We had a chat with Luca Aloi, an independent trifolau, who has been dealing with truffles for thirty years, first as a hobby and in the last 7-8 on a professional level. It has a farm (Aloi Luca Farm) which deals not only with truffle cultivation (white and black truffles), but also with the production of saffron and honey. His is a family-run farm: wife cooking in the small restaurant and three children who go with him to truffles.
The truffle dog
Luca Aloi has five truffle dogs, four pointer bracchi crossed with French bracco (Mia, Teo, Willy and Maia) and a Czechoslovak truffle wolf (his name is Kira).
"Training is very complicated, it is a game, and therefore it seems easy, but it is complex, it requires a great affinity between owner and dog. It takes 3-4 months to train a dog, then there are those who become phenomena, and those who are not brought. A bit like people.
Females are naturally more predisposed to research, they learn earlier, but they stop earlier (usually around five years of age, they end their research), also because they generally have less resistance to work. The male dog requires more time for training: usually up to two years he is very unpredictable and playful, but if you want to wait for him he can give you great satisfaction. The male can take truffles deeper than the female, and can make the seeker much longer, becoming a large truffle dog.
In general, if you want to be a truffle hunter, you must have more dogs: depending on the season, the type, the quantity of truffles around, bring the dog you are interested in, because not all of them are the same.
The training must start very early, with the newborn puppies, otherwise after the year it is a bit late, unless the dog is predisposed of his own: there are dogs that like the smell of the truffle and they go to seek naturally, but it is an opportunity that happens once in a thousand, and never to a trifolau.
A trick to train them just when they are very young, just born, can be to grease mom's breasts with truffle oil. So when they go to drink milk they already feel this aroma, this intense aroma and associate it with a pleasant thing.
The next step is to taste and eat the truffle. Both mixed in food, but also and above all as a game. The truffle is hidden, perhaps among the cushions on the sofa or under the doormat at home, and you are invited to look for it. It is also a good method for understanding the dog's aptitude for research: for example if there are more dogs, a challenge is played between them and there you see which is the best and best dog in the litter.
Finally, once trained to look for and find the smell of the truffle, you must teach the dog to respect it, that is, not to eat it and not to spoil it. To prevent him from breaking it or eating it, we invented a little game: we take the shell of a surprise from the chocolate egg and we put the truffle inside. We pierce it to let the perfume come out and we hide it so that it can go looking for it. The dog will find the truffle, but will begin to understand that he must not eat it .
Are you ready to train your dog in search of truffles?
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