Nosework: Passed the Anise Odor Recognition Test!




Nosework practice kits…yes, those are pizza boxes.

About five years ago, I discovered Nosework. I finally found an activity my reactive dog, Shermie, could participate in without the stress of being in a class with other dogs. I was hooked immediately. My old dog Bruiser and Shermie went every Friday night for about six weeks and they loved it. Now my youngest dog, Walter, is also playing in this sport each week so it’s a family affair.

This past weekend, Walter, passed his Odor Recognition Test. He already passed his Birch test and now he’s ready to search for Anise at Nosework trials. Without getting into all the trial rules of engagement and what’s available in different cities, I’m going to back up a little. This past week we practiced outside of class and I created my own “class” environment at home which I wanted to share as this is fantastic enrichment for anyone interested in the sport.

Odor Kit: When you start a Nosework class, your trainer will talk about odor kits. These consist of the essential odors and cotton swabs. Your trainer will walk you through the proper ways to keep your odor fresh between practice sessions. The picture above shows you the jars I prepared with Anise, one of the three odors the dogs are tested on: Clove and Birch are the others.

Basic Class: In the first class session, we set up the association between food and the first target scent. As training progresses, searches get more difficult and the reward is given after the scent is found. The basic classes involve low tech containers like the pizza boxes I used to practice with Walter this week. So even though Walter has years under his belt we went back to basics to get ready for the second Odor Recognition Test or ORT as it’s called among other Nosework trainers and participants. I included a link to my trainer’s Website below: Joyce’s Dogs.






There are 8 Comments

  1. Emma says:

    Have you guys gotten your NW1 title yet? We just love NW and Bailie hopes to get a spot this year to get her NW1. It is so hard to get into trials these days. I’m going for my NW3. We are addicted to the sport. So much fun! Congrats on passing your ORT. We did all three right away, so we wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore.

    • Oh I’m so with you! We have not – we are working towards our NW1 and I feel like I’m part of the 75% club, we typically miss exteriors. Walter is getting ready for his L1C in March which is exciting as he has one leg already. So few NW1 trials are taking place here in the PNW so we’re waiting! CONGRATS – oh your NW3. That’s amazing!!

  2. Nichole says:

    Penny’s Obedience trainer kept saying she would be amazing at nosework, and we’re waiting for her to start up a class. I’m completely new to it and would love to learn more about what you guys have been doing!

    • yes! You must sign up — you’ll love it! It’s easy to get through the first class session as box work is so fun and you see your dog transform immediately. I’ll be doing more posts for sure!

  3. […] This is a Blog Hop! Read more about other Nosework adventures! […]

  4. Kelley says:

    We’re having fun with nose work as well. The biggest problem we have here is finding places to trial. Even when there is something within a hundred mile radius, all spots are picked by lottery. We bombed the ort and January, and can’t find another ort in Florida or Georgia between now and the end of the year. So for now we’re in a holding pattern.

    We started with a class using the NACSW rules, but after a few months we had to drop the class and now can’t get back in. The waiting list is long! I found another trainer who is holding classes under UKC rules. UKC trials are about are just as scarce.

    Best of luck to you and your dogs! Please keep sharing, especially if you have any interesting tips. we’re just going to have to trial vicariously through you for now.

    • Our spots are also picked by lottery – I’ve been wait listed at #55 before! The ORTs are HARD! My dog, Shermie, not pictured also did not pass the frst time and we went for a second try. We are fortunate here in the Northwest as there are tons of instructors so finding a class is easy but getting into trials is not. We don’t have any UKC trials here yet… best of luck to you!! I know an ORT will pop up soon – It’s so nice to meet you. So are you in Florida?

  5. […] controlled walks (and sometimes we don’t get in a lot of sniffing in) we also participate in Nosework as  it’s a sport reactive dogs can take part […]