Publication details

Understanding the performance of truffle dogs

Authors

ČEJKA Tomáš THOMAS Paul W. OLIACH Daniel STOBBE Ulrich EGLI Simon TEGEL Willy CENTENARO Giada SPROLL Ludger BAGI István TRNKA Miroslav BÜNTGEN Ulf

Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Periodical (without peer review)
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Citation
Description Trained dogs can detect many biochemical traces, from the most hostile, such as COVID-19, to the most expensive, such as truffles. However, it is still unclear how the interplay of genetic disposition, education, experience, personality, and environmental conditions influences the performance of dogs. Here, we combine published evidence with the knowledge of truffle hunters to assess direct and indirect factors that affect the hunting performance of truffle dogs. Since the transport of truffle aroma into the canine nasal cavity is most puzzling, we propose 5 experiments to further investigate the role of weather conditions, soil parameters, and bacterial composition on the dispersal of truffle volatiles perceived by trained dogs. We also suggest exploring whether the application of multiple dogs increases the success of truffle hunting. Moreover, we argue that interdisciplinary research on dog behavior and performance, including insights from veterinary science and comparative psychology as well as the experience of truffle hunters and farmers, is needed to improve the quantity and quality of truffle harvests.
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