The Art of Scent Detection: Getting Started with Nose Work Training

The Power of Smell

Besides being cute and wet, dogs’ noses are extraordinary. A canine nose possesses over 300 million odorant receptors, which allows them to smell and understand odors much better than humans. In comparison, we have a mere 6 million receptors. This heightened sense of smell is what allows dogs to recognize their owner’s arrival before they walk in the door! Imagine being able to sense a person’s presence before you even see them! With such strong noses, dogs tend to be curious about new and interesting odors. So, when they find a new or unfamiliar scent, you may see their nose hard at work trying to locate and identify the mystery odor. This interest in scents is great for engaging your dog in a fun indoor brain activity: scent detection training

What is Scent Detection Training?

Scent detection, also known as nose work, is a dog training tactic that allows a dog to use its most powerful sense in a way that is fun and further builds a bond with the owner. Originally used for Police K9 training purposes, scent detection is the training a police K9 undergoes in order to identify drugs or explosives. Those concepts used for K9 training are utilized in a nose work training class, too. By allowing your pup to use his powerful nose in a stimulating way, you increase brain activity and keep your dog active in both body and mind!

What Do Scent Detection Training Sessions Look Like?

There are three levels of nose work training sessions at Landheim Training Center. The first level Nose-Work I class teaches one odor, Birch, over the course of 6 weeks. During those sessions, you learn how to train your dog to find the target odor in rows of containers in a timed event.  The dog learns through positive association that the target odor is rewarding. The handler learns to read the dog’s behavior so they can confidently communicate the location of the hidden odor to the instructor.

 The second level Nose-Work II class builds on the first one. We build on the first class by adding a second odor: Anise. Then, we add distractions in the search area like the dog’s reward, food or toy. Finally, in this class we add the element of additional interior locations to your dog’s scent searches.

The third level Nose-Work III class is our final level of scent detection classes. We will add the remaining two odors of Clove and Cypress. We will continue to refine your search and indication outdoors and on vehicles. While adding more vehicles to your search as you and your dog progress.     

Big Smelly Benefits at Landheim K9

First and foremost, scent work is a fun and rewarding activity for your dog. Engaging in scent work increases your dog’s engagement and brain activity, preventing boredom and fostering fun!  After completion of our scent detection classes, you and your pup will have a new brain activity that is perfect for indoors and/or outdoors. 
If you’re interested in reaping the benefits of scent detection training for you and your dog, contact the training professionals at Landheim K9 to learn more and schedule your session.

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