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About K9 Nose Work®

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K9 Nose Work® provides companion dogs a joyful outlet for their natural hunting and scenting abilities - which are absolutely crazy BTW. Your dog is a magnificent scenting machine!!

This activity is inspired by working detection dogs and even uses some of the same foundational training techniques. 

One of the things to love about this activity is that it can be done nearly anywhere by nearly ANY dog!

Learning how our dogs communicate with us is critical to success in this sport - to begin, they are the teachers. We observe them while they hunt, to understand what our dogs are telling us and how they are working these odour puzzles. We enable them to independently search and allow them freedom to make choices. We don't instruct them to do anything! That is why no formal dog training or sports knowledge is required to commence your journey.  

Other benefits of K9 Nose Work® include building confidence + independence in your dog but it may also help alleviate +/or manage environmental sensitivities, stress and anxiety.

Initially with training, we start searching for a primary reward (food or toy) to build hunting + problem solving skills. Once dogs have demonstrated their understanding of this task, they can progress onto working with odour, at which point we pair the odour with their primary reward. The reward becomes an instant reinforcer for the work they have just completed.

K9 Nose Work® offers searching over 4 search 'elements' - Interior, Exterior, Vehicle + Container. Your dog will build skills over these 4 elements, which is what the sport offers at trial, if you decide to trial.
How far you take your sniffing journey is up to you. You might want to just practice on your own/with friends, you might continue to attend classes and build further on the foundation skills your dog has developed, and/or you might wish to trial in either ACSW or ANKC events, if your dog is comfortable in trial environments.
It is important to remember that training is for growing, learning + fun. Trials are where you can test how far you have come with your training. All teams are welcome at our classes, regardless of desire to attend trials.

For more information about K9 Nose Work®, please visit: | |

What to expect when you attend
Scent School with The Sniffing Zone

Our classes are taught in a safe + relaxed setting, helping dogs focus on exploring their true potential.

Each dog has their 'hunt' in a one-on-one setting. We encourage participants to watch all teams work to optimise their learning takeaways!

Each dog learns at a different pace - while training in our workshops covers key elements, it might not be at the same speed for all dogs. We tailor our classes for the specific needs + pace of your dog.

As we mentioned above, your sniffing journey is up to you. Our classes are open to all, regardless of where your journey takes you. Our focus remains on providing a fun, positive + supportive environment where teams can flourish, at all experience levels.

We have established Class Structure + Rules which all participants are to follow, to ensure a stress free + successful experience for all participants.

About K9 Nose Work: About

My dog is uncomfortable in new/unfamiliar spaces +/or around other dogs  - can we still attend classes?

There are dogs who are more environmentally or dog aware/sensitive than others. These dogs are welcome to attend any of our classes - we simply adapt our teaching to a pace, in a manner, that is comfortable and positive, for them. Further, only one dog runs [has a turn] at a time, with no other dogs present in the same space. Each dog is given time and space to feel comfortable and settle into class.

Owners may find that even after attending the Introduction to K9 Nose Work® course, their dog is more comfortable and relaxed when presented with new environments. This is one of the amazing benefits of this game. Furthermore, by taking this game to new places + spaces with your dog, you may find it is an effective tool to alleviate their usual levels of stress or anxiety when they find themselves in new environments.

We do also offer 1-on-1 classes for doggos that find group classes too overwhelming.

We are happy to discuss this with you if you have questions or concerns about your dog + their needs.

About K9 Nose Work: About

What is the K9 Nosework® methodology and how does it differ from other scent detection training methods?

K9 Nose Work® is just one method of scent detection. There are however, other training methods out there.

"What most of these [other] methods require to produce results are perfectly bred working dogs and expert trainers; and even then, the results aren't always what you'd expect. Some of these methods teach a target odor to the dog immediately, some methods use clickers - both these things put the average pet dog and his handler on a training path that's harder to walk than a tight rope across Niagara Falls on a windy day. With K9 Nose Work, dogs build their hunt drive and learn the foundational skills of scent detection searching for their primary reward."

At The Sniffing Zone, we use the K9 Nose Work® method because we know that most teams will start classes either out of curiosity, being referred by a friend or to do something fun + new with their dog. Not every team wants to learn how to search for odour - some teams, just want to build enough skills to create fun and rewarding sniffing puzzles to play at home. Not all teams will want to trial - some are happy attending classes and enjoying the community that classes build. But other teams will want to travel as far as the path will take them, and this method is also perfect - it was created for companion dogs [pets!] as opposed to methods that target specifically bred, scent working dogs.

Whichever method you select, you can still build a highly skilled scent seeking team!

About K9 Nose Work: About

Is my pet too old to learn K9 Nosework® ?

Generally, age is no barrier! As long as your dog can safely navigate the facilities we train in, you are welcome to attend our classes. In fact, K9 Nose Work® is great for older dogs who are still mobile. We also adapt our training to your dog's ability + requirements. The scense of smell is the first sense a dog has, and generally the last sense to go!


If you have particular questions, please email us to discuss.

About K9 Nose Work: About

How are your classes structured?




After you have Graduated Intro to K9NW, if you wish to continue sniffing, you are welcome to attend 'Scent School: Primary Classes' [if running] OR you may simply want to work on your sniffing independently OR you might even want to take the Intro to K9NW course again if you want a refresher! Any of these options are a great choice!

For teams that then want to introduce their dog to the concept of seeking odour, we offer:


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We may offer the following, ongoing classes for teams working at various levels [subject to student numbers]:

Scent School: Secondary Education

Scent School: Senior Education

Scent School: Higher Education

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We may occasionally will offer Modules which run over a series of weeks, working a specific theme for consecutive sessions. Each session builds on the previous weeks' learning.


Similarly, if you have a group of friends wanting to commence K9 Nose Work® as a group OR, for experienced teams, wanting to work on a paricular skill or problem, feel free to request a private group session.

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For those that can't make it to our Scent School classes, and those that want / need / prefer to have one-on-one tutoring. We offer Private Tutoring for either general skill development or particular skills, as you desire.

About K9 Nose Work: About


What Are Some Of These Words You Have Used?


We use a Primary Reward [food or toy] in Intro to K9 Nose Work®. We use Primary Rewards to introduce new concepts to the dog while keeping play fun and building motivation for the game.


When you move onto searching for odour, we pair the odour/hide with the Primary Reward [food or toy] so the search becomes self rewarding when odour is found.


The target odours we use are Birch, Clove, Anise + Cypress.

The odour is infused onto a cotton tip.


The hide can be either the primary reward [food or toy], a paired, or unpaired, odour infused cotton tip, hidden in a vessel.

This/These are what you + your dog need to find.


This activity is taught over 4 elements: Interior - Exterior - Vehicle + Container.

ACSW + ANKC Trials also both use these same search elements in competition.

COB - Change of Behaviour:

Change of Behaviour is the signs your dog exhibits when it is nearing the hide and is transitioning between hunting mode to pin-pointing the hide.


The word you use in trial to indicate to the judge that you believe that your dog has sourced the hide. An important word.


Odour Recognition Test. A test conducted in the ACSW competition. You must obtain a pass for each of the three odours in a container search, to be eligible to compete in a Nose Work Trial [NW1, NW2 + NW3 etc].

About K9 Nose Work: About

What is a 'High Value Treat' ?

Head to this PAGE for a little more info on this!

Basically, a food reward that your dog thinks is the shiz!!! They want it and they want it now. They will push you over and chew through your pockets to get some - or close enough to it.

What do I need to do or have, before attending class?

Absolutely nothing*!

*Well that isn't technically correct - a dog + high value treats are the only pre-requisites!

We then only ask that you ensure your dog is comfortable and safe while not working.


You will find that dog's who have had absolutely zero formal "sports" training, including obedience, tend to work more independently in class, initially. So do not stress if you haven't attended any formal training - it's often a benefit to not come into class with any expectations of performance.



We have a whole PAGE detailing what these are.



The list below is intended as a guide. Please do not go on a spending spree - what you already have if fine.

Lastly, we just ask that attendees are mindful of their dog and the conditions - which will mostly, not be an issue [plus we have a heat policy where class will be delayed or postphoned]. The safest place for your dogs to remain, between their turns, is in your car [essentially a crate!].


Supercheap Auto have a GREAT treat pouch, if you don't already have one. It has the essential pockets for key / poop bags / treats. Plus, a cross-body strap AND a hip-strap. Both are very generous in sizing. And all for only $18.99. For those starting out, I'd suggest this one. I personally have one that I carry as a back-up and use on daily walks. Check it out HERE. It is a great place to start if you want something that is 100% practical at a great price.


Just bring the longest leash you have. If you only have a standard leash [1-1.2m], that is absolutely perfect.

Please do not bring recractable or chain leads.


Bring a collar / harness that your dog is comfortable in.

Please DO NOT bring gear they have not worn before. They are fine working in the gear they already wear.


Correction equimpment is NOT allowed to be worn in class. This includes:


Slip Leads / Harness / Collars + Martingales

Choke/Check Chains

Prong Collars

Any type of e-Collar


  • Window Vents - allow a breeze through your car and keep your pooch secure while your dog gets some downtime.

  • Portable Fan.

  • Cooling Mat - there are loads of buying options here. Alternatives may include a damp, wool blanket / frozen, hot-water bottles.

  • Shade Mesh - from basic reflective [even an old sheet] to premium aluminet mesh. They also block the view and help your dog to rest + absorb their learnings, instead of letting them stare out the window, waiting for their next turn!

  • Cooling Vests.

  • Hydration.

  • Jumpers / Jackets - dog's can work in items of clothing, if they are comfortable doing so, including cooling jackets/vests.

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