Nose Work

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

Learn How Your Dog Navigates the Environment

Dogs use their noses all the time to process their environment. Watching a dog use its nose is lots of fun, improves your observation skills and helps you better understand your dog.

Become a Searching Team

Your dog enjoys using its natural hunting ability and you observe your dog in new ways. Nose work builds a dog’s confidence, work ethic and strengthens dog/handler bond.

Fran Smith’s GOLDRUNS BRING IT ON, TD SCA (Tori) OTCPBC AKC Scent Work Trial, Advanced Containers, November 2021. Photo courtesy of Club Member Lindsey Smith.

Just for Fun or For Competition

While 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 love using their noses. These classes are appropriate for puppies, and great for senior dogs too.
Club members and instructors participate in several nose work venues, (e.g., AKC, NACSW, PSD, USCSS). 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 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 and calmly 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, a chair for yourself, closed toe shoes and small, easily consumed high value treats. Please bring a smartphone or small video camera so that your session may be recorded for your review after class. Buckle or flat collar or non-restrictive harness; 10-15 foot line. No Flexi leashes.


Introduction and Foundation Classes

Class NameDescriptionPrerequisites and Participant Requirements
NW Basic Nose WorkWhat:
Learn more about canine olfactory abilities. Allow your dog to take the lead in enriching activities involving their natural scenting abilities. Engage in foundation work for the sport of canine nose work.
How:
Initially dogs will search independently for food or a toy while handlers focus on their observational skills. Teams will work at their own pace.  Handlers will learn from observing all dogs in the class.  Class and homework exercises will use the environment to provide learning experiences for the dogs. We will use self-reward to build dogs’ independent hunting and problem solving skills.

Timing for the introduction to or the use of target odor in searches will depend on the level of the dog’s independence in searching and the level of the handler’s observational skills. At any one time, there may be a mix of some dogs searching for primary (food/toys) and some for target odor. 

Teams typically enroll in this class over multiple sessions.

In this class dogs work one at a time, so dogs must be able to rest quietly in a crate when not working. Dogs must be under handler control in the parking lot and when coming into or leaving the building. Completion of a puppy or obedience class is recommended.
Participant Requirements: Teams will be expected to video their searches and share with instructors and classmates.
Handlers may have to help with set-up or break-down of equipment.
Please bring a crate for your dog, a chair for yourself, closed toe shoes and small, easily consumed high value treats. Please bring a smartphone or small video camera so that your session may be recorded for your review after class. Buckle or flat collar or non-restrictive harness; 10-15 foot line. No Flexi leashes.

Class NameMeetsInstructorClick Button to Register
NW Basic Nose Work (7814)Saturdays 6/29-8/17/24 at 1:00 pm. No class 7/20/24, 8/3/24Judy McPartland, CNWIRegistration Closed
NW Basic Nose Work (7815)Saturdays 8/24-9/28/24 at 1:00 pm.Judy McPartland, CNWIRegistration opens 4 weeks before class start date.
NW Basic Nose Work (7816)Saturdays 10/5-12/7/24 at 1:00 pm.
NO CLASS: 10/26, 11/9, 11/16, 11/23/24.
Judy McPartland, CNWIRegistration opens 4 weeks before class start date.
Class Length: Class meets for six weeks for an hour. Cost: $139 (20% discount for members who worked 20 volunteer hours within the last 12 months). Participants will be expected to help move props.

Extending Foundation Skills

Class NameDescription
NW Extending Foundation Skills —  Emphasis for each six-week sessionThis is a series of six-week classes reinforcing and extending skills. Teams will be presented with exercises that encourage independence, drive to source and problem-solving. Handler challenge will be to understand the scent picture that the dog is communicating. Exercises will include single and multiple hides using birch, anise and clove. Searches will be both indoors and outdoors, weather permitting.

Prerequisites:
Dogs must be searching for birch, anise and clove, and have some experience with multiple hides.

Participant Requirements:
Dogs must be able to rest quietly in a crate when not working. Handlers may have to help with set-up or break-down of equipment. Use and sharing of videos is encouraged.
NW Extending Foundation Skills —  Searching OutdoorsEmphasis: Searching Outdoors
This class will be held outdoors in the OTCPBC parking lot, weather permitting. This class will focus on providing search experience in outdoor environments where scent is subject to the elements. Participants are encouraged to volunteer use of their vehicle for searching.
NW Extending Foundation Skills —  ElevationsEmphasis: Elevations
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.
NW Extending Foundation Skills Containers/Inaccessible ContainedEmphasis: Containers
Various types of containers and distractions will be used. Contained inaccessible hides will also be included. Hide placement will include configurations that could be encountered in different venues and different trial levels. Provide the dog with opportunities to choose odor over distractions.
NW Extending Foundation Skills ReviewEmphasis: Practice solving more difficult odor puzzles. Handler skills. Setting your own hides. NACSW Skills Achievement Challenge exercises.
Class NameMeetsInstructorClick Button to Register
NW Extending Foundation Skills — Containers/Inaccessibles (7779)Saturdays 6/29/-8/17/24 at 2:15pm No class 7/20/24 8/3/24.Judy McPartland, CNWIRegistration Closed
NW Extending Foundation Skills — Searching Outdoors (7780)Saturdays 8/24-9/28/24 at 2:15pmJudy McPartland, CNWIRegistration opens 4 weeks before class start date.
NW Extending Foundation Skills — Review (7781)Saturdays 10/12-12/7/24 at 2:15pm No class 11/9, 11/16, 11/23/24.Judy McPartland, CNWIRegistration opens 4 weeks before class start date.

