Reply To: Shannon & Cricket (DRTDT)

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Alana McGee

Okay- so going to handle this in two posts one for this and one for you video

[quote=”Shannon B” post=72506]Thanks for the feedback guys.

We’ll practice as you recommend tonight and aim to post a video tomorrow or Sunday if we have any questions about our progress.

Question – We were in the mountains on Wednesday and Wade was walking Cricket (I was off taking pictures) and he said she was super interested in an area where mushrooms were growing. I didn’t see it, so I don’t know if she was alerting, and we were *well* outside of what I understand is typical truffle habitat (but I could be wrong), so I was curious as to whether truffles and mushrooms have similar odors. It could very well be that there was just some super interesting animal scent that she was really in to.

I also would never have guessed that my literal puppy would extrapolate her alert to an unfamiliar scent – so mostly I am curious as to whether dogs who hunt truffles also alert on mushrooms.[/quote]

Kristin and I were just discussing this the other day.

A) Don’t rule out habitat for truffles- there are HUNDREDS of species, and if Cricket has generalized from the VOCs you have worked with to another species of truffle, edible or not- FANTASTIC. Do you remember what kinds of trees? (Take photos of them next time!)

B) Some mushrooms can share VOCs and dogs will occasionally alert on them. It’s rarer but can happen. They are not technically wrong, as we have taught them that is one of the acceptable VOCs being emitted by the mushroom but now it comes down to pairing down the criteria for what counts in the acceptable array of vocs that meets criteria for reward. It’s more advanced when you get to this stage- but don’t freak out. It’s ok. We go over this in FE530.

C) One of the biggest parts of truffle hunting is just what you described in the field of not knowing if she was smelling animal odor or something else more truffle related. This comes down to relationship and understanding your canine’s behavior and your connection.

This takes time and practice. And each dog is different. Some dogs have more subtle body language and expressions that indicate mood or when on odor. You eventually will learn to tell the difference between ‘crittering’ and truffle sniffing. This is why we transition from site location to location, gradually taking you into a forested setting. It gives you a chance to start to get used to all the other minutia that starts to come into play when you actually start truffle hunting in the field.

The important thing is to TRUST your dog. That is why we spend so much time on foundation training is when you get outdoors- much less forests, the intensity and complexity sky rockets, and you and your dog need to have a good solid basis for understanding one another.