Truffle Dog Training Lessons




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.

Field-based 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.

Woodland-based Lessons
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.

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.  For these lessons please purchase them below, you might like to book several at one time. After we receive your order, we will get in touch to arrange a convenient day and time.

You can order just a lesson or a lesson bundle:

  • Lesson Bundle 1 – Lesson plus dog training kit and 100ml bottle of truffle oil (to be collected at the lesson).
  • Lesson Bundle 2 – Lesson plus dog training kit, 100ml bottle of truffle oil and copy of ‘The Truffle Book‘ (to be collected at the lesson).

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

Additional information


Field-based truffle dog training lesson, Woodland-based truffle dog training lesson, Lesson Bundle 1 – Field, Lesson Bundle 1 – Woodland, Lesson Bundle 2 – Field, Lesson Bundle 2 – Woodland

Truffle Dog Training Reviews

Thank you for the photo and for a fantastic morning hunting truffles! Paul and I loved your relaxed style and all the information and tips, so much so the time flew by.  KK, Oxfordshire

Just a quick note to say thank you for a very enjoyable and informative day, your passion for all things truffle was contagious and both Moira and I are looking forward to developing our dogs truffling skills further,  We not only thoroughly enjoyed the day but have come away feeling confident that we have gained knowledge and practical skills to allow us to develop our dog further. I would have no hesitation in recommending the day [workshop] to anyone with an interest in truffles or alternatively developing a rewarding relationship with their dog. You have a great ability to teach in a relaxed and positive manner. We look forward to seeing you in September and becoming proud owners of our very own truffle hound. JT, Berkshire

It was a real pleasure to meet you and learn about your commitment and passion for educating people about the British Truffle. I found the workshop extremely informative and enjoyable. Once again, a big thank you for your time yesterday and sharing your knowledge with us all. HA, London

I found it far more informative than expected. Well explained with maximum encouragement for the dog, who enjoyed the day as much as we did. Thank you very much indeed for a brilliant day out. JLW, Oxfordshire

I am really pleased I went, it was full of valuable information and practical help from someone who deeply understands dogs and truffles and crucially how to explain how to make the combination live for beginners, (dogs and humans). Anon.

Thank you so much for a very good day. We really enjoyed it all, and I can honestly say not many single days are life changing for a dog and owner, but this one was. BG, Kent

I booked the workshop as a Birthday gift for my husband and came along myself as a spectator. James ran the day well and the lectures were interesting, the practical exercises worked well and the whole day was as we hoped it would be – fun but informative. MT, Hertfordshire

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.

Excellent! I thoroughly enjoyed my day, lovely drive down to a sleepy village, and the lesson has given me great insight into Truffles. TF, Wilts

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?
People make different choices. You get notes after your lessons including the exercises covered so can go away and do lots of homework. Some people do one lesson then carry on their own. Some do one lesson a month starting with field-based ones outside of the truffle season before moving on to woodland ones just before and in the season. Some dogs get the basic idea in one lesson, others take longer. One lesson won’t make them “masters” of truffle hunting though, it takes time and experience. There are more advanced topics that can be taught once the basics are understood – directing the dog, indication, etc. The human needs as much, or more training than the dog! Our truffle hunting experience days offer a great start for humans.

Can an older dog be taught to find truffles?
Yes, contrary to the old saying you can “teach an old dog new tricks”. Our own dogs have learnt to find truffles at 6, 6 and 4. Dogs on our woodland lessons that have found truffles have all been adults.

What age should I start truffle dog training for a puppy? A key consideration is not over-exercising a growing puppy. This risks overtiring it and damaging developing joints which might lead to arthritis. A rule of thumb from the Kennel Club is that puppies need five minutes of exercise per month of age up to twice a day, In other words, a 3-month-old puppy will need 15 minutes of exercise while a 4-month-old will need 20 minutes etc.

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?
Our main period for finding truffles is September – the end of January. Training can however, happen at any time of year. For lessons, we use truffle oil and fresh or frozen truffle (depending on if they are in season / we have any). We can run lessons at any time of year, but would try to avoid extremes of weather (cold, warmth etc.). Woodland lessons can include your dog searching for naturally growing truffles.

Which breeds of dog are best for truffle hunting?
The Italian breed Lagotto romagnolo is the only breed history defined as a truffle hunter. They resemble a cross between a poodle and a terrier. Poodles are also associated with truffle hunting. However, it is more about the attitude of the individual dog than it’s breed. They should be motivated by food or toys, have a desire to please and be very keen to use their nose. They should not be too distracted by visual stimuli or other animals such as squirrels and game. We have trained many breeds from Jack Russells and Terriers to German Shepherds and many more.

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