Reply To: Annie & Tuesday



Sorry for the lapse in online activity–I have been keeping up with the posts and have been practicing, but haven’t had a chance to post until now.

The following video was taken a couple days ago. It was 50 deg F, drizzling rain off and on all day with slight wind. It was not drizzling at the time the video was taken. I don’t have enough real truffles left to use them for practice, so I used targets. I did use different containers, as well as fabric, that have not been used at all before this exercise. I let the targets cook for 2 hours.

What happened in this training session was that she would enter the vicinity of a target, pick up on the odor, so some searching, then move on. This happened for about 4 of the 6 targets. Sometimes her search lasted a couple minutes before she moved on, other times she only pursued the odor for several seconds. I was glad to see that she was picking up on the odor, but pinpointing the sources was a challenge.

In the first half of the video, she catches the scent pretty easily, but has a very hard time locating it. With this particular target, I threw it far off into the ferns. My thinking was that throwing it would be good because my tracks wouldn’t lead her there, and also because it would be an easier success to achieve by being above ground.

This exercise left me a little concerned that Tooz has been relying on my tracks more than I realized. She repeatedly runs up and down the “path” that I took to get to the area. Then when she is in the area, she can’t find it, and goes back to the path that I walked. I think that she is returning to my path because my scent trail gets “cut off” at the point where I threw the target.

I have always tried to make an effort to leave wandering tracks all over the area when I set up searches. I frequently throw targets in addition to placing them when setting up hides. I’ve kept an eye out to see if she is using the same paths that I’ve walked, and I’ve been confident that she is not using my tracks to guide her. So seeing this happening in this session was a bit disconcerting.

She did find almost all of the 6 targets unaided (had to move her on and return to the area later in the session). She is very successful if I can take her to the near vicinity (approx. 30′ x 30′ area, say), but she clearly had a hard time pinpointing the sources in this particular forest session.

Thanks for your insight–I look forward to getting some tips on how to work through this, and to achieve success without having to take her to the vicinity of a hide in order for her to locate it.