having a Vizsla who takes treats with care can alleviate much of the frustration that often occurs when you want to reinforce your dog’s good behavior.
Treat rewards are incredibly helpful in training to keep your Vizsla focused on you and the learning process. Despite thousands of years of domestication, the canine species is not naturally programmed to obey immediate commands. The progress of the animal will depend on the time and perseverance dedicated by its owner.
What Should I Do to Teach My Vizsla to Eat Its Treats?
Vizslas are highly intelligent and insightful dogs. They understand many of the words you say to them and interpret them in their own way as a command or a compliment.
You have to commit to the idea that your dog needs to take the treats with care, or it will not receive them at all. In other words, don’t let your pet be the one to decide how and when to eat their treat. So far, there are instances where Vizslas get their food no matter what they do, whether it’s jumping on its owner to get it or snatching it from their hands.
What is really wanted and expected is that the dog only receives the treat when it takes it carefully. Roughly taking sweets is not aggression; it is just a lack of manners.
There are even some people who try to solve the problem by throwing food at the dog or throwing it on the ground. That doesn’t fix the problem permanently or help other people who might be offering your dog food and treats.
To properly teach your Vizsla to eat treats without it gobbling your hand, do the following:
You should hold the treat (kibble, candy, or whatever reward you have decided to give) in your hand, close your fist around it, and offer it to your Vizsla. For the dog’s comfort, ask it to sit down (this helps it be a bit calmer).
It is essential to mention that if your dog has a crocodile mouth, for your safety, wear gloves until it develops a softer mouth.
If you see it bite your hand, keep it closed. Do not give it the treat if it presents a wild and desperate attitude.
When you see that it has stopped biting and started to lick your hand (or even bite gently and without pain), it means that it is calm, so you have to say “soft” or “slow” and open your hand fully to give it the treat.
These two keywords are necessary when training your Vizsla. You have to make your pet understand that it should get its treats calmly and without creating a commotion.
Continue saying “soft” or “slow” each time you offer it a reward to help it associate the word with the behavior.
If it relapses and reverts to its previous ways of biting your fingers to forcibly get the treat, remove your hand and then offer it again, using the “soft” or “slow” signal to remind it of what it wants.
If you notice that it is progressing in training, proceed to place the treat between your index finger and thumb, but this time, allow it to protrude a little. Offer it to your dog by moving slowly. Continue wearing gloves if your dog is tough. Say “soft” or “slow” and let it take the treat if it’s gentle. Hide it in your fist if it’s too rough.
In this final step, you will need help from other people. You should teach your Vizsla dog that food manners don’t just apply to you. They apply even when other people offer food. Pick someone the dog knows well to start with and have them work each step in turn.
Again, the dog may forget its manners for a moment, but it will soon remember them. Once you’ve done this with a few different people, it will remember them forever, no matter who offers the food.
There are other ways to teach your Vizsla to eat treats. There are two good ideas in case the above solution didn’t work:
Offer Treats to Your Vizsla Dog with an Open Hand
At a dog park or wherever you are with your Vizsla, offer the treat in its flat palm. Many dogs that take treats that you hold with your fingers are able to take them correctly when presented with an open hand.
Simply Offer Treats to Your Vizsla Dog on the Ground
The last option is to drop the treats on the ground instead of giving them directly to the dog.
It takes a lot of repetition for most dogs to learn to take treats with care, and the occasional effort to teach someone else’s dog. For example, holding it with a closed hand, it is unlikely to be effective.
Until your Vizsla dog knows how to take treats with care, there are a couple of ways to protect your fingers when giving them outside of training sessions. At home, put cream cheese or peanut butter on a wooden spoon and give your dog a chance to lick this food several times. That is a way to reinforce your dog without putting your hands near its mouth.
How Long Does It Take to Teach My Vizsla Dog to Eat Treats?
It all depends on how you train your Vizsla. It can take weeks and even a few months for dogs to adopt good behavior when eating treats. Still, that is not impossible since Vizslas are brilliant dogs, and they will most likely follow orders effectively.