K9 Nose Work

K9 Nose Work® is the fun search and scenting activity that virtually any dog can enjoy. It starts with getting your dog excited about using his nose to seek out a favorite toy or treat hidden in one of several boxes. As your dog grows more confident with his nose, the game expands to entire rooms, exterior areas, and vehicles. Advanced K9 Nose Work focuses on increasing your dog’s scent discrimination skills, adding special target odors to the search, and increasing other levels of difficulty. You can begin the nose work journey at any stage of your dog’s life and it can last a lifetime. You and your dog set the pace and your goal. If your goal is to make K9 Nose Work a regular play activity, there is no end to the games you can enjoy. If you like greater challenge and the excitement of competition, K9 Nose Work is also an organized, titling sport across the nation. Every dog has the natural abilities to be successful and have fun with K9 Nose Work, including:

This class is designed to get your dog excited about using his nose to seek out a favorite toy or treat reward hidden in one of several boxes. As your dog grows more confident with his nose, we’ll introduce new challenges and searches beyond the box, venturing to other objects and some simple outdoor spaces.


Party in the Box

We'll build on the hunting foundation developed in Level One to introduce new search challenges, including vehicles, exterior and interior spaces. We’ll continue to use boxes in some situations, but the dogs will progress to learn to search any part of their environment, with or without boxes. Your dog will continue to seek out a favorite toy or treat reward at this level.


Interiors and Exteriors and Vehicles, Oh My!

This course strengthens hunt drive and foundation skills in all four of the elements: containers, exteriors, interiors and vehicles. We meet in a new, real-world location each week where we’ll focus on one of the elements and the unique challenges posed by novel environments, weather and environment. Your dog will usually continue to seek a favorite toy or treat reward at this level.


On-The-Road Foodies



These workshops are for ongoing, advanced nose work students only. Dogs are exposed to a myriad of complex search scenarios, while continuing to condition their foundational skills. Handlers sharpen their observational skills and learn when and how to take action during a search. Prerequisite: Level Three or Level Four


Nose Work Junkies

I'm always looking for new, special places to search. Typically, in lieu of a class fee, we pool donations to a charity to thank the facility, business or individual that opens up their site to our dogs. Past searches have included a fire station, a high rise office and a brewery! Prerequisites will vary based on the location. Preregistration is required.


Search Event

This workshop will prepare you for your NACSW Odor Recognition Test (ORT). Your dog knows birch! The primary focus is preparing you as a handler to have to the confidence to trust and correctly read your dog in an ORT test. Prerequistite: Nose Work Level Four.


ORT Prep



This course is held just before an upcoming trial to provide extra, guided practice. Teams will search to the competition standards set by the NACSW, which includes timed searches, blind hides, multiple hides, and a variety of other search and handling puzzles. Prerequisite: Entry into an upcoming nose work trial.


Trial Prep










This 6-week course introduces your dog to the first of the three target odors used in K9 Nose Work: birch. Once target odors are introduced to the dog, he will learn to search for the odor and find its source, then get rewarded by his handler with his favorite food or toy reward.


Got Birch?



CLASS SCHEDULE GO TO EVENTS MollyGotBirch[930x576] AllyVehiclesOhMy[930x576] PeteyPartyInBox[930x576] NACSWCNWI


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Dogs with no prior training experience.

Shy or fearful dogs build confidence with each success and gain more courage to face the world.

Dog reactive dogs can enjoy K9 Nose Work because dogs are separated and games are played one at a time.

High energy dogs burn calories as they race around on the hunt.

Aging or disabled dogs can flex their brains as they puzzle out the search at their own pace.

I teach to the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) standards and philosophies that focus on building drive, independence, problem solving and human observation and handling skills prior to learning a target odor. It's a methodolgy that is excellent for all types of dogs, but especially those with fear, anxiety, or need some confidence building. I do not use clickers or other markers. Yes, I take a couple of extra months at the foundation level searching for "primary" (food or toy). But learning a target odor is the easy part for the dog and the "sexy" part that we humans tend to focus on and flock to first and foremost. In fact it's everything else that is hard and extremely important to building a strong search foundation. Spending a little extra time on the components that truly form a search team's foundation is worth it, especially much later when the problems and search scenarios become truly a challenge!


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Prerequisite: None

Prerequisite: Nose Work Level One.

Prerequisite: Nose Work Level Two.

Prerequisite: Nose Work Level Three.


Contact us if you have questions about K9 Nose Work.