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Truffle Hunting Shiba Inu 11/10/12 Foray and Hunt
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    What involves pigs, hunting and dogs?

    Truffles!

    I've been keeping a little secret. I have been learning the art of truffle hunting with my Shibas and Kai over the last few months. I have definitly become a fungus fan and the Pacific Northwest hosts it's own special variety of truffles which rival the traditional Italian truffle in fine dining. This region also boasts some select wild edible mushrooms that people are having luck searching for using dogs, and the season for fungus finding is now upon us.

    I've been working with Beebe and Farrah (Shibas) and Akuma (Kai) and it seems as of now that Beebe is the best and most keen to it. I did some research on how truffle dogs are traditionally trained, and enrolled in classes. I began with simple retrieve games using a hollow ball with scent inside, and then feeding and praise with retrieves and successful finds in the yard. Then I started burying it in duff (the strata that truffles like to fruit in) in wooded areas and under the pine trees in my yard.

    This week in class, Beebe located her first real truffles in duff boxes and became the world's first truffle hunting Shiba. I am super proud of her. She definitly knows the scent and what to look for and has a good work ethic, so it will be up to me to keep her exposed to the scent and searching in various environments, and make sure it's rewarding for her.

    Next week we hit the woods and setup some hides under the trees rain or shine. Regardless of our success with finding any wild edibles, it's a great excuse to get outdoors and enjoy nature with a trusted companion.

    This thread will document our mushroom and truffle hunting progress.

    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
    Post edited by lindsayt at 2012-11-11 16:57:04
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3453
    Wow thats cool!
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    *laugh* Damn! That's awesome! And I looooove me some mushrooms, though all mine are of the store-bought variety. ;)

    Lots of folks I know have been really getting into mushroom hunting around here, too. But none of them are doing it with dogs, AFAIK.
    image
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • AvehAveh
    Posts: 110
    Wow this is pretty awesome! Stimulating and beneficial for both you and your Shiba!
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    How can I become as productive as you. I feel like I'm pretty useless with my dog, even though I spend a lot of time with him.

    Good job on this truffle hunting thing. Your Shibas are lucky to have you.
    Monkey!
  • No flippin way....this is going to be awesome!
  • kumaDUDEkumaDUDE
    Posts: 1259
    Congrats Lindsay! I wish I could do half of what you do!
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1233
    Juni and I have also taken classes in mushroom hunting (chanterelles). She was pretty talented in class but out in the real woods she is useless :-) She just skips and hops and sniffs and digs and runs right across the patches of mushrooms...
    My boyfriend dreams about her finding truffles but I can't see that happening very soon.
    Good luck!
  • YukikoYukiko
    Posts: 452
    Best secret ever, that is absolutely amazing. Congratulations! Is there any sport in the dog world you haven't tried? ;) My fiance is so envious right now. Please keep us updated and regardless of the success, that is definitely a fun activity to do together.
  • So cool! It's so neat to see how versatile these dogs are. :D
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    Thanks! I'm a firm believer in this breeds versatility.

    @juni I would love to train for chanterelles.

    I try and make sure each of the dogs has their own fun thing to do with me that gets them out of the house routinely. My job is stressful so these activities have to be fun for me too.

    Beebe is the matron of the house and has had the most training (although Farrah is catching up). She is super undemanding and reliable and sometimes I underappreciate that since the show dogs and young dogs are a huge time theif. I wanted to find something just for her and me to do and I'm glad she is really enthusiastic about it.

    I'm addicted to finding oddball activities for my dogs to try, lol. We have not yet tried trieball, dock diving, earthdog, tracking, freestyle, nosework, schutzhund or personal protection. Im sure I'm missing some things. I thought about schutzhund since Farrah and Beebe enjoy tugging and let's face it, an 18lb Shiba bitch doing schutzhund with the big boys would be hysterical. I know they could learn aspects of it but they were definitly not bred for it and I fear that would open them up for liability with biting as I don't want them to ever be rewarded for putting their mouths on a person.

    A lot of these sports boil down to square peg in round hole, and things like dock diving and schutzhund or PP are most definitly cases of that. I would likely never attempt or waste my time and my dogs time by trying to teach these things when they so strongly go against my dogs nature (and in cases like PP and dock diving, there is instinct driving the behaviors and you can't train instinct and the intrinsic reward that dogs experience who naturally do well in it). I want to find things that suit my individual dogs and pursue those activities. I would encourage any of you to make that a priority in your life with your Shibas instead of focusing on trying a particular sport to win it. It's the journey that is fun, so don't make it all about getting ribbons or winning.

