What involves pigs, hunting and dogs?
I’ve been keeping a little secret. I have been learning the art of truffle hunting with my Shibas and Kai over the last few months. I have definitly become a fungus fan and the Pacific Northwest hosts it’s own special variety of truffles which rival the traditional Italian truffle in fine dining. This region also boasts some select wild edible mushrooms that people are having luck searching for using dogs, and the season for fungus finding is now upon us.
I’ve been working with Beebe and Farrah (Shibas) and it seems as of now that Beebe is the best and most keen to it, and of course is the most seasoned and experienced dog, so I expected this. I did some research on how truffle dogs are traditionally trained, and enrolled in classes. I began with simple retrieve games using a hollow ball with scent inside, and then feeding and praise with retrieves and successful finds in the yard. Then I started burying it in duff (the strata that truffles like to fruit in) in wooded areas and under the pine trees in my yard.
This week in class, Beebe located her first real truffles in duff boxes and became the world’s first truffle hunting Shiba. I am super proud of her. She definitly knows the scent and what to look for and has a good work ethic, so it will be up to me to keep her exposed to the scent and searching in various environments, and make sure it’s rewarding for her.
Next week we hit the woods and setup some hides under the trees rain or shine. Regardless of our success with finding any wild edibles, it’s a great excuse to get outdoors and enjoy nature with a trusted companion. This breed can be so versatile!
This thread will document our mushroom and truffle hunting progress.