Trial Practice

Class NameDescription
NW Trial Practice BeginnerJust beginning or early on in your scent work competition career? Join us for some practice searches, walk through and rule review. Weather permitting may include exterior search and crating in car to enable blind search in the building and practice resting in a vehicle.
Prerequisites:
Teams must already be searching for Birch.
Class NameWhenInstructorClick Button to Register
NW Trial Practice Beginner Judy McPartland, CNWI
NW Trial Practice Beginner Judy McPartland, CNWI

Skills Focus Classes

Class NameDescriptionPrerequisites
NW Skill BuildingGrow your team by building skills in this class. Searches will be constructed to work on specific skills for both dogs and handlers. Skills include elevations, inaccessible, converging odor, thresholds, distractions, time management, leash handling and more. Teams will be asked to search blank areas and under blind conditions. Searches will be conducted both indoors and outdoors, weather dependent.Teams must already be searching for Birch, Anise and Clove.
Please bring a crate for your dog, a chair for yourself, closed toe shoes and small, easily consumed high value treats. Please bring a smartphone or small video camera so that your session may be recorded for your review after class. Buckle or flat collar or non-restrictive harness; 10-15 foot line. No Flexi leashes.

Class NameMeetsInstructorClick Button to Register
NW Skill Building (7792)Tuesdays 6/11-7/30/24 at 4:00 pm. No class 6/18; 7/9.Lauren WalshRegistration closed
NW Skill Building (7793)Tuesdays 6/11-7/30/24 at 5:15 pm
No class 6/18; 7/9.
Lauren WalshRegistration closed
NW Skill Building (7794)Tuesdays 6/11-7/30/24 6:30 pm
No class 6/18; 7/9.
Lauren WalshRegistration closed
NW Skill Building (7947)Tuesdays 8/6-9/10/24 at 4:00 pm.Lauren Walsh
NW Skill Building (7948)Tuesdays 8/6-9/10/24 at 5:15 pmLauren Walsh
NW Skill Building (7949)Tuesdays 8/6-9/10/24 6:30 pmLauren Walsh
NW Skill Building (7950)Tuesdays 9/24/-10/29/24 at 4:00 pm.Lauren WalshRegistration opens 4 weeks before class start date.
NW Skill Building (7951)Tuesdays 9/24/-10/29/24 5:15 pmLauren WalshRegistration opens 4 weeks before class start date.
NW Skill Building (7952)Tuesdays 9/24/-10/29/24 6:30 pmLauren WalshRegistration opens 4 weeks before class start date.
Class Length: Class meets for six weeks for an hour. Cost: $139 (20% discount for members who worked 20 volunteer hours within the last 12 months

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Hold the dates: AKC Scent Work Trials

AKC Scent Work Trials and OTCPBC Sniff ‘n Go Events
NACSW EVENTS

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Instructor Bios:

Judy McPartland CNWI, OTCPBC Scent Work Coordinator, is a member of OTCPBC and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT). She is an approved AKC Scent Work Judge, PSD Judge and NACSW ORT Judge. She has competed with three English Springer Spaniels, Callie NW1 ORT, Kenzie ORT and Maggie NW3 NW3-C NW3-V, in NACSW, UKC and PSD nose work and AKC Scent Work.

Club member Marti Hohmann CPDT-KA, CNWI has been training dogs professionally for over 15 years. For several years she coordinated the Prison Pups training program offered by New Horizons Service Dogs at two area institutions. Marti is an approved NACSW ORT Judge. Both of her dogs, Lark and Fizz, have earned the NACSW titles, Lark the NW2 title and Fizz NW3 (2). Fizz is the recipient of multiple placements in AKC, UKC, and PSD trials, including several High in Trial awards.

Lauren Walsh Lauren Walsh trains and competes across the Southeastern US with her Cocker Spaniels, Raleigh ELT1, Cash Money ELT-CH and Swagger NW1. She is active in NACSW, AKC Scent Work, Performance Scent Dog and CPE Canine Scent Sports. With a professional engineering background in heat transfer and fluid mechanics Lauren is skilled at setting scent puzzles to challenge both ends of the leash. Through careful observation she can provide feedback to help teams continue to grow. She enjoys all aspects of teaching nose work from introducing new teams to fine-tuning teams competing at higher levels. Lauren is an approved AKC Scent Work, Performance Scent Dogs Judge and member of OTCPBC.