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Redemption Through Nose Work

Reno, St.Paddy’s AND a Nose Work Trial and Training Weekend…Whoo Hoo! A little over 3 years ago we were in the middle of pandemic, we were in lock-down, and missing our 2 dogs that had just passed. Then there was Scout, a little red dog that came into our life through Dogwood Animal Rescue. She was shy, insecure, a little fearful of people pup, who needed to find her mojo. She did that through Nose Work. This weekend she earned her Elite Champion Title (for those who don’t know, that’s a good thing). She also came in 3rd place overall, and placed 2nd in two of the search areas (also a good thing). This all means now, the tenacious terrier and I we get to play in the big dog arena at Summit Trials. I’m sure there will be bigger and badder challenges for us, but also a lot more fun, a lot more lessons.


This journey really started with Riley, who was a bouncy, goofy and lovable guy, but he was also fearful and dog reactive. When I was at a loss for what to do with him, an extraordinary canine behavior specialist  Trish King, suggested that we try Nose Work, and the rest as they say, is history. Not only did it work for Riley, it brought us into a wonderful world of dogs, a community of fun people and a great new sport.


Earning titles and ribbons has been fantastic, but my trial highlights really have been watching Scout do one of things she does best. She finds little tiiiiiiiny drops of odors in GIANT rooms, or air fields with jeeps, helicopters and planes, she find elevated hides on fans or in ceiling tiles, she zero’s in hides in 8 ft stacks of wood pallets, she tells me where things are in auditorium where sheep have been mingling together the night before a trial, and then, she can find a hide in a box containing that odor, when there are 50 other boxes, suitcases, and toolboxes without that odor.  It’s magical, and reminds us that dogs indeed have super-powers. We can do our best to try and fool them, but dogs rule!


Another major highlight is the fun, festive and fabulous dog folks who make up the K9 Nose Work community.  This weekend a special shout out goes to the amazing team that made this trial happen. The trial hosts from Dogs Have Amazing Noses including Megan Hundley, Kris Franklin and Rob who did the heavy lifting to make the trial happen before, during and after the trial. Scott Blom and Richard Hill who judged the trial (K9 cops are great) along with Silke Wittig, the person who set challenging and creative hides. Finally, the volunteer team that worked like a well-oiled machine. Everyone, down to every last person, was extraordinary. 


I would not have earned this title without the help, instruction, insights and guidance from multiple trainers, but in particular, my own CNWI in-house coach, cheerleader and best bestie Laura Camodeca at Seaside Sniffers. Love you tons and thanks for helping us get here…and so much more!


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