Lagotto Romagnolo Q & A
Patti Fischer continued
will health test, including DNA testing, to ensure the best possible representatives of the breed will move the next generations forward. My favorite conformation dog show memory just happened in 2019. It was the first time I was showing my one-year-old Lagot- to, Angelus mei Lumiel Perfetto, without any assistance. I am not the best handler so, to my surprise, she took best of breed over a champion male. My most favorite dog sport memory was Bella passing her very first odor recognition test through the National Associate for Canine Scent Work. After Bella had alerted to the odor, birch, and passed the test, it was probably one of the most emotional moments in my life with dogs. As we were leaving the building, she was hap- pily trotting alongside me, when we both looked each other in the eyes. The look on her face told me she knew she had done some- thing really special; she was the happiest I have ever seen her. I had to fight back tears of happiness. This was the moment I knew I had an amazing relationship with this dog. One of trust, communica- tion and love. There is no better feeling in the world! The Lagotto Romagnolo is an amazing animal. They seem to be part dog, part cat, part goat, and part human. They amaze me every single day! They have a need to be with humans and will thrive when they are allowed to be part of everyday life with their families. They are sensitive and need to know that they can trust that you will not put them in situations they are not comfortable with. In my opinion, the best activity for a Lagotto is scent work. It will create a bond of trust and communication that is unlike any other relation- ship with previous dogs. The sport will also help the dog to become the dog it was meant to be, seeing the world through its nose. KATHY HAGLOF Lagotto Lady Kennels is situated
training and taking courses to have the best knowledge I can for my program as well as for my families. When you focus on educa- tion, breeding and raising dogs this way, it becomes all-consuming and very expensive as prices of food, equipment, toys and training continue to increase making it harder to do the best for your dogs. People think that we are making money hand over fist breed- ing and selling puppies. I have people contact me regularly because they “think it would be fun to have puppies” or they think they can make “lots of money” breeding. It takes a lot of time, money, heartache, stress, passion and love to raise dogs the proper way. It is definitely not a “get rich quick” scheme. Social media can be a double edged sword. People can say any- thing they want, true or not, and it can damage your reputation in a blink of an eye. The political climate has really had a huge impact on how people treat each other. For me, it is about personal relation- ships and supporting each other. Social media allows me to keep in contact with my puppy families that I would not have otherwise. I can share in their triumphs as well as their sorrows. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? We begin looking at their structure when puppies are about five weeks old to identify conformation show prospects with our final conformation selection when the puppies are eight weeks of age. The eight week mark is generally the age they will look like a min- iature version of their adult selves. It kind of gives us a peak into the future. The dog’s olfactory system is the only system that is fully devel- oped when it is born. For scent detection, we begin identifying the puppies with best scent curiosity during early scent introduction at the same time we do early neurological stimulation. From day three to day 16, we introduce the puppies to truffles and Parkinson’s Disease samples everyday as well as introduce as many other odors as possible. I take notes on how the puppies act and interact with the different scents to help us identify which odors the puppies are drawn to and which odors they don’t like. For service dog qualities, we begin watching the puppies at about five weeks of age. We begin having puppy parties every weekend when the puppies are about four weeks of age. We invite families and friends to come over to help us socialize the puppies. Our goal is to provide the puppies the opportunity to meet as many different people as possible before they go to their new homes, around 11 weeks old. These parties allow us the opportunity to observe how the puppies interact with people of all ages, sizes, ethnicities as pos- sible. We particularly pay very close attention to the puppies who are really drawn to the children. None of the puppies will be chosen for their prospective pro- gram until after we do the temperament test. Temperament testing allows us to see the puppy in a more holistic way. The puppy can have a wonderful structure, great nose, etc., but it also must have the courage, biddability and temperament to succeed. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? It is very important for a new judge to study and understand the breed standard. While this breed is a very ancient breed, possibly dating back to the 1500’s, it is still rare in the US. The Lagotto Romagnolo breed standard can be considered not as restrictive as other, more recognized, breeds. It is important to view them through the lens of the breed’s standard and not assume it should be the same as other breeds. For example, the height of the breed has a range of two inches with a ½ inch leeway on either side of the measurement. The breed is not required to have a scissor bite, although that certainly would be the preferred. My ultimate goal is to preserve the breed as intended based on the breed standard with a focus on temperament, biddability, cour- age and resilience as well as structure. My hope is that the breeders
on 25 acres of beautiful rolling land, surrounded by many lakes in Lind- strom, Minnesota. Besides working with my dogs, I enjoy outdoor yard work, planting trees and creating fun environments for my animals (dogs and horses). Horse back rid- ing in the many state parks is what I do to get away and re-charge my batteries.
Do I feel the average person on the street knows what the breed is? As of lately, because of the popularity, more people are recogniz- ing them. If not, people always ask if they are some sort of “doodle”. What qualities in the field also come in handy around the house? My experience is they make really nice family dogs. They are very loyal to their people, and want to go everywhere you go. They also like to snuggle and love attention, making them a great family pet. As used in the old days to guard ships, a Lagotto always knows when someone is at the door, and will alert you, which in my opinion, is a good thing. What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? These highly intelligent working dogs need structure in their lives—they need mental stimulation, without that, they tend to get bored, get into trouble “picking up undesirable habits”. Training is not just a “one time deal”, a well behaved dog is continuously being trained. To keep them happy, I suggest teaching tricks, nose work, obedi- ence, agility or dock diving. In other words, do something with them as they are happiest when they have purpose, a job to do. What special challenges do Lagotto breeders face in our current economic and social climate? It takes deep pockets to be a respon- sible breeder. I compare breeding to farming, as sometimes you have a good crop, while others you don’t. It’s not that easy. As prices
278 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J ANUARY 2020
Powered by FlippingBook