National Train Your Dog Month: Nosework

Continuing along on the “activities” theme of the week, today I’m hitting on a sport that is skyrocketing in popularity, and for good reason.  It’s Nosework, and it’s basically the world of search dog training (not search and rescue, more drugs/cancer/etc. detection) becoming available to pet owners as a fun activity to do with their dogs.

I haven’t played in the Nosework world yet, but I’d love to get involved in it with my retired Agility/Obedience dog, Kelso.  Here’s what I know that’s good about it:

Reactive/aggressive dogs will thrive in this environment, because there’s only one dog allowed in the work space at a time.  Awesome!

The training, as far as I can see, is progressive and reward-based.  You can’t force a dog to sniff, and fun is the focus.

Dogs with physical shortcomings can participate easily, I know blind dogs, deaf dogs, and three-legged dogs that are doing Nosework successfully.  Likewise, handlers that might have a hard time getting around an agility course for one reason or another can typically handler Nosework just fine.

Unlike almost all other dog sports I can think of, Nosework is derived from something dogs are amazing at–using their noses.  Nothing about Nosework is unnatural for them, and so there’s little risk of it being physically or mentally taxing.  The only other dog activities that are based on the natural ability of the dog are tracking and breed-specific activites like herding, hunting, lure-coursing, and earthdog.

Want to get involved?  Here are two links you might find helpful:

K9 Nosework Home Page and National Association of Canine Scentwork

Enjoy!