How to Train Your Dog to Find Truffles

Hard
6-12 Months
Work

Introduction

Truffles only grow in certain areas and can be a very lucrative business if you decide to be a truffle hunter. Though fungi may be easy to find in your area, truffles are sometimes elusive, hidden underground, near certain trees, and in areas that are not enticing to explore. Truffles have a powerful, distinct scent and are delicious for both dogs and people. Truffle hunting is something you can do with your dog and create an exciting business venture together. Imagine the bond you will have when your dog finds such an exciting product and helps you to make money! Truffles do not always grow in the same area twice so they can be challenging to find. However, teaching your dog to find truffles is not an incredibly difficult thing to do. And it is something the two of you can do together to grow, bond, and build a profitable business.


Defining Tasks

If you are looking to train a truffle dog, consider starting early when your dog is a puppy. If you can include the puppy’s nursing mother in your truffle training, all the better for your pup. Truffle hunting becomes a lifetime training for most dogs who work hard to find truffles. You could potentially train any dog to find a truffle, but it might be easier to train a puppy and to train a hound who likes to have his nose to the ground. While your dog is training, you will need to have access to truffle oil so he can get used to the strong scent of truffles. It is extremely common for truffle hunt dogs to have nursed with truffle oil on their mother's teats as newborns. Be prepared with patience, time to hunt with your dog, and energy to put into training your dog to find truffles. This will require persistence as your puppy grows into a truffle-hunting dog.

Getting Started

To get started you are going to need some treats, truffles or at least truffle oil, cotton balls, and a ball, stuffed toy, or sock you can cut into and re-stitch to hide bread or cotton balls soaked in truffle oil to entice your dog. You will also need time and patience to allow your puppy to grow into a dog who is familiar with the scent of truffles and the journey of the hunt.

The Puppy Method

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Step
1
Nursing
Apply truffle oil on a nursing mother’s teats to introduce the scent to puppies.
Step
2
Toys
When the puppy is finished nursing and a bit older, use a ball you can safely hide truffle oil-soaked cotton balls or bread inside and play fetch with your dog.
Step
3
Play
Toss the ball and reward him each time he brings the ball back to you.
Step
4
Repeat
Practice this until your dog can bring the ball back to you without coaxing.
Step
5
Challenge
Start hiding the ball with the truffle oil scent and ask your dog to find it. Reward each time he succeeds.
Step
6
Bury
Once he masters finding the hidden ball, begin burying the ball.
Step
7
Dig
Your dog should start digging for the ball when you ask him to find it.
Step
8
Truffles
Once he has this mastered, bury small pieces of truffle and ask him to find the truffles.
Step
9
Hunt
After this training, your dog should be ready to go out truffle hunting.
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The Find Method

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Step
1
Introduce
Show your dog a truffle and let him sniff to learn the scent. If you do not have a truffle handy, you can use a cotton ball soaked in truffle oil. Keep these cotton balls in a glass jar to keep the scent fresh and easily accessible.
Step
2
Find
Once he starts to show interest in sniffing more, use the keyword, ‘find.’
Step
3
Hunt
Take him to an area where truffles grow and let him sniff the truffle or oil infused cotton ball and repeat the command, ‘find.’
Step
4
Stay close
While in training, you may want to keep your dog on a leash so you can control where he goes and how he behaves. Otherwise, stay near him and wait for him to dig or sniff incessantly.
Step
5
Reward
Once you have an area to dig, reward your dog.
Step
6
Repeat
Repeat these steps each time you would like to find a new area to search for truffles.
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The Sock Method

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Step
1
Introduce scent
Begin as soon as possible by introducing the scent of truffles.
Step
2
While nursing
Put truffle oil on a mother’s teats when puppies are nursing or on cotton balls inside a sock your pup can play with while training.
Step
3
Bond
Let your dog sleep with and play with a stuffed toy or stuffed sock with a hidden truffle or scented cotton ball inside.
Step
4
Hide
As your dog bonds with the toy, begin to hide it and ask him to find it.
Step
5
Reward
Reward your dog each time he is successful and finds his toy with the truffle or truffle oil-soaked cotton ball hidden inside.
Step
6
Repeat
Do this for several weeks before asking your dog to find truffles outside and taking him truffle hunting.
Step
7
Hunt and reward
Each time he finds a truffle, be sure to reward him.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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