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Truffle hound on the scent – special Naturavetal family assignment

Whether you regularly go on long excursions to the countryside or whether stamina and concentration are put to the test in a thrilling hunt, People have always found ways to make the leisure time with their dogs exciting. No human can be a substitute  for a faithful companion who gives you its undivided attention and unconditional love.. The unusual hobby of truffle hunting turns every four-legged friend into an enthusiastic truffle hound. The hunt for black gold is immensely enjoyable, bringing dogs and humans together and awakening the spirit of exploration in each.

Truffles have been cultivated all over the world for more than 200 years, but are also found in nature. This highly prized mushroom, a genuine luxury food in the gourmet kitchen, is generally found in deciduous woodland. The rare mushroom has a symbiotic relationship with trees, establishing a connection with their roots. This produces a mutually beneficial exchange of nutrients between the two. Different varieties of truffle in the topsoil emit different scents, which a truffle hound can be counted on to pick up.

Truffle hounds have been used since truffles were first cultivated, and they are still on the scent. In the beginning pigs were used, but they are more difficult to rear and also like eating the mushrooms. The idea of using truffle hounds seemed obvious, for without a dog’s finely-tuned sense of smell it would be tedious, if not downright impossible, to find them.

For many years people in the Osnabrück area have known about our old Naturavetal family friend, Friedhelm Riemeyer, (also called “Itze” by his pupils) because of his Riemeyer Obedience School and Boarding Kennels. For a long time now Itze has been training dogs and giving personal in depth advice on natural canine nutrition as both a profession and a hobby. This experienced dog trainer has now discovered a new passion and taught his dogs how to truffle hunt.

Watch a truffle hound at work

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How is a truffle hound trained?

First Itze taught a female pug called Nelly to like the scent of truffles and to want to look for them. For without an enthusiastic dog nobody can enjoy or succeed in this unusual hobby. This is done by rewarding the dog as soon as it responds to the scent of a truffle. Small traces of truffle were hidden around the house and garden and the command “seek” was given. Each bit sniffed was fulsomely praised and rewarded with natural tidbits.

 

The first excursions into the woods took place as soon as the dog could be counted on to detect a truffle. Permission is required to take truffles from suitable woodland areas, as in public woodland most species of truffle are protected and cannot be removed! In Germany several plantations have been created to enable truffle hunting teams to give their truffle hounds intensive training. Many experienced truffle experts and dog owners have formed a mutually supportive network in which there is a lively exchange of views. A genuine fan club full of energy and passion!

Are you interested in a truffle hound training session? Find more information here. 
Not only does this provide dogs and people with a hobby in natural surroundings, it is also an opportunity to keep mentally and physically fit as well as build a deeper relationship with each other. A dog’s good condition and vitality is a basic prerequisite for this hobby.

That is why Itze and other professional truffle hunters rely on natural, well-balanced food from Naturavetal. Dry food, wet food and snacks made  with a high meat content, one hundred percent as Nature intended.

A dog needs to concentrate long and hard to catch the scent and find the location of the truffles. A truffle hunt can last for several hours, for black gold cannot always be found in the first 30 minutes of a forest walk. So a species-appropriate food with no synthetic additives which is gentle on the whole body and the nervous system can be a key factor in sustained performance and steady nerves. Another plus point: creating a well-balanced dog that enjoys exercise and performing tasks.

In addition to the female pug “Nelly”, Itze also goes truffle hunting with his other dogs such as rottweiler “Mütze” and terrier mongrel “Sammy”, or takes Jule, the lovely truffle-hunting pro belonging to his friend Thomas Wittich. Although the Lagotto Romagnolo breed is supposed to be especially suitable for truffle hunting, basically any dog who likes smelling things out can make an excellent truffle hound. Health, vitality and power are much more important than the features of a particular breed, so any dog can gain something from this hobby and help its owner to switch off from everyday life.

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