Training a Lagotto means to make the most of his innate gifts for truffle searching. The extremely rare interest he has in "truffle", allows him to work completely undistracted. Τhe ease of his training, his excellent sniffing and the mastery of detecting make Lagotto so unique in truffle hunting.
Lagotto are very hard-working, cautious and precise and they develop a relationship of trust and love with their master. During truffle hunting, they are not easily distracted and they guide their master with loyalty to the truffle spots.
What we find in the Lagotto breed is something much more than a mere predisposition to seek through smell. We refer to the innate desire and ability to seek and dig up truffles.
This is proven brilliantly by the puppies that already from the age of two months, if taken into the woods next to a more experienced dog, they start engaging at once in truffle searching as if they have done it forever and they will detect and dig out the truffle with great ease. It is hence essential that he is spontaneous and able to take initiative when truffle seeking.
Training starts at fifty days from birth, by giving the puppy a truffle to start smelling it or a piece of cloth infused with truffle oil, rewarding him when playing with it and fetches it. Progressively, we should demand more and more things until we finally bury it underground and ask him to find it.
Soon enough he will reveal to us all of his gifts as well as his desire to seek. Gradually his obedience at commands and his hunting skills will be perfected.
Each puppy may have a different way of searching, needing less of more time, hence the general rule when training a Lagotto is to show PATIENCE.
Training a dog for truffles requires the consolidation of a healthy relationship and cooperation with our dog. We can't be thinking about training a dog, if we haven’t developed any kind of bond with him. If the dog does not respond to our calls, if he doesn’t participate in anything with us, except for feeding time, it means that we haven’t developed a proper relationship.
It is not an appropriate method to let him starve or to train him by following coercive methods because he will lose his confidence in us and we will not achieve our goal. A Lagotto works for the pleasure that he receives from the activities he does with his master but he also works for himself. Hence if we create a close relationship with him, we will accomplish his maximum possible involvement with the search process.
Always remember that to achieve brilliant results takes time and only when he reaches the age of three years he will be considered a mature and "complete" dog. As time passes, he will gain more and more experience and skills; in the end it will be him who guides you through the woods.