Reply To: Tim Rinaldi & Molly

Alana McGee

sorry for the delay Tim. I’ve been traveling.

Blind targets are great if you can have someone help you. Start in a small/ same size area you are using behind the garages for this the first time out. When you don’t know where the odor is the stress level goes up, and it becomes about you trusting Molly. If you think she is alerting, Check the box to see what is there. We do go over this in later lessons, I am checking to see what course it is in. It may be in Developing a Reliable Truffle Dog Team, but there are things to take into account when you start blind hides, such as walking and leaving your trail elsewhere too.

Then, after you are confident with that, go back to knowing where your hides are but increase your space. Also increase the amount of other objects and distraction in the search scenario. Look at Lesson/Week 4 and the video demonstrations of Monza performing this exercise. It shows this maneuver of teaching a precise alert as well.

Another modification addressed in Lesson 6 is multiple targets. After Molly finds one, the hunt continues. Read that lesson and it will provide a bit more perspective on things to take into consideration when doing so. Also setting up scenarios where the targets have time to ‘cook’, as this changes odor density in an area and how odor moves through space. How does molly react or choose when she is working in an environment with more than one “hot” scent column. This idea of “cooking” is important. We would ask you to try that first if you haven’t been doing so before moving to multiple hides. And gradually increasing the amount of time you allow the targets to cook.

What we would like to know when you do these scenarios and set ups ideally is how long have the targets been been cooking out in the environment, what time of day it is, is this your first, second, third attempt of the day, has another dog gone before Molly etc. Any pertinent information will become helpful for you to think about later and start to take into consideration. So it is good habit to think about, if not tell us. You and Molly are doing great, but understanding your environment and all the factors in it are components that will allow you as a team to be successful later as the games get more complicated and the source of the odor becomes more difficult to locate.


As for alerts, that is a very good question. It prompts us to ask a few questions about the nature of where you and Molly will be working, which include the following:

Do you plan on harvesting only on your own orchard, or others? What about wild harvesting in the UK?

We tend to recommend students use what comes naturally to the dog as part of the alert behavior chain, but also strongly encourage nose touches for precision. You can work on that right now in the small area of your yard behind the garages by opening up the containers you are using after she finds them. Please see the videos in Lesson 4 for this as well. Let us know about the above questions, as there may be different things to take into consideration depending on where you will be hunting, and for whom- whether it is going to be mostly personal in nature or as a business on other orchards where other orchard owners may have very specific protocols for harvesting.

  • This reply was modified 8 years, 10 months ago by Alana McGee.