The Nose Knows

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Scent detection has been around for years with detection, search and Schutzhund work but the sport of canine nose work is a fairly recent activity that is sweeping across the canine sport circles like a wildfire.   I remember when a friend who was in the PNW had mentioned about it and how fun it was.  I was very, very interested since we’d tinkered around with various aspects of scent detection from the inexperienced side around home and the dogs loved it.  Sadly, there weren’t too many options open to me here in Michigan that gave us the opportunity to learn this phenomenal activity – until recently.

My friend Missi, one of the co-founders of the phenomenal rescue group Detroit Bully Corps., had mentioned she was going to start taking a nose work class pretty local to her.  I, of course, had to know the details because the closest thing I’d found was in Lansing and that was well over an hour away from us and not exactly feasible for extended classes (though I had still contemplated it because I wanted to do the sport pretty badly) so she spilled the details for me.

The Intro to Nosework class was to start on May 2nd through Pawzitively Positive, LLC.  The cost was only a hundred dollars for six weeks of fun and learning and a chance to do something I’d wanted to do for quite some time.  I was so in and rushed to find out by emailing Terry Jacobus, the instructor/owner, to find out if there were openings in her class to which she gave me the answer I was hoping for – ‘yes!’.  The rest is obviously history.

We’re on week two of class right now – well, just finished it last Thursday.  It’s been one of the most wonderful classes Ryker and I have done together (since he tends to be my guinea pig for learning new things in regard to dog sports) in a long while.  Ryker’s doing incredibly well and absolutely loving every moment – well, I hope so anyway since he practically drags me to the search area every time it’s our turn – and I’m having a pretty good time too since Terry is positively wonderful.  (I tend to get REALLY nervous and hate feeling like I’m looking idiotic, even in a class so this is a super good thing!)

This coming Thursday, we will hopefully graduate into closed boxes (no scent other than hot dogs just yet!) since Ryker is zooming through even very hard box placements with the open boxes.  Once we do that and get that down, we’ll get to start adding scents like anise, lemongrass, clove, birch, etc. to the menu after that and who knows where we’ll go after that or what games or tasks he can learn after that with ordinary smells, etc. outside of competitions through groups like C-WAGS, K9 Nose Work, possibly even through the UKC as a potential recognized sport (or I’ve at least heard rumors it may be happening there – can anyone confirm?) and many other organizations.

That being said, this activity is a great bonding experience and the Roo and I are having a grand time and I personally look forward to Thursday evenings and training class.  (If you’re in the area, I highly recommend Terry and Pawzitively Positive for her force free training methods and she does way more than just nose work too!)  The possibilities are endless and I can’t wait to see where we’ll go as a team and once I get the hang of it would like to start introducing the rest of the pack into this phenomenal sport.

Ryker in week two of class.

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