When practicing at home, always keep it fun and simple. Save the challenging stuff for a...
The activity of K9 Nose Work is designed to be accessible to virtually any dog, including dogs who are unable to enjoy other dog activities due to age, physical limitations, lack of obedience, fear or reactivity issues. If your dog has a nose, you've got a K9 Nose Work dog!
While some breed types are known to have stronger sniffers than others, every dog has a nose far more amazing than any human, and every dog has natural instincts to use its nose. What's most important for enjoyment and success in K9 Nose Work is a proper introduction to the activity to build drive and let the dog know how the game is played. If started out right, even the most unlikely of dogs can suprise you on the hunt!
For dogs with limitations, K9 Nose Work can be played just for fun, and in many cases, for therapy, too. Elderly or disabled dogs can get much needed mental exercise while taking it easy on their bodies. A fearful dog can build the confidence to get out and explore the world. Dog reactive dogs can have a chance to be part of a class setting, working separately from other dogs, but enjoying positive reinforcement in the vicinity of those dogs*. Let your dog's needs determine how you both enjoy the activity of K9 Nose Work.
Your dog may have too much energy, and lack some of the obedience necessary to practice and compete in other dog activities. K9 Nose Work is a great way to let your dog burn energy and increase focus. As your dog's skills increase, you'll always be able to keep the game challenging and exciting. For added fun, the two of you can join the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) and begin competing in the sport of K9 Nose Work.
* The class setting is carefully structured to allow for dog reactive dogs to go from crate to search area and back without having to be in close proximity to other dogs. Every effort is made to provide the same accomodation at trials and ORTs, however, the event location may not allow for separate crating or potty areas, or for guaranteed separation from other dogs when moving throughout the location. For these reasons, some dogs may not be suited for competing in the sport of K9 Nose Work, and may get the greatest benefit from participating in the activity in a class setting or privately until such time as there is an improvement in the dog's ability to cope with other dogs.
Reactive dogs with a history of human aggression can benefit from the activity of K9 Nose Work, too, but it should be enjoyed in a safe, secure environment, in the presence of people the dog is familiar with (at home with family members, with a private instructor). The group class setting and competition events may be too stressful and unmanageable for your dog and may place him and other people who participate in the activity and sport of K9 Nose Work at risk. If you're planning to join a group class or attend a competition event, contact the class instructor or the event host first so that he/she can advise you on what is best for your dog.