Tag Archives: Nosework

“Trust Your Dog”

The thing that I always hear them say at Nosework (aka Scent Work) trials is, “Trust your dog.”  Of course people need to do that because canines are the ones who have the noses that can find the hidden odor in all sorts of odd places.

Luckily, this last weekend, Mom actually did trust me.  We didn’t get off to a great start because buried odor was our first event.  I am not quite sure about the point of that one, so I decided to gear up for the other three runs instead.

The good news is that exterior was next, and I was ready.  I went right to the odor and amazingly, Mom called it.  We came in second place for that event because it only took us seven seconds.  The judge even said something nice about our teamwork on that one.

After waiting for what seemed like a week, we had our third run which was an interior.  It was a little confusing because the doors were opening and closing, and it was a tight space (and I’m claustrophobic).  Still, I found the odor and showed Mom for sure, and she called it, and we were right.

Our last event of the day was containers.  They are supposed to be in two straight columns, but when we walked in, one of the boxes was not in the column correctly.  Apparently some dog before me had pushed it out of the right spot.  They reset the box, and Mom told me to go find it.  Luckily, she was trusting me.  I did sniff the box that had been askew, and it did have nose prints, and I knew Mom was thinking about calling it, but I could hear her thinking “trust your dog,” so when I went to the right box, she called it, and we were right.  Not only that, it only took us 22 seconds, so we got third place in that run.

It’s so much more fun to do this when Mom is paying attention and trusting me.


Windy Days

Yesterday Mom and I went to Lodi to do some nosework  which the AKC calls scent work.  Mom got all decked out in purple because it was the anniversary of the passing of our young friend Amelia whose favorite color, like Mom’s, was purple.  She even took the crochet afghan that she’s making in Amelia’s memory.  It was a day to remember her and to enjoy my time with Mom.

We were set to compete in four events:  interiors, containers, buried, and exteriors.  We were 43rd on the list, so we had a lot of sitting around to do, so I was glad Mom took my kennel because I don’t like staying in the car.

We did the interior first.  I showed Mom where it was, but she didn’t believe me, so she called “alert” in the wrong place.  She gave me cookies, and told me I did a good job, which I did.  No cookies for her.

Next, we went up the hill where it was VERY windy, and I had to check out the containers.  Again, I found the right container, but Mom didn’t believe me, so she called the wrong box.  You know, some days I just can’t get her to listen to me.  She’s great and all, but she really needs more practice.

I was a little discouraged with her performance since I was 2/2, and she was 0/2, and we had buried hides next.  I figured Mom needed time to regroup, so I just walked around in the area with the buried hides for two minutes until the timer said our time was over.  I made my point.  If you don’t listen, I am not going to show you where the hide is.

Last was exteriors.  The judge asked if Mom wanted a second to take a breath, but Mom declined, and we went ahead.  She did promise to listen this time.  We went through the search area, and I showed Mom where the odor was, and she said, “I hear you, and is it okay if we just check the rest of the area?”  I agreed, so we did that, and we came back, and I showed her the same spot I was before, so she called it, and, of course, we were right.

On the day, I was 3/3 that I attempted (3/4 of what we entered), and Mom was 1/4.  Luckily we went to class last night so Mom could get more practice doing her part.

We are competing again next weekend, so hopefully Mom will pay more attention.  She’s pretty smart, and I think she will catch on eventually.



Sniffing in the Dark

I have a big trial coming up this Saturday.  It’s a Nose Work 1 (NW1) trial, and I have to be on my A-game.  To pass, I’ll have to find the odor hidden on a vehicle, in an interior room, in an exterior space, and in one of many containers.  That is four correct alerts in one day  (one per element).  Obviously I have a super sniffer and am completely capable of doing this, but I still practice.  Honestly, I think it’s so Mom can learn more about all of this stuff.

This past Saturday at my class with the best nose work instructor, my buddy, Barb, I’m not sure what was going on.  She made me wear a glow stick around my neck.  It was purple, and that is my favorite color, so I was okay with that, but it was still strange.  Next we went into a room for me to do a search, and Barb turned off the lights.  What in the world?  Clearly I don’t need to be able to see to use my sniffer, but it was a little disorienting to do that.  Besides, with the lights out, am I still as handsome?  How could Mom know?

I still managed to find the hides in the dark, so clearly I have some mad skills, and I think Mom was supposed to be listening for changes my breathing, but it makes me a little self-conscious to think she’s doing that.  I mean, really, admiring me in the light is normal, but stalking my breathing in the dark is a little like something out of that show “Criminal Minds.”

