Are you living with a vizsla and wondering how to keep a vizsla busy? Perhaps you need ideas to keep a vizsla busy and out of trouble while you’re at work. Or maybe you want to know how to keep vizsla puppies entertained in those early weeks at home.
Vizslas are smart, energetic dogs and they love to be physically active and mentally challenged. Unfortunately a bored vizsla can result in destructive behaviours that are difficult to live with and solve.
So regardless of whether you want to know how to keep a vizsla busy while at work, in a crate, or when you are at home, here are 25 games, toys and activities to keep vizslas busy and entertained.
This article is based on research and personal experience as a Vizsla owner. I’m not a qualified dog trainer, Vet or dog behaviourist.
How To Keep A Vizsla Busy When You’re At Home
Vizslas love to be close their human owners. Bred as companion dogs as well as hunting dogs, they are most content when hanging out with you.
It’s just one reason why they are such great family dogs.
But anyone living with a vizsla will tell you, at some point each day they will start looking at you with desperate eyes which means they need to get out and do something fun.
So if you are at home and need ideas for how to keep a vizsla busy, here are 5 great ways to keep your dog busy – physically and mentally.
1. Take Your Vizsla For A Daily Walk
A daily walk is one of the very best ways to keep a vizsla busy and tire them out.
Not only does it help them do some exercise, it also gives them an opportunity to burn some mental energy through natural nosework, training opportunities and socialisation with other dogs and people.
Try to do different types of walks to keep it interesting for them:
- On lead walks to the local shops
- Off leash trail walks
- Swimming in the creek or river
- Chasing a ball at the park
- Playing at the dog park.
2. Run Errands With Your Vizsla
Consider taking your vizsla with you when running errands around town.
Whether it is dropping the kids off for school, picking up a parcel from the local store or visiting a friend, consider taking your vizsla with you to mix up their day.
3. Organise A Visit From Their Fur Friends
Do you have friends or neighbours with a dog? Why not organize a puppy play date?
The dogs can play in the yard while you work or get things done around the house and they will both have a great time wearing themselves out.
4. Play Active Games In The Yard
If you don’t have time to get out for a walk with your vizsla some days, an active game in the backyard is also a good way to keep a vizsla busy.
You don’t need a huge yard either, particularly if the game involves some thinking.
Good games to keep dogs busy include:
- A flirt stick / teaser wand
- Hide and seek with a favorite toy
- Kicking a small soccer ball around with them
- Playing catch with a tennis ball
- A bungee toy.
Wondering what a flirt stick or bungee toy are? See them in our guide to the best vizsla toys.
5. Give Your Dog A Job
Hungarian vizslas were bred as working dogs, so a great way to keep your vizsla busy at home is to give them a job.
Mental stimulation for Hungarian vizslas can be just as effective as a walk to tire them out. Giving them some household chores is a great way to get them thinking and working.
This does involve some training, but ideas for the types of jobs you can teach them include:
- Collect the newspaper and bring it to you
- Clean up their toys in to a toy box
- Help bring the grocery bags in from the car
- Bring your slippers to you
- Close doors
How To Keep A Vizsla Busy While At Work
Unfortunately most vizslas don’t enjoy being left alone for long periods of time as they are bred as companion dogs and really miss their humans.
Boredom is the most common reason for destructive behaviour so it pays to plan ahead for those days when you won’t be home and keep your vizsla entertained and calm while at work.
Here are 5 ideas and toys to keep dogs busy when alone at home.
6. Give Them Puzzle Toys To Solve
Challenge your vizsla with a puzzle toy or cognitive toy when you are at work.
There are all kinds of interactive toys to choose from and you can even make your own DIY puzzle toys.
Be sure to start with the beginner level toys and work your way up to the most difficult otherwise they may get frustrated.
Good puzzles to keep dogs busy include:
- Interactive treat dispensers
- Anything from the Nina Ottosson range of puzzle toys
- Snuffle mats and licki mats with their favorite treats
- Wobble kongs for dispensing food
- A small kids ball pit with treats hidden inside.
7. Organise A Dog Walker
If you work long days and you can’t get home during the day, it is a good idea to organise a friend or pay a dog walker to take your dog out for a walk.
The walk will tire them out and make it more likely they will snooze the afternoon away till you get home.
8. Find Them A Fur Friend
This idea is a little more long term, but consider another fur friend to keep your vizsla company at home.
It doesn’t need to be another dog either. It could also be a cat.
We have an older cat and while it took a while for them to become friends, our vizsla loves him so much (although I’m not sure the love is always reciprocated!).
9. Book Them Into Doggy Day Care
If you work full time and your vizsla has a tendency to be destructive around the house when left alone for long periods, consider the services of a doggy day care a couple of times a week.
Friends of mine who use doggy day care swear by it – their fur babies come home exhausted and happy.
You will need to do your research to find one that accommodates and appreciates the needs of active medium sized dogs. But when you find one they really are a great way to keep a vizsla busy when you are at work.
10. Rotate Their Toys
Keep a range of toys that only come out when you are at work. And rotate them so each day there are “new” toys to play with.
If your vizsla loves to play hide and seek, hide the toys around the house or garden before you go to work so they have to find them throughout the day.
How To Keep A Vizsla Busy In A Crate
So if your vizsla can’t be trusted to roam free in your home, or you prefer the peace of mind knowing they are safe in a crate while you are out of the house, here are some ideas for how to keep a dog busy in a crate.
