Nose Work and Scent Work Classes

Getting Started

The introductory series of classes are taught using the principles and concepts developed by NACSW TM for K9 Nose Work® classes.

Class: 100A Introduction to Nose Work

Description: This class is the first class in our series and provides an opportunity for your dog to safely engage in a game based on the dog’s natural hunting instinct. Handlers will learn how to observe dogs in a natural activity. Given the opportunity to work at this game, dogs become more focused and confident. The dog/handler bond becomes stronger. Initially dogs will hunt for food or a toy in cardboard boxes. As skills develop other objects will be introduced into the hunt. This class is appropriate for dogs of all ages, from puppies to senior dogs.
Prerequisites: In this class dogs work one at a time, so dog must be able to rest in a crate when not working. Dogs must be under handler control in the parking lot and when coming into or leaving the building.

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Class: 100B Introduction to Odor

Description: This is the second class in our series for teams beginning nose work. Dogs who are enthusiastic hunters for food or a toy will begin to hunt for a target odor, birch. To start the target odor will be paired with the dog’s primary reward. Searches will be designed to create high value for the target odor. The handler will practice observing dog’s behavior throughout the stages of the search process. Searches will be inside the training building and in the parking lot, weather permitting.
Prerequisites: Completion of NW 100A or equivalent. Dog actively searches for primary reward (food or toy).

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Class: 100C Continuing Nose Work

Description: This class is for teams that have been searching for odor for six weeks or longer. This class will continue introducing dogs to different environments and objects, including exteriors and vehicles. Initially hides will be birch. As teams progress, hides will include anise and clove as well as birch. Searches will be both indoors and outdoors, weather permitting.
Prerequisites: Completion of Introduction to Nose Work and Introduction to Odor or equivalent. Dog actively hunts for birch.

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Class: 100D Search Elements

Description: This class will introduce handlers to the four types of search areas used in NACSW competition nose work: Containers, Interiors, Exteriors, Vehicles. Searches will take place indoors at the OTCPBC clubhouse and outdoors in the parking lot, weather permitting. Dog must be on one of the following odors: birch, anise or clove and have completed the three preceding beginning level courses at OTCPBC or by approval of instructor.
Prerequisites: Dog must be on one of the following odors: birch, anise or clove and have completed the three preceding beginning level courses at OTCPBC or by approval of instructor. Dog has been actively searching for birch for 12 weeks or longer.

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Continuing Foundations

Teams that have taken the first four “Getting Started” classes at OTCPBC or equivalent classes elsewhere will find these classes helpful as a transition to skills classes.

Class: 101A Continuing Search Elements

Description: Continued introductory work in the search elements used in competition nose work, containers, interiors, exteriors, and vehicles, Elements emphasized will be adapted to the needs of the class participants, upcoming event opportunities and weather. Searches will take place indoors at the OTCPBC clubhouse and outdoors in the parking lot, weather permitting.
Prerequisites: Dog must be on one of the following odors: birch, anise or clove and have completed the four preceding beginning level courses at OTCPBC or equivalent with approval of instructor.

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Class: 101B Advanced Continuing NW

Description: Continuing foundation work in nose work skills for dogs early in nose work career. Exercises will focus on strengthening odor obedience and increasing team confidence. Birch, anise and clove will be used in hides. Searches will be indoors and outdoors at OTCBC facility depending on the weather.
Prerequisites: Dogs must be on birch, anise or clove, and confide Dog must be on one of the following odors: birch, anise or clove and have completed the four preceding beginning level courses at OTCPBC or equivalent with approval of instructor.

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Focus on Skills

Classes suitable for teams that wish to practices specific skills over the length of a six week course. Courses will be offered based on demand and available resources. Most may be taken in any order. Suitable for more advanced teams wishing to strengthen foundations as well as less experienced dogs wishing to learn specific skills. All teams need to be on at least two odors and have some experience working searches with multiple hides.

Class: Corners & Thresholds

Description: This class will utilize birch and anise and clove. Multiple hides will be used. Goal is to help dogs understand that corners and thresholds are productive areas to search. Handlers will be introduced to techniques to support their dogs in these searches. Searches will include hides from floor level to 4 feet (higher for taller dogs). Elements will include interiors, containers and exteriors, weather permitting.
Prerequisites: Dogs must be on birch and anise or clove, confidently searching indoors and have some experience with multiple hides.

