Nose / Scent Work

Did you know that dog's smell scent like we see color? This 4 minute video does an excellent job explaining "How dog's 'see' with their noses" and is definitely worth watching.

Nose Work / Scent Work is appropriate for dogs of any age, breed, size or physical ability and handlers of all ages and abilities. No dog training experience is necessary and because each dog works separately, dog's that have been unable to participate in other venues, due to reactivity, can also participate.

Nose Work / Scent Work classes tap into your dog's natural desire to hunt and positively reinforces that behavior using a high-value toy or treat making classes fun and stress free for both dog and handler. Additionally, the activity builds confidence (in even the most timid of dog's), burns lots of mental and physical energy (a tired dog is a happy dog!), and allows you to learn just how good your dog's nose really is!


Introduction to Nose Work / Scent Work

Positive reinforcement and a variety of search scenarios are used to introduce the concept of "the game", encourage and build the dog's natural desire to hunt, and increase canine problem solving skills. The handler will become familiar with Nose Work terminology and the factors effecting scent.

The main objective is to build a strong foundation of fundamentals so that when the search for odor is introduced (Intro to Odor course) the dog's desire to play the game is exceptionally strong and you will have established good teamwork with your dog.

Much of the class will be spent on container searches; however other elements may be introduced depending on the skills of teams enrolled in the course.

Restrictions & Pre-Requisites

  •  As each Handler/K9 team works individually, dogs must be capable of quietly handling confinement crated away from their handler or in a properly equipped and ventilated vehicle.

  •  Dogs with a history of aggression towards people can benefit from the activity of K9 Nose Work but it should be enjoyed in a safe, secure environment, and in the presence of people the dog is familiar with (i.e. at home with family members and a private instructor). The group class setting is not the appropriate environment and therefore we are unable to accept dogs with such history. Please contact us if this situation applies to you.

Introduction to Odor

Already completed the Introduction to Nose Work / Scent Work class and are now ready for odor? Are you working towards your ORT (Odor Recognition Test)?

This course introduces all three odors (Birch, Anise, Clove) paired with primary reward and builds on the fundamental foundations taught in the Introduction to Nose Work / Scent Work course to advance your dog's scent discrimination skills and sharpen your handling. The handler will grow their observation skills and learn to "read" their dog's most subtle scent communication signals.

Much of the class will be spent on container searches; however, curriculum progression is dependent on the skill level of those enrolled in the class.

The final class will include a Mock Odor Recognition Test.

Restrictions & Pre-Requisites

  • Successful completion of the Introduction to Nose Work / Scent Work course and/or Instructor approval.


Continuing Nose Work / Scent Work

Using all three target odors (Birch, Anise, Clove) teams will increase their proficiency in all trial elements: Vehicles, Exteriors, Interiors, Containers, Buried. Additionally, management of thresholds, corners, channels, and other areas where odor is more easily accessed will be explored, as will techniques for building team work between handler and canine.

Restrictions & Pre-Requisites

  •  Successful completion of the Introduction to Nose Work / Scent Work and Introduction to Odor courses.

  •  Dogs at this level should be demonstrating a strong level of commitment and desire to play the game.

Advanced Nose Work / Scent Work

Focus will be on handler skills, technique and increased difficulty of hides (i.e. bigger search areas, higher hides, search stamina, final responses, speed and accuracy, blind and timed hides).  Additionally, we will add Cypress and other desired odors (used in sport venues).  

Restrictions & Prerequisites  

  • Successful completion of Introduction to Nose Work / Scent Work, Introduction to Odor, and Continuing Nose Work courses.

  •  Be on all three odors (Birch, Anise & Clove).

exterior search 2.jpg

Handler Discrimination

In this course the target scent is the handler’s scent, rather than the odor of an essential oil.  The handler is required to provide the scented article for Handler Discrimination Classes.   For the Novice class, the required scented article is a cotton glove or cotton sock.  For the Advanced, Excellent, and Master classes, the required scented articles may be cotton balls or cotton swabs.   The article(s) should be thoroughly scented by the handler and sealed in a plastic bag. 

Restrictions & Prerequisites  

  • None