K9 Nose Work
Inspired by working detection dogs, K9 Nose Work is the fun search and scenting activity for virtually all dogs and people. This easy to learn activity and sport builds confidence and focus in many dogs, and provides a safe way to keep dogs fit and healthy through mental and physical exercise.
K9 Nose Work starts with getting your dog excited about using his nose to seek out a favorite toy or treat reward hidden in one of several boxes, expanding the game to entire rooms, exterior areas, and vehicles. As your dog grows more confident with his nose, target odors are introduced, and competition skills are taught.
K9 Nose Work is the specific term used to describe the canine scent detection activity. In K9 Nose Work, dogs learn how to search for a specific odor or odors and find the source. Dogs start by searching for their favorite food or toy reward hidden in a variety of environments, increasing the challenges and adding new search skills as the dog progresses. Those looking to keep it fun searching for food or toy can still have fun and progress in the activity, but many people will choose to have their dogs learn to find the target odors used in K9 Nose Work: birch, anise, and clove. Once target odors are introduced to the dog, he will search for the odor only and find its source, then get rewarded by his handler with his favorite food or toy reward.
K9 Nose Work introduces dogs to four different search elements: container, interior, exterior, and vehicles. Dogs build their hunt drive and learn foundational search skills in all four elements. Later stages of K9 Nose Work introduce advanced detection and handling skills to teams. Dogs are exposed to a myriad of complex search scenarios, while continuing to condition their foundational skills. Handlers sharpen their observational skills and learn when and how to take action during a search. Teams will practice searching to the competition standards set by the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW), which includes searching for blind hides (location of hide unknown to handler), searching for multiple hides in a single search area, and, at the higher levels of competition, searching for an unknown number of hides in a search area.
K9 Nose Work is an activity that uses real-world environments and can be done almost anywhere. Every search has the potential to be a dramatically different and highly stimulating experience for both dog & handler, just by changing hide placement, or searching under different weather conditions. By participating in K9 Nose Work with your dog, you're giving him the freedom to express and refine his natural talents, and he's giving you a glimpse into how he "sees" the world.
Some of the many benefits of K9 Nose Work are:
The sport of K9 Nose Work provides a venue for dogs & handlers to test their scent detection skills in real-world settings with blind (location unknown to the handler) hides set in timed searches representing each of the four elements of competition: container, interior, exterior, and vehicle.
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Printed with permission from K9 Nose Work.