What truffle oil should you use to train your dog? Q and A
Q. What kind of truffle oil should I use to train my dog?
The cheapest kind.
Q. Can I use European oil to find American truffles?
The American commercial species of truffle and the European species all contain sulphides. All truffle oils are made by adding sulphides to some carrier oil. These sulphides may be produced in a lab or naturally occurring, they are found in various cheap foods such as cabbage. Different brands of oil may have a slightly different flavour profile to mimic the truffle on the label eg. ‘Black Winter Truffle’ or “Oregon Truffle’ however the dog does not care about these nuances. It is sniffing out sulphides and these are in all truffle oils.
Q. I am looking for black truffles can I use white truffle oil?
Again there is no major difference in theses oils. There will be slight variations in what each truffle oil company adds to their product but the flavour is not actually coming from the truffle on the label. The trained truffle dog has not learnt to locate a particular species of truffle it has learnt to respond to an attractant, the attractant are the VOC sulfides . Compare a sniffer dog trained to find cannabis do you think he can only find one strain that they have to train dogs to find each variety individually? This whole idea is really ridiculous. You will see how this works when you start truffle hunting and the dog will unearth all manner of by-catch. The dog will bring you truffles that it has never been taught to search for. Tuber rufum, tuber mesentericum, truffles of every species. Once again, this is because the dog has not learnt to detect the scent of one particular type of truffle but instead is sniffing out the presence of underground sulphides. It has learnt to work in exactly the same manner as the squirrels that locate and feast on buried truffles in the wild.
Q. Should I use fresh truffles or truffle oil to train my dog?
Start with truffle oil, it is stronger and the sulphides are heavy in these oils which makes the new dog’s job easier.
Q. Do I need to use natural oil or can I use synthetic?
Both are artificial concoctions, neither are from actual truffles so it doesn’t matter. Both do the job equally well. The dog does not ingest the oil during training if you are concerned about his/her diet.
Q. Should I make my own oil?
No, if you have fresh truffles, use them as the aroma will be stronger. Keep them stored correctly and they will last a couple of weeks.
Q, Should I use fresh truffles or truffle oil to train my dog?
I would start with the oil which usually has a higher concentration of sulphides. During the final stages of the training, switch to the real thing if you can, most dogs will make the switch seamlessly. Just as they make the switch from finding one type of truffle to finding another.
Q. So if a dog can find one species of truffle, can it find others?
Absolutely. Dimethyl sulphide is present in virtually all genera of underground fungi. Ιt appears to have two roles. Firstly it detoxifies the internal environment where spores are developing and secondly it is the compound responsible for attracting hydnophagous animals which would explain its ubiquity. Generally dogs may have more difficulty detecting the precious white truffle if they have learnt to find summer truffles for example. However this is down to the fact that the tuber magnatum grows relatively deep below the ground.
If you have any more questions that I haven’t covered, go ahead and leave them in the comments below!