Nose Work

Are you looking for fun activities that can be done indoors or outside? Try nose work!

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Dogs use their noses all the time to process their environment. They are aware of and processing more smells all the time than we could ever do. Watching a dog use its nose is lots of fun, improves your observation skills and helps you better understand your dog. Even more fun is providing your dog with a safe situation to enjoy the dog’s natural hunting ability and for you to observe your dog in new ways. Nose work is fun for both dogs and handlers, builds a dog’s confidence, work ethic and strengthens dog/handler bond. These classes are appropriate for puppies, too.



Although our nose work classes prepare dogs for competition, you can enjoy and participate even if you never want to enter a trial. Companion dogs of all ages will love learning to use their noses.
Club members and instructors participate in several nose work venues. OTCPBC is licensed to offer AKC Scent Work trials. OTCPBC has also hosted National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) Odor Recognition Tests (ORTs) and NW1, NW2 and NW3 trials.

In addition to offering classes and hosting trials the club periodically offers “Sniff ‘n Go” practice events that are open to the public. Information about these events may be found using the “Trials and Seminar” tab.

Class Format


In all Nose Work classes dogs work one at a time. When dog is not working, dog must be securely crated. Each handler must provide a crate for use during class. Handlers are encouraged to observe each dog/handler team work. Handlers may be asked to help with moving equipment before and after class.

What to Bring for all classes:


Please bring a crate for your dog and a chair and high value treats. Please bring a smartphone or small video camera so that your session may be recorded for your review after class. Dogs work one at a time. Dogs must be crated when not working. Buckle or flat collar or non-restrictive harness; 10-15 foot line. No Flexi leashes. Working gear for dog is a non-restrictive harness and a 10-15 foot line.

A complete list of classes offered may be found at this link:
Class Offerings

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Getting Started

NW 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. 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.
Prerequisite: Completion of NW 100A or equivalent. Dog actively searches for primary reward (food or toy). Preference given to teams enrolled in NW 100A Introduction to Nose Work.
What to Bring: See above for “What to Bring”
Starts: Tuesday, 11/12/2019 @ 5:30 PM No class 11/26/19, 12/24/19, 12/31/19
Instructor: Marti Hohmann,CPDT-KA, ANWI and Judy McPartland, ANWI
Duration: 6 weeks

Cost: $129 (20% discount for members who worked 20 volunteers hours within the last 12 months)

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NW 100C Basic Continuing Nose Work

Description This is the third class in our series for teams beginning nose work, 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 birch, anise and clove. Searches will be both indoors and outdoors, weather permitting.
Prerequisite: Completion of Introduction to Nose Work and Introduction to Odor or equivalent. Dog actively hunts for birch.
What to Bring: See above for “What to Bring”
Starts: Tuesday, 1/14/2020 @ 5:30 PM
Instructor: Marti Hohmann,CPDT-KA, ANWI and Judy McPartland, ANWI
Duration: 6 weeks

Cost: $129 (20% discount for members who worked 20 volunteers hours within the last 12 months)

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Continuing Foundations/Transitions

NW Intermediate Continuing Nose Work Skills

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. Teams will be expected to video searches and share with classmates. 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. Hide puzzles will include multiple hides, elevations from ground level up to 6 feet, thresholds, corners, blocked. Searches will take place indoors at the OTCPBC clubhouse and outdoors in the parking lot, weather permitting. This is a class appropriate for a team to take on an ongoing basis.
Prerequisite: Dogs must be on birch, anise or clove with experience searching for multiple hides.
What to Bring: See above for “What to Bring”
Starts: Tuesday, 1/7/2030 @ 6:45 PM
Instructor: Judy McPartland, ANWI
Duration: 6 weeks

Cost: $129 (20% discount for members who worked 20 volunteers hours within the last 12 months)

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NW Advanced Continuing Skills

Description Continuing foundation work in nose work skills for dogs that have been doing nose work for 1-2 years. Exercises will focus on strengthening odor obedience and increasing team confidence. Birch, anise and clove will be used in hides. Hide puzzles will include multiple hides, elevations from ground level up to 6 feet, thresholds, corners, blocked, non-productive areas. Searches will take place indoors at the OTCPBC clubhouse and outdoors in the parking lot, weather permitting. This is a class appropriate for a team to take on an ongoing basis. Teams will be expected to video searches and share with classmates.

