K9 Nose Work – Honey’s Second Session

K9 canine nose work set up

What Honey sees when she walks into the room.

Do you ever stop to think about how your dogs smells? No, I don’t mean after he’s rolled in a pile of rot.

How does he find something with his nose? And how is his sense of smell affected by changes in the temperature, wind direction, and even distractions in the area?

Honey has started K9 nose work at the local SPCA.

In the first class, the dogs found smelly treats hidden in a small plastic container with holes punched in the top and placed in a cardboard box. The first class accomplished a few things:

  1. got the dogs used to expecting something fun when they came into a room with boxes all over the floor;
  2. the dogs  learn that yummy treats were waiting if they could just find them;
  3. gave the humans a chance to see the different searching styles for the dogs.

After practicing at home for a week, we came in last night to see some small changes made to the course. Added to the boxes were some new objects (traffic cones, agility equipment, furniture) for the dogs to search in and around.

The dogs now had to learn that the treats could be anywhere and they had to use their noses to figure out exactly where.

K9 canine nose work SPCA Golden Retriever

I know it's around here somewhere.

Moving the smelly treat into the traffic cone or blanket lengthened the search for all the dogs.

The class instructors observed the search patterns of all the dogs. Some dogs sniffed each box methodically. Others spiraled around the place where the treat was hidden to find the scent getting stronger as they came closer to the object. We also learned (thanks to Sophie) that pugs with pushed in noses don’t necessarily smell any less well than any other dog.

We”ll continue to practice at home and next week see what else the class has in store for us.

Is K9 nose work a good activity for you and your dog?

  1. Do you need a new form of enrichment that can be practiced anywhere, without much room, that doesn’t cost much?
  2. Does your dog need some stimulating exercise while recovering from an injury? Nose work doesn’t require a lot of physical activity.
  3. Do you have a dog that is reactive to other dogs? Most nose work classes are structured so each dog completes the course while other dogs are waiting elsewhere in their kennel or car. That makes it one of the few dog sports you can enjoy with your dog-reactive dog.

Honey is enjoying the class. She highly recommends it to other dogs.

Has anyone else tried K9 nose work with their dog? Have you entered any competitions. I’d love to hear about other experiences with the sport.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. A local trainer offers tracking classes in the spring and fall but we have yet to try as we have been so busy with dog sports. But I’ve always been curious about it. One of the games we play on a rainy day is “find the treat”. I put kibble inside a toilet paper roll, fold up the ends and then hide it somewhere in the house. Shiva then has to find it. It takes up less time than it used to, unfortunately.

    I am so glad Honey is enjoying herself. I look forward to reading more!

    • Nose work really is a good enrichment activity for indoors. Shiva definitely sounds like a good candidate.

      If there’s some interest, I’ll post a quick summary of the steps we did in class at the end so other folks can try it at home.

  2. I’m hoping we have one open up around here sometime soon, because I think my husband and Morgan would really like it. It sounds like a lot of fun!

    • Yeah, there’s something about the tracking aspect of nose work that I can see being quite popular with men. Maybe you can get your husband started on investigating?