Scenting Performance Sports

Dogs have a sense of smell between 10,000 and 100,000 times greater than humans. When we smell stew cooking, dogs smell each of the ingredients within that stew.

Scenting sports allow the dogs to exercise and celebrate that sense. Not surprisingly, in these sports the dog is the team leader. The handler learns to watch, read, and understand what the dog is “seeing” in the presence of whichever odor he is searching.

Scent work (also referred to as "Nose Work") was created based on the work that professional detection dogs perform. Rather than searching for illegal or dangerous substances, specific essential oils are placed on cotton swabs then hidden from both the handler and dog. Searches may be in different types of containers, interior spaces, exterior spaces, vehicles, or buried in sand and/or water. The dog must find the odor(s), indicate that location to the handler who then must call out the "find" to the judge.

Dogs of many breeds (including PWDs) are capable of performing the tasks to search for rats; don't let terriers take all the glory for hunting vermin!

Dogs and their handlers work as a team to locate and mark rats (which are always safely held in aerated tubes) hidden in a maze of straw or hay bales. Can your dog do Barn Hunt? As long as your dog can fit through an 18″ wide bale-height tall tunnel, he’s eligible! Barn Hunt is designed to test the nose, speed, agility, and surefootedness of the competitors.

Barn Hunt events include a pass/fail instinct class for owners who want to familiarize their dog with the test. Advanced courses are made increasingly difficult by adding more obstacles, additional diversions, and more rats to find.