K9 Nose Work® w/ Susan James




 K9 Nose Work® with Susan James, CNWI,NACSW Trial Judge

and Retired Police K9 Handler and Trainer

Click Here to Visit Susan’s Website




Nose Work Fun With Your Dog 

Taken from the NACSW Website

Noses are to dogs like eyes are to people. Their highly developed sense of smell creates a world of multilayered, richly intense experiences. They detect the path of a scent and follow it through the air or, in the case of specially trained (or bred: think Bloodhound) animals, through amazingly complex environments to its source.

Training dogs to do the life and death kind of work involved in search and rescue, drug or explosives detection or cadaver searching is definitely not for everyone.

But search for a toy, filled with salmon fillets, sausage chunks and tuna treats? Now that’s a different story. It’s still a job, but a fun one for both dog and human partner.

You need a few things to do this:

  • A motivated dog (hunger helps, especially if you will be using food as a reward for the dog locating an item) 
  • Something the dog really, really, really, really likes to reinforce his success

One of the reasons this is so much fun is that dogs always succeed. Some searches are over in a flash as the dog heads straight for the item that’s been hidden. Others take a while, but regardless, the dog always finds the item and gets rewarded. Nothing negative is involved.

Dogs smell scent like we see color. As a dog is born knowing how to use its nose, K9 Nose Work® Classes will not teach the dog “how” to follow scent so much as we will be communicating to the dog on what specific thing we want the dog to focus those superior scenting abilities. To do that, we will tap into your dog’s natural desire to hunt and we will positively reinforce this hunting behavior with a reward system that your particular dog loves, such as a highly valued toy, special food and sincere praise.  K9 Nose Work® Classes are exhilarating for both dog and handler and they can develop confidence in even the most timid dogs. The mental exercise of searching and problem-solving is great for calming down other, more energetic or reactive dogs. Finally, a huge benefit of these classes is the positive working relationship that develops between you and your dog when you both are out “hunting” together as a team. For those handlers that love to compete, this series of K9 Nose work® Classes will prepare you for the competitive Dog Sport that is taking the country by storm. Check out the official “K9 Nose Work®” website to learn more: http://funnosework.com/home.html

Rules and regulations can be found at the National Association of Canine Scent Work at: http://www.nacsw.net


 Intro to K9 Nose Work® is a fun, safe dog sport which creates a deeper bond and mutual enjoyment between you and your K9 companions. Learn the basics of this new immensely popular dog sport. Classes are open to any dog and person of any age or physical ability. This sport provides a fun way to spend quality time with your dog while building confidence for shy and timid dogs. It challenges dogs to use their nose to hunt for the odors we want them to find; in the beginning it is the “primary” odor of food and then later on in subsequent sessions the search transitions to the desired odors – birch, anise, and clove. Handlers learn to observe the dog’s body language to determine where the odor is hidden. In the Intro 6-week session we build the dog’s desire to hunt using fun techniques for dog and handler while building a positive relationship between you and your dog. We train you to read and understand your dog’s unique & subtle behaviors while hunting, problem solving, and communicating when they have located the source of the hunt. The exposure to different things and hunting and problem solving benefit timid and shy dogs by building confidence while also helping to calm the more energetic and reactive dog. Subsequent 6-week sessions progress through different levels where dogs learn to hunt in various interior areas, a wide range of exterior areas, on the outer surfaces of different types of vehicles, and different types of containers; the goal being competition in nose work trials or just having more advanced fun with your dog. Pre-registration is required as class size is limited to allow each student multiple searches. Classes will have lecture and practical components.

What To Bring to the First Class:

  • A Crate – for dogs to rest between work with a sheet or cover
  • A Hungry Dog – Dogs hunt better when they are hungry for the hunted item
  • Very High Value Smelly Treats – A good quantity of aromatic treats such as hot dogs, smelly cheese, sardines, or other meat, which will stimulate your dog’s hunt drive. A soft treat, one that is worth hunting for and is very special to your dog, is needed.   
  • Thin Leash – at least 6 feet long. Eventually you will need one around 10 feet.
  • Notebook – for any notes you would like to take.
  • Video Device – to video your searches if you would like to record your dog’s progress and your own.

More items may be needed at future sessions, such as a special harness or collar only used  for nose work.This will be discussed at the first session, so please wait to order until the first class.

Students of Susan’s will need to complete and submit the Pre-Class Questionnaire prior to the first class. Click the link below, answer the questions, save to your computer and attach in an email to: josephsdogtraining@yahoo.com

Pre-Class Questionnaire K9 Nose Work®


Intro to K9 Nose Work® Schedule

Starting Date








Susan James

10/6/2022 Thursday 10:30-11:30am Susan James