My name is Karen and I have been involved with dogs for 15+ years in a variety of different roles. But this is the most exciting and rewarding of them all. There is nothing more rewarding than teaching your dog to complete a set of tasks to be able to search for a specific scent. Training is reward based with either food or ball rewards and the dogs are enthusiastic learners, and more importantly they are enthusiastic truffle hunters. The dogs utilise both ground and air scenting during their searches. Whilst mostly worked up wind to keep them focussed on hunting close to the ground, as winds swirl and change, the dogs also have the opportunity to air scent as they work.
Indigo, an enthusiastic Cocker Spaniel, has been with us for 6 years now.
Indigo (Indi) was a family dog that was always looking for, and successfully finding, trouble. Since being trained to hunt for truffles, Indy has calmed down and is a fast and focused hunter. Indy checks each tree thoroughly and quickly, and thrives on her work. Indi can locate a variety of sizes of truffles from large through to the size of half-a-pea approximately 10 cm under ground…now that’s impressive.
Indi has located T. melanosporum (Périgord), T. uncinatum (Burgundy), and T. borchii (Bianchetto).
“the wonderful thing about tiggers
Is tiggers are wonderful things!
Their tops are made out of rubber
Their bottoms are made out of springs…!”
We are still waiting for the brain to connect and her bouncing to stop as she matures, but I believe she will be like this for life, and love it. She is such a character
Tigga has completed a few hunts in the 2019 season and will be utilised more in the 2020 season.
He has a beautiful mask on his face, which is why he is called Zorro. His training started at 12 weeks old and by nine months he was successful in locating truffles in three truffiere’s in the 2019 season. Looking forward to him working in the 2020 season.
Retired Truffle Dogs
Ollie (Sydney Silkie x Jack Russell)
When I offered to train Ollie to search their truffle orchard (truffière). That was in 2011 when Ollie started training and Truffle Dog Services began. Ollie completed two truffle hunting seasons.
Ollie represented Truffle Dogs in the book Dogs in Action by Maria Alomajan. In Nov 2013 Ollie appeared in the Waikato Times regarding Truffle Hunting at a Te Puke truffière. Ollie was the most amazing dog to teach me so much about searching for truffles but has now retired.
Haggis was born in January 2015, and joined the family at 10 weeks old. He immediately started learning the truffle scent and by six months was well in the swing of truffle hunting. He has had many opportunities to search for truffle in a number of truffieres in 2016 and 2017 and was successful in locating the valuable buried truffle. Haggis found both T. melanosporum (Périgord) and T. borchii (Bianchetto).
He was the only dog that I worked off leash to locate truffles.