The Italian spinone is a gentle gun dog / retriever, and makes a wonderful nanny dog with an exotic appearance.

The Italian spinone is a gentle gun dog / retriever, and makes a wonderful nanny dog with an exotic appearance.

Breeds fitting the criteria for nanny dogs have naturally pleasant, responsive, obedient and willing attitudes. In many cases, they seem to train themselves – so claim many owners, as well as the monks of the Great St. Bernard Hospice!

It’s because nanny dog breeds are selected for an important set of characteristics. These breeds are born with a genetic blue print to be gentle, tender, attentive, and eager to please.

Depending upon your family’s or your individual needs, you may want to include some specific training for your nanny dog. If your intention is for your nanny dog to perform a service, such as guide dog, rescue dog or therapy dog, you should work with a professional trainer who has experience in these types of training and certification programs.

If your nanny dog is destined to be a companion pet, you will find that positive reinforcement training, or clicker training, will work very well for you and your dog. You must never punish a nanny dog. These dogs are so sensitive that often simply raising your voice causes them distress. No dog can learn when they are afraid.

Clicker training is a wonderful, and fun, training method. The click lets the dog know she’s got it right, and the treat that follows rewards the desired behavior. This type of training is called positive reinforcement because we reward behaviors we wish to reinforce, instead of punishing behaviors we don’t want. Clicker trained dogs use their fine minds and love to learn.

Here are some recommended resources for clicker training information and equipment.