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How to Train Your Dog to Treasure Hunt for Truffles

Guest Post by Thomas Quarry

3370261961_d84b2498c9_cDescription: When you and your dog go on a treasure hunt to find natures gold, a.k.a. Truffles, they’re not going to find anything unless they have had adequate training. We explain how to train your puppy or dog to find truffles outside.

What can be more fun than you and your dog deciphering proverbial treasure hunt clues to reach truffle success? Truffle hunting is the ultimate treasure hunt where each piece of fungus can earn you a hefty sum of money. It’s unlike finding common mushrooms in your local woods -- these organisms are elusive and other truffle treasure hunters find it extremely difficult to locate these bad boys of the woods.

Truffles are notoriously difficult to acquire, especially because they live underground and you can’t find them in the same place twice. They survived by forming a relationship between tree root networks and plates have been used to hunt them for years. Truffle hunters have recently been switching from pigs to dogs because pigs are prone to eat the truffles, gobbling up potential hundreds of dollars’ worth of goods in one go! We suggest that one of the best treasure hunt ideas you can have is to train a dog instead. At least they’re not going to eat the prize like if they were on a prey treasure hunt.

Setting Tasks for Your Dog

You can train any dog to find nature’s treasure hunt clues, but the best dogs are those that love sniffing out the soil. Before you start, get your hands on some good quality truffle oil that is not synthetic and thus has the real stuff in it. Most truffle oil that you find in the shops isn’t actually made from truffles and the scent is artificially produced. It can help and can be used in training situations, but oil made from truffles or better yet shards of truffles make for a more realistic scent.

Make sure that you’ve got a number of treats armed at the ready. You will need to reward your dog for any good action that they complete. You will also want to get some cotton balls soaked with truffle oil which you can use in the training scenarios. We’re going to look at two of the most common methods and find out how you can apply them in the hunt game. It’s a game that’s worth winning as the prize is lucrative.

The “Puppy” Method

Step 1
Get your dog familiar with the scent of truffles by applying some oil to the puppy’s mother’s teats so they can familiarize themselves with it from a young age.

Step 2
When the dog gets older and can start to walk around constantly, soak a cotton ball with some truffle oil. You can then play fetch with your dog so they start to associate fetching for things that smell like truffles.

Step 3
Repeat steps until your puppy can bring the ball back to you without coaxing.

Step 4
You can begin to hide the soaked ball and reward your dog when they have found it.

Step 5
Repeat step four but hide the ball in difficult-to-reach places. You can try burying it in the soil to emulate natural truffle hunting conditions.

Step 6
After consecutive repetitions, go out into the forest where truffles might be and try to find some.

The “Find” Method

Step 1
Introduce the truffle to your dog so that they can familiarize themselves with the scent. If you can’t get a real truffle, then soak cotton balls in truffle oil instead. Introduce these cotton balls to them throughout your training.

Step 2
When the balls are introduced to your dog, ingrain the keyword “find” into their minds as they sniff around.

Step 3
Bury some truffle-infused balls to emulate real-life conditions. This is one of the best things the secret treasure hunter can do. You can then see if your dog will find the balls out in the field.

Step 4
Once the dog has successfully located the balls, reward them with a treat.

Step 5
Repeat, repeat and then repeat again. Repetition is key to your dog becoming a truffle master.

Treasure Hunt Truffles Today

Hopefully, now you know how to organize a treasure hunt with your best friend by your side. The truffle hunt can be one of the most exciting pastimes and it will be thoroughly rewarding when you find some of these wonderful fungi buried in the dirt. It isn’t easy to train your dog up properly but stick with it and you will reap the rewards in the long run. All the best!

What dog breeds do you think make the best truffle treasure hunters? Tell us in the comments section below.

Editor's Note: In case you don't think you can find truffles in the U.S., think again! Read this article on CNN and you'll be surprised.

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Thomas Quarry loves a good treasure hunt, even at his age. Just because you reach the age of 50, doesn’t mean you need to stop going out and looking for treasure! Everybody can do it and Thomas loves to write about the subject. His passion for finding lost treasure has led him to explore the correlation between data, new technology, and the finding of lost treasure and cities. When he’s not writing articles, he’s always mucking around with antique cars in his garage. A pet hobby he has is restoring them.

Image: Flickr.com

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