And just a side note – try and take your vizsla out for a good off leash walk before putting them in the crate.
Chances are they will sleep for a good portion of their crate time if they have had a good walk or run beforehand.
11. Frozen Treats
While you don’t want to give them a lot of food while in the crate, frozen treats last a while and are a good way to keep a dog busy in a crate.
Ideas for frozen treats to keep dogs busy include:
- A kong filled with solid and liquid treats and frozen
- Licky mat smeared with peanut butter, yoghurt, or dog food and then frozen
- Large frozen ice block with fruit pieces inside.
12. Create a DIY Dog Enrichment Box
Pack a small box or bucket with all kinds of interesting things for your vizsla to discover throughout the day.
Wrap a frozen kong, a chew toy, some toilet rolls closed up with treats inside, their favorite soft toy (if they are not a chewer) and a few random treats scattered within the bucket.
They will take some time to unwrap them all and enjoy what is inside.
13. Puzzle Toys
Small interactive puzzle toys that dispense treats are a great dog toy to keep them busy and perfect mental stimulation for when they are in a crate for a few hours.
14. Give Them Long Lasting Chew Toys
A few favorite durable chew toys are a great option to entertain your dog in the crate.
The chewing action helps them relax (which encourages them to sleep) and keeps them busy.
Try a flavored synthetic chew, large bone (if they already experienced with bones) or tuff toys.
15. Play A TV Show Or Radio
Running a television or radio when you are out is a good way to entertain a dog in a crate. We always leave the TV or radio on when we leave our vizsla in the crate.
For one, the sounds helps mute any outside noises that might encourage them to bark.
But also, the tv in view of the crate also gives them something to watch! The sounds and images from the TV help them feel less alone when you are out.
How To Keep Vizsla Puppies Entertained
Your vizsla puppy is a bundle of energy in the early weeks and months.
But until they have had all their shots it is best to keep them at home to keep them safe and disease free.
Here are 5 fun ideas for how to keep your vizsla puppy entertained until they can get start exploring the big wide world.
16. Short Obedience Training Sessions
The first few weeks at home are the perfect time to start obedience training with your vizsla puppy.
Keep the sessions short (5 minutes) and do them when they wake from a nap as puppies tire easily.
In addition to potty training, start with the basics like sit, drop, shake and roll.
17. Name And Find Toys Game
Teaching your puppy the name for each of their vizsla toys is a great way to keep your vizsla puppy busy.
Start with one toy and say its name over and over. Then ask your pup to find that toy using its name.
Eventually they will know all of their toy names and you can ask them to find them one by one!
18. Give Them Small Chew Treats
Small puppy chew treats are a great way to keep a vizsla puppy busy at home.
Note the chews must be age appropriate (avoid hard bones) and it is best to keep an eye on them when first giving it to them to be sure they aren’t going to swallow it whole.
Good options include lambs ears, bully sticks, chicken necks and pigs ears.
19. Play Games
Playing short games with your vizsla puppy not only keeps them busy, it is great for their development too.
Playing tug-of-war with a rope toy, teaching them to fetch a ball or play hide and seek are all great activities to keep puppy busy.
Socialisation is so important in the early weeks when you bring your puppy home.
It ensures they become well adjusted dogs capable of interacting in a healthy way with other dogs, humans and the world around them.
Working your way through a socialisation checklist is a great way to keep your vizsla busy in those first few weeks at home until you can you take them out.
Expose them to all the sounds, activities and events in the home like:
- Grooming and having their feet, nails, ears, face and tail touched
- Bathing and showering
- Loud noises like the toilet flushing, hairdryers, doors banging and music.
How To Entertain A Vizsla Indoors On A Rainy Day
When it is raining outside it isn’t always possible to get out for a walk especially if your vizsla gets cold.
Some vizslas still love to get outside if their owners are willing. Others (like mine) take one look at the rain and decide they aren’t going anywhere!
But your vizsla still has energy to burn so here are 5 ways to keep your vizsla busy indoors on a rainy day.
21. Play Hide And Seek
A favorite vizsla game in our house, is hide and seek.
You can play it with people or toys. A person (or toy) hides somewhere in the house and then your vizsla goes off to find them.
You will be amazed how they can remember all the old hiding places and find you with the help of their excellent nose!
22. Teach Them A New Trick
Teaching new tricks is one of the best ideas for how to keep a high energy dog busy.
Choose a trick, watch some few videos on the best way to teach it then use a high value treat to make it happen.This book by Kyra Sundance is excellent with step by step instructions for 101 dog tricks!
23. Play Nosework Games
The vizsla dog breed love to use their nose and nosework games are perfect to keep your vizsla entertained on a winter day.
Nosework games to keep dogs busy include:
- Find it – hide a treat or toy and get them to find it
- Which hand – hide a treat in your hand and get them to choose with their nose
- Muffin tray – place a treat in some of the tin holes. Cover each hole with a tennis ball and get pup to sniff the treats out.
24. Create An Agility Course
Much like kids building a cubby house in the lounge room on a rainy day, why not build a DIY agility course to keep your vizsla busy on a rainy day!
Be as creative as you like using household items like chairs, cardboard boxes, balls, pillows, rope, and hula hoops to build tunnels, jumps and obstacles for them to navigate through.
25. Snuggle Up Under A Blanket And Watch A Movie
When all the busy games are done, your vizsla loves nothing better than snuggling up with you on the couch.
Grab a blanket, some popcorn and watch a movie while pup snores happily away on your lap.
More Vizsla Life Articles
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