Fi recommends joining a Dog Club, plain and simple. Whether it’s a group on Facebook, a monthly meetup at the dog park, a simple text chain with some of the other dog parents in your neighborhood, or a blend of each. Making time to connect with fellow dog lovers in your area will improve your connection with your dog, allow you to meet like-minded people, and provide your dog with endless fun and exercise alongside other dogs like them.
Viz Whizz is one of Fi’s favorite partners. This unique group brings together Vizslas and other high energy breeds like Weimaraners and GSPs, and their owners, to set out on off-leash adventures across the US. Viz Whizz Founder Nicky Monahan was originally just eager to network with other Vizsla owners in the Boston area, but as we’re approaching Viz Whizz’s 4th birthday, the group hosts meetups every weekend in 30 states...and counting!
We spoke with Nicky about the mission of the group, the impact it’s had on her life, and how Fi has played a role in the growth and success of this amazing community.
Why did you start Viz Whizz?
I’d go on hikes with my two Vizslas and whenever we’d encounter other high-energy dogs on the trails, my dogs would be so excited. I knew they had more fun and got more energy and mental stimulation out when they were able to run and play with other dogs like them, so I went to Instagram and invited local Vizsla owners to join me and my pups on a hike. 2 other folks showed up that first Saturday. The next week 9 showed up, and since then we’ve grown to thousands of members across the country.
How do you think it grew so big in so little time?
Hard work! I don’t stop, it’s a full time job keeping Viz Whizz alive and growing, and my family have been a huge support. I’m from the Advertising world, I’m used to connecting with people and socializing. Once people experience meetups like this for themselves, they see how valuable it is - their dog is WORN OUT! And for those owners, it’s totally worth it. If you have passion for your dog, you’re always going to look for activities to do together. You meet like-minded people, you make new friends, you really join a community. Now we have 51 pack leader volunteers who run the groups in 30 States across the country.
Why do you think a group like this is important/beneficial to dogs/dog parents?
For those of us with high energy dogs like Vizslas, we know they need to be outside and they need to be off leash. If they aren’t, they can be destructive, they’re naughty, these dogs need a job! So responsible off-leash dog ownership is extremely important to us, and we always seek out a safe place to let our dogs run free. We always say, your dog wasn’t born with a leash, so they shouldn’t always be on one. Gathering in a large pack of dogs actually incites better behavior in the breed than if they’re alone. It’s also safer to learn in a group - socialization is huge. Viz Whizz provides access to tools you need to become a more responsible dog owner, and education that you may not be able to get elsewhere.
How did you find Fi? Why do you think a Fi is important for high energy dogs especially?
One of my Vizslas recently started having seizures and we were looking for a collar so that we could track him if he seized off leash. We wanted something we could also recommend to the group. I was investigating other smart collars to recommend to the group, as well as use on my own dogs, but I’d had experiences with a few that were flimsy and unreliable. When we found Fi, it was easy to use and we fell in love with the product because it worked and did exactly what it said it would. The battery life is incredible, and for how much we are away from the house and at meetups, that’s a big plus. Our dogs are often off leash, and though it’s in a controlled environment, if you’re an owner of dogs with this much energy, you need peace of mind. People always think it can’t happen to them, a dog running away, but often most times it happens when you least expect it.
Any special stories from Viz Whizz to share?
We've hosted hundreds of meetups for thousands of dogs in less than 4 years and we've only had one dog go missing. He got spooked by something and ran off towards town. Within an hour we had flyers up, animal control notified and over 50 members stepping up to help find him for the next two days. Thanks to some tempting slices of pizza he returned back to where we lost him. The support from our community was overwhelming, and that’s the support system we have when any of our dogs are in need. For us that was also the moment when it made it so real for so many of us, ‘that could have been my dog’. Almost without exception, dogs run off because they are spooked by something. If they have a Fi collar we are almost guaranteed we can find them quickly.
Can Fi users join Viz Whizz? How can they find you?
We’re active on Facebook and always love new members, and we're practicing social distancing and wearing masks during our gatherings at this time. If you have a Vizsla, Weimaraner or GSP, follow us and find an upcoming meetup near you!