Types of Training

Nose Work

K9 Nose Work is the next urban sport for dogs! Dogs have an amazing sense of smell and a natural desire to hunt. The sport of K9 Nose Work is designed to develop your dog's natural scenting abilities by using their desire to hunt and their love of toys, food and exercise. It's a great way for your dog to have fun, build confidence, and burn lots of mental and physical energy.

K9 Nose Work develops your dog's natural scenting abilities through fun and games. K9 Nose Work actually teaches the handler how to learn from the dog. It also allows scent-challenged humans a fascinating peek into the otherwise invisible world of scent that dogs inhabit.

Geared for dogs of all shapes, sizes, ages, and training levels, K9 Nose Work offers great rewards for both handlers and their dogs. By utilizing basic search-dog skills, the sport builds confidence and reinforces the bond between dog and handler.

K9 Nose Work was developed in 2006 by a team of professional trainers working with certified detection dogs. Amy Herrot, Jill Marie O'Brien, and Ron Gaunt noticed how gratifying searching was for their dogs. It was clear that the activity focused the dogs and created a sense of calm and confidence. And while not every dog can handle the physical demands of search-and-rescue or narcotics detection, the three thought that all dogs could enjoy and benefit from sniffing and searching.

As a result, the sport of Nose Work was created. Now all dogs can take advantage of what comes naturally: sniffing and scavenging! And the beautiful part is that this sport is as perfect for the highly-trained obedience dog as it is for the young puppy who hasn't begun to learn basic household manners. The methods used in this class are the same as those used by Herrot, O'Brien, and Gaunt and focus on enhancing what a dog does naturally.

To read more about the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) go to www.nacsw.net

You can see videos of a nose work class at PCOTC here: www.youtube.com/user/westchesternosework

Nose Work Classes

The NACSW sequence of classes in Nose Work is described below.

Introduction to Nose Work focuses on teaching you how to encourage and develop you dog's natural scenting abilities by using their desire to hunt and their love of toys, food and exercise.

Introduction to Odor advances the dog's scent discrimination skills taught in the basic nose work class. All dogs are taught to identify the same scent, a natural essential oil. Additionally, techniques and tactics for building better dog/handler teamwork are introduced.

Continuing Nose Work is for dogs that have met minimum proficiency in finding their initial target odor. The class will develop handler skills and introduce the teams to additional target odors.

Advanced Nose Work is designed for experienced teams, focusing on advanced handling and off-leash work. The teams will learn to navigate more intricate and challenging training scenarios.

Nose Work Trials and Titles

Many Nose Work handlers are looking for no more than a great venue for fun and learning. But for those handlers who want to highlight their dogs' accomplishments in Nose Work, the NACSW offers trials and titles.

Trial entry requires that handler/dog teams must have passed the appropriate Odor Recognition Test (ORT) in advance of the trial. The purpose of the ORT is to verify that the dogs know the target odor (scent) used in competition.

There are three levels of Nose Work trials and titles. All Nose Work trials include similar elements, but with increasing complexity at each level: a box or container drill on leash, interior building searches, an exterior area search, and a vehicle search. Nose Work 1 (title NW1) includes only one odor, birch. Nose Work 2 (NW2) adds anise, and Nose Work 3 (NW3) adds clove. At the first level, there are no distractors (toys, food) and there are no "blank" rooms (rooms without a target odor), nor multiple odors. At the third level, distractors, blank rooms (without a target odor), multiple odors, a greater number of interior searches, plus more vehicles in the vehicle search all create a greater challenge. There is no confirmation during a search at the third level when the handler says "alert"—the handler just keeps going, as there may be more (or no) odors in the area searched.



Box drill

Dog alerts to scent during box drill

Exterior Search

Dog alerts to scent during container search

Dog is rewarded for successful vehicle search

All photos from NACSW Trials, Southern California
© 2009-2010 Scott Peterson, http://www.thescottpeterson.com