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The truffle endevour.

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#1 kocos


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Posted 09 November 2009 - 12:31 PM

The goal of this thread is to take you "mycofreaks" into the wonderfull world of truffles, and allow me to document my leap into the truffle business. Iam not saying that this is what i would like to make a living from, its going to be more of a hobby than a job, but who knows...
Iam also planing to try and cultivate truffles. There has been moderate succes with this here in hungary but since its a long term investment not a lot of people are willing to take the risk. So enjoy the thread, feel free to ask, and make suggestions!

Ladies and Gents allow me to introduce Bodza my new, in the future to be, truffle dog. She is a "magyar vizsla" (hungarian vizsla) a completly hungarian variety which was bred from ancient roman hunting dogs that were here in hungary when the Huns conquered the region, and a turkish hunting dog which was brought into the region during the turkish occupation. It is a pure hunting dog with one of the best noses among dogs.
So Bodza i got the day before yesterday she is a bitch and only 6 and a half weeks old not really any words to descibe how cute she is. Hence the pictures which i took today.
I have been digging myselfe deeper and deeper into the world of truffles and i was quite surprised to find out that Hungary and the neighbouring regions are one of the best summer truffle (Tuber aestivum) regions in the world. And not only can one find T. aestivum but a number of other species like T. brumale, T. mesentericum, T. magnatum, T. mesentericum, Choiromyces Meandriformis and Terfezia terfezeoides.
Depeanding on the truffle dogs skills all of these can be found succesfully in certain regions, together with a lot of inedible truffle species.

My intenshions with the dog are simple. Its going to be trained to do everything a regular dog has to do with retreiving being a top priority. A good retriever or apporter dog in other words has the best chances of becoming a truffle dog.
According to most of the sources ive found its best to start the "truffle training" when the dog is about 5-6 months old. So with some luck we should be able to parttake in next years season.
The truffle training itselfe will only begin in the spring time, march, april perhaps. It is however important to introduce the smell of truffles at an early age. This can be done by either giving the dog a truffle to play with or by "lacing" its favorite toy with truffle-butter. This iam planing on doing tomorow, ill document the procedure and post it offcourse.
I would like to document and log the entire process of training the dog. Also, slowly but surely I will describe the listed species, their features, values, and growing habitats together with any important info. i come across.
Hopefully in one year from now I can post the first truffles we found together.

For now here is a brief description of truffles. The name truffle derives form the latin term tuber meaning lump. Truffles are underground fungi in the Ascomycota division, pezizomycetes class, the order of Pezizales and the tuberaceae family. The truffle belongs into the genus tuber.While the rest of the hypogeus fungi fall into the Basidiomycetes, Zygomycetes,Ascomycetes and Glomeromycetes genus.
Truffles are ectomycorrhizal species which have associations with plants, mainly hardwoods. They also rely on mycophagy for spore dispersal.
Truffles prefer a calcareous soil except for T. brumale which can be found on more acidic ground too. Here in hungary the most important symbiotic partners are oak, beech, hazel, pine and poplar. There are also a number of indicator species among the undergrowth and bushes, which can help in finding suitable habitats ( this i will detail later on).
The truffle season is long almost all year actually. With the summer and white truffles producing fruitbodies as early as june-july and the winter truffle producing fruitbodies untill march, if the weather doesnt get too cold ofcourse. Rain and winter snow play a keyrole in the amount of truffles that grow, nothing new as most fungi share this requirement. Truffles however require an even dispersal of rain inorder to form properly and in abundance. This is one of the most serious problems here as Hungarys climate is predicted to get a lot drier in the next few decades. This problem can perhaps be solved with the widespread use of cultivation. There are huge areas which are suitable for this. Iam also planing on trying once i move out into the country.
This is it for now, enjoy the cuteness of the following pictures.

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#2 weeeeeee



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Posted 09 November 2009 - 12:41 PM

ah holy crap that dog is cute, ridiculously cute and truffle hunting that sounds like an interesting hobby

#3 Om shanti

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 01:06 PM

What a beauty!!

