Welcome to the fascinating and exciting world of K9 Nose Work®

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Prerequisites / Disclaimer

K9NW Video Sampler

"K9 Nose Work® is a wonderful way for my dog to excel at something, without worrying about the presence of other dogs while she's working."
— Susan L.

"Because my older dog, Daisy, can no longer participate in sports that require a high amount of physical activity, K9 Nose Work® is a great activity for her."
— Nancy H.

"K9 Nose Work® built up Theo's confidence. He was a very shy and skittish boy, very wary of men and strangers. He is much more confident now. As an added plus, it's fun for both of us."
— Deb S.

"With little time to spend with Tess, I feel that K9 Nose Work® is a way to make our time together really count.  She absolutely LOVES the game, and I love to watch her search and solve problems." 
— Linda W.

husky and boxersLooking for a quick, easy and fun activity to tire your dog out? Does your dog need a job?  Is your dog a "worrier", or does he bark and lunge at other dogs?  Whether mutt or purebred, young or old, active or mellow, fearful or reactive, K9 Nose Work® may just be the solution for you! 


K9 Nose Work® provides mental and physical exercise and builds a dog's confidence and focus.  In return, you will learn more about your dog and admire his superior scenting skills at work.  Enjoy a fun and "no pressure" activity together in a safe and controlled environment and develop an even stronger bond with your dog! Dogs are worked one at a time, and exercises are adapted to each handler/dog team. Our K9 Nose Work® services are provided by Certified Nose Work Instructors (CNWI™).

K9 Nose Work® is a great activity for all dogs and people anytime and anywhere!

K9 Nose Work® Services

  • Private and semi-private sessions
  • Group classes
  • Coaching days
  • Topic-specific seminars/webinars/workshops
  • Video review
  • Run-throughs

For more information and current pricing, please contact Silke at contact@hero-dog.com

Click here for Benefits of K9 Nose Work®

Course Descriptions

Level 2: Intermediate K9 Nose Work®: Exteriors and Vehicles

In this course we will introduce exterior and vehicle searches and further refine the skills of the dog/handler teams by improving on-leash management techniques, establishing dog safety, practicing correct reward delivery and starting pattern searches. We will discuss factors affecting vehicle and exterior searches and continue to build the dog's focus and confidence in different environments with and without boxes present. We will be working outside most of the sessions - please dress accordingly.

NOTE: Prerequisite for this course is successful completion of Level 1.


Level 3: K9 Nose Work® Introduction to Odor: Pairing with Birch

In this course we will introduce the dogs to the essential oil of Birch (Betula lenta) during their searches in all four elements (containers, interiors, exteriors, vehicles). We will pair the Birch aroma with the dog's primary reward (food or toy), in order to create a positive association between the odor and the reward. Essential oils were selected for K9 Nose Work® because a drop on a cotton swab can be much more easily hidden than a food reward or tennis ball. Birch EO is not extremely common, yet quite distinguishable, and is not used in typical aversive training equipment (e. g. citronella) or household products (e. g. lavender). Also, it provides an opportunity for better blind hides, competition sport and learning more advanced detection-inspired techniques. Handlers will receive a small odor kit in the first class.

NOTE: Prerequisite for this course is successful completion of Level 1 and 2. Handler must disclose any allergy or intolerance to birch, wintergreen, aspirin and methyl salicylate.


Level 4: Birch Odor Only and ORT™ Prep

We will gradually begin to transition the dogs from "paired" hides (odor and reward) to "odor only" hides, as well as prepare you for the NACSW™-sanctioned Birch Odor Recognition Test (ORT™).  We will specifically focus on recognizing alert responses, reward skills, stay at source drills as well as leash handling and appropriate body positioning and movement.

NOTE: Prerequisite for this course is successful completion of Level 1 - 3.


Level 5: NW1 and Element Specialty Trial Prep 'n Fun

We will be preparing the teams for NW1 and Element Specialty Trials by creating trial-like searches.  Hide placements and search areas will become more complex, and we will continue to expand on the problem-solving skills of both dog and handler.  For more information about NACSW-sanctioned events, please go to www.nacsw.net.

NOTE: Prerequisite for this course is the successful completion of Level 1 - 4.


Level 6: Intro to Anise and Clove

In this course we will introduce the dogs to the other two essential oils used in K9 Nose Work®: of Anise and Clove.

NOTE: Prerequisite for this course is successful completion of Level 1 - 5.


