I was introduced to Marion Brand & K9 Nosetime Pty Ltd last year and have been hooked ever since. Such a simple idea & how wonderful for dogs.
Marion thankfully had the insight to bring K9 Noseworks® from America to Australia & has created a new world for dogs & their owners. The methodology used to help the dogs reach their potential is one that doesn’t confuse either the dog or the owner & allows the dogs to understand very quickly what “the game” is all about. It can take a little longer for the 2 legged ones but we do not have “the nose” that a dog has & that is what it is all about.
Please see our training page for information on internal & external scentworks options.
This article was taken from Dogs NSW Magazine.
Article permission kindly given by Marion Brand
Born out of the desire to share what professional detection dogs have reveled in for years, Scentworks was founded and developed
in Southern California in 2006 by a team of three highly experienced professional detection dog trainers.
A fun, motivational and portable, search and detect activity, therapy and sport, specifically designed for companion dogs.
Scentworks requires minimal equipment and is easy to learn with no previous dog sport experience or obedience training required.
By adapting the foundation skills and essential elements of professional detection dog training, Scentwork® was specifically designed to be accessible and enjoyable to virtually any dog. This includes dogs that are unable to enjoy other sports due to physical limitations, lack of obedience or fear or reactivity issues. It is a great way to keep your dog healthy and fit through mental stimulation and gentle physical exercise.
Already proven effective at helping behaviorally challenged dogs overcome many of their issues, K9 Noseworks® in now being introduced to rescue organizations and shelters throughout the USA and now even here in Australia at The Blacktown City Animal Holding Facility.
A titled sport in the USA since 2008, K9 Noseworks® is a timed competition where the dogs are judged on their speed and accuracy in detecting and alerting their handler to specific odours hidden in four different elements. The elements are Interiors (which can be a room or rooms in a house or building such as an office or school), Exteriors (which can be any outside area including lumber yards, parks and school yards) Containers (which can be luggage or handbags or bins) and Vehicles (which can include cars, trucks, tractors boats or airplanes)
Trials generally last all day and a title can be earned at a single trial if you pass all four elements. The best part of this sport is that you MUST reward your dog with food or toy when they correctly indicate the odour source, even in a trial. What happens if you alert incorrectly? The judge will help you until your dog is successful so you can then reward them correctly at the source.
The first Sanctioned trial in Australia is currently being planned for late 2015. This sport is so popular in the US that to enter a trial you basically enter a lottery and hope you will get in.
Who can benefit from K9 Noseworks®?
Over the top, unfocused, high drive dogs can benefit because mental activity is more tiring then physical exertion. In this sport, dogs learn all by themselves to calm down and focus because that’s what makes finding the “source” easier. One of its greatest benefits is that it does not create over arousal.
Besides being great for strong healthy young dogs, this fun activity allows the elderly, disabled or convalescing dogs to flex their brain muscles while they puzzle out low impact searches at their own pace.
It’s also great for reactive dogs because all training and trials are designed to keep dog to dog interactions to an absolute minimum. Only one dog at a time searches, all others are safely crated away from the search area or resting comfortably in their owners car.
Also excellent for shy, fearful or timid dogs, it builds confidence, courage, focus and independence. The dogs get so absorbed in the joy of hunting or (seeking) that they forget their worries and fears. This also carries over into other areas of their lives.
So who can play?
Virtually any dog and human. Three legged dogs, blind or deaf dogs. dogs in wheelchairs. convalescing dogs. Virtually any dog. If your dog has a nose you have a Scentwork dog. Also open to adult handlers of all ages and physical abilities.
Why do dogs love it?
Because they are physiologically predisposed to be good at it. They were made for it, so to speak. A dog’s nose is an amazing thing to behold. Humans have about 5 million cells devoted to smelling: dogs have up to 220 million. Not only that, but dogs have four times the brainpower devoted to processing scents. We smell “vegetable soup” but a dog smells each and every ingredient.
The sense of smell in dogs and their ancestors has always been one of their greatest assets. In the wild its their dominant survival tool which enables them to seek out and detect prey.
Because a hunt is often unsuccessful, (wolves for example have a successful hunt and kill rate of only about 10%,) Mother Nature has actually made the hunting (or seeking) feel better than the actual getting of the prey. It is during the hunt or seeking that dopamine (the happy harmone) is released into the brain. This means that when a dog uses its nose to seek or hunt, it feels amazing.
How can this be? How can a mammal get rewarded or reinforced for the seeking or hunting without the final reward of the kill?
The benefits of this “hunting or seeking emotion” in all animals is now at the forefront of much scientific research into canine and human behaviors. Jaak Panskepp, identified seven emotional systems in mammals with the seeking system, being of the highest order.
