Originally posted by LaHistoriaDogo
Hunting ability and heart are not one in the same and that is where Cathy and Aaron are disagreeing with me. As I said, gameness is not trainable! Thank you for quoting that part Cathy. But you certainly can teach a dog of ANY breed to chase after a scent and grab on when five other dogs are holding on.
You can even train Stamina into a dog by working it up to the point where it can run all day long.
Hunting is much more than just gameness! "Heart" as you put it, is no more then willingness to die and tolerance of pain. Both which are overcome on a day to day basis with cut gear and a COMPLETE pack. Many hunters NEVER know what a single dog is made of unless they hunt it alone. You don't know if it can find if its second to the quarry, you don't know if its a fighter unless its caught alone on the most violent of its prey, you don't know of its pain tolerance if you use vests and collars.
So let's be honest for the sake of a good learning debate....Dogos can be trained to "hunt". Dogos (even the less than game ones) will catch with a pack. So with that being a FACT, please tell me how to train a dogo to have proper head type? I have seen some white greyhound looking dogos that catch hogs for people. I have seen white pit bulls that catch hogs for people. What makes them NOT a DOGO is that they don't look like DOGOS. No way around that
In real hunting situations you learn that a good hunting dogo can mean many things to many different people. Same as a a wine that tastes good to a neophyte and is trash for an expert.
Gameness, or heart (so as not to annoy Pitbull people), cannot be taught. Either the dog has it, or he does not. And like Shane says, it is easy to discriminate the gross failures from the gross successes, but it is not so easy to filter some dogs in the middle. The late-reachers, the non-wounded-ever, the catch-only-if-already-caught dogs, to name just a few. However, it doesn't take much time out in the field to figure them out. More so if you hunt on a horse and can see the whole work.
Pack vs individual dog: The fact that we hunt dogos in packs doesn't mean we do not have the opportunity to see them act single-handedly. Packs split. There can be more than one hog. And suddenly the dog that looked so dazzling when charging a 150-lbs sow or a big boar who already has 2 or 3 dogs in it, currs when facing a hog solo. I've seen that happen. That dog is a cull. So no, I do not agree that "many hunters NEVER know what a single dog is made of unless they hunt it alone". Any hunter worth a dime knows all his dogs perfectly well, inside-out.
Now, as for hunting ability...you can train it in a dog...to a certain extent. And I think that precise thought (that you can train ANY game enough dog to be a good hunting dog) is one of the most extended mistakes among dog breeders and owners who do not hunt.
See, hunting ability is highly dependent on a lot of factors that are inherent to the dog itself. Surely, the human hunter (teacher) is primordial, and normally a great human tracker/hunter does not have lousy dogs (if he does, he gets rid of them). BUT, I have hunted with hundreds of dogos trained by the same people in the same environment in the same situations and same hunting style and they performed with different degree of proficiency. Scenting is one thing; keep scenting after 8 hours (and 30 miles) of preceding the horses upwind is quite a different one. I have seen very game dogos who were also good finders and overall workers but would not stay focused on task after 6 or more hours of physical and mental exertion. Scenting and finding is a mixture between innate characteristics and taught behaviour. Same as studentes get mentally tired when they study many hours, dogs also do.
So, then, you have a few game dogs, who scent and find well, but kind of throw the towel after 4 to 6 hours. Ok, but not good enough. Then you have fewer still that go the distance (6 to 8 hours, 30 plus miles), but one or two have a subtle tendency to catch cow. You trust him / them, but you keep an eye. Then there is that good one, who does the time, leaves cattle alone, has enough heart, but....is a strayer. Damn dog tends to go the distance and catch 4 miles from you. Not good for the night (you certainly don't want a strayer in night hunting), so you keep it for day hunting. Then there's the big fellow, lots of heart, very strong, will go after a rhino if released alone, and can do 8 hours. But the damn dog will NEVER quit; it's a little on the large side to efficiently avoid the tuskers, and soon you find him torn like a bunch of spaghetti (my Jaque). And so on, and on.
And in the top of the piramid, you have the 12-hour, no-nonsense, all-heart and all-smart dogo who will do almost anything and you will trust him like you do not trust your own family. The dog you know will almost always find, always catch, never tire, never bother livestock, won't fool around or waste time peeing your truck's tires...the all-business dog.
I've hunted quite a lot and seen many dogos, and I can honestly say I have seen only 1 or 2 like the one I described above. I would give my left arm to be able to breed consistently dogos like the late Allen.
Yet, I have seen dozens and dozens of conformation champions.
So you tell me which is more difficult.
PS: And one more thing:
How much a dogo can go on hunting is not just physical-stamina related. A dogo can be physically trained to be a marathon runner, but you cannot train it to have the interest to keep going if he doesn't feel like it. Some dogs have a short span of attention. Some get bored. Some do not have sufficient prey drive. Stamina? I have seen deaf dogos try to find and catch for a whole day. Lame or 3 legged dogs keep on scenting and running after quarry when any common sense suggests otherwise. On the other hand, I have seen very athletic and physically trained dogs lose interest after just 3 or 4 hours of working the field.
It's all in the heart, and in the brain
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