How to Train a Truffle Dog

truffler1635 at truffler1635 at
Sun Aug 13 22:29:23 EST 2000

I was going through my clippings files today, and saw this article from
the Los Angeles Mycological Society's Spore Prints, which may be of
interest to someone in this ng.

>From The Spore Print, Newsletter of the Los Angeles Mycological Society,
Nov-Dec, 1991


	Given the recent infusion of capital into our treasury, your Spore
Print editor began thinking about what new and exciting things LAMS could
do. One idea was that LAMS could be the first mycological society to have
its own truffle dog. Maybe it would cost $1000 or more to train such a
dog, but now we can afford it, and besides finding truffles, a truffle
dog would be fun to have on forays. We would also attract newspaper
reporters and magazine writers who would write articles about the LAMS
truffle dog and thereby stimulate interest in LAMS and mushrooms.
	It soon occurred to your editor that the perfect LAMS member to
broach this idea to was Royce Harvey, who is a dog trainer as well as an
exuberant mushroom hunter. Royce said he had already been interested in
the idea of training a truffle dog and said that rather than LAMS paying
him or someone else to train such a dog, he would, at no charge to LAMS,
try to train one of his own dogs to hunt truffles.
	The dog Royce has in mind is his one-year-old border collie named
Drummer. But there is a major hurdle to this plan: the problem of  how to
find truffles to use for the training and how to preserve their odor long
enough to complete the training. Any good ideas on how truffle odor can
be preserved will be welcomed.
	As for whether a dog can be trained to seek out more than one odor,
Royce says there was a doberman pincher that learned to identify 110
different odors!
	For anyone interested in training his own truffle dog, Royce
suggests that a medium-sized herding breed - or perhaps a hunting breed -
would be best. He has read that poodles have been used successfully in
	Royce advises that anyone who is considering owning a dog carefully
weigh the responsibilities this entails. A dog needs food ($30 per month
for a medium-sized dog) and water each day, needs a warm, dry play to
sleep, has to be cleaned up after each day (and will sometimes cause
various kinds of property destruction), needs immunization shots each
year, should have regular check-ups to screen for internal parasites, has
to be cared for when injured or sick, needs a licensed (currently $18 per
year), needs to be given exercise each day, must be raised to be good-
natured and even-tempered, needs either to be neutered or spayed or else
controlled during times of mating urges, and may need to learn to spend
hours in a crate in order to be transported. In short, owning a dog
requires money, dedication, and love.
	As for training dogs, Royce emphasizes that it needs to be done
every day (Royce teaches his dog training classes only once a week but
his student dog owners need to train their dogs every day on their own)
and that most dogs will work only for the person they are trained to work
for. He also mentions that training should be based on love and respect
and not punishment.

Posted as a courtesy by
Daniel B. Wheeler

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