An article to know everything about Truffiers dogs, their role, the education they receive as well as the ideal profile to achieve this mission.
The savage that is to search for truffles is a canine activity not widespread in France and yet in its own right, which has its own competitions. Of course, beyond the sport, this activity was initially practised by the truffles, which had other means to find truffles than to use animals. In the past, it is the pigs that filled this function. Over the years, dogs have largely taken their place, thanks to their high-quality flair but also because of their best docility than pigs.
Zoom on Truffiers dogs, their role, the education they receive as well as the ideal profile to achieve this mission.
What is a truffle dog?
A truffle dog is a dog that, thanks to his flair and the glaring education he has received, is able to find truffles, these rare mushrooms and very sought after, underground. To be a good truffle, the dog must, of course, have a good flair, a certain enthusiasm for the discipline, but also a calm, sociable and docile temperament.
The truffle dog must indeed be well educated enough not to disrupt the truffles, at the risk of damaging them, or even eat them! His good education will also allow him to focus on his task by making a total abstraction of what is happening around him. In addition, a truffle dog must be enduring and resistant because the savage sessions are in winter and often for many hours.
What races choose?
No discrimination is made regarding the choice of the race to complete the trick dog mission. The age and sex of the dog are of no importance either.
Of course, some dog breeds will be much more inclined to fulfil this mission than others. Among them, we find in particular all the dogs of shepherds who have a particular affinity with all that is training and activities rich in physical, mental and olfactory stimulations. Naturally, we could quickly think of all the hunting dogs for their particularly developed and effective odour, and however, despite some exceptions, of course, their predation instinct can quickly decorate and have them abandon the track of a truffle for the benefit of the one.
One of the most famous breeds for the savage is the Lagotto Romagnolo, which, initially a water dog used for the game hunt but which was, by multiple selections, used mainly for the search for truffles and not Game.
How to educate a truffle dog?
Several methods exist to learn the savage to a dog, and in many cases, the ease of this learning will be proportional to the dog’s age that is initiated in the savage.
In clear, the more the dog is used early to look for truffles and to be conditionally packaged to that, the easier it will be to get very good results.
Several methods consist of integrating the aroma from the truffle into the puppy feed, whether by brushing the nipples of the mother and/or by integrating truffles into the diet of the dog after weaning. This technique can, of course, work but will have to be completed, ultimately, by an “against learning”, which will consist of relearning the dog not to eat the truffle found. In my opinion, this constitutes nonsense educational nonsense since one learns from a dog and then “disappointing”. However, this technique, proven and approved by the greatest specialists in the discipline, has, of course, been proven and remains the most common method for initiating a dog to the cabin.
Here are some tips for teaching your dog to look for truffles in a fun and efficient way:
Tip # 1: Learn about your dog to look for
Your dog must learn to look for and use his odorant! This may seem evident for some dogs, but for others, learning and much encouragement will be needed.
Place treats all over your living room first and then in your garden (or in a park) afterwards and accompanies your dog by saying “looking for”. As soon as he finds treats, reward him warmly. Then complicate a little exercise by hiding treats in various relatively easy-to-access places for your dog (under a carpet, behind a cushion, under a piece of furniture, etc.) and reiterate the rewards as soon as it manages to find—the sweets. The more you advance, the more you complicate the steps. But be careful, do not go too fast and offer your dog short but regular sessions.
In the long term, you can start hiding trees underground for your dog to learn to distinguish harvested smells under several centimetres.
Tip # 2: Associate treatments with a truffle aroma (or a piece of truffle)
To avoid “wasting” truffles during learning, it is quite possible to use truffle aroma, sold on the sites specializing in the savage and its learning. When your dog systematically finds all the treats that you hide underground, you can then start incorporating the truffle aroma trees so that your dog gets used to this smell and understands that finding this smell is associated with Something positive (a reward on your part).
Do not resize on encouragement and be patient with your dog. In the savage, the natural qualities of the dog will only be beneficial if a relationship of trust and mutual respect is established between the master and his dog.
Tip # 3: Replace treats with truffles or truffle aroma
Then, once your dog has fully integrated the search for the aroma, remove the treats and replace them with truffles or truffle aroma but keep it still under the elbow to reward your dog. Since you know where you have hidden the fungus (or its aroma), as soon as your future trick dog is interested, reward it warmly and do not wait for it too deeply and that it catches and/or eat your treasure.
Thus repeat these exercises regularly, without proposing your dog sessions too long either. Learning must remain pleasant, playful and respectful of your dog’s rhythm.
Ultimately, you will then be able to evolve in what is called truffles that are, therefore, natural environments in which you do not know where the truffles are.
Participate in savage competitions
You can also, if desired, participate in specific savage competitions.
These contests take place on artificial truffle: six truffles are hidden the day before the contest on a delimited ground of 5 meters out of 5.
The dog must mark the presence of the six truffles by pointing his front legs at the exact location where they are buried but should in no way dig or dig up the truffle at the risk of damaging it. The dog has a maximum of 8 minutes to find the six truffles. To give an idea, the best Truffiers dogs manage to identify all the truffles in 45 seconds.
The results of the contest depend on the number of truffles found by the dog, his execution time but also of his method of identification.