Hi, my name is Emma and I’m addicted to nose work. I’m not alone, my mom, and my sister Bailie are also addicted to nose work, as well as many of our human and canine friends. We have our friend Jodi at Heart Like a Dog to thank for our addiction as it was on her blog we first heard about the sport of nose work. This week marks two years since we started taking nose work classes. The photo above was taken in our class area the very first night of class. Since that night, we have taken classes from several instructors at several different schools, and so many locations, we could never count them all. We have come a long way in the sport, and still have a long way to go, but what makes nose work so addictive?
10 Reasons We’re Addicted To Nose Work
1. Natural Fun
Nose work is a sport that comes naturally to all dogs! Dogs in the wild sniff out their food, which is the basis for nose work searches. We started by learning to search for treats, and move on to searching for specific odor. Searching is never ending fun for dogs! The photo above is from one of my very first searches looking for treats in boxes.
2. No Need For A Lot Of Equipment
Some sports require a lot of equipment, but not nose work. All you really need are treats, but since we want to compete, we invested some money in our harnesses, and then the Palomine lines to match. As we moved on to odor, we invested in an odor kit, but that is about all we need.
3. Nose Work Can Be Done Almost Anywhere
Nose work is a sport we can practice in a place as small as a bathroom, or as large as a warehouse. It can be indoors, or outdoors, we can search vehicles, or containers. When traveling, we search in our hotel room. Searches can also be done in any weather, and in daylight or darkness if necessary. There really are no good excuses not to work on nose work homework!
4. There Are No Age Limits In Nose Work
Dogs over six months old can start doing nose work, and dogs that are seniors can do it as well. As long as a dog can walk and smell, nose work works! Human participation is also ageless. If you are under eighteen, you need an adult with you, and adult aged person can do nose work with their dog, and if you are a senior, it is a great sport for you and your dog to work on!
5. Nose Work Builds Confidence
Your dog’s confidence will grow as you continue working on nose work. Part of the sport is for dogs to learn to search in any environment. This means, dogs need to learn to work and not worry about things that may have previously frightened them such as cars, dogs barking, small spaces, and other obstacles. This is one reason, it is important to practice nose work in as many different places as you can. Mom and I started building our team confidence when I passed my first Odor Recognition Test four months after starting nose work. I learned how happy my “finds” make my mom and want to do it even more.
6. Great Mental Workout
Nose work is a perfect mental workout. We always fall asleep in the car on the way home from class or searches. We really put a lot of mental energy into searching. Good canine health is more than just physical exercise, it is mental as well. This sport is easy on the body for dogs and humans, but what it lacks there, it makes up for in our brains!
7. Humans Are Challenged
My mom loves challenges…one reason all us dogs are independent thinking breeds. Nose work really challenges the human because it is a complete team sport. It is you and your dog. The human team member cannot find odor on their own, which means relying 100% on the dog. Learning to trust your dog is huge, and the biggest challenge. We know how to find odor, but humans need to learn to work with us and to understand us if you ever want to be successful as a team. Since the GBGV is a rare breed, Mom has challenged herself to see to it that I get the first breed titles in this sport. We were both so proud when I got the first GBGV NW1 title!
8. The Human Canine Bond
Any type of sport you do with your dog creates a great opportunity to bond with your dog. Nose work is no exception. Mom says she is addicted to nose work in large part because she and I have developed such a deep bond through the sport. She has to rely on me and my nose, but I have to rely on her to understand what my signals are telling her. We both could search together forever! We also enjoy the time spent together at trials just hanging out all day and working together.
9. Learning To Understand Your Dog
Many dog behaviors are similar, but every dog is unique in many ways. Nose work forces humans to really focus on their dog and the dog’s body language. The human also has to focus on their own body language as we dogs read humans much more than you think! When you stop during a search, we notice and it means something to us although it may mean nothing to you. By reading our body language and watching your own, you start to function as a well oiled machine. Mom has more trouble reading Bailie as she is much more subtle, but it is coming together. We were all real proud when we passed the last of our Odor Recognition Tests last April. It proves that we are starting to work as a team with Mom, each of us in our own way.
10. Friendships Made
Last but definitely not least, all the friends we have made in such a short time. The nose work community is full of such fun and wonderful people. It is a sport where everyone supports each other because we are only competing against ourselves for a pass or fail. We enjoy searching with friends during class, or just for fun and practice. It’s always fun catching up with people at trials where we spend the day together.
We are addicted to nose work and are proud of it! I’m also thrilled to be the first GBGV to have an NW2 Title which I accomplished in less than two years of being in the sport. We are really hoping Bailie can be the second GBGV to get titles this year. It is a rare opportunity for us to get our breed on the board and something we can always claim as an accomplishment. Have you tried nose work? It is one of the fastest growing dog sports in the US! You really should give it a try!
I’m co hosting the FitDog Friday Blog Hop with SlimDoggy, and To Dog With Love! Please join us on Fridays to share your fitness stories with others, find new ways to have fun, and new fitness ideas too! Tell your friends to stop by as well – fit dogs are healthier, happier dogs!