Bainbridge Beretta Royal Rex became our first Vizsla, born October 14, 1997.  Rex taught us so much about the breed, some good and not so good.

First we discovered that Vizslas are very sensitive dogs and all the prior dog training methods did not work. Harsh training makes this breed shut down. We spent a great deal of time finding a good hunting instructor who would use positive training methods.

The other thing Rex taught us was the importance of socialization. Rex’s breeder did not socialize the litter nor did he tell us the need for doing so ourselves. We utilized many different dog trainers to overcome timid reactions that would turn to fearful displays. At home with our family he was very loving but given new situations he was on the defense because the “world was a scary place”. I was determined that we would overcome this. 

Someone suggested getting Rex involved in other activities to give him self confidence. Obedience was boring in an enclosed room with other dogs and people. Flyball was fun but only if the people and dogs stayed in a mellow atmosphere; if you know about Flyball that is not possible. In 200 a new agility instructor was offering classes. We signed up and loved the activity.  Everyone was new to the sport and Rex seemed to understand that the dogs stayed on leash while he was off leash. Rex and I loved the activity and we worked out a system for managing the high excitement at trials. Unfortunately Rex had breaks because of health events.  

Rex loved our family dearly and had great joy in pleasing us.

Rex was also a great hunting dog. He was a thinking hunter. Some dogs run into a field trying to cover as much territory as possible hoping to find the scent of a bird. Rex on the other hand looked at the territory, scented, and choose the spot where he knew the birds hung out. His instincts were so good that in most cases he found the bird first as the other dog is still running around. We would need to force him to stop. As long as the hunter wanted to hunt he was out there working the field. He hunted in all types of climates and terrain. He was known to stick his head in a snow drift to pull out the bird if the hunter gave him the command.

Sadly Rex died of mast cell cancer after battling it for over a year following surgery and chemotherapy in 2007. During his short life he had Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia at age four. The veterinarians called him a miracle to come back so strong after being so close to death. He had allergic reactions to rabies shots which might have been a contributing factor to IMHA. Rex structurally had a eye catching gait but he was too large for the breed standard. I would have chosen a less timid dog if given the chance. I also would not have given him away to another because we had such a strong connection.

Rex seemed to be able to read my mind. He knew that I would protect him from the evils and he would protect me if the situation presented itself. As I said Rex loved our family dearly and had great joy in pleasing us. He taught me that I needed to learn new ways for training a dog; the importance of socialization; and the importance of good breeding practices. He offered his loving devotion of this breed. Even though Rex’s genes are not carried forward into future generations the knowledge learned and the love does go forth in each of our dogs.