Reply To: Lois and Monza (August 2014)

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Alana McGee



First, I would teleport Alana or Kristin to the site to coach me where to start hunting!


I would face the wind and traverse from right to left and avoid the slope/trough. 50-degrees is comfortable. I’d be carrying water though. 1:00pm is the equivalent of the middle of the night for Monza. It’s when I’m at work and for my dogs, it’s a snoozy time of day.

I’d probably go sit down on the log on the right and use my trusty plastic grocery sack to sit on so my butt doesn’t get wet. I’d leave any extra rain gear at the log and if Monza looked snoozy, I might tether her to a tree and take my other dog out first to check the area. If successful, and she was whining for her turn to hunt, I’d switch dogs after about 10 minutes and if successful with Monza, I might work each dog once more to double check the area.

I think I’d walk the dogs making figure 8s around the trees and not bother with the grassy areas.


If it’s 40 degrees, I’m not terribly worried about ticks and definitely not mosquitoes. Although I have found ticks on my dogs in the dead of winter after being off trail in the woods. The Seresto tick/flea collar has been a life saver. I lost a dog to ehrlichia ~14 years ago. Both my dogs have tested positive for tick antibodies and I had titers done when they were in the best of condition to use a benchmark. If not feeling well and we’re suspicious of tick-borne illness then we can compare titers. Ticks are tricky business.

This is my dog’s kind of weather and a better time of day -higher energy. They’ll be wild, running around to keep warm. With my older dog Speed, he’s mature enough to work off leash. Monza is another story. I might tether her to a tree with something for her to lay on and even put a little cover over her while I worked with Speed first. The tomboy princess may be in peak spirits at 10:00am though, barking and whining “my turn, My Turn!”

I’d make our ‘base camp’ somewhere at the bottom of the hill out of the wind. Then I’d slowly hike up the hill with Speed traversing left to right (facing up the hill) as we move up. I’d move left to right assuming the 25 mph winds are whipping over from the right side (looking up hill) and that there’s something blocking the wind a bit on the left.

When it’s Monza’s turn, she will want to walk down the fallen tree and look for chipmunks if not on leash. She started tree walking at 10 weeks old, because I thought I might do agility with her. She’s a tree walker and even climbs leaning trees and has no fear of height. So she’ll be walking down that tree. If Speed can’t find any truffles, he’ll be grabbing a fallen stick and wanting to tug. If Monza is off leash as well, she will want in on the game of tug, which will lead to a wild game of chase with Monza leading the effort, cutting in/out of trees. When the game of chase is over, critter hunting and rolling in stinky stuff will be next on her To Do List.

I’m assuming I’m ignoring grass, and focusing on the mossy areas at the base of the trees and work out to the trees drip lines….this is a wild guess…I honestly would not think this was truffle territory at all.

My descriptions are just a hint of my concerns about working in the woods. We hike frequently off leash and being in the woods means “free dog”, do what you want, have fun, play hard.

I just have to trust the training process and not think about transitioning to the woods. I lack confidence in believing I can make truffle hunting as rewarding as being a free dog. However, I’ll be patient and put all my trust in your coaching/instruction!