Dogs love to ‘sniff’. Humans go to a new place and look around but our four legged friends rely on their sense of smell to interpret the world. Their olfactory lobe is fifty times larger than ours. By working with dogs to use their noses, we empower the dog’s greatest tool as a part of who they are. Nosework is fun and dogs love it!
While many sports exclude the more sensitive canine, nosework accommodates dogs with disabilities or behavior problems. N.A.C.S. Work (NACSW) sessions ensure that dogs do not come in sight of one another and so it is an activity that most dogs can participate in safely. It provides an outlet for their energy and natural drive.
What is Nosework?
Nosework is an activity created to copy the activities of the professional detection dog. Each handler must ‘read’ their dog and raise an ‘alert’ when their dog has found a hidden target odor. On finding the odor, the dog is rewarded with food or a toy, making it a very positive experience. Various types of searches, including a container or box search, a vehicle search and an exterior or interior search, form the components of nosework, while one dog and one handler form a team. Nosework can be practised anywhere, from a room in your house, to a local park or shopping centre, requiring very little equipment to be transported or packed up.
Furthermore, it requires little in the way of handler skills beyond being an astute observer. Our job is watching, reading, observing and respecting the dog’s expertise and ability. For those wanting more of a challenge, the theory of scent dispersion is fascinating. Regardless of how much or how little we know, this is one sport in which we must learn to put our trust in the ability of our four legged friend.