The key point for us as dog owners to understand is the importance of letting our dogs use their nose to search. It is the searching or seeking that will benefit their general wellbeing especially their mental health.
In fact, we have all experienced this ourselves. Remember hunting for Easter Eggs? What did you do when you found one? Did you stop and admire or eat it, or did you throw it into your basket and continue hunting for more? I’ll bet most continued hunting for more. That’s because Mother Nature was rewarding you with the fun of the hunt or seeking.
Bottom line though is that if we don’t provide our dogs an opportunity to use this wonderful innate behavior, they will make one up for themselves…and it probably wont be a good one!
What do you need to get started at home?
- A room or garage where the searching dog is the ONLY dog in the area.
- A body harness or flat buckle collar for the dog.
- A minimum 6 foot leash (not retractable)
- Five or six sturdy cardboard boxes
- One small box that will fit inside all the others
- The dogs favorite toy or food treats
How do we start you off
K9 Noseworks® classes start with getting your dog excited about using his/her nose to seek out a favorite toy or treat hidden in one of several boxes.
As confidence grows the game is made more challenging by,
- Adding more boxes
- Expanding the search area
- Creating harder finds
- Using exterior areas
- Adding different containers
- Performing vehicle searches
As your dog grows more confident with his nose, target odours are introduced and competition skills are taught. Both Handler and dog develop and learn new skills as they progress together. Since the best relationships are built on good communication, K9 Noseworks® teaches you to watch, listen and learn all the different ways your dog is communicating with you while he or she works to solve increasingly more difficult scent puzzles. You’ll understand your dog in a whole new light and your dog will love you for it.
K9 Noseworks® classes are fun and encouraging and can turn any dog into a K9 Sherlock Holmes – It’s Elementary really. Our goal is to strengthen and enhance the bond between handler and dog, all the while having the time of their lives. Our classes unite fun with focus to help each team (dog and handler) connect, cooperate, communicate and if so desired, compete.
Our classes are divided into 5 levels, (Beginners where you learn the basics, Intermediates where you are introduced to handling and competition skills, Intro to Odour where you go onto Odour on your first day, Odour 2 where you are introduced to the second and third odours and Advanced Odour, where you work with all three Odours and learn competition skills of the highest order. Each level is a six week course. We also arrange Ninja Nosework Adventures for our Advanced classes and have some exciting new adventures planned for 2015.
K9 Noseworks® is much more than an activity. It is an experience you share with your dog. They will love you (even more) for it.
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Thanks Linda for being so kind
It makes a huge difference , knowing that you are looking after Max … In fact if you weren’t available. I wouldn’t be on holidays … if I can return that kindness please let me know … I have given up on the dacchies, they are actually quite good at home and have an acre to run around in and that seems to keep them busy.. On the plus side, they do get under your skin a bit and I miss them when they are not around
… Thank God , they are no bigger !!
I’m sooo pleased to have found you too, and it was Prue and her mum who recommended you, as I was on a mission and found their cattery first.
I can’t tell you how great its been to know I can have absolute faith in Calabash who have provided a gem of a service in every way possible. Tip top care, and lots of love and fuss, professionally and securely managed with great attention to detail. It’s enabled Allan and I to visit so many places throughout all states in Australia, New Zealand, Cook Islands, Lord Howe Island, Tasmania….! You were there for me in an emergency last January when I was back in the UK within 48hrs and the boys stayed in the posh pony stable for a while, and this last ‘bitter sweet’ holiday for the boys whereby you are so kindly preparing them for their long haul journey and waving them off on my behalf…
It was sad to see the boys trot off up your drive for the last time and I’m going to miss seeing you all. Please keep in touch and I’ll be sure to send you some pics of the boys playing in their much smaller UK garden… I wonder if Jolly Jazz and Dashing Darcy will remember it?! Magic Minstrel will miss running round the swimming pool barking at liazards and Tinker Tomah will miss swimming like an otter… It’s going to be tough for us all I fear… But Allan and I will be there waiting for their delivery to our home, and hopefully the joy of seeing us again will help them overcome their long journey and smaller garden without a pool!
One fun thing, did Bob tell you we also live in Guildford area (small hamlet called Christmas Pie) and my son lives 25mins away in the village of Godalming – where I also worked for many years… Small world!
Must go – now in Beecroft for a last lasagne and dropping in on the posh pussies for a quick cuddle a bit later…..
Let me know when the boys have been collected and I’ll be tracking them right through and across the world ……
Thanks again Linda and all of your team…..
I just wanted to thank you and the crew for doing such a fantastic job looking after Keyson and Ginger. I know they have a fabulous time during their stay.
I also wanted to pass on a thank you to Prue for doing such a brilliant job washing and grooming the kids. They look amazing!
We wouldn’t trust anyone else but Calabash Kennels with our babies.