March 2022: Truffle Dog Training. Sansa’s 6th week into a 12 week course.

Sansa is now at the end of her session 1 training and I have come to Sansa’s owner house to check on how she has been going with session 1 and to see if she is ready for session 2.

The first video below is with a paired hide, truffle and reward together. She finds all three hides in 2 min 10 seconds. She is less distracted compared to the last video and able to focus better at her job. She is less jumpy and doesn’t have her tail between her legs. When she is searching her tail is wagging, she is happy and excited to search.

At one point she looks to her owner for assistance, this happened with my dog, Kovu, during our training. The dog has to learn that you can’t help him/her, they have to grow their own confidence. When out hunting for real truffles, you as the human wont know where they are. Only the dogs very sensitive nose will be able to smell them. As their trainer you have to create a good environment for them to build their own confidence.

Week 6 of 12. End of Session 1 Training with paired hides.

From the above video I was able to assess her during a hunt to see if she is ready to try the next session, which she is. So we head back inside to give Sansa a rest and discuss session 2.

The below video is Sansa’s first try at the next challenge. She did amazing and found all three hides in a 1 min 21 second!! I have every confidence that Sansa will be finding real truffle this coming truffle season in a few months time.

Her ability to tune out distractions is coming along very well. If you compare her 4 week video to this one, the barking dogs in the background don’t bother her anymore. The key to having a truffle dog who is very focused on the job is to introduce distractions slowly, building confidence in their ability to win at the game all the while having fun with their owner.

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