Nosework / Scent Work

Saturday, July 30, 2022


In the sport of Nosework (also called Scent Work) dogs enjoy the challenge of locating a scent and communicating with their handler where the scent is located.

Dogs are trained to identify a variety of scents of Anise, Birch, and Clove. The scent is placed on a cotton swab(s) and hidden from the dog and handler. It is up to the dog to find the scent, and handler to communicate to the judge that the source has been found.

I haven’t met a dog that didn’t love nose work, as it turns their favorite activity (sniffing) into a rewarding game! It is also a great sport for newcomers to dog sports, as there are many nosework organizations – so you are likely to find trainers and events/trials near you! There are also a variety of online training courses, if you want to try this sport in the comfort of your home.


Experience Needed for Trials/Events:

Physical requirements of dog:

Physical requirements of human:



  • Great for dogs and handlers of all ages!
  • Great mental exercise for dogs
  • You can practice anywhere that allows dogs (at home, local parks, Home Depot!)
  • Helps build your dog’s confidence
  • Even great for:
    • Reactive or Sensitive Dogs (Some trials suggest your dog wear a red bandana to indicate that your dog needs more space)
    • Dogs with mobility challenges, that might exclude them from other sports (e.g. older dogs, or tripawds)

Example of a Trial Search (NACSW)


  • National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) – United States
  • American Kennel Club (AKC Scent Work) – United States
  • United Kennel Club (UKC Nosework) – United States & Canada
  • Canine Performance Events (CPE Canine Scent Sport) – United States Midwest, Northeast, South Regions
  • United States Canine Scent Sports (USCSS) – United States
  • Canine Work and Games (C-WAGS) – United States & Canada

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