Truffle dog training: What not to do.

There are many ways to train a truffle dog but I believe some methods although might give you an ‘ok’ result quickly in the long term you will end up with a less confident dog and having to undo some bad habits you unintentionally created.

The one area I have found which I think would end up setting you back in the training of your truffle dog is a method I have heard alot of people use and this is showing the dog the truffle and when the dog shows interest rewarding the dog.

Although this method sounds good on the outside it is setting up your dog to think that you have the truffle and know where the truffle is however in the real situation you will have no idea where the truffle is.

This can create a dog who when he is having trouble finding the truffle will turn to you to show him where is it but in the truffiere you will be wanting to rely on him to show you.

Alot of the time the act of searching and hunting down for the reward gives the dog more reward endorphins then the actual reward itself. Dogs have a inert drive and instinct to search and hunt down food/or rewards. 

A wolf pack would only succeed in a hunt 3-14% of the time, therefore the act of searching and tracking down prey must give the wolves some kind of positive stimulation otherwise wolfs would give up.

Being decentents from wolfs, dogs have this same urge, to various degrees, and by allowing your dog to do the searching you are giving him all those positive endorphins and its more fun and rewarding for him. By showing him the truffle you are unknowingly taking away that positive aspect of the game.

A better way to start this training is pairing the reward with the truffle and hiding it. When the dog smells the reward and finds it he also get a big whiff of truffle scent and over time will make the association that the truffle scent is where his reward is. It starts to build his confidence in finding the reward/truffle right from day 1. Your dog learns to become an independent searcher and learns that he has to do the work to find it and that you are not able to show him where it is.

Showing your dog the truffle just teaches him/her that you have the truffle creating a less independent, less confident dog who could end up relying on you too much. The same goes with hiding the truffle in the ground and then patting the area where the truffle is and rewarding when the dog shows some interest. It is much better in the long run if your dog is the one finding the truffle scent independently and if he is unable to it simply means you have to go back a few steps in the challenges to build up confidence and drive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *