There are many venues for dogs to excel and strut their stuff, however now there is a new sport/activity for ALL dogs to be able to sniff out not only treats but have a blast as well! Enter in K9 Nose Work®! So, what is Nose Work you ask and how do I know if my dog can do it?
Nose Work is a sport that literally ANY dog, regardless of breed, age, personality (fearful, shy, reactive, etc), or even health (blind, deaf, 3 legged, etc), can do because it taps into and builds on a dog’s natural ability to use it’s nose and hunt. Every dog has a nose and every dog has a natural instinct to know how to hunt; some better than others, but they all have it inside them. This great sport is not only fun but also provides a great outlet using both physical and mental energy!
K9 Nose Work® takes a dog where they are and starts out by building on a dog’s hunting ability by learning to search boxes, one of which has treats/toys (the hide) in it. After building on the hunting drive, the game increases to adding obstacles, problem solving, going outside and learning to use and trust it’s nose – with their human in tow only to watch and learn how the dog hunts and to be right there to reward when the hide is found! Bonus – treats/toys in the hide box and more reward by that 2 legged person who tags along! Double bonus – no obedience required or allowed!
Each time the dog finds the hide box, they not only learn to trust their nose, they build a lot of confidence as well as build a new and stronger bond with their human as they are a team in this great sport!
As the game/sport continues, dogs move to searching for target odors (Birch, Anise and then Clove) doing container searches, interior searches, exterior searches and vehicle searches and for those who desire, the ultimate goal of competition. Dogs learn to focus and problem solve while conducting searches.
Competition not your goal? That’s okay! Owners can choose to have their dogs stay searching for food only or can move to odor even if they have no desire to compete. The goal is to have fun while doing something your dog not only loves to do, has the natural ability to do, but also builds confidence and burns mental and physical energy!
In 2006, this sport was started by 3 people (Ron Gaunt, Amy Herot and Jill Marie O’Brien) with K9 detection/obedience/competitive sport handling experience who realized that not all dogs can be a working dogs, but all dogs can use their nose; so they created a sport for companion dogs to give them an outlet and job using their natural scenting ability. In August, 2008 the NACSW™ (National Association of Canine Scent Work) held its first two scent trials in California; by 2011, the word spread and 40 trials were held in 9 different states throughout the U.S. As of January, 2012 there are already more than 80 scheduled trials that will be held, even as close as Illinois in May 2012! K9 Nose Work® is one of the fastest growing K9 sports/activities in the country and spreading like wildfire!
At Pawsitive K-9 Obedience, the dogs’ noses are sniffing out treats and target odors with owner and Michigan’s first Certified Nose Work Instructor, Angie Falcsik. Angie has multiple classes ranging from Intro to K9 Nose Work®, Advanced Nose Work, Intro to Odor, Continuing Odor and Vehicles/Exteriors. Angie is also spreading this amazing sport to some shelters to help the shelter dogs build confidence, provide an outlet, burn some energy and have fun during their stay at the shelter. What better way to help a shelter dog over come its fear and feeling of abandonment than doing an activity that provides fun, free treats and each time they search and find the hide box, a little more confidence is built and a little more fear has washed away!
Check out the website, Facebook and You Tube for more info and videos and see how much fun dogs are having! We all want to give our dogs the best opportunity to succeed! Give your dog the best gift. . the gift of fun while using their best asset – their noses! Sign up for class for fun and a great outlet for your dog!!
About the Author
For nearly 10 years, I have been professionally dedicated to the training, rehabilitation, and rescue of dogs. This has been a lifetime love and passion and one of the goals of my professional career is to educate people regarding responsible dog ownership and the realities involved in being a responsible dog owner. I have worked with rescue groups, Animal Control agencies and shelters for many years and have offered expert advice and testimony in animal abuse and neglect cases. I have been professionally training dogs and have been a Certified Obedience Trainer since 2002, am a nationally sanctioned Certified Nose Work Instructor through K9 Nose Work®, and am an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator.