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K9 NoseWork

K9 Nose Work:  Inspired by working detection dogs, K9 Nose Work is the fun search and scenting activity for virtually all dogs and people. This easy-to-learn activity/sport builds confidence and focus and provides a safe way to keep dogs fit and healthy through mental and physical exercise.


K9 Nose Work starts with getting your dog excited about using their nose to seek out a favorite toy or treat reward hidden in one of several boxes, expanding the game to entire rooms, exterior areas, and vehicles. As your dog grows more confident with its nose, target odors are introduced, and competition skills are taught.


Bull Terriers & K9 Nose Work:  Bull Terriers do very well at this sport.  There is a saying in K9 Nose Work that the search area is the “no obedience zone” because in this activity the dogs lead and the human follows.  This goes a long way to explain why our Bull Terriers love this game and really excel.  Most Bull Terriers understand the game quickly and go on to be very successful in classes as well as competition.  Classes with a certified instructor are conducted so that the dogs work one at a time and don’t see other dogs searching.  This makes K9 Nose Work a particularly good activity for dogs who are dog-reactive.  Dogs can participate if they are young puppies, seniors, or handicapped.  If you just want to have fun with your dog, you can’t beat this activity for giving them exercise while letting them use their natural creativity and intelligence. Also, the family is rewarded with a tired, happy Bull Terrier!  If you are more competitive, you will be very pleased to learn that our breed can really hold their own all the way to the top levels of competition.


How to get started:  The National Association of Canine Scent Work has a web page with a tab that lets you find a Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI) in your area.  If you have difficulty finding an instructor nearby you can also arrange for an introductory seminar.


National organization:  National Association of Canine Scent Work - competition as well as instructor certification is governed by the NACSW.


Equipment:  Not much!  You don’t need to even have a yard or outdoor area.  This game is easy to play in an apartment, in the city, suburbs or country.  Your first classes will use a few boxes and some high-value treats or a toy.  Once your dog graduates to a target odor you can put a tin in your pocket, grab your leash, and go play with your dogs.  Don't forget the treats and toys!


Time:  You will start having fun right away and after one class will be able to go home and start playing.  Every dog is different, but allow approximately one year from your first class to your first trial.


Bull Terrier activity expert:  Chris Mason, CNWI is available to answer all your questions and to hear about all your successes.


AKC Scentwork

AKC Scentwork:  Very similar to K9 Nose Work.  Introduced in 2017, this sport is easy to play if you have already had a start in K9 Nose Work.  The trials are shorter and a bit easier and the titling requirements are not as demanding as a full Nose Work trial.


Bull Terriers & Scentwork:  See K9 Nose Work - Bull Terriers do very well at these events.  Warning: don’t expect these trials to have as strict a format regarding keeping dogs apart, crating, or dog-to-dog interaction.  These are run more like the other AKC events.  Use your discretion if you have a Bull Terrier who might not like this sort of environment.


How to get started:  The AKC does not certify instructors.  You are on your own to learn or find a class. Most K9 Nose Work instructors can help you or point you to someone who can.  You can also check with your regional AKC dog club to see if they can help you find a class.


National organization:  American Kennel Club


Equipment:  See K9 Nose Work


Time:  See K9 Nose Work.  If you have been doing K9 NoseWork it usually takes less than a month to put your dog on the extra target odor.  You will also have to do a little extra training to do the Handler Discrimination search.

Bull Terrier activity expert:  Chris Mason, CNWI 

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