What Are Truffles Anyway??????
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What Will My Dog Learn?
Your dog will learn to find truffles in a fool-proof systematic way. Your dog will find ripe truffles, let you know where they are, dig and stop, without damaging the truffle. Most dogs will be finding truffles in the wild after 1 Intro training session, a few weeks practice and then a 1-Day session out in the truffle patch. Unless your dog has fear, anxiety, aggression or mice insanity, its really that simple.
What Are the Basic Dog Skills?
Recognizing Truffle Scent
Learning that Finding Truffle Scent is Rewarding
Using Dog's Nose (not eyes) to find Truffles
Pinpointing the Truffle
Digging the Truffle
Stop Digging the Truffle - BEFORE the dog damages it!
What Are the Basic Handler Skills for Truffle Hunting?
Choosing a Dog Likely to Succeed at Truffle Hunting
Choosing the right equipment for you & your dog for truffle hunting
Selecting & Delivering Rewards for Found Truffles in a Motivating Way
Recognizing Your Dog's Various Behaviors : Looking for scent, In Scent, Trying to Pinpoint Scent and also when your dog is goofing off.
Helping Your Dog Get Back to Hunting
Transitioning from Training Truffles to Real Truffles in the Forrest
Acquiring, Cleaning, Handling & Storing Truffles & Training Aids
Infusing Truffle Aroma Into Foods
Characteristics of Good Truffle Territory
Fun Videos to Watch
Will My Dog Be a Good Truffle Dog?
There are no guarantees . . . but a good truffle dog typically is one that is
highly motivated by cookies & treats or a small toy or ball . . .
or one that LOVES digging (not just casual digging but the way terriers love digging)
. . . and likes to find things using its nose. A treat or toy reward is the easiest way to quickly and repeatedly reward the dog for exactly what you want it to do.
Dogs that are highly aroused by mice, moles or voles . . .
. . . are often not good candidates for truffle hunting because they get too easily distracted by these critters and rewarded by chasing them. There are a lot of mice in the truffle patches. A dog distracted by squirrels, birds or deer can still be a great truffle hunter . . . but it may take a while for them to learn that there are fun things underground. A dog with formal bird-hunting training may have a very hard time.
What's the Hardest Thing About Truffle Dog Training?
Finding good truffle patches to hunt in is the hardest part. A target rich environment with lots of truffles is best for training and improving a dog's truffle hunting skills. Please respect private property and always ask for & get permission from private land owners. Acquire the proper permits for public lands.
Four-Hour Private Intro Training Session (not in a truffle patch) - $450
We start training right away and just see how far we can get in 4 hours. You will have a pretty good sense of how your dog will do, whether it will be a cinch or take more structured training and specifically what to do. You will get a complete training program – even if we don’t get that far with your dog – so you can work on the steps at home and a kit of things to work with. You will also learn a lot about truffles, hunting them, cleaning, storing & using them in the 4 hours. This session is in Roseburg, not in the truffle patch. We work on the foundation scent recognition & find behaviors. Then, after a few weeks of practice, you can strike out on your own and go truffle hunting – I’ll walk you through how to approach that too. Truffle seasons (Oregon Winter White, Oregon Black) vary each year but typically they run +/- December 15th thru +/- March 15th. And then sometimes there is a nice Spring White season in May-June.
Four-Hour Group (2-Dogs Max) Intro Training Session (not in a truffle patch) - $300 each
Same as above but with 2 dogs
One-Day Group (4-Dogs Max) Intro Training 9am-4pm (not in a truffle patch)
$300 per person ($350 for 2-person Dog Team)
Very similar to the 4 hour class, but more detail & practice time is available and you get a lovely home-cooked truffle luncheon.
Additional 2-Hour Session - $200 Each
(most dogs don't need this - typically only if the dog has fear issues or the handler needs more help). I rarely do these sessions.
One-Day In-Season Truffle Training Hunt (For Dogs that have completed Intro Training)
Private - One Dog/Handler Team - $600
Group 4-Dog Teams Max - $350 Each
We meet at your hotel (or at a nearby to Drain, Oregon central location) at 9:00 am and drive together (you follow us in your vehicle – on logging roads) out to the truffle patch which is about 30 minutes away. We spend the day until about 3pm in the patch. We’ll have our dogs there too and will take them out to ‘start-dig’ some truffles so that we know where they are and can let your dog ‘re-find’ them so we can reward your dog right away for finding them. It’s a great technique to get a dog started. Then we hope your dog will move on that day to finding the naturally occurring truffles without the help of a ‘pre-dig’. Most dogs do! We will take lots of breaks in the truffle patch too which will help your dog ‘learn while resting’ and then try it again. The dogs will be out in groups of 2 dogs and 1 trainer each. Lots of personal attention!
Complete 2-Day Packages In Truffle Season (for people who travel far)
Learn/Train Day 1(6 hours) Hunt/Train in Truffle Patch Day 2 (6 hours). Just like descriptions above, but back to back in 2 days.
Private - One Dog/Handler Team - $1200
Group 4-Dogs Max/2-Handlers max per dog - $600 Each
Free Email or Phone Support Throughout & After
Call or email for custom private training packages & schedules if you travel from out of the area or for custom group training.
For inquiries and appointments email or call Deb Walker
What Training Options Are Available?
Happy Truffle Dogs & Handlers Trained by K9-Behavior Company
What Are Truffles?
Like mushrooms, truffles are the fruit of underground fungus called mycelium, much like strawberries are the fruit of strawberry plants. However, truffles grow totally underground and therefore can be difficult to find!
Truffles multiply & spread naturally as forest animals like mice, voles, birds, etc. eat, digest & excrete the unharmed spores to other locations.
When truffles ripen, they become aromatic and release aroma the forest creatures can smell and then find & eat. Truffles that are not yet ripe, do not put off aroma and therefore are not found by mice or dogs.
Europeans have used pigs initially and now dogs for centuries to harvest what has become a culinary delicacy. European truffles sell from $1000 to $3500 per pound primarily because they are harvested with the aid of dogs at the peak of ripeness.
Chinese & US Truffles sell for a mere $100 to $500 per pound, primarily because they are raked predominantly in their unripe state and therefore have poor aromatic quality and poor shelf-life. We truffle dog trainers are helping to change all that and improve the 'reputation' of US truffles which are among the finest culinary quality.
Dog trainers and harvesters are working to change the US truffle industry by promoting dog-harvested truffles to improve the quality, crop yields, reputation, demand for and therefore market price of US truffles.