Let’s get started with the Sadie breakdown!
- Where did you get Sadie? Ryan and I purchased Sadie from Shelley, a wonderful breeder in Alabama. Though we absolutely loved Shelley, I must say that Ryan and I were unaware that there are rescue organizations dedicated solely to vizslas at the time we got Sadie. We really wanted a vizsla, and had I known that vizsla rescue organizations existed when we were looking for a puppy, I would have rescued. If Ryan and I decide to get another vizsla one day, it will be a rescue.
- Why did you decide to get a vizsla? I have terrible allergies and sneeze incessantly around most dogs, so Ryan and I went on a hunt to find a dog that we both loved that wouldn’t affect my allergies. We read about vizslas and learned that many people who have allergies to other dogs do not experience allergies to vizslas, as they do not have an undercoat. It was also important to us to get an athletic dog and vizslas definitely fit the bill on that one!
- How big is Sadie? Sadie is only 34 pounds. The average vizsla is 10 to 15 pounds more than Sadie, and a bit taller as well. Sadie’s mom’s name was Tiny and she was 35 pounds. Like mother like daughter! People always comment that Sadie is much smaller than they expected when they meet her in person after seeing her in pictures.
- How does Sadie handle apartment living? Considering Sadie doesn’t like to be more than two feet away from me or Ryan at any time, she does quite well. We’re lucky that we have a backyard and can sit outside with her and let her out back to use the bathroom.
- Did you crate train Sadie? We tried. For one night. She wined and wined and wined. She sounded like she was dying and it broke our hearts to hear her like that. So no, Sadie is not crate trained, though I think crate training can be a good thing for many dogs. It probably would’ve saved our coffee table, too.
- Was Sadie easy or hard to train? Sadie was pretty easy to train. To potty train her, we hung a bell on our back door and would touch her nose to it before taking her out back to pee. We did this every time we let her out to use the bathroom and eventually she learned to ring the bell if she wanted to go out to relieve herself. As far as tricks like sit, stay, down and shake are concerned, Sadie learned these very easily. We took a puppy training class which was beneficial in that it made us keep up with training her. We would often forget to practice the “trick of the week” until 10 minutes before class, but we’d hold a cram session equipped with treats and she’d learn the trick in no time!
- Is there a trick that was particularly difficult for Sadie to learn? The one trick Sadie couldn’t master was “Bang!” Upon hearing that word, she was supposed to play dead. I would have to say “Bang!” five times to get her to actually die. It was a slow and painful fake death, so eventually we just abandoned that particular trick.
- What does Sadie do while you and Ryan are at work? She takes all of her toys out of her toy bin, sleeps in our bed, sleeps on the couch and guards our house. When she was a puppy and we were still potty training her, I would rush home from work at lunchtime to let her out and take her on a short walk. I will still do this from time to time, but now I typically use my lunch break to blog. She has no problem holding it until we get home.
- How often do you exercise Sadie? I take Sadie on a 20 to 40-minute walk every morning. When Ryan and I get home from work, we typically take her on another 40-minute walk or will bring her to the dog park to play for an hour.
- How did you teach Sadie to run with you? You may read my post about running with dogs here.
As a first-time dog owner, I would also like to share the two things that surprised me most once Sadie came into our lives.
First, I was surprised how needy dogs are and how much work they require. The first week we had Sadie, Ryan and I felt like we had a baby (though I’m sure once we actually have a baby, Sadie will seem like a piece of cake). Sadie didn’t just want our attention, she needed it. Of course dogs need their owners to feed them and let them out to use the bathroom, but they also need love, attention and exercise. We didn’t realize that having a dog would affect our lives so much. We now to make it a point to come straight home after work because we know Sadie is waiting for us. Both Ryan and I suffer from “dog guilt” and would feel awful going out to a movie or dinner after work when Sadie’s been home alone all day.
Second, I was shocked at just how much an animal could affect me emotionally. I love Sadie more than I ever thought possible. Before owning a dog, I always thought that dogs were just another family pet… like a hamster. Though I loved Harold (my childhood hamster), Sadie truly feels like part of our family. Ryan and I love her and cannot imagine our lives without her. She brings us so much joy and happiness and makes us laugh every single day.
Question of the Afternoon
Pet Owners: What has surprised you most about owning an animal?