Reply To: Tim & Molly

Alana McGee

Hi Tim, This is a long post so going to try to break it up into sections for easier reading, and maybe a couple posts.

First off- GOOD Tim for messing with the soil and creating some disturbance. It is a means of proofing to make sure a dog isn’t just following the scent of disturbed earth. Always a bit nerve-wracking the first time.

Also we think your analysis on backing off on Blind searches when the situation is more complex is a good one. You read her exceptionally well, but we think it will help both of your confidence levels to continue on as you described.

As for checking the tight area where there are clusters. It sounds good, and Molly is very driven, but try to be aware if you are pulling her off odor through communication. If she’s on odor of a truffle and you really think that is what is going on and she is ranging, honestly, let her follow that scent column. You can bring her back to your condensed spot and have her re-check it.


The dry soil issue will hopefully cease to be a problem soon, on your Orchard anyway. Different if you feel like wild hunting. As your season develops you should hopefully be getting rain, which will also help the truffle fruit bodies grow. So win win if Molly seems to be doing better in the wet. Some dogs the reverse (working in wet) is much harder.

If you have irrigation on the orchard your soil shouldn’t be too dry regardless.

Talk to Paul, and we’ll email him, but soon you’re going to want to start practicing with fresh if you can. That is going to be a precursor, if you can, to looking for real truffles. Use different individual fruit bodies. We’ve discussed this with Paul at length and he knows what you should be working with. We’ll email him about your position. Luckily summer/burgundy truffle last for a long time so you should be able to use the same truffles for a while.


For your question on is the real thing more difficult. Yes and no. While some dogs have a disconnect between real truffles and staged, we don’t think Molly will have a problem transitioning, however the first few real finds, and the first few times you are out on your orchard you want to be very sensitive to what she’s telling you. Alerts may be truncated. Make sure when you are out (and it sounds like you have done this and had them with you) on your orchard that you absolutely have a target with you to manufacture success. You may have to do it frequently. Keep any time she is on the orchard fun of course. If she looks interested in something but doesn’t alert, mark it, and investigate later with out her.

When you start on the orchard, just as you have in new areas, build up to working for longer periods of time, Don’t expect to be able to work for an hr right away.

We cover it in Lvl 3 but prior to working on your orchard you & Molly should ideally be able to do blind hides in a large area with naked truffles buried 1 to 4 inches, with compacted soil above, with cooking times from 2 hrs to over 24+. That’s ideal. We know that doesn’t always happen, but to be really solid, eventually, that’s what you want to shoot for.

If you do go and practice on the orchard and can film it, show us that. There may be some other things we can point out. Feel free to use a longer video and not edit it for time. We’d like to see all of it.

You & Molly also should ideally be able to handle concentrated or flooded areas of blind hides. That is what you are doing now basically when we asked you to put bunches of targets in one spot. We call it flooding because that is what is happening to the odor. Truffle odor is inundating the area and it can be hard for dogs to single out one source among many.

When you practice on the orchard- stage a couple things. How does that go, is that what you have been doing when you checked previously. Don’t be afraid to bury a truffle piece there. It’s the species you are growing, so no harm!

  • This reply was modified 8 years, 9 months ago by Alana McGee. Reason: added