Dogs learn by association – connecting one event with another. We use positive association and a clicker and reward-based approach making training fun and helping build reliable truffle hunting teams. We offer two different types of truffle dog training lesson. Both types of lesson are one to one - you, me and your dog. However, if you like you can add a second handler and dog by purchasing two lessons.
These are strongly recommended for dogs who have no experience of scentwork. It is far easier to undertake the training in an environment with fewer distractions (smells of squirrels, deer, game etc.) allowing the dog to concentrate more. We use truffle aroma and fresh or frozen truffle depending upon season. You will have a greater chance of finding truffles longer-term if you build good foundation skills with one or more field-based lessons before progressing to a woodland. Some people opt for just one of these lessons then go and do plenty of practice on their own, others attend several.
These lessons are for more advanced dogs that have undertaken one or more field-based lessons or have scenting experience with truffle aroma. All lessons will include working with truffle aroma. For lessons in the truffle season (c. September - January) you will have the opportunity to search for wild growing truffles. the first two truffles found are yours to take away. Outside of the season we use frozen truffles and / or truffle aroma.
Truffle Education for Humans
Remember for a successful truffle hunting team, both the dog and you need educating. A copy of The Truffle Book or joining us on one of our truffle hunting experience days will help with your truffle education.
Our training locations are in the Dorchester area of West Dorset. We are also taking our lessons on the road and running truffle training workshops at a number of locations around the country. We also offer one to one lessons in your garden or a field / park / wood near you. For these, we additionally charge travel time and expenses. Please contact us with details of your dog, location and availability and we will come back with a price and date for the training.
Feedback from previous customers:
Thank you so much! We had such a great time, and I don't think I've enjoyed researching a UK story so much. Thanks for being patient and fun, and a great teacher. I can't wait to write it. Hannah Summers, Young Travel Writer of the Year 2015 - having a lesson for a forthcoming national newspaper feature.
My German Shepherd dog Malik and I have had the pleasure to be trained in truffle hunting by James. The gentle but thorough, force-free method used leads to an exceptionally accelerated understanding by the dog. It’s a truly joyful learning experience for both handler and canine companion. I can’t wait for the Autumn to put all our training into practice. KD, Hampshire.
I tagged along with a friend to one of the English Truffle Company's training sessions not really thinking my Jack Russell would ever learn to be a truffle hound but James' step by step method of training proved me wrong. The dog quickly learnt to identify truffle scent and went on to recover a hidden lure [frozen truffle] without difficulty. Obviously the dog will need more training but I’m pretty confident I’ll be selling truffles on line later this year… SB, Wiltshire.
Through trying different strategies in a fun way, James was able to help Pippa form associations with the truffle scent and a treat - so really pleased we went home having achieved more than I had hoped in just one training session. MP, Dorset.
Dog Training FAQ
How many lessons will my dog need?
Can an older dog be taught to find truffles?
What age should I start truffle dog training for a puppy?
At 3-4 months, as well as teaching obedience (especially recall!) you can introduce scent games such as hide and seek for their favourite treat. As dogs are naturally inclined to use their noses and are often motivated by food at an early age, it is an ideal time to make a start. Age, however is not what determines if they are ready for truffle training; they need to be motivated by food or toys, be keen to please and be able to concentrate for brief periods.
Is there a good time of the year for training?
Lessons in West Dorset
Lessons are approximately one hour in duration, they are for one handler and one dog. You may be accompanied by other family members who can act as spectators but not participate. Our training locations are in the Dorchester area of West Dorset. For these lessons please purchase them below, you might like to book several at one time. Add the type of lesson you would like to your shopping cart then change the quantity in the checkout. We will get in touch to arrange a convenient day and time.
If you would like to give lessons as a gift, you can purchase vouchers here.
We ask you to read our truffle dog training lesson and workshop terms and conditions. In booking a place, you are agreeing to these. Your attention is particularly drawn to the below extract:
If the booking is cancelled by the client the following cancellation charge will arise:
- Cancellation more than 2 weeks before event – 50% of event fee payable
- Cancellation less than 2 weeks before the event – 100% of event fee payable
Lesson Bundle 1
Lesson plus dog training kit and 100ml bottle of truffle oil (to be collected at your lesson).
Lesson Bundle 2
Lesson plus dog training kit, 100ml bottle of truffle oil and copy of 'The Truffle Book' (to be collected at your lesson).