#4 ashroom



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Posted 09 November 2009 - 01:12 PM

thats great man! she is so cute! can't wait to see what she can do. i always wanted to truffle hunt, but they dont grow by me. my poodle helps me find cubes, i take him to the field, let him go and when he finds them he sits down next to them and i walk over and pick.

#5 Phx



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Posted 09 November 2009 - 01:29 PM

Man that sure is a cute puppy.....I love the 6th pic the best :thumbup:
I cant wait to fallow you on this quest for I want to try them Good luck and keep us posted. It looks like you have been doing your research so far. :eusa_clap

#6 kocos


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Posted 09 November 2009 - 01:30 PM

Thx guys :love:

ashroom: iam pretty sure one could train a dog to find a variety of mushrooms. Thats really cool that urs can find cubes!
Its gonna be a long and bumpy road till we find our first imo. but lets hope for the best. She is only 6 and a half weeks old been here for 3 days, but already knows her name and retreives her toys!! Iam really happy i picked her.

#7 Guest_mystic_*

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 01:49 PM

Awwwwww that pup is so cute. We have a new pup in the house also. So much fun.

#8 kocos


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Posted 09 November 2009 - 02:35 PM

Awwwwww that pup is so cute. We have a new pup in the house also. So much fun.

They really are adorable at this age!
Ive posted this picture ages ago and indentified them incorectly. They apear to be T. mesentericum
Second picture is by all means T. aestivum though, no picture of the mushrooms themselfes, i was silly enought not to bother. Iam purchasing more next week though ill be sure to take pics. So for now the spores in their askuses are all i can show.

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#9 Beast


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Posted 09 November 2009 - 03:47 PM

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What a cutie!! :love:

#10 kocos


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Posted 10 November 2009 - 08:15 AM

Thx beast :)

Today Bodza got to smell her first truffle. She sure seems to like it! Then again i cant blame her, these mushrooms smell so wonderfull, almost adictive.

The first step was to simply give her the truffle to play with, she didnt need any encouregment. It was in her mouth in no time, and she carried it off to her sleeping box. Once she started chewing it, i gently took it away from her and placed the rest of the truffle into this simple toy. Its basically a kitchen cloth rolled then twisted up with two knots on it. The truffle is placed inside the folds and roled back up.
The toy is then shown to her and thrown away a short distance. At this point we can gently use the command "find" and "retreive or aport" once she has found it and its in her mouth. By calling her name and using these commands she will learn the words and connect them with the smell of truffles.
We must not expect the dog to do this at this age offcourse, the point now is fun and learning, no force what so ever should be used! So if she doesnt retreive the toy, or simply doesnt give a shit when its thrown then just let it be and try again later.
Iam realllly pleased with this dog, its a smart breed I see massive pottential in her! Some pictures.

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#11 kocos


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Posted 14 December 2009 - 10:07 AM

Here are the updated pics of Bodza i promised. She is getting BIG really fast, around 8 kilos now.
She is really a lot to handle lol, especially in an apartment, still cant take her out on the street since she doesnt have all her vaccines yet. Thank god i can take her to my moms backyard everyday to run around and play with our other dog, she is a labrador called Honey :)
In any case Bodza is really eager to learn when she feels like it :D She now comes to me, sits, lies down, retreives things on command so iam really satisfied considering she is only 10 weeks old.
She is still adorable as you can see. Here are some crazy pictures of her.

