The UK Kennel Club has recently accepted the Lagotto Romagnolo, an ancient Italian hunting breed, as a registered show breed. The interim breed standard is featured on Page 8. Above is a very cute Lagotto puppy, a fine example of the breed.
The magazine your dog would want you to read
Editorial - September-October 2006:
Hunting dogs not born ready-trained!
REPORTS have been numerous lately about the treatment many hunters hand out to their dogs and I have to say that I am appalled.
Don't get me wrong - I do acknowledge that there are a FEW hunters who love the sport of the hunt and have pride in their dogs and keep them happy, healthy, and just as keen on the hunt as their owners. But these ones seem to be in a minority and unfortunately they often leave clubs and organisations because they can not tolerate the constant ill-treatment their "mates" hand out to their dogs. Unfortunate because the better quality hunters are the ones that the clubs desperately need to lift their reputations and influence the deadbeats for the better.
Perhaps this is a reflection on the type of people who enjoy hunting, or perhaps it is a very twisted method some guys use to show the 'blokes at the club' how manly they are? Often they buy a young dog and, because it is from good hunting stock, they expect that it will just know what to do and how to do it from the first trip out and with no training (training costs money and besides, if I just wait the tooth fairy may help!).
Often a young dog can be frightened silly by gunshots - this does not mean the dog is unsuitable for hunting - it means that it must be gradually and quietly conditioned to the offending noise by associating it with rewards and praise, not hit or kicked or locked in a shed. With such bad treatment young dogs will begin to associate the gunshots with the post-gunshot treatment and will become even more fearful and later, aggressive.
Reports have included dogs being hung up by their necks and left in a forest to die after the hunting season is over (these hunters will unfortunately get a new dog for the next season), or shot and left injured in forests. But the lives of many hunting dogs are just as bad as their deaths and often comprise a series of atrocities such as electric and electronic collars, hanging them by their neck from a choker chain, picking them up by their ears and swinging them around, collars that dig into their necks if they pull away, being tied up tightly and gunshots fired close to them, and many other such treatments, and all in the name of training!
Well, I have news for those "trainers". Such methods were recognised as moronic and ineffective about midway through the last century! Perhaps it is time to take both yourself and your dog to a real 21st Century trainer. Modern trainers commonly say they need to do more to train the owners than the dogs, as there are so many antiquated concepts still practised by people who THINK they are training their dog but are in fact doing irreparable harm to both its physical and psychological wellbeing.
Communication is a two-way concept, and dogs do their best to understand their owners without the advantage of language. All dog owners (and this does include hunters) need to gain at least a basic knowledge of what their dog's body language means, what their dog is trying to tell them, or what their dog is asking of them. Owning a dog does not require domination and punishment - it requires respect, understanding, reward and enough common sense to learn the meaning of the signals dogs use to communicate. Those who make the effort to learn, watch and listen to their dog can expect loyalty and respect in return. - Elezabeth