Scent Work

Scent Work (also known as Nose Work) is a new dog sport in Australia and the newest sport supported by the Club. It draws on the same skills used by customs, quarantine and military detection dogs to locate an odour and communicate to the handler that the odour has been found.


What is Scent Work?

At its simplest, Scent Work can be as ‘easy’ as teaching a dog to seek out yummy food hidden in cardboard boxes around your home or garden. This is a great sensory enrichment activity for dogs young and old.

In the sport of Scent Work, the dog’s scenting skills are honed to recognise specific essential oils or ‘odours’ (such as Birch, Anise, Clove and Cypress) and to detect them in a variety of settings (including indoors, outdoors and on vehicles) in changing environmental conditions. It is a positive and mentally challenging activity that allows dogs to use their strongest natural sense in a way that is fun and engaging and that helps build and strengthen trust between the handler and dog.

Am I eligible to participate?

There is no requirement to participate in the Club’s Behaviour Training program before starting Scent Work training (see ‘When are classes held’). Scent Work is generally suitable for dogs of all types and ages including dogs who may struggle with their dog-dog social skills as dogs train and compete on their own (although other dogs will be restrained or confined in cars or crates in proximity to the group training or trialling area). Most searches are conducted on lead, but handlers may occasionally work their dog off-lead if the search area is safe and completely enclosed.

When are classes held?

The Club does not offer introductory Scent Work classes. However, it does recommend beginner classes offered by other businesses and organisations (see ‘How do I enrol’ below). The Club offers advanced short courses for existing Club members whose dogs have mastered the four competition odours (Birch, Anise, Clove, Cypress). Access to these members-only classes is by application (see ‘How do I enrol’). Classes are held on Wednesday evenings in the clubhouse and immediate surrounds.

What is involved in competing?

Scent Work is a Dogs Australia sanctioned sport and you and your dog must be registered with the relevant state body (eg Dogs ACT or Dogs NSW depending on your place of residence) in order to enter a Scent Work trial. Visit the Dogs Australia website for the rules for competing in Scent Work trials.

The Club and other local training clubs host Scent Work Trials several times a year. See our calendar for dates.

The Australian Canine Scent Work (ACSW) organisation also provides trialling opportunities for its members. Visit its website for the rules for competing in its K9 Nose Work® trials.

Dogs ACTDogs NSWRules for Scent WorkBecome a member of ACSWRules for K9 Nose WorkView Calendar

 How do I enrol in classes?

If you are interested in learning more about Scent Work and/or participating in training classes, contact local and regional Australian instructors certified by the National Association of Canine Scent Work.

Canberra Nosework Training occasionally runs private classes at the Club. Please contact this business directly for further information. Non-members participating in these classes may not access the Club grounds or premises at other times.

Send an email to the Club Office to be put in touch with the Scent Work Convenor if you are an existing Club member and wish to apply for the Club’s advanced Scent Work classes. Your dog must be competent on the four competition odours (Birch, Anise, Clove and Cypress) prior to applying.

Contact National Association