I took the hounds out for a liesurely walk today inbetween the rain storms and it felt like we were going in slow motion since Foyle wasn't with us. Usually the pace is twice as fast and awkward with all four of them if they aren't moving forward at the same time. Foyle had been Christmas shopping with me earlier and the guilt of leaving the hounds home was too much to bear so i took them on their own neighborhood adventure. It was quite uneventful but that seemed to be a good thing after being stopped 50 times to answer the question "No, he isn't a black Pyrenees, he's a Newfoundland." So, walking at a snails pace and enjoying the winter leaves on the ground without interruption was nice, even the dogs were relaxed enough to let me take their picture together. The air smelled so good and it was the perfect time to go scouting for new scents.
As Hazel kept checking into a scent, most likely a cat, I kept thinking about an article on truffle hunting dogs in Modern Dog Magazine that I read last night. They featured a festival in Oregon called the Oregon Truffle Festival held January 28th-30th where you can sign up for a Truffle Dog Training Seminar taught by Jim Sanford who is a truffle dog handling expert. The first day of the seminar is learning scent detection and training along with hands-on work with your dogs in a meadow, and the second day is actual training outdoors. Sounds fascinating, although a bit expensive, but if you live in an area known for its truffles then this would be a great way to engage your dog in a natural instinct, and to literally give your dog a job to do. Make him earn his keep! Just kidding!
Want to learn more about the famous Italian truffle dogs? Then head over to Native Food and Wine for a great history of truffels and the birth of the Lagotto Romagnolo, a dog specifically bred to hunt truffels.
So what exactly is a truffel? See the video below...
Want to see a truffel dog in action? Here's the video shown over at Native Food and Wine