Smell Like a Dog

Every few years someone comes up with something actually new for dogs. This particular idea has the added advantage of leaving no one out. Anyone can do it and any dog will enjoy it.

Agility and the related competitive events are for the athletes. Obedience for the compliant and dedicated. There are a few breed based fun, instinct driven sports: lure coursing, terrier hunting, dock diving, even flyball has its breed biases in competition. But this event is for every dog.

K9 Nose Work has taken detection dog skills to the masses and made it fun. The one thing all dogs can do is use their noses. It’s also one thing humans can’t coach or correct. It’s why we needed dogs in the first place. So on Saturday I attended an introductory session for dog trainers to spread the word and methods for encouraging dogs to do what they do best and their human partners to learn to trust their gift of scenting.

Using a few cardboard boxes and a couple of friends, this game promises to be a boon for trainers, handlers, owners and even shelter dogs. After an introduction and short demo, I was hooked. I’m home today getting boxes from the garage just to play along.

In a few short sessions your dog will be finding his favorite snack or toy in toss away boxes. No cost, nothing lost if you decide you don’t enjoy it. But you will! You can’t do it wrong and neither can your dog. Of course, not all dogs will be the next bomb sniffer from a few weeks of practice but if you want to show off your dog’s gift, there are actually competitive events arranged around the country. This could be the next big thing. Especially since dogs work alone. The doggie park bullies and scapegoats finally have a place to play. And no clickers, harnesses or other fancy dog training is required. All dogs have noses, it turns out. Look for classes to pop up in your area or ask your local dog club to consider this. Really a great idea.