Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What is Scent Work?

Canine Scent Work or Nosework is a fairly new sport modeled after detection training for professional narcotics or bomb dogs.  It offers dog owners an opportunity to allow their dogs to explore their natural scenting ability in a safe and controlled environment.  The sport uses the scent of different essential oils that can be easily purchased and stored by the average person.  Dogs are taught to hunt/search for “target odours” in a variety of settings to create a mind challenging and extremely fun game for your dog to play.  Training usually begins indoors with box or container searches, and then advances to room searches, outdoor and vehicle searches.
Scent work is suited to all types of dogs and owners whether you practice for fun or competition.  Many human and/or canine disabilities are easily accommodated, as are behaviour issues including dog reactivity.  Classes and competitions are run so that each search is done individually by one dog and handler team working at a time, allowing dogs with issues to focus and learn.  Working without social stressors allows the dog and handler to be free to concentrate on the search.  As the sport is relatively “low impact” it is great for young puppies, elderly dogs and dogs with injuries.    
The sport encourages dogs to be independent as the owner has to believe in the dog’s ability to find the target odour.  It gives the dog an outlet to do what comes naturally and just “be a dog”.  This helps to promote the dog’s confidence and builds a trusting relationship between canine and owner. It also provides intense mental stimulation and many behaviour issues are reduced because the dog’s desire to search helps develop self-control and focus.

This post was written by 

Lee Anne Rogers who we are lucky enough to have running our scent work class in January

Lee Anne Rogers has been training and competing in various dog activities for 15 years.  In 2013 she graduated with honors from the Professional Dog Trainer program at Animal Behavior College and is currently taking courses from “Ethology Institute Cambridge”.  She actively competes in Agility and Nosework with her English Springer Spaniel “Drifter”.
Lee Anne is working on completing the requirements to become certified as a Nosework Instructor through the “National Association of Canine Scentwork®”.  She has attended seminars for Nosework with Ron Gaunt, Amy Herot and Jill Marie O’Brien and she recently participated in a 5 day K-9 Nosework camp in Pennsylvania where she learned from some of the top instructors.