amber (no 4)
Born- 2005 Adopted-2006
In 2001 I took on my first Vizsla, Amber. A year old she was full of energy and enthusiasm for everything/everybody. As I understand it she had gone between two homes, and although she had a grasp of basic commands, she was pretty undisciplined, particularly when her excitement took over.
I had previously owned a Weimaraner, and to me, Amber was more childlike and easy-going, wanting to play with everybody – basically, she was completely daft.
Her behaviour was and often still is, very submissive, and as a consequence other dogs sometimes found her irritating. Then there are other dogs who witness her “loony toons” and just stare – as though wondering if she is completely insane.
On the day we collected her we stopped to buy her a new collar and lead at a nearby garden centre. She gave me my first fright by slipping her collar when Mum offered her a pig’s ear to sniff, running out into the car park. Clearly they were not her treat of choice!
Her first few years were all about play, but wanting to be able to keep her safe I signed her up for some gun-dog training. Though I’d no plans to work her, I quickly saw the benefits of using a whistle – something I cannot recommend strongly enough. Some years later, after moving house, we were walking on a quiet closed lane and for the first time ever, saw some people walking towards us. To be fair, it was two rather large gentlemen and their large black Labradors. Amber froze, then turned and bolted the other way, back towards the main road. It was only the quick-thinking of one of the guys, who blew his whistle, that stopped her in her tracks. I had become complacent and been whistling myself, but in my panicked state I wasn’t able to do it quickly or loudly enough. I would not wish that gut-wrenching feeling on anyone, and thank goodness that we had both done the training by that time, and that great big man was there with his whistle.
She has a cat friend at Mum’s, who she carried as a kitten, enduring long sessions of her gnawing on her face. She’s great with my chickens, and when I had some hatching in the incubator she ran up and down the stairs most concerned, alerting me to each new arrival. That said, she is not averse to running through the flock to send them scattering – just to keep them on their toes.
She’s still not the best at reading the warning signs from unfriendly dogs, and inclined to want to rush to greet everybody. Everybody except a very large Ridgeback with his very tall owner anyway. That day she decided it was best to be a statue and sat behind me, silent, in the hope that they would not see her!
She’s the first dog I’ve ever owned who’s not particularly enthusiastic about water. She’ll go in with encouragement, but it holds no particular appeal for her, and that’s fine too because it means fewer baths.
Now nearly 10 years old, she has finally slowed down a little, though she still has her “loony toons”. She has grown white in the face, and I would not change her a bit. She has the most wonderful nature, and I am convinced the Vizsla is now my breed for life.