Level 7: K9NW NW2 and NW3 Prep'n Fun

In this course, we will build the skills needed for NW2 and NW3-style hide placements and searches while continuing to strengthen the foundational training.

NOTE: Prerequisite for this course is successful completion of Level 1 - 6.


Level 8: Beyond NW3 - Elite Prep'n Fun

In this course, we will build on the skills needed to reach the Elite level as well as introduce new problem-solving exercises and scent challenges that you may encounter during Elite searches, while maintaining drive and focus.

NOTE: Prerequisite for this course is successful completion of level 1-7, or admission at instructor's discretion. It is NOT a requirement to be a trial competitor to attend the course.


Level 1: K9 Nose Work® Basics/Introduction to K9 Nose Work®

In this course you and your dog will learn the basic concepts and foundation skills of K9 Nose Work®.  Dogs are being worked one at a time, and exercises are adapted to each handler/dog team. All sessions will be held inside ("interior searches" and "box drills").


Benefits of K9 Nose Work®

ALL breeds and breed mixes

  • Every dog has his/her own hunting and sniffing style, and their sense of smell is by far superior to the human ability to detect odor (approx. 220 million scent receptors vs 5 million in the human nose)
  • All dog sizes and weights from Yorkie to Great Dane, from Pug to Puli Canines love and excel at this activity!

Fearful dogs

  • Triggering stimuli (e. g. new environment, scary objects, strangers, noises) are initially paired with a fun activity and a food or toy reward
  • Safe and controlled environment Exercises customized to your dog
  • Builds confidence as the dog ALWAYS succeeds in this activity
  • No social pressure from other people and dog
  • Sniffing tires the body and calms the mind

golden retriever sniffing vehicleReactive dogs

  • Minimal to no interaction with other people who observe from a distance
  • Only one dog is worked at any one time; no other dogs "in your face"
  • No leash pressure from handler
  • Sniffing/hunting can become more rewarding than reacting to a triggering stimulus
  • Safe and controlled environment
  • Sniffing tires the body and calms the mind

Active dogs

  • Dogs can move freely off-leash in enclosed environments
  • Dogs are encouraged to make their own choices Sniffing is a highly self-rewarding activity
  • Sniffing tires the body and calms the mind

Young dogs

  • Short training sessions ensure focused attention
  • Exploring is a fun as well as physically and mentally tiring activity for puppies and adolescent dogs
  • Builds confidence
  • A great socialization tool

Dogs with physical restrictions and geriatric dogs

  • Maximum mental stimulation with minimal physical movement
  • Deaf dogs and blind dogs only need their sense of smell to be successful
  • Safe and controlled environment
  • Exercises customized to your dog
  • Nose work builds confidence

dog sniffing outside"Lazy" people

  • Enjoy watching your dog just like you watch TV; although you will have to get up and "change channels" from time to time (here: go to your dog and reward at source)

People with physical restrictions

  • Minimal movement needed from handler
  • Other students and instructor can work your dog
  • Dog will be tired physically and mentally at the end of each class

Owners of reactive or fearful dogs

  • Learn to relax in safe and control environment
  • Gain confidence as your dog works successfully through nose work challenges
  • Be in a "support group" with other dog handler
  • Be proud of your dog's achievements in class Learn to apply nose work in other environments

Anytime and Anywhere

  • Work inside in any room or building – from bathroom to barn, from living room to garage
  • Work outside on any surface (e. g. concrete, gravel, grass, sand, dirt)
  • Urban, suburban, rural areas
  • Try your luck at vehicle searches Work in any weather (if so inclined) and any time of day or night Work with no, low, moderate and maximum distractions

Other benefits

  • No to low cost activity; no expensive equipment required
  • Short training sessions that fit in anyone's busy schedule
  • You can use your dog's daily meals as hides
  • Up the ante according to your dog's successes and experience

K9 Nose Work® Dogs enjoying their work


Disclaimer and Prerequisites

K9 Nose Work® is NOT a substitute for behavior modification.  If your dog has exhibited aggressive behaviors towards people or other dogs, please contact our instructors at contact@hero-dog.com to set up a behavior evaluation and consult first, in order to determine whether a K9NW group class may be right for you and your dog.

We reserve the right to decline working with a dog and/or asking a dog to leave the class without refund if we feels/he is inappropriate or dangerous to the instructor or other students, or if the experience is detrimental to the dog's emotional well-being.  Handlers are required to disclose full information as it pertains to any level of aggression.

Dogs must also be able to stay quietly in their cars away from their owners between their runs.

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