no, not that kind of mushroom...
i'd like to teach my dogs to sniff out wild mushrooms. we have Chanterelles in our area, and possibly enokis too.
how do you teach a dog to find a specific type of mushroom by scent?

i would assume you let them smell the specimen, then treat, then smell, then treat. or smell, sit, treat. basic operant conditioning, like a clicker, right?
has anyone done anything like this successfully?
i know they use pigs to smell out truffles, i figure i can use my Tasmanian pig dogs to find something tasty...
-kelly
no, not that kind of mushroom... i'd like to teach my dogs to sniff out wild mushrooms. we have Chanterelles ... for mushrooms with the smell of humans on them, and there aren't that many of those in the terrain =)

You also have to decide how you want the dog to indicate it has found mushrooms. If the dog is easily excited barking might not be so good, it could excite it even more. Sitting is another possibility, but if your dog is big and clumsy it might sit on the mushrooms sometimes =)

Rosa
I've read a couple of books about it, but haven't tried it yet. One thing that I probably wouldn't have ... Sitting is another possibility, but if your dog is big and clumsy it might sit on the mushrooms sometimes =)

thanks for the suggestions about the gloves, i didn't think of that. i think i'll have the dog sit, as neither one of them is much of a barker, and sitting is so much more polite. -)
thanks,
-kelly
i would assume you let them smell the specimen, then treat, then smell, then treat. or smell, sit, treat. basic operant conditioning, like a clicker, right?

Well, that would be a place to start.
I would do it more holistically, though. And I'm definitely a clicker person, so it's not an attempt to avoid click-and-treat.

Assuming chantrelles are in season (I've hunted the odd mushroom in my time, but not chantrelles) and that you can find them on your own, I would put a container of dog treats in your mushroom collecting basket and take the dog mushrooming with you.
When YOU spy your fungal quarry, make a fuss about it. For me, that would just be a matter of "letting it all hang out" 'cause I'm always excited by a good find! Talk to the dog, who ought to be hanging around sharing your enthusiasm. Show the dog the mushrooms, preferably as you approach them yourself. Ohh, look! Chantrelles! Look, dog's name! Chantrelles!! If the dog follows a point (it's a learned behavior but darned if I know how I taught it) s/he may sniff the mushrooms without prompting click, treat, and praise like a fool. Otherwise, gather them up with due enthusiasm and show them to the dog in your hands click and treat when the dog noses them.
Yes, I'm using the mushrooms as a target. Targeting on them the dog can't help but smell them, and it will serve as a clear signal when the dog starts finding them on his/her own. And remember the "click" can be a special word or mouth-sound as well as a mechanical click, something you can do with your hands full of mushrooms.
If you can find a good area for chantrelles, I would expect this to start showing results in just a few hunts; it will take a while to be really obvious since you will ideally both be looking. For some dogs your obvious pleasure at finding these things (silly humans...) would be enough. Trading a clear indication of "here's chantrelles" for a treat will motivate the dog to GET your attention when there is a find (yo, human! I want a treat! See, I'm targeting those thingies you like to see my nose on!).
If it's not the season or if you can't find them on your own to show them to the dog, of course the show-and-click would be the place to start. It just seems that there's more possible confusion with your scent, with the dog thinking s/he needs to do something whenever you are showing something from your hand, and later when you place them the dog will know about your track and the crushed vegetation on the way and may use them as cues instead.

Only know that there is no spork.
i'd like to teach my dogs to sniff out wild mushrooms. we haveChanterelles in our area, and possibly enokis too. how do you teach a dog to find a specific type of mushroom by scent? has anyone done anything like this successfully?

Here in Norway a remember seeing an article in a dog magazine a couple of years back. The West Highland White breed club was having a mushroom hunting course. Presumably the course leader had successfully taught a Westie to hunt mushrooms...

Good luck!
Polara