Activities For Spinoni Italiani

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Introduction

The Spinone Italiano, pluralized as Spinoni Italiani, is a very old breed of hunting dog that is believed to have been developed in the northwestern part of Italy. They were developed to have a slower pace than many other gun dogs to make it easier for hunters on foot to keep up with them, but they are particularly good at air scenting and tireless in their pursuit of game. In the home, these wiry-haired canines are fairly laid back, happy, and playful, making them pleasant home companions as well, but it is important to note that they have a naturally high prey drive and are both diggers and jumpers, so they should not be left alone in the yard as without supervision, they may escape.

Hiking

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
1 - 3 hrs
Items needed
First Aid Kit
Water
Six-foot lead
Waste Bags
Activity description

Spinoni Italiani are slower paced hunting dogs with a great deal of stamina and an adventurous spirit. They tend to have fairly sure footing, a trait developed to help them hunt in the rocky mountains of Italy’s Piedmont region, and their thick skin and wiry coat were developed in order to protect them from the thorny undergrowth of the area. These traits, combined with a happy-go-lucky attitude, make these dogs pleasant and capable hiking partners. Their high prey drive means that these dogs should remain on a lead if not actively hunting, however, in order to protect both them and the wildlife in the area.  

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Prepare
When starting any new exercise routine, the participant’s overall physical health should be evaluated. Hiking tends to work the heart, muscles, and the joints, which helps to strengthen all three as long as they aren’t overworked. It is generally recommended that both human and canine novices to hiking start with shorter, less intense hikes, and work up to the longer, more challenging treks. This helps to condition both of you to ensure that neither of you are hampered by exhaustion or muscle fatigue, as well as slowly toughening up your feet and your dog's paw pads to avoid developing blisters or otherwise damaging the feet.
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The gear
Carrying a first aid kit for yourself and your canine companion is a wise decision when venturing into the wilderness, and it can come in handy on both long and short excursions. A canine first aid kit should consist of strong bandages and disinfectant for cuts, tweezers or pliers to remove thorns or porcupine quills, saline water for washing dangerous substances out of eyes or cleaning wounds, an extra pair of white socks or a rubber glove to encase an injured foot, and veterinarian approved antihistamine and anti-inflammatory medications. Bringing along a towel can help to protect your canine from getting chilled if they take a dip in a pool or creek, and a mylar blanket is useful for conserving heat in an emergency. Avoid dehydration by bringing along plenty of cool fresh water for both you and your dog.
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Being aware
Keeping a watchful eye on your pooch and being aware of your surroundings will help to avoid hazards like toxic plants, contaminated water, or dangerous wildlife. It is also important to be aware of your dog's limitations and behaviors when you are out hiking together. Heavy panting, a hanging tongue, and sticky saliva can all indicate dehydration, as can a suddenly wobbly gate. If any of these symptoms occur, stop, offer your dog water, then assess the animal’s health. Behaviors such as lagging behind, limping, and heavy breathing indicate that it’s time to take at least a fifteen-minute break or cut the hike short.
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Swimming

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Easy
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Life Vest
Leash
Activity description

This breed is often utilized as a retriever of waterfowl and is typically a very good natural swimmer. Swimming on a regular basis can help improve both cardiovascular health and muscle tone, all while protecting the joints and the skeletal system from undue wear and tear, an important consideration for dogs like the Spinone Italiano, who is somewhat more prone to hip dysplasia than many other breeds. If you are planning to employ your dog as a hunting dog, swimming outside is a natural choice, if your dog is not destined to be a gun dog, you can avoid hazards like hidden wildlife, contamination of the water, and unexpected currents by taking your dog to a canine swimming pool instead, where they can swim safely for approximately ten to twenty dollars per thirty minute swim session. 