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#12 dice


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Posted 14 December 2009 - 10:20 AM

That yellow lab looks a lil bit irritated in most those pics.
Like he just wants to lay down an relax but the pup wont let him.
Bodza looks like a choc lab a bit also I was thinking,
sure its not a mix possibly.
Im def gonna follow this thread.
Good Luck koco

#13 Ben Dover

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 10:28 AM

Awesome thread! Looking forward to next year for ya :)

Yeah dice, the older lab wants to rest but the pup won't stop! I love it! :lol:

#14 kocos


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Posted 14 December 2009 - 10:36 AM

Yeah Honey generally finds Bodza a pain in the ass, but atleast the young one gets tired and lets me work at home, if iam lucky that is. My sister has a dwarf rabbit in the garden which bodza chased around for a few day, then i decided i better lock it up now that the dogs getting bigger.
The big lab thinks its a human by the way, no kidding, she hardly ever retreives she likes playing tag and hide and seek, plus she is a lazy bitch :lol:
Thanks for the kind words guys cant wait for next year!

:quote:Bodza looks like a choc lab a bit also I was thinking,:quote:

Bodza is a pure breed she is a Hungarian vizsla this breed is said to have one of the best noses out there, better than labs actually... :)

Edited by kocos, 14 December 2009 - 10:39 AM.
spelling damn it

#15 Om shanti

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 11:54 AM

Thanks!! :bow:

I hope she doesn't mind me using her photo for my desktop wallpaper!

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#16 kocos


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Posted 14 December 2009 - 12:00 PM

Iam sure she wont :lol:

#17 tbonus



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Posted 14 December 2009 - 12:49 PM

That there is one fine looking pup:heart:

#18 kcmoxtractor


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Posted 17 December 2009 - 03:16 AM

Cute pup! I'll be watching this, I'm interested in the training process!

#19 kocos


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Posted 17 December 2009 - 09:35 AM

Bodza will get her last vaccine next week tuesday, i will have to let the vaccine actually start working before taking her out, but i should be able to take her to the forest sometime around christmas, if we dont get snowed in ofcourse.

Iam sure she will find the forest overwhelming at first so it will take a few times before we can start training. She will be smelling at everything she can and wouldnt concentrate on tasks. She is still a kid afterall.
In any case once she has calmed a bit and pays attention, we can start the next apporting step. Apport being a fancy name for retreiving. A toy, preferably laced with either a truffle or truffle butter should be thrown away for her to retreive. Every succesfull retreive is rewarded with a snack.

Once she conducts this task without a problem, things can be made a bit more complicated.

For this step its advised to locate a grasy bushy area where the toy cannot be seen once it hits the ground. Deep, fresh snow is also great as the toy will sink into it upon impact. The dog should see the toy being thrown, but held back untill the toy lands. Once the dog is released its told to "search". When giving commands its important to first say the dogs name so in this case "Bodza search" this will let her know that the command is directed at her.
Since she wont be able to see the toy she will naturally start to use her scent to find the toy, the truffle laced toy in this case. She should be given the command from time to time if we notice that she doesnt want to look or if her attention gets drawn to something else.

For this step the dog needs to know what "search" means, she doesnt understand the word ofcourse but she can interpret it and know what task she has to do. The easiest way to teach a dog the word " search" is the following. We begin with a simple game of retreiving, throw the toy out a few times and let her retreive it.

Once this is going smoothly we can show her the toy tease her a bit with it, then quickly get it out of her view by holding it behind our back, or by puting it halfway into our pocket. The command is given, and the dog is allowed to look for the toy, once found she can receive a snack. This can be repeated over and over again, making the tasks harder and harder. Simple as that.

I was lucky with Bodza, she is so damn smart, i just tell her to search and she knows what to do, didnt have to practice too much at all.

Here is a picture of her enjoying her first ever snow :D

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#20 pinehunter


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Posted 17 December 2009 - 10:16 AM

Way to go, Kocos.
My truffle endeavors have been limited to me watching the squirrels around the apartment complex I work at. The grounds are old and established and have a healthy mycorizal eco-system. During the spring and summer months the squirrels will dig up the truffles. I'll go dig where they were looking and usually I can find a few that were missed or left behind. Having a dog to show you where to look is the ultimate cool, and truffles are sooo delicious ranking up there with the morel. Keep us apprised of your progress.:bow:

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