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Philosophy and Guiding Principles


The K9NW℠ philosophy is to embrace the journey and enjoy every moment of learning with your dog.

Dogs perform best and are the most joyful when we allow them to learn on their terms. They are happiest using their natural abilities, especially their amazing olfactory sense.

The human-canine bond deepens when dog handlers expand their understanding of canine communication. This is accomplished by carefully observing dogs as they independently seek odor sources in their environment. These odors can be primary reward scents or target scents the dog has been trained on.

A K9NW dog should enjoy decision-making freedom while searching and be supported by the handler, not controlled. A hallmark of K9NW dogs is joy expressed through scent detection. K9 Nose Work® enables humans to discover and appreciate what dogs can teach us, such as how scent moves depending on environment and conditions.

Guiding Principles of K9NW℠ Education

The K9NW℠ Guiding Principles are intended to help shape the culture of all K9NW℠ classes, workshops, and educational events. They are the parameters that define what K9NW℠ is and how it should be represented.

  • Safety – Physical and mental health and well-being of all dogs.
  • Diversity – Acceptance of all dog ages, temperaments, and physical fitness. See Behavior section of this guide for rare exceptions.
  • Autonomy – Creating an environment of self-discovery and individuality for dogs and humans.
  • Support – Allowing dogs freedom to use their natural instincts.
  • Commitment – Adhering to the principles of positive, reward-based training.
  • Trust – Always believing and relying on the amazing ability of dogs to teach us how to better understand them and their world.
  • Partnership – Strengthening the human-canine bond through K9NW℠.
  • Respect – Value every person and dog as an individual with their own strengths and needs.
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