The Doberman - Versatility - Nosework

Wittrock's Jozzzzzelle, BN, CA, CGC, NW1, NW2, NW3, TDI owned by Elizabeth Manning

All dogs have an amazing sense of smell; their olfactory process is a thousand times more sensitive than that of their handlers. In fact, a dog’s nose has more than 220 million smell receptors in comparison to humans who have only 5 million. Many of our Dobermans love to hunt, be it for a morsel of food or a favorite toy. Because of their keen sense of smell, dogs are able to locate many different things in their environment much faster than we can. This olfactory effect helps increase their natural hunting desire and drive. This desire to work, drive and love for a challenge is why Dobermans can excel in the sport of K9 Nose Work®

K9 Nose Work® is designed to develop a dog’s natural scenting ability and desire to hunt by using their love of toys, and/or food. This sport, created and sanctioned by the National Association of Canine Scent Work, LLC® (NACSW TM) , was built around the training methods of canine detection work for the purpose of fun and for competition. It is all about the dog locating an odor and the dog telling the handler that he has found “it”. The “it” or odor in this case would be birch, anise and/or clove oil.

Wittrock's Jozzzzzelle, BN, CA, CGC, NW1, NW2, NW3, TDI owned by Elizabeth Manning

The great thing about K9 Nose Work® is that it is dog driven and fun for the dog. The dog is independent of the handler; he focuses on what his nose is telling him. In fact, the less the handler is involved, the better for the dog. This sport challenges the dog’s senses and his mind. One thing often said about Dobermans is that” they need a job to do”; this is one reason why this sport is so right for our breed. The dog uses his brain independent of the handler to search out the scent and find it on his own and tells the handler that he has located the odor to obtain a reward. The sport is also low impact, which makes it right for dogs of all ages. The dog walks to find the source and uses the air to target the highest intensity of the scent and pinpoint the source’s location.

Dark Cloud's Blithe Spirit, WAE OA AXJ, owned by Christy Waehner

In K9 Nose Work®, there are four elements to each level of competition and there are three levels of competition. Before competing in a Trial, dogs must pass an Odor Recognition Test (ORT). An ORT verifies that the dog knows their competition target odor. The competition elements include: a container search, an interior/room search, an exterior/outdoor search and vehicle/car search. The level of complexity of the element searches increase based on the competition level. This may include the addition of different odors or odor combinations, the containers may include luggage and not just boxes or there are more boxes in complex layouts, rooms may not include odor at all (blank room), cars searches may include more in number or larger vehicles like trucks, odors are hid in higher locations, and distractions like food and toys are added into the search areas. Titles that are awarded are Nosework I (NW1), Nosework II (NW2), Nosework III (NW3), NW3 Container Search Title (NW3-C), NW3 Vehicle Search Title (NW3-V), NW3 Interior Search Title (NW3-I), NW3 Exterior Search Title (NW3-E), and NW3 Elite.

Dare's Going For Broke RE CD NW1 TDIA owned by Donald Grskovich

K9 Nose Work® is a great sport for Dobermans in that it challenges them to think, allows independence of thought and is FUN! And as we know in our breed, if you are not challenging them and they are not having fun, well, they will make up their own games and sometimes that is not a good thing. LOL.


Content and photos by Linda K Grskovich CNWITM
Photo and video contributions by Christy Waehner