Still, it was a fun class, and I think Mom is a bit more prepared for the NW1 this weekend because of the fun class.  For the record, I’m not wearing a glow stick ever again.


This Boy is on Fire!


Last night it was time for my nosework class again.  It was SUPER windy.  I mean the kind of wind where my fur was flying off and Mom’s hair was blowing everywhere.  Of course, that means Barb thought we should do searches outside.  I thought that was fantastic!  I love cool, blustery weather.   I like being outside in that weather. It’s a little spooky when the doors or windows rattle.

Anyway, Barb thought she’d be super sneaky and put our new odors (anise and clove) out in the super windy weather.  We were doing blind hides which meant that Mom had no idea where the odor was hidden, and she had to rely on me.  We were running last after my friends Seamus and Abby.  My friend Callum had to stay home because his mom didn’t feel good this week.

Normally, Seamus is the man in nosework.  He just goes from odor to odor and finds things like a speed demon.  Last night, we waited for a few minutes during his search (which we couldn’t see).  Then it was Abby’s turn.  She took several minutes as well.  Then it was my turn.  Mom told me to go find it, so I RAN to the first odor (which was hidden in the dirt).  Yep!  Reward!  Next I RAN to the odor that Barb hid on the hinge of a door. Yep!  Reward!  Then I ran sniffing all that odor in the wind.  Quickly, I turned around and ran to one of the areas near a speed bump.  I sniffed the ground, and Mom called it.  Barb said, it was under a piece of wood, but Mom said, “Nope, no wood, Mozzie found it.”  Reward again!  I did all of those finds in under two minutes.  That was my first run of the evening.

I stayed on my sniffing pace all evening, and Barb declared, “Mozzie was on fire tonight.”  I have to admit, I was pretty proud of myself.  I really do LOVE to sniff, so I like that Barb noticed I’m good at it.

Mom says the American Kennel Club (AKC) has added nosework for 2017, so I’m looking forward to more opportunities to get titles in something I love as much as sniffing.  I do have a super sniffer!

I’m resting up today because I know I’m going to get to go work on agility and obedience again tomorrow since Mom has the day off of work.


Obedience Training Again

Yesterday I was excited that Mom was going to spend time working with me even before nosework practice.  She didn’t mention we were going to practice obedience.  I love agility and nosework, but obedience is boring.  Walk here.  Turn around.  Speed up.  Slow down.  Blah, blah, blah.  I wasn’t going to cooperate, but then Mom said we were going to enter obedience at the National Specialty in late April, and we needed to brush up on our skills.  She said we were going to enter Novice AND Open.  I think that’s just crazy, but if Mom wants to spend her vacation watching me walk around and then sit still, that’s her business.

I’ve never competed in Open before.  Mom told me the best part is that in Open, we only have to do the heeling pattern once.  I should mention that because we are also in Novice, that means I will have to do the heeling pattern three times.  ZZZZZZ.  BORING!  Heeling is the worst.  In Open, I have to do the retrieving of the dumbbell twice and do a drop on recall which makes no sense.  There’s a broad jump which is strange.  We also have out of sight sits and downs.  There’s no reason Mom would ever leave me with a bunch of other dogs and walk away where she couldn’t see me, but that’s part of it, so we had to work on that, too.  Because obedience is boring, my mind wanders.  When that happens, sometimes Mom will give me a cue like “Mozzie, over,” and I’ll miss it because I’m dreaming of getting liver treats after running agility.  She said that when we really compete, I have to go on her cue because otherwise, I won’t qualify.  At least, I think that’s what she said.  As I mentioned, my mind wanders when we do obedience.


Loading Dock Sniffing

Yesterday I got to go back to my nosework class.  My friend Barb teaches Mom how to not trip over the leash, and I go find fun smells.  My friend Seamus comes with his dad, Mike, too.  There’s also a little dog in our class named Abby.  She’s cute but what Atlas calls snack size.  Only three of us were there last night, and it wasn’t raining (finally), so we went to a loading dock to practice.  I like field trips, and sniffing outside is extra fun!

My friend Seamus is really good at nosework.  I think he’s an auditor or something because he’s very, very thorough.  He finds all the hidden odors in no time at all.

On our first run last night, there were seven different places to find odor and three different odors (birch, clove, and anise).  Barb is very sneaky about where she hides the odor so that we get to really work.  I like that because it’s a lot like solving a puzzle.  For example, if  I smell something on one side of the fence but I can’t find it, I know it means I need to go to the other side to find it.  Last night the hides were high (above my head), low (on the ground), and in the middle (below my nose, but not on the ground).

