Rita apprentice truffle hunter graduates

We are proud to report that Rita apprentice truffle hunter, has graduated to trainee truffle hunter at Truffle Valley in the Yarra Valley. She started her scent detection training at 3 months old as apprentice truffle hunter. She loves doing the work but really thinks it is all just a fun game.

Tessa and Rita, truffle hunting dogs extraordinaire, in the farm buggy with Dom (co owner) in the background.
Tessa giving Rita driving lessons in the farm buggy

Tessa was delighted from day 2 when Rita, arrived at Truffle Valley in the Yarra Valley. She was only 8 weeks old, but already confident and curious about her new surrundings. Tessa made some of her training easier because Rita loved to copy Tessa’s moves. Especially when treats were involved. Even at this early age it was apparent that Rita is highly intelligent and adept at picking up verbal and non verbal cues – she was befitting the title of Rita apprentice truffle hunter. You can see her here at just 4 months old enjoying her scent detection training using real truffle bits in the scent containers.

Rita enjoyed socialising with other dogs, thanks to WADDOC dog training club. At the rallies Rita was incredibly focussed on her trainer because she had the treats. Like most Labradors, she is highly motivated by food. This makes it easier in the truffle orchard because the trainer can bring back her focus quite quickly and without fuss.

Two labradors, Tessa and Rita cuddled up and sleeping

Tessa has been a great role model for Rita, accelerating her training and sacrificing herself as Rita’s play thing. One minute the half sisters are playing boisterously, as labs do. The next minute they are cuddled up together in sweet slumber. They have an incredibly close bond and you will rarely see them sleeping one without the other. You have to wonder if they somehow recognise or sense that they had the same mother. Or perhaps, their special bond is simply because labs play in the same way and their personality sync so well.