These fun and informative truffle dog training workshops are aimed at beginners with no previous scent-work experience. Their focus will be field-based exercises for you and your dog using truffle scent. There are no pre-requisites for dogs or handlers, attending these workshops.
So attendees can carry on the training in their local environment, handlers will receive a truffle dog training kit, a bottle of truffle oil and extensive notes after the workshop.
Many attendees have gone on to find truffles in the wild. One handler and dog team found their first truffles within a week of their workshop!
- Theoretical presentations including the training process and finding truffles.
- Practical sessions where participants start training their dogs to find truffle scent based on our explanations and methods.
Workshops run from 10:00 AM to around 4:30 PM. Refreshments (tea / coffee etc.) will be provided but you will need to bring your own lunch or go to a nearby shop / café.
For course dates and place availability please see the “Dates” tab. We currently run 4 or 5 workshops per year, one near Banbury, one or two near Chichester and two near Yeovil. Demand is very high. We announce the dates via our newsletter. Places are limited to 8 dogs plus handlers. Additional family members can attend as spectators but a charge is made. Spectating may not suit children, please see relevant points in our workshop terms and conditions. Sorry, but you cannot spectate unless you are accompanying a dog plus handler.
Please see the “FAQ” tab for the questions we are asked most commonly, including at what age dogs should start their training.
You can view a gallery of photos.
A Kent couple approaching retirement decided to set up a small truffle orchard; we supplied advice and the trees. They had a 2-year-old Cockapoo and were keen to train her to find truffles. Unfortunately, they missed out on getting on to a workshop but managed to get a cancellation place. After the workshop, they emailed:
Thank you so much for a really good day on Saturday – and thanks for the photo and follow-up materials. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, as did Poppy! Your course was extremely instructive and useful, and our co-attendees were a lovely bunch of people and dogs. Although Poppy was perhaps not the most diligent or talented pupil while in class(!), she is keen to learn and has made a bit of progress in our one subsequent lesson. Now that we have started, we’re going to keep at it and see if she can find us a truffle somewhere in Kent once they’re in season. We’ll let you know…
We kept in contact offering occasional bits of advice and got regular progress updates:
Poppy has turned out to be a very enthusiastic and talented truffle hunter – or at least she now finds 100% of the truffle oil-infused pots and balls that we hide in the garden.
She moved on to searching for frozen pieces of truffle and progressing out of the garden into a field with a wooded area.
To quote someone talking about truffle hunting: “The dog is only part of the team. You are the brains. Your dog is the nose”. If you are in the wrong sort of wood or an area with the wrong soils, however good you dog is, if there are no truffles to be found, they won’t find any. Both dog and handler need educating – our truffle hunting experience days can give the human the education they need. In November 2022, they (without Poppy) attended one of these days and remarkably, with their additional understanding on the very next day, Poppy, and her “mum”, found their first truffles.
With a combination of the experience day and our previous truffle dog training with James, we have now managed to find our own truffles nearer home. Success!!
A few days later, Poppy returned to the same wood with her “dad” confirming she definitely knows what to do now.
Wot a pawsome Saturday! I left @minh_oiing at home n headed off for a mum n me day – on a brilliant one day @theenglishtrufflecompany training day – wiv a wonderful group of s n peeps – we had some classroom work sessions for the hoomans to learn all about truffle types and where to look for them and then we had out door sessions to start practicing ways to find them. We all did amazingly well – all working in very different ways – I started to do a little point (paw up) when I found the mark. We have heaps training notes n tips to carry on practicing at home apawrently the record to beat is one found their 1st real truffle just 6 days after their course! Mum finks @minh_oiing wiv her big nose n snorts will be better than me – but we will seeeeee ! We can totally see why this is such a popular course – huge thanks to James – we had the best day ! Both s n hoomans exhausted x
S & B
Great day, thank you both myself and dog learnt a lot and very much look forward to putting training you gave into practice, and finding our first truffle. Please let us know if and When you offer any field training sessions.
A really positive experience
Great to get all the email information from Saturdays training. It was such a brilliant day, thank you for making it a really positive experience. It was lovely to meet everyone else to and see all the dogs in action. Shall look forward to keeping in touch and letting you know how Ludo and I get on with our training.
A fabulous day
It was a fabulous day with a great teacher – Tilly and I learnt so much. Thank you James.
It was a great day thanks very much, we all enjoyed it. Very very interesting Again thanks for all your hard work on the day.
A really great day
Thanks for a really great day
Thank you from Sarah, Morag and I for a truly “pawsome” day.
Appreciated the structured approach
Thank you for sending the notes, and thanks again for running the course. Really appreciated the structured approach to the training – I’ve already been practising it again with Benji, and he is definitely improving!
Bobby & Dave
A wonderful day
Thanks for a wonderful day on Sunday, it was such fun, Phryne was exhausted by the end of it. Going to keep going with the training and hopefully we will find a truffle one day! Will let you know.
Highly recommend this as a great day out . I learnt a lot and Kerrera enjoyed all the scent work. James was very knowledgeable and a fantastic teacher. Will be continuing with the scent work and hopefully have some success and fun!
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It was such a fabulous day in a great setting. You are soo patient .
