By: Kristin Rosenbach
Owner - Wagnificent K9 Truffle Dogs, LLC
Freelance Truffle Hunter & Teacher
Reiki Master Teacher
When I made the decision to begin truffle hunting, I never imagined how much our lives would change.
I became fascinated with truffles after tasting them on a trip to Italy. I joked that I was going to teach the dogs to find truffles. One day, in a random internet search, I discovered that they grow where I live, here in the Pacific Northwest. I decided that it was meant to be. And I’ve never looked back. I learned everything I could about truffles and scent detection. The adventure began.
During that time, Callie, my Border Collie, was injured in an agility accident and would be on restricted activity for several months. We needed an activity to keep her happy while being compliant with her restrictions. Truffle hunting is a scent detection activity where a handler and dog work in partnership to locate underground gourmet fungi called truffles. It was perfect! Little did I know that learning to truffle hunt would not only satisfy her mentally and emotionally during her recovery, but it was also going to change our relationship.
Many years ago, I made an agreement with Callie to stop using the term “reactive” because it feels limiting to me and I want the two of us to evolve in our partnership. I stopped seeing her as reactive and began respecting her discomfort around other dogs by protecting her space. Gradually, she became more accepting of less space and I, perhaps more importantly, became less charged by OUR triggers. We both understood each other better. We both saw the world as a less scary place.
Part of that process for us involved learning to find truffles. It was an activity we could do without the stress of being around other people or dogs. We could connect in a way that was much deeper than ever before. One person and one dog, hands and paws in the dirt, and surrounded by the soothing energy of nature. We made up our own rules and learned our own language, one that is perfect and unique to only us.
As the years went by, I began noticing significant changes in our ability to cope with suburban challenges, recover from stressful events, communicate with each other, and respond to the other’s needs. I owe this partnership that I cherish so much to the discoveries we made while learning to find buried treasures that only a dog’s nose can find.
Here is why I believe truffle hunting is a great activity for reactive dogs and their owners:
Each truffle hunt is unique so you and your dog will be continually developing your communication skills while diving deeper into your relationship and understanding of one another.
I’ve been truffle hunting with Callie for 8 years now and we continue to experience shifts in our relationship as we grow. We come back from every hunt filthy, exhausted, and happy.
You can learn more about truffle hunting with your dog and get started for free through my masterclass series on the podcast What The Dog Nose. I’ll be releasing new lessons during the 2018-2019 fall and winter truffle seasons. I encourage you to choose the best learning environment for you and your dog and that is why I’m making these masterclass lessons free.
Wagnificent K9 Truffle Dogs, LLC
“Shifting the way people relate to and partner with animals.”
Sniffspot launches website and mobile app to provide private land for reactive dog exercise and enrichment
SEATTLE, October 17, 2018 – Sniffspot, the marketplace that provides private land for reactive dog exercise and enrichment, has announced the release of their website and mobile apps on iOS and Android. Through this website and app, reactive dog owners can find the ultimate solution for exercise and fun for their dogs.
“Dog ownership is becoming more urban, but it’s really hard to own a reactive dog in a city,” said Sniffspot founder David Adams. “Exercise is one of the hardest things. Most folks take dog exercise in the city for granted, but it’s really hard to find a place to exercise a reactive dog. Sniffspot provides any easy way to find and visit private off leash areas that are safe, clean and fun for dogs to exercise.”
75% of dog owners report that their dog has some reactivity with 22% reporting that their dog is always or usually reactive. Some experts believe that reactivity is growing especially in urban dogs, who need to contend with constant invasive stimuli. Despite the prevalence of reactivity, reactive dog owners are often made to feel alone and there is a dearth of reliable support options for them.
Having a safe area to play and sniff is essential to having a healthy dog. Research shows that dogs get up to 3x better exercise off leash than on leash. First, off leash dogs can run and play, which, similar to humans jogging, burns more calories for them. Second, and more importantly, sniffing new areas is an important part of a dog’s mental exercise and reduces overall anxiety and hyperactivity.
Public dog parks are core parts of city infrastructure, but their free and open nature can also be a limitation. These spots are not private, so they are not an option for reactive dogs. There is no screening of dogs entering these spots to ensure they are vaccinated and free of parasites. There are no enforced requirements for owners to closely supervise their dogs, which can result in dog altercations, dog injury and has even resulted in dog fatalities. There have also been cases of contamination, where dog feces, diseases or other poisons make dogs visiting these public dog parks sick.
Sniffspot partners with local land- and homeowners in the Seattle area and across the US to provide safe and fun private play areas for dogs. Options vary from the rolling hills in our fully fenced, five-acre Country Pasture Getaway to the 175 acre PaJo Ranch in Monroe, WA. There are also many fully fenced yards inside Seattle itself. Sniffspot especially caters to reactive dog owners, whose dogs are often fearful and hence need private spaces to play. Each sniff spot listing provides information on fencing, privacy and our reviews include a section focused on whether the sniff spot would work well for reactive dogs. In addition, hosts can certify whether they have experience with reactive dogs.
As of today, these “sniff spots” are now all easily accessible through a website and mobile apps on iOS and Android. The website and apps include simple log in, detailed search filters including mapping, and booking in just three clicks. This update is one more step on the journey of Sniffspot working to make the world a more reactive dog friendly place.
Download our iOS app
Download our Android app
Browse our new web app