    I do however believe that there are aspects of many dog sports that converge with the Shiba Inu "it suits me and it pleases me to do this so I will" attitude, like lure chasing and scent work. These things come quite naturally to Shibas. For me it is finding my individual dogs strong points and working around that to give them fun experiences that I also enjoy.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1233
    I think I will try again with the chanterelles because she's started to enjoy and focus properly when we do trailing. I also want to try freestyle and I think Juni would love lure coursing, but I haven't found anything nearby.
    In the spring we took classes in Match to Sample and it was so mentally challenging it made her super tired.
    I was supposed to start classes next week for a rather well known dog trainer here in Sweden in 'every day obedience'. I had such high hopes but then I went to his compulsory introduction last week and I was soooo disappointed. He did not show any signs of being the dog whisperer I had expected, but more CM style. No thank you. So now I have time and money to do an advanced class in rally obedience instead.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    Juni, that's disappointing about the trainer. I'm sure Juni will like learning Rally. Take pictures and keep us updated!
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1233
    She likes it, we've tried it at beginners level before but due to some health issues (tooth operation and spaying) in the spring we didn't continue.
    The only thing she hasn't liked so far is agility, but my breeder told me none of her grand parents liked it either so I guess it's hereditary. (My breeder's daughter owns her grand dad and she said when she attempted agility he only paid attention to the teacher who was having obedience classes next to the agility course and started doing what that teacher said instead...)

    The trainer is a regular feature in the biggest dog magazine in Sweden and he seemed so in tune to dogs reading about him, but the intro was all about nudging the dog in the hind area to get their attention. I told him Juni doesn't appreciate pushing and nudging and he said he had lots of other methods too but never showed me any...One owner nudged her dog when it lunged at another dog and of course it turned around and bit her in the arm. Oh yeah, in these situations it's not advisable to touch your dog, he said then.
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1233
    And Lindsay, what is schutzhund and earthdog? Dock diving I can guess and it sounds very challenging unless you have a water-happy shiba.
    If I knew any hunters I would love for Juni to go along, I don't want to shoot anything myself but I think Juni wold find it super exciting to be allowed to search and chase animals at an orderly fashion.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    @juni

    Not all dogs will find value in activities like agility. That's the challenging part with Shibas. She sounds like she could be a natural at obedience! You should look into blood tracking. It's teaching how to track wounded game, but it doesn't have to involve actual hunting on your part. It's illegal in my state for some reason (animal rights activists), but I think in Finland and Sweden it is legal.

    Earthdog is a terrier sport involving searching tunnels for rodents. Schutzhund is basically the type of training used with Police dogs. Working Malinois and GSD get titles in this and French Ring and such.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1233
    We've tried blood tracking actually and she wasn't interested at all. She did show a slight interest in the human tracks though and now finally she's started to get the hang of that at least. She's more interested in chasing live animals (unfortunately), dead ones are boring. Blood tracking is not illegal here but if you use real blood, as opposed to the dried version you mix with water, you need a permit. That is due to the risk of spreading diseases.
    You can use the skills to become a search team for animals that have been hit by traffic. By law you are required to report if you hit an animal and injures it with your vehicle. Then a search team is called out to find the animal and assess if it is so wounded it needs to be put down.
  • DebDeb
    Posts: 286
    I just love the truffle secret! It's not odd ball at all to enjoy activities together, in my opinion. Happy Truffling!
  • XabiXabi
    Posts: 432
    I should have known this would be lindsayt! You and your shibas are an inspiration to us all.
    X & I signature smaller
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    Thanks Deb.

    Xabi, they are far, far from perfect and I am far from being the best trainer.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    11/10/12 Update:

    Beebe the Shiba went Truffle hunting yesterday in the Washington boons somewhere mysterious and secret ;). The terrain was in the foothills of a small mountain and it was about 35 degrees and clear, so it was a crispy invigorating experience. I love being out in the woods, and this place was just beautiful. There were lots of steep slopes and scenic paths to explore.

    She successfully located some black truffles and she definitely knows what she is doing. Mostly, I had a great time just watching her work and explore the wooded slopes on such a nice day. I really got a good sense of how the Shiba Inu is truly a versatile sturdy breed, and it was great fun seeing her in hunting mode zigzagging up and down the hills (and in some cases pulling me along with her).

    She had a tracker on, and next time I'm letting her off as she can cover better ground without the long line getting tangled, and she has a good recall. I'm really looking into getting a Garmin for these types of adventures. I can't wait to go back! The season lasts till early spring.

    It didn't take much stretch for me to imagine her scent tracking wild game in some picturesque Japanese mountainscape ;) The more of these outlets I can find, the better understanding I gain of working with this breed. I can better see for myself how certain dogs are more successful than others, and that gives me food for thought when selecting dogs I want. Anyways, pictures:

    On the scent
    Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

    Busy searching with her nosy nose
    Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

    Catching up to the group
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    The Truffle Party
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    Old Man Forrest
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    Here there be truffles
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    Marking with a flag
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    Digging it out with a spade
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    The goods, a black truffle carefully stowed in a small breathable bag for transport
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    We found some other fungi as well. This one could be a deadly Amanita (which is...deadly...but probably tastes like candy or something unfair like that), but it sort of looks like S.ambigua (which tasts like old leaves, and is edible). Either way, we will leave it.
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    My little mushroom <3<br />Photobucket
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg

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