Now that we’ve established that the truffle target is the greatest thing in the world (besides Mom), the pups are having a little friendly competition to see who gets to it first. The target we are using is a pill bottle with a cotton ball sprinkled with a few drops of truffle oil inside. I use only the oil made with real Oregon native truffles, produced by the Joel Palmer House in Dayton, Oregon. (To my knowledge, all other commercial truffle oils are synthetic.)
In this video, there are two targets buried in the bark mulch, with their scents left to percolate for a few minutes. The pups were busy getting treats at the time they were buried and did not see where. They are, though, getting the idea that they are usually found around trees.
What’s important for me at this stage is to see that they are excited about the search and having a great time. Also that they are using their little noses.
Blue finds the first target with little trouble and Gnocchi finds the second. They made great time, too, especially considering the distraction of their friends, Christopher and Samantha, who were videotaping them. I love how they prance around with the target and play keep-away with the other pups. This friendly competition between the pups is a great motivating force-one that I shamelessly take advantage of while I still can. Of course, they are all rewarded at the finish.
The next stage will be to teach them to alert when they find the truffle and not run away with it. But for now, it’s all fun and games.