What's So Special About Ibizan Hounds:
Training and Socialization
|Ibizan Hounds were bred for thousands of years to hunt small quarry independent of the direction of any human. They use sight, sound and scent to find their game. For pet owners, this means that you are sharing your life with an athletic, sensitive hound, quick to chase after sudden movement. Most are touch-sensitive, and do not appreciate intensive handling. Though they are content to be a quiet companion when fully mature, throughout their lives Ibizan Hounds are ready and eager to engage in games, especially those involving racing, leaping, and pouncing.
Perhaps because their prey drive instincts are so finely honed, Ibizan Hounds have a great sense of play, and it is through using this drive that they learn quickly. Ibizan Hounds tend to be resistant to traditional "jerk-and-pull" methods of training, physical manipulation, and repetition. When in traditional training classes, they often appear resistant or depressed: this is simply because physical handling is upsetting to them. However, they are almost always ready to play, and it devolves upon the handler's imagination and sense of enthusiasm to invent ways to appeal to this drive. They also work well for food: an untraditional breed, they continue to confound traditional trainers, and do well with the clicker method. Please visit the Canine Sports page for a further discussion of training.
|"I socialize my dog
every day of his life", declared one well-respected breeder. It is helpful to think
in daily terms, as an Ibizan Hound exposed to different sights and sounds regularly,
over time will demonstrate confidence, joy, and friendliness toward strangers, if
allowed. They are gentle with children, and can be socialized to live with cats.
Temperamentally Ibizan Hounds can be reserved, but shyness or fearfulness is a sign of
poor breeding or inadequate socialization.
Like many of the hound breeds, it is unwise to leave an Ibizan Hound off-leash in an unenclosed area if there are roads nearby. The hunting instinct is very strong, and they will want to pursue any small, quick movements, no matter how much training is put on them. Respecting the Ibizan's strong prey drive can avert a potential accident.
|Ibizan Hounds must never be struck or kicked as discipline. Sensitive and intelligent, they quickly develop an exaggerated startle reflex when handled roughly. Any dog that has endured this is ruined for canine sports, where trust and teamwork between dog and handler are so critical. A well-timed verbal reprimand with a cooling-down period of no more than 20 minutes in another room or crate will communicate your displeasure. Even more effective is to provide an alternative activity for the forbidden one; e.g., offer a chew toy when puppy munches on the chair leg. Ibizan Hounds are truly loyal, and are eager to live within the rules, once those rules are made clear to them. Thinking of discipline problems as miscommunication between you and your dog often gives you the clue to a simple and peaceful solution.
The Joy of the Breed
When living with Ibizans, the owner must be aware that his dog's reach, unlike most breeds, extends vertically. Ibizans are perfectly comfortable leaping up onto kitchen counters, hopping over child-proof gates, and cleaning off the top of the refrigerator. Just as one plans the environment carefully for safe puppy care, be sensible about where you put food and fragile items if you do not plan to stay in the room with the young adult Ibizan. Another approach would be to plan training sessions to prevent this behavior (see People, Pooches and Problems, cited below). Why one would want to train an Ibizan not to leap up is a mystery to their true fanciers, however. The ideal Ibizan owner interprets his dog's prowess in scaling domestic heights as a sign of beauty, athleticism, and intelligence.
|Graceful in his deer-like elegance, the Ibizan Hound provokes delighted attention and comment wherever he appears in public. He truly is a stunning breed. Play consists of dance-like leaps, twirls, and flips, unique to this breed. He is always eager for activity, and is ideal for the dog owner who is interested in pursuing canine sports. Lure coursing, agility, tracking, competition obedience, and conformation showing are sports in which Ibizan Hounds have done well. Frisbee, flyball, canine eventing, and musical freestyle are also activities to consider. Ibizans also are excellent family pets, affectionate and gentle. While they should be exercised on a regular basis, they are happy to serve as affectionate couch pillows.