LADOC Offers Scent Games Classes For Dogs

Banksy, an Australian Shepherd, uses his nose to find the correct box at the new LASOC Scent Games class. Photo by Leslie Sherman
Los Alamos Dog Obedience Club instructor Melissa Bartlett is offering two classes in the fast growing sport of canine scent work.  
These classes are being offered early in the season so that class members can learn about this new form of dog training before the Oct. 12 Nosework Odor Recognition Test, which the club is hosting. 
Nosework is quickly becoming the next big dog sport. Based on the principles of canine drug detection work, it involves training dogs to use their natural scenting ability to find a cotton swab dipped in an oil such as birch, clove or anise. The swab can be hidden in containers, an interior  room, an exterior of a building or on a vehicle and the dog searches for the hidden swab in much the same way a drug detection dog searches for contraband.  
This sport engages the dog’s instincts for using his nose and hunting. It is taught in a completely positive way and develops confidence, focus and teamwork between dog and handler.  

Originally developed for shelter dogs to give them mental stimulation, nosework trials are very appropriate for all dogs, even those who are reactive to other dogs and/or people. It lets the first time owner or the owner of a ‘difficult’ dog have a chance to bond with their dogs in a cooperative sport. It is not particularly expensive and can be practiced almost anywhere. In addition, it tends to have a calming effect on many dogs.

The classes will start Wednesday Sept. 3.
Intro To Scent Games is 7:15-8:15 p.m., Wednesday nights for five weeks and is the class for dogs that have never taken scent work where dogs and handlers will learn the basics of teaching the dog to use his nose to find desirable hidden objects like treats.
Scent Games 2 – Intro to Odor is 6-7 p.m., Wednesday nights. This is the more advanced class for dogs that have taken previous scent work classes. These dogs will learn to associate the odor of birch with food and praise and seek it out on command.
Both classes are limited to six dogs and dogs are run individually so they need to be able to wait in the car. It’s a fun class, which promotes teamwork and mental simulation for the dogs. Visit the LADOC website to register or contact Jacinta Lestone at
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