Nose work, scent work, scent detection, sport detection…..
…..It doesn’t matter what you call it – it’s a sport for pet dogs, based on real life bomb, drug or contraband detection.
What are the dogs searching for, if it’s not bombs or drugs?
In this sport, dogs search for specific essential oils. Each trialing organization in nose work has their own preferred oils – birch, wintergreen, anise, clove, pine and thyme are just some of the oils that dogs learn to search for.
In the sport of nosework (or scent detection) dogs search for a target odor that has been secretly placed in each of the four
‘elements’. Dogs must learn to search containers (like boxes or suitcases), interior spaces, exterior spaces and vehicles. In a nosework trial, dogs can be asked to search any kind of vehicle. My dog Mabel has had to search horse trailers, SUVs, and tractors, besides just regular old sedans. There can be 3-5 vehicles, and anywhere from one to three ‘hides’ placed for the dog to find.
My young dog Billie is just learning how to do a vehicle search. My older dog Mabel needs some confidence boosting, and to rediscover her love of vehicle searching. So with both dogs, I’ve been working a fun exercise called “Running Bunny”.
Recently I had a friend over to do some nosework. She has two dogs. I have two dogs. Three out of four dogs failed the
container search because they alerted on a distraction instead of the target odor. What was so irresistible? Pancakes!
So, we have a pancake problem. And when I have a problem like that in nosework, I go back to a foundation game that I like to play: The Shell Game.