‘Born to Search’
The exciting and relatively new sport of K9 Nose Work® for pet dogs has its roots firmly based in professional detection principles but with a decidedly progressive twist, your dog rediscovers how to actively use their keenest asset—the canine nose–by developing an independent hunt style though self-directed searching.
This means we don’t ‘teach’ your dog how to do it. We don’t have to. Why? Because they already know! In fact, they are born knowing; it’s in their DNA. We just give them a safe and appropriate place to rediscover how fun it is to use their nose to hunt!
While they are rediscovering the hunt, you will begin to learn how to read your dog’s body language and how to become a supportive search partner (handler). Virtually every dog can enjoy K9 Nose Work® and it can be especially beneficial for dogs new to the family or for those exhibiting some behavior issues.
As Marion Brand of K9 Nose Time says “Unleash the detective in your dog!”
For information about classes in the Northampton/Springfield/Hartford Rt 91 Corridor please click here: K9 Nose Work Classes®
What happens in a K9 Nose Work® class?
In Introduction to K9 Nose Work® your dog will first ‘rediscover the hunt’ by searching for primary (food, or a toy) in a low distraction environment indoors using boxes at first and then having the primary hidden in the environment. As they begin to enjoy ‘the game’ they will progress to searching for primary in containers, outside, and on vehicles. By the time they are ready to start searching for a distinctive odor, other than food or a toy, your dog will have experience on all 4 elements (interior, exterior, vehicle, and containers) and you will have developed a keen eye for when your dog is ‘in odor’ and ‘at source.’
In Introduction to Odor we will transition your team to the first of three specific odors, Birch. Going back to the basics that brought success at the beginning we begin to pair this new odor with an odor familiar to your dog, their food or toy! They will quickly begin to associate their prized food with this new odor. Now it is time for you to step up to the plate and become an integral part of the working dog team.
Is K9 Nose Work® really an obedience free zone?
Yes, it’s true! Your dog is not required to know any obedience cues! Of course if he or she does know them, great! It means you have been working hard to help your dog be the best canine citizen they can be. However, in K9 Nose Work® we seek to allow your dog to unleash what is in their very DNA by allowing them to hone their seeking & scavenging skills. Don’t worry they won’t suddenly start tearing up your house, as we give them a suitable place to practice their developing skills, but they might start trying to run into the training center!
Is my dog a good candidate?
Virtually every dog can participate in K9 Nose Work®! It can be especially beneficial for dogs newly introduced into the family because this sport is a great way to build your relationship with your dog. Additionally, it is a great sport for older dogs who can no longer participate in sports that require a high amount of physical activity. Dogs who have vision and hearing challenges can also participate with great success; indeed, these dogs have fine tuned their noses and are able to catch-on to this game very quickly.
We have seen some great strides with respect to behavioral challenges some dogs exhibit when they undertake K9 Nose Work®; though a reduction in undesirable behavior is not guaranteed. Some dogs, such as those who might resource guard food/toys or who are concerned about humans being present, will need extra help and may require private classes. For these special cases a preliminary assessment can be undertaken to see what opportunities exist.
Even dogs and people with alternative mobility challenges can enjoy this activity. Please note: for those humans who are alternatively mobile there may be limitations with regard to some competitive trial locations.
Why undertake this activity?
Whether undertaken for competition or just because it’s fun this activity will help increase the relationship bond between you and your dog, increase your dog’s focus, provide a safe and exciting activity for your dog where they use both physical and mental energy, help you to become a keener observer of canine body language and behavior, and this
will be some of the best fun you will ever have with your dog!
For more information please visit the NACSW’s page: What is K9 Nose Work