Step
1
Swimming in nature
When choosing a natural body for the beginning swimmer, you should pick a pond that is not bogged down with excessive algae or that has very few strong currents that can pull your dog off course or excessively tire them. It is also important to be aware of what types of wildlife could be in the waters. Crocodiles and alligators hunt the waters of several southern states, and venomous snakes like the copperhead and the cottonmouth can be found in and around natural water sources in the southern states as well, although their territory extends further north. In some areas, there are training facilities specifically for designed to train a waterfowl retrieval dog how to retrieve from the water. These facilities typically have several different size and shapes of ponds which are designed to help introduce your dog to as many controlled circumstances as possible.
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Man-made swimming pool
Many indoor and outdoor swimming pools are now available for dogs to swim in throughout the North American continent, for a small fee. These pools are typically treated to avoid bacterial or viral contamination, and they are generally free of strong currents and wildlife. In many cases, an individual who has received training will also help to introduce your dog. If you choose to teach your dog to swim in your own man-made swimming pool, it is crucial that you introduce your dog to the water in a positive, trust-building manner, as pushing a dog into the water or frightening them so that they jump in can sometimes cause even the most water-loving of breeds to fear the water.
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Safety gear
Novice swimmers and those that are not particularly strong swimmers should always wear a canine lifevest for safety, and even strong swimmers should wear a life vest in uncertain natural waters to help protect them and keep them afloat even if they get dragged into an unseen current. Many hunters hunt in the early spring and late fall, making the water in natural sources colder than usual. Dogs that retrieve waterfowl in these colder months should wear a neoprene vest to protect their chest area from the colder water.
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Teaching Whoa

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Any Day
Free
Normal
5 -10 min
Items needed
Table or Bench
Whoa Board
Activity description

The Spinone Italiano is not only a fantastic tracking and retrieving dog but they are also natural pointing dogs. Although the act of pointing may come naturally to dogs that were bred for pointing, freezing in place until the hunter is able to take the shot is not typically as instinctual. The whoa command, a command that tells your dog to freeze in place, is useful in other situations too, sometimes even helping to protect your dog from serious injury. Training your dog the whoa command is not particularly difficult, but it does take time and patience to create a nearly bulletproof response to the whoa command. Teaching the whoa command to your pup as early as three or four months old and taking your time when teaching it will help to ensure that it stays well- cemented in their minds, but even a more mature dog can and should learn this command. The whoa command should be mastered prior to taking your dog out into the field to work with game birds. 

Step
1
Bench or table
Lift your pup onto the table or bench, or encourage them to jump up on the table. Once they are there, hold them in place and gently give the whoa command. Start with just a few seconds, followed by a great deal of praise and attention, as they master that amount of time, increase the amount of time until they are standing still for around thirty seconds. Once they have mastered this, it’s time to teach them to hold still on their own. Place the dog on the table or bench, say whoa, then walk slowly away. Your dog is likely to try and follow you, at which point you will gently place the dog back where he was, then repeat the whoa command, praising and rewarding him when he stays where he is placed. This step can take several weeks to over a month before it is consistent.
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Whoa board
After your canine companion has mastered the whoa command on the bench or table you were using for training, your dog can graduate on to the whoa board, a flat wooden board around two feet by three feet. This now takes the place of the bench or table, so that the pup is placed on the board or walks onto the board instead of the bench or table. Give the dog treats and attention when they stay on the whoa board as instructed to create a positive association with both the board and the command. As with the table, start with asking your pup to stay in a whoa position for just a few seconds at a time, gradually working your way up to about thirty seconds. This can be reinforced over several weeks, and multiple whoa boards can be placed in areas the pup frequents.
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3
Moving along
It is now time to teach the dog to follow this command when walking. While walking outside with your dog, give the whoa command. If your dog doesn’t stop immediately, firmly but gently place them back where they were when you said whoa, then repeat the command. If you repeat the command before placing them back where they were, you could sabotage yourself by confusing the dog. When you are ready to start walking again, give the dog a verbal release command and a reward; either a food treat or affection. Keep practicing until your dog reliably stops when you say whoa.
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More Fun Ideas...

Flyball

Although these dogs tend to be somewhat slower than other gun dogs, they are consummate retrievers who are also known for their jumping ability. The game of flyball, in which teams of four canines race down a track and over four hurdles in order to retrieve a tennis ball, is a sport that they will truly enjoy.

Search for your Supper

Spinoni Italiani are good tracking dogs and, like other deep-chested breeds, are prone to a dangerous condition known as bloat. Eating too quickly or gulping their food can increase the chances of developing this disorder. One way to keep your dog from eating too fast is to hide their food in multiple spots, an activity which also provides mental stimulation.

Dock Diving

These dogs are typically fantastic swimmers with a strong drive to retrieve and long legs. These traits can help to make the Spinoni excellent competitors in the canine sport of dock diving, also known as dock jumping.

Conclusion

This breed of dog tends to be very calm and laid back at home, provided that they receive enough exercise to burn off their excess energy. Engaging your Spinone Italiano in high energy activities like hiking, swimming, and hunting will help them to be more stable, healthy, and enjoyable canine companions to have in the home.