Volunteering: Beginning with an orientation class, volunteers will handle DVGRR dogs during nose work practice sessions. Dogs from the kennel and the Sanctuary are being included.
For more information and to sign up for nose work volunteering, contact Lisa@dvgrr.org.
Nose Work Classes: Group classes will be offered for handlers to bring their own dogs. Intro to Nose Work will be taught by volunteer and NACSW® instructor Matt Woodard. Classes will be held in the Activity Center at DVGRR. The cost for a session of 6 one-hour classes is $165.00. More advanced classes will be offered as people sign up for them.
For more information and scheduling of nose work classes,
please contact Matt Woodard @ Matt.K9nosenaround@gmail.com
Talked about in DVGRR’s Golden Opportunity, Fall 2020
Hey, What’s That Smell?
By Matt Woodard, DVGRR Volunteer
Scent work or nose work is a fun, engaging activity that can be done with any dog regardless of breed, size, age, or temperament. It is especially good as a confidence builder for shy dogs, giving them the opportunity to do what they like to do best – explore the world with their noses. We aren’t teaching commands or desired behaviors; they are simply in their natural world.
Dogs are born with an amazing sense of smell. They have up to 300 million olfactory receptors as compared to around six million in humans. It is believed that the part of a dog’s brain that analyzes odor is proportionally 40 times greater than ours.
Giving dogs the opportunity to use their strongest sense combined with a natural drive to hunt provides a great way for them to burn a lot of mental and physical energy. Training begins with the dogs searching for high-value treats usually in open boxes. This encourages them to use their hunting skills without a lot of outside environmental interference. As the dogs progress and become comfortable with searching and finding their reward, target odors are paired with the treats, and they quickly begin to associate the odor with reward. Soon the dogs will search for and find the target odor by itself, receiving their reward – treats and a lot of praise. That’s the fun part, which increases the dogs’ drive to search again.
Nose work is proving to be particularly valuable for dogs that are in shelter or rescue environments. No prior obedience training is required. Dogs search one at a time, so fearful dogs can build confidence, and overactive dogs can put their energy into searching. Even the shyest or most shutdown dogs that come from the worst conditions can benefit. The activity can be done in the same area in which the dogs live, avoiding many environmental and human contact issues. With progress, it becomes a great way for staff and volunteers to engage comfortably with these dogs.
Beyond shelter programs, nose work has become an exciting, rewarding sport by multiple organizations worldwide. Standardized training techniques, teacher certification, and competition trials have gained popularity over the past 10 to 15 years. As dog sports go, nose work is one of the easiest and least expensive in which to participate. Above all is the strong bond that forms between dog and handler as the handler learns to observe, understand, and rely on their best friend.
National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW®) was founded in 2006 by three individuals that came from various dog training backgrounds involving detection, shelter, and rescue work. The organization’s training techniques and competition formats have been structured to give all dogs, including shelter and special needs dogs, along with their handlers the opportunity to enjoy the sport.
K9 Nose Work® Shelter Project is intended to give shelters and rescue organizations the direction needed to incorporate nose work into their training and rehabilitation programs.