In part two of my Winter Activities series, I talked about barn hunt and the fun that can be had for all. In part three, I am going to talk about the sport of K9 Nose Work.
I LOVE K9 Nose Work. It is probably my favorite dog sport. My dog, Bailey, and I participated in Nose Work for years and she was probably at her happiest when she was working the course. Bailey loved food. She would do anything to get food, so searching for food was just about the most fun thing she could do.
Nose Work is described this way on the official K9 Nose Work websites: “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.”
If you decide to take a Nose Work class, you will see the room set up with a course filled with boxes. Each dog has to be in a crate while they aren’t working (this ensures that any dog, no matter what their temperament, can participate). While in the course, your dog will be on leash and there will be a treat hidden within a box. The goal is for your dog to sniff around and find the treat. Once they find it, the course is rearranged and another treat is hidden.
Once your dog is confident with the boxes and finding treats easily, everyday objects are added to the course. The goal is to work up to finding scent (usually it is birch) in the course and then to finding scent in open course settings, such as outdoor and cars.
Nose work is probably one of the best activities you can do with your dog.
Any time you can get your dog using their nose the more tired they will be. Any dog can participate in a class. I have worked with dogs with all temperaments, all physical conditions, all ages, sizes, etc. I especially like it during the winter because you can do it anywhere, even the smallest of apartments. All you need is a few boxes and some food. And if you don’t have any boxes, you can always use everyday items. And classes are offered all over the country, so it is very easy to find a location near you.
There were many times I was holed up in my condo during the winter months and I had to find a way to exercise Bailey. K9 Nose Work was guaranteed to get her excited and guaranteed to tire her out. Plus, I never had to leave the comfort of my warm, dry house.
If you are interested in finding a K9 Nose Work class or learning more about it, check out the official website.
Have you tried K9 Nose Work? What was your experience?
Erin Schneider, CPDT-KA and owner of Touch Dog Training, is a certified professional dog trainer who employs positive reinforcement behavior modification techniques intended to deliver results while building stronger bonds between dogs and their owners. Erin practiced her craft in Chicago for many years as a Senior Trainer for AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior. There she taught dog training classes and also conducted private, in-home lessons with pets and their owners. In March 2015, Erin relocated to Colorado and is excited to share her knowledge and expertise with dog owners in the Denver/Boulder metro area.