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Class: Elevations & Ground Hides

Description: Teams will gain experience searching for hides at various elevations from ground level to six feet or higher, depending on height and skill level of the dog. Searches will be for multiple hides. Birch, anise and clove as well as cocktails will be used for hides. Searches will be both indoors and outdoors, weather permitting. Teams will be expected to share video with classmates.
Prerequisites:Dogs must be on birch and anise or clove, confidently searching indoors and have some experience with multiple hides.

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Class: Converging Odor & Inaccessible Hides

Description: This class is for dogs that are on odor and are confident searching in different environments. Multiple hides using birch, anise and clove will be used in searches. Distance between the placement of hides will be decreased as dogs progress. Dogs will be introduced to inaccessible hides. Handler will observe dog’s behavior when solving converging odor and inaccessible hide puzzles. Handlers will be encouraged to observe elements of dog’s behavior chain, not just dog’s natural response at source. Will introduce inaccessible hides with an emphasis on observing dog’s behavior when encountering inaccessible hides. Class will provide opportunities to strengthen odor obedience.
Prerequisites: Dogs must be on birch and anise or clove, confidently searching indoors and have some experience with multiple hides.

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Class: Containers and Distractions

This class will provide team with experience in searching various types of containers. Searches will include single and multiple hides. Hide placement will include configurations that could be encountered in different venues. Odors will include birch, anise, clove and cypress. Teams will work through searches that include distractions with the goal that the handler recognizes dog behavior in the presence of distractions and that dog is reinforced in understanding “only odor pays.”
Prerequisites:Dogs must be on birch and anise or clove, confidently searching indoors and have some experience with multiple hides.

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Class: Searching Outdoors

Description: This class will be held outdoors in OTCPBC parking lot, weather permitting. This class will focus on providing search experience in outdoor environments where scent is subject to the elements. Handlers will have opportunities to observe dogs working in various conditions and begin to learn how to provide support as dog searches. Multiple hides including birch and anise will be used. Appropriate for dog handler teams preparing for NACSW Exterior and Vehicle searches. Participants are encouraged to volunteer use of their vehicle for searching.
Prerequisites:Dogs must be on birch and anise or clove, confidently searching indoors and have some experience with multiple hides.

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Advanced Skills Classes

Class: Advanced Mind Games

Description: Advanced puzzles and challenges for dog-handler teamwork, upper level competition strategies, and problem solving specific to each team. Suitable for teams working at the NACSW NW3 level or equivalent.
Prerequisites: Dogs must be proficient on birch, anise, and clove, proficient with multiple hides per search, experienced with all typical search elements (interiors, exteriors, vehicles, containers), and skilled with hides at ground, elevation, corners, inaccessible locations, converging, etc.

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Practice and Trial Preparation Classes

Class: Nose Work Puzzles

Description: Puzzles and challenges for building dog-handler teamwork, search strategies, and problem solving. Teams will work toward proficiency in multiple odors (birch, anise, and clove), multiple hides per search, inaccessible hides, converging odors, etc. Great for fun and suitable for competition preparation.
Prerequisites:Dogs must be on birch and anise or clove, confidently searching indoors and have some experience with multiple hides.

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Class: Novice Trial Prep

Description: For Nose Work teams looking to gain experience and refine skills to compete at NACSW NW1& AKC SW Novice, or similar. This class will focus on exposure to elements, team building, and search strategy. Elements from both venues will be incorporated into the searches for this class. Participants are encouraged to volunteer use of their vehicle for searching.
Prerequisites:Teams need to be searching proficiently for Birch.

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Class: Intermediate Trial Prep

Description: For Nose Work teams looking to gain experience and refine skills to compete at NACSW NW2 and AKC SW Advanced, or similar. This class will focus on exposure to elements, team building and search strategy. Elements from both venues will be incorporated into the searches for this class. Participants are encouraged to volunteer use of their vehicle for searching.
Prerequisites:Teams need to be searching proficiently for Birch and Anise.