Sniffing Out of Stress

Nelson is tolerating crate rest very well, and hasn’t had any complications from heartworm treatment. Since he isn’t super into food or chewing, and therefore hasn’t touched a stuffed kong or any type of chew, I’ve had to find an alternative way to get him some mental exercise that keeps his heart rate nice and relaxed. Enter K9 Nose Work.
I started doing nose work with our family’s miniature schnauzers when I was home from college for the summer. I took a class with Addison (who is ridiculous at everything we’ve done with her and always top of the class), and fell in love with the sport. I love that any dog can do it, and that the job of the handler is to stay of the way and read the dog. It has a benefit for every type of dog: it’s great for nervous dogs to get back to smelling the world before they look at how scary it is, it gives active high-drive dogs an appropriate outlet for their desire to hunt, and for dogs on crate rest it doesn’t have to be physically strenuous.

Addison (right) and her protege Emmy

Addison (right) and her protege Emmy

At the beginning, a q-tip (or three) is soaked with scent and placed in a tin with some holes in it. Then the tin is placed in a box (it helps to always use the some box for scent to avoid contamination) with a bait bag containing really stinky treats (a lot of people use salmon or tuna fudge, but I opt for hot dog) and a few treats out of the bag. I am lazy and just put some treats on the tin. Eventually, the scent is separated from the food and is hidden in locations other than boxes (namely inside a building, outside a building, and on a vehicle). Nelson caught on to the game very quickly and is ready to move out of boxes (called a container search) and onto the living room (interior search). Check out the National Association of Canine Scent Work website for more info on nose work (scents used, competition, etc.).


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