Prerequisite: Teams confidently searching for birch, anise and clove. Experience searching for multiple hides.
What to Bring: See above for “What to Bring”
Starts: Tuesday, 1/7/2030 @ 4:00 PM
Instructor: Judy McPartland, ANWI
Duration: 6 weeks

Cost: $129 (20% discount for members who worked 20 volunteers hours within the last 12 months)

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Skills Focus Classes

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Advanced Skills Classes

NW 306 Advanced Mind Games

Description: Advanced puzzles and challenges for dog-handler teamwork, upper level competition strategies, and problem solving specific to each team. 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.
Prerequisite: Suitable for teams working at the NACSW NW3 level or equivalent. This course is focused for handlers who are dedicated to and knowledgeable in advanced understanding of the dog-handler relationship, the science of odor theory, and the application of these to successful detection. Prospective students are welcome to contact the Instructor prior to enrollment to discuss suitability.
Start Date: Tuesday, 11/19/19 @ 8:00 PM.
Instructor: Lisa Brooks
Duration: 6 weeks
Cost: $129 (20% discount for members who worked 20 volunteer hours within the last 12 months)
Registration Closed

Next Session
Start Date: Tuesday, 1/21/20 @ 8:00 PM.
Instructor: Lisa Brooks
Duration: 6 weeks
Cost: $129 (20% discount for members who worked 20 volunteer hours within the last 12 months)
Instructor approval required

Upcoming sessions of NW 306 Advanced Mind Games:

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Practice and Trial Preparation Classes

NW Trial Prep: Handling Essentials

Description Searches will be geared towards building better team communication, improving leash handling skills and incorporating strategy. Searches across multiple elements will be incorporated into each class. Teams should be prepared to crate and search both indoor and outdoor, including in light rain. Volunteering of vehicles for searching is encouraged.
Prerequisite: Dogs must be working birch, anise and clove.
What to Bring: See above for “What to Bring”
Starts: Saturday, 2/1/20 @ 7:45 AM. Meets 2/1, 2/8, 2/29
Instructor: Lauren Walsh
Duration: 3 weeks

Cost: $65 (20% discount for members who worked 20 volunteers hours within the last 12 months)

NW Puzzles

Description Nosework puzzles to challenge and strengthen dog-handler skills and teamwork. This class will combine fundamental skills (odor obedience, corners, thresholds, ground and elevation hides, etc.) with more intermediate and advanced skills including multiple hides, inaccessible sources, and converging odors. Great for fun and suitable for teams interested in working toward competition in all venues.
Prerequisite: Dog is a confident searcher and proficient on birch, anise, clove.
What to Bring: See above for “What to Bring”

Starts: Saturday, 3/21/20 @ 9:00 AM No classes: 4/10; 4/25
Instructor: Lauren Walsh and Lisa Brooks
Duration: 6 weeks

Cost: $129(20% discount for members who worked 20 volunteers hours within the last 12 months)

OR

Starts: Saturday, 3/21/20 @ 10:15 AM No classes: 4/10; 4/25
Instructor: Lauren Walsh and Lisa Brooks
Duration: 6 weeks

Cost: $129 (20% discount for members who worked 20 volunteers hours within the last 12 months)


OR

Starts: Saturday, 3/21/20 @ 11:30 AM No classes: 4/10; 4/25
Instructor: Lauren Walsh and Lisa Brooks
Duration: 6 weeks

Cost: $129 (20% discount for members who worked 20 volunteers hours within the last 12 months)

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Cannot find a class to meet your needs? Want to be notified when new classes are added? Complete our interest survey.
Interest List for Nose Work/Scent Work Classes and Events

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Hold the dates: AKC Scent Work Trials

Future Sniff n Go events:

We are busy planning our next few Sniff ‘n Go events. We will post details about each event here when finalized.
Other Scent Work Events

Future NACSW events:

NACSW Odor Recognition Test (ORT) January 18, 2020

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Instructor Bios:

Judy McPartland ANWI, OTCPBC Scent Work Coordinator, is a member of OTCPBC, the Iowa City Dog Obedience Club (AKC), 4RK9s (UKC), Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association (ESSFTA). She is an approved AKC Scent Work Judge and PSD Judge. She owns three English Springer Spaniels, Callie NW1, Kenzie and Maggie NW3 NW3-C, with whom she competes in NACSW, UKC and PSD nose work and AKC Scent Work.

Lisa Brooks is an experienced NACSW nosework enthusiast, approved AKC Scent Work Judge, the proud handler of terrier mix UCD Janie SuchADog NW3 Elite. Lisa is currently training with Jack NW3 NW3-V. She recently moved to FL from NJ, where she was privileged to train with experienced NACSW Judges and Certifying Officials who are experienced professional detection dog handlers.

Club member Marti Hohmann CPDT-KA, ANWI has been training dogs professionally for 15 years. Currently she coordinates the Prison Pups training program offered by New Horizons Service Dogs at two area institutions. Both of her dogs, Lark and Fizz, have earned the NACSW titles, Lark the NW2 title and Fizz NW3. Fizz is the recipient of multiple placements in AKC, UKC, and PSD trials, including several High in Trial awards.

Lauren Walsh is a member of OTCPBC. She is active in NACSW, UKC Nosework, AKC Scent Work and Performance Scent Dog trials with her two Cocker Spaniels, Raleigh NW2 and Cash NW3. She is an approved AKC Scent Work Judge.