The rain was just what the Doctor ordered and the two pups are shaping up OK for their first truffle season. Never can really tell until you get them out onto some real truffle and the days are counting down to the season starting. Training is the easy part, they are at home, working just with me and working on truffle scent. It is quite different to the real deal a foreign truffiere, lots of different people, different smells, maybe even some Kangaroos or backyard chickens to add to the distractions, not to mention the owners own dogs so while training is going OK working on the real deal is a lot different. I guess that I am lucky because I already have some trained dogs that have been working for a few truffle seasons now and I know that they have been doing the job well. So I get to take the pups out and mark where they have marked the truffle scent and then go through with a well trained and seasoned truffle dog and check what they may have missed.
You need to give them the best possible chance of doing a great job by making sure that you take them out onto real truffle on the most suitable days. Make sure that there has not been a frost so that the scent is getting up. Make sure that the wind is not a factor as this moves the scent around and will make it hard for the dogs to pin point the exact location of the truffle. Better if its not raining as this may also deter a youngster, and maybe choose their first few jobs with established truffieres this way their are less spectators and this gives them a good chance of keeping their concentration for a bit longer.
Please remember that nose work is the hardest discipline for dogs, it takes a lot of concentration to find that truffle scent and young dogs cannot maintain concentration for long when they are first starting out. You will need to build them up to an hour or so of work. Far better to keep the working to 10 mins or so until they can maintain a bit more concentration. Also always finish on a high and a big pay, lots of good girl/boy and make the whole experience a very positive event, even if you thought that they may have worked a bit better than what they actually did. It is also good to note that some days are better for dogs than other days, just like you and I they can be “not quite right” for no apparent reason, but that’s dog training!!
Boy am I looking forward to playing with truffle!!