Reply To: Chris (access until November 15, 2014)

Home Forums Recreational Truffle Dog Training 101 Chris (access until November 15, 2014) Reply To: Chris (access until November 15, 2014)

Alana McGee

Hi Chris

For scent imprinting, in those sessions, do not mix exercises (it didn?t appear you were in the videos), but just checking. When I was talking about mixing drills (for behaviors) you were working on basic marking and clicking in response to foundational obedience behaviors (which is not something we cover in this course). We want to keep the truffle game distinct. Those basic behaviors can manifest themselves in the course of scent training, but they are rewarded in association with scent, not on their own. Does that make sense?

For other drills you may be working on for basic obedience it is fine to mix those around with different cues/ commands, but we recommend when you do your scent imprinting drills, it is just that. Very short ( a few minutes) and just scent imprinting- then you can take a short break and go practice other basic foundational behaviors. Of your 5-9 training sessions a day, maybe only 2 or 3 of those are scent imprinting. The point of saying don?t repeat the same thing too many times, is it can get boring and routine for the dog- but it will depend on how much daisy likes these games.

The retrieve game with the truffle odor can be a fine tool for training (it is one method Italian-style training employs), but you are correct in your assessment that Daisy may not be getting from it what you want. It is an okay tool to use in your tool box, but keep doing other scent imprinting as well.

As for how to handle odor & prep:

Truffle hunting as a scent detection sport is far from sterile and for that reason we tend to be more lenient with how odor is handled, as that is realistic. In a real truffle environment everything smells like truffles– the forest, your hands, your backpack where you are storing them, etc. Truffle odor will be everywhere and the dogs need to learn to differentiate the criteria of what counts as an odor source and what receives a reward. We do proof for human odor later, and it becomes apparent quickly if that is what is happening.

We would recommend (when you get to that stage) that any truffle bits you harvest that are not being sold etc, be careful of how you dispose of them or you may have Daisy alerting on your trash can. We tend to double bag anything we are not keeping, in the trash to prevent this scenario.

You do not ‘need’ to reapply odor every session or every day. The volatiles can linger weeks. In fact it is beneficial to work on varying degrees of odor concentration. Sometimes more (fresh drops every day), sometimes less (2 or 3 days). One or two drops on cotton is sufficient. You can re-use your scented target. If you are applying the oil directly to the tin, then yes, wash it. If you are using cotton, there is no need. Ideally please try to store the target/tin in an airtight container away from other odors. Another method for storing supplies is to put some q-tips in an airtight jar with a few drops of oil and then remove the q-tip and use that in training. You can then keep that Q-tip to use again later for a slightly diminished odor source the following day(s), or dispose of it and use a new one the next day. (*after watching the videos it looks like you are using Q-tips inside a small tuperware yes?)

As for you fetch question. If you are working on establishing a behavior pattern, then yes, end the session.


I see what you are saying about the click and the playing! One thing you can do is try to get down there quickly and reward at source. If suddenly food appears right on top of the target before she has a chance to play with it too much, it may arrest the behavior. She is young! remember that, it will take some time. If you notice on the second try in that video, her response time is already remarkably better. She likely was excited and once she knows what game you are both playing is she will respond more quickly (*Which she does do!).

Remember to try to deliver the treat right on top of the container. In the second video that was a much better delivery at source, even when tossing it. If you can, ?place? the treat even right on top of the lid of the container, that would be ideal. Good work.

The third video is beautiful. Those nose touches when you are holding it are great! And then you got a BOW! NICE! These can be turned into alerts, just keep at it and building the value of reward in association with the odor! That is the foundational step is odor association, and interaction with odor on the part of the dog.

Yes there are moments of play interspersed for her. Again, puppy. You are doing a great job though. So, keep practicing like you have for this in the video, and try to, if possible, reward as close to the source (container) as you can.

So she doesn?t just get used to one type of container and think of it as a ?I interact with container game? try some different containers- even drops of oil on a paper towel you hold in your hand. I would be curious to see how she would interact with that. The connection (or light bulb moment) for odor often comes at the next stage when they are making choices and guesses about what gets them the reward when there are multiple containers, but we try to solidify odor recognition and build value first.

Good work! Keep at it.