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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ask the Dog Trainer: K9 Nosework

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
© Carrie Boyko
Exploring for a Scent is Great Mind Work

Dear Terry-I really enjoyed your blog on dog sports. My hound mix would probably enjoy some sort of sport that involves his nose like the K9 nosework. He's always sniffing around our yard after every critter he seems to smell. I am not planning on becoming a hunter but I wonder if there are ways to practice scenting with a group and a teacher. Are there games that hounds can use their nose for like this? If so, I would like to hear about them and how I can find groups near me in Georgia.

Thanks, Brenda B.
Hi Brenda,

I think your hound would be perfect for K9 Nose Work  and you would both really enjoy it.  After all, a dog is about 90% nose so encouraging him to do what comes so naturally is rewarding.  K9 Nose Work is for companion dogs like yours so don't worry about not wanting to be a hunter.  The official site for the sport is and you can do a search there.  My search turned up one Associate Nose Work Instructor in Suwanee.   And there is going to be a seminar in Cleveland, Ga in April 2012.  

But there are many of us who have taken seminars and are teaching beginning classes without being full instructors and with the blessings of the developers so I'd just call the local centers in your area and ask if they have started Nose Work classes.  Nose Work is an individual sport so you don't have to have a group, but it makes it more fun to watch others.  Only one dog works at a time, but having an assistant to keep changing  where the toy or treat is hidden makes things go more smoothly.  I also searched K9 Nose Work on Google and there are numerous videos illustrating nose work in practice.  I'll let you pick your own video to begin.

An older related sport is Tracking in which you can earn titles through the AKC.  Check their website for more information and look at for books on the subject.  

Happy times with your hound await you.


Hanna at Dog Products said...

Someone ones said (I can’t remember who) that a dog’s sniffing is equivalent to a human’s reading a newspaper. If that is true, my little Shih Tzu boy is an avid reader.

And just like people’s fingers get smeared with ink off the paper they hold, my dog’s face gets smeared with grass, mud, asphalt particles, feathers, small leaves, thorny burs and (yuk!), other animal droppings and other stuff I haven’t yet been able to identify.

When he looks up briefly to assess my proximity, I’m always surprised at his altered coloring. Is he in danger of a repetitive motion injury?

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

An excellent question Hanna. Terry is away on a much-deserved vacation. I'll ask her to address your comment when she returns. Thanks!

Dawn said...

Sounds like fun. I bet Maya would like this! She is very nosey.

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

Hanna, per our trainer that wrote this post, "Of course sniffing something toxic could harm them. I might suggest that she have some non-alcoholic baby wipes or especially made doggie wipes to wipe his nose off during sniffing breaks."

She also suggested that a vet consider your question, so I will pass this along to our Ask the Vet Columnist, Dr. Mark. Thanks!

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