Just to say thank you for a brilliant day yesterday. I really enjoyed it and felt I got a lot out of it. Everything felt very relaxed and it was a lovely group of people and dogs.
Anna & Marius
Extremely instructive and useful
Thank you for a super day. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Your course was extremely instructive and useful and our co-attendees were a lovely bunch of people and dogs. Poppy is looking forward to improving her technique at home!
A fabulous, five star day
A fabulous, five star day, with careful lectures and minutely attentive field work, made all the better by well-behaved fellow students and their cheerful, optimistic owners. Very efficiently organised and run. We now know precisely how to train and where to look for truffles. Thank you.
I thoroughly enjoyed it
Thank you so much for yesterday – Lee and I thoroughly enjoyed it as did Essie – she is shattered today!
A great day
I just wanted to say a big thank you for today – it was a great day. …Thanks again – very well run and you have a super company.
A marvellous day
It was a marvellous day – thank-you very much.
Vicky & Robin
Thank you so much for this and for our fantastic day truffle hunting training with you. We all really enjoyed it and Moppet was exhausted afterwards! We will continue our training and let you know if we have any success! Huge thanks again and best wishes.
Despite the heat, it was a great day, especially going back to first principles in training. I’m definitely going to persevere, and see whether a 10 year cocker who’s rather set in her ways can find a new focus for her energy (and her owner, who’s probably equally set in her ways!)
Really enjoyed it
Just wanted to say thanks again for the truffle dog training at Chichester on Saturday. Despite the hot weather conditions we really enjoyed it and are very grateful for the lengths you took to accommodate our reactive Vizsla. We were worried beforehand as you know but are very glad we went through with it. We will definitely continue with the training and hope to start finding some truffles in the near future.
Loved every minute
Thank you so much for this weekend. It was great to meet you and all the other dogs and their owners. I think it was the most fun I’ve ever had with my dog Myrtle! I wondered how well she’d take to it as a Corgi, but was so pleased to see her really enjoying working in that way. As she’s a bit high energy I’ve been looking for a really fun activity we could do together that would give her the mental stimulation she needs, and this was exactly what we’ve been looking for. I kept on catching her expression during the class – it was pure joy. She loved every minute, so we will definitely be pursuing our new hobby! Your teaching was wonderful, and you made the day feel so fun, calm and achievable – so a huge thank you!
Rachel and Andrew
Rachel, Max, Buddy and I all had a super day. We all enjoyed learning new things and having a go. We thought the interchange between classroom and practical work was ideal and kept all our brains working. On a personal note, your preparation, knowledge and style were superb; both humans and dogs really appreciated it. We enjoyed ourselves very much and are now looking to come on one of your foraging courses.
Helen and Paul
A great day
Thanks James for a great day – we all enjoyed it.
I really enjoyed the training day last weekend and Coco is enjoying practising her new found skills.
Another great day and a super bunch of people and dogs.
Greater success than I dreamt
Many thanks for Saturday, Alfie and I really enjoyed it! Not only did we get greater success than I dreamt we ever would in just one day, it was also great fun for us both – and also reminded me of some of the basics of dog training that I had forgotten!
Thanks for today an amazing experience and what a nice group of people.
A great day
Thanks for a great day yesterday. I really enjoyed it.
Extremely clear instruction and exercises
… although I was already familiar with positive reinforcement and clicker training, you provided extremely clear instruction and exercises to follow for scent work, and it was enormously useful to get Laiko doing this outside in the field… so it was very encouraging to see him focussed, working, and progressing in this context. You were calm and sympathetic with each of the dogs…
A fabulous day, very informative
Many thanks for forwarding the notes to aid Daisy and myself to continue with the training. We had a fabulous day, very informative and hopefully with a bit more work and practice we will be proficient truffle hunters! Thanks again for all your patience and hard work.
East Riding of Yorkshire
Thank you very much for the training course on Sunday, I found it really helpful and I am sure my dog (Lux) really enjoyed it.,
Gave me the knowledge and confidence
I have just arrived back from a great truffle hunting course with James, I thoroughly recommend to anyone wishing to hunt truffles to book a woodland lesson with James after doing a lot of work using training aids and oil James gave me the knowledge and confidence to go and try it alone. Be warned , James is in demand and the days get booked up very quickly !!
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.
A very enjoyable and informative day
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.
Extremely informative and enjoyable
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.
A big thank you
Once again, a big thank you for your time yesterday and sharing your knowledge with us all.
Far more informative than expected
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.
Full of valuable information and practical help
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).
Life changing for a dog and owner
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.
Fun but informative
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.
Thanks for being patient and fun, and a great teacher
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.
A truly joyful learning experience
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.
I’m pretty confident I’ll be selling truffles on line later this year…
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…
A selection of photos from our truffle dog training workshops can be found in the gallery.
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 the year. For workshops, we use truffle oil and fresh or frozen truffle (depending on if they are in season / we have any).
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 its 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 Russell’s and Terriers to German Shepherds and many more.
Our Autumn round of workshops are now complete. Our next workshops will be in May with the exact dates will be announced via our newsletter and bookings will open then. You can sign up for the newsletter here. Kindly note – we do not run any waiting lists for future courses or sell gift vouchers for them.