I recently read an article on dogs trained to sniff truffles. Clearly that kind of hunting is all about financial gain of the owner, and not really about satisfying an evolutionary urge of the dog. But then I thought more about all the commercial things that have been expected of hunting dogs.
One of the most obvious things is the burden that is put on the basic Labrador retriever.
The Labrador retriever: The foundation breed was the St. John’s water dog. The lab has variously been used as an assistance dog (blind, elderly, autistic, general therapy such as depression). screening and detection work for law enforcement (police, customs, war). This dog breed has been trusted to be a stable companion to almost any human or organization in need.
Hunting dogs are also used as some of the world’s best companion dogs.
Because as a matter of fact, when I am not dealing with hunting dogs, I spend a lot of time at dog parks, or at least where companion dogs gather. And here comes my spiel for what is wrong with the dog world.
The hunting world owners are not so different from companion world dog owners, there are good and bad ones Owners that treat their dogs as faithful companions, look after their health and nutrition and are concerned more about the dog than only the financial gain or the fun sport they get out of the dog. Then there are ‘red neck’ hunters that see dogs as a commodity. That don’t mind if they get shot, feed them bad food and don’t regularly get them vet checked. This balance varies from region to region.
The point that I am making is that regardless of the spectrum that the hunter owners are on, they are basically using the dogs for the reason that humans shaped their development, as a work tool, to hunt.
The problem for hunting dogs, and any dog in fact, used as a companion dog is that they often get very far removed form their original purpose. Not only that consider how far removed they are from the wolf. Domestic dogs are evolved from the wolf only about 20,000 years ago. Before then our domestic dogs (not wild breed dogs) did not exist.
Once the wolf was coaxed into evolving into the domestic dog (origins are still very unclear) we began using them mostly as tools around the farm and for hunting. NOT purely for our pleasure. In urban environments the only dogs that most people can ensure are truly satisfied are the lounge dogs we bred to hang around houses like cavaliers, pugs, Tibetan terriers (to an extent) etc.
ALL dogs need a daily off lead dog walk in the morning before their owner goes to work. This burns energy, provides the strong pack desire, and mentally stimulates the dog, they can rest after a job well done. Without purpose or without a glimpse of doing what they were evolved to do (in our case hunt animals) most dogs lives are severely diminished. A strong statement but the truth for anyone caring to think about it for a New York second.
And since in 2015 very few hunting dogs exist in America, doing hunting things, compared to hunting dogs doing companion type urban environment things, or NOT walked regularly and fed soft mushy wheat our of a can …