I had 17 different hides to find last night.  I found all of them, of course.  Toward the end of the evening, there was a hide near a tree in a divider near the loading dock.  When I got up there, I thought I might need to do some extra sniffing for fun before I got back to looking for the odor.  Luckily, Mom knows me REALLY well because I faked out everyone else.  I was sniffing a tree as a short break, and Barb was thinking I was going to send pee-mail, but Mom told her, nope, that I was on a short break and would get back to work.  I figured I probably should, so then I went straight to the odor.  Barb was surprised, but she shouldn’t have been.  Mom and I can practically read each other’s minds.

I know Mom knew I was having a great time, so she made arrangements with Barb so that I don’t have to miss class when I am super busy with agility in March and April.  It’s good that Mom is looking out for me.  I don’t want to miss the chance to use my super sniffer just because I’m busy defeating the teeter.


Sniffing Upgraded


I’ve been so busy with agility, hiking, vacation, grooming, sleeping, and being Mom’s favorite that I haven’t even had time to write about my adventures, so I figured I start with my nosework update.

Earlier this year, I started learning how to do nosework.  I know what you are thinking, ‘he doesn’t need to learn that; he’s an expert,’ and you are kind of right; however, I did have to learn how to find a*specific* scent in strange places (like boxes, cars, window sills).  I got really good at this really fast because it involved CHEESE.  Yum!

After becoming good at finding cheese everywhere, Barb, my instructor, mixed it up last week.  She added “odor” to my work.  It’s actually some sweet birch essential oil that I have to find now.  Luckily, Barb is smart, and she knows I know how to find cheese, so she’s pairing this new odor with my cheese.  So now when I go search, I am sniffing for this stuff that smells a little like a wintergreen lifesaver, and when I find it, there’s cheese there, too, and I get BONUS cheese for keeping my head near the odor.

What’s better than cheese?  MORE cheese.  We’ve started just working on the basics like finding this in boxes, like we did when I first started to sniff just for cheese.  It’s pretty easy.  Mom decided since I had to find the odor now, I should get some time to practice at home, so she brought home a bunch of boxes of different sizes for our sessions.

Last night, she got them out and somehow magically got that odor into a tin so that she could hide it with my cheese for me to find.  At first, this seemed a little strange to be searching boxes at home, so when she said, “Find it!” I just looked at her like she was crazy.  Then I went to the table where the cheese was and looked at her.  Of course I know that is not was she meant because “find it” implies actually having to do at least a little work, so I went over to the boxes and did my quick search.  We did this a few times, and I think Dad was impressed at how quickly I can find the odor, even when it’s inside a box that’s closed or in a box inside another box or inside a box under a different box.  I do have a super sniffer.

It was a fun game, and I’m glad we got to play it at home.  Mom said that tomorrow night, my buddy Seamus and his dad Mike are going to come to class, too!  That will be fun.  I like class, and it’s even more fun with friends.


My First Nosework Class!


Mom has been promising me that I’d be allowed to use my nose a lot more as soon as I finished my CD (Novice Obedience) and RAE (Rally Advanced Excellent) titles.  I did it, so today I got to go to my first Nosework class.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when Mom said I could use my nose for good not evil, but I knew it wouldn’t be boring like obedience.  We went to my gym, and I thought maybe she was just going to let me run agility with sniffing breaks, but she said it was not that, so I hung out in my kennel for a few minutes while Mom went to learn about what I was going to be doing.

The instructor Barb is really nice and told mom to bring soft treats, so she took cheese!  I do love cheese.  When I got out of my kennel, I went into a room where Barb had put a lot of boxes on the floor.  At first, I thought maybe she just didn’t believe in recycling, so I was a little confused.  I went into the room with my leash attached, and I figured I should say hi to all the people there.  I was visiting when I thought I caught the smell of cheese.  Mom let me sniff.  A LOT!  I used my super sniffer, and I found cheese in a box AND I got to eat it!  Now this is my kind of competitive event!

I did this a few times before I had to go to my kennel again.  A few minutes later, Mom came to get me, and we went back to the room.  This time I KNEW what I was going to do!  Mom said I could use my sniffer, so I ran right in there to find my cheese.  I think this is going to be fun!

I am not too sure about the boxes moving around when I stick my head in there to eat my cheese, but it’s worth it if I get to use my sniffer and eat the cheese when I find it.  Mom would never let anything bad happen to me, so I think it even the moving boxes part won’t be bad.

I’m so glad Mom found this class.  I hope we do this one for a long time.  Maybe next week I’ll find hot dogs.  Or salmon.  Or more cheese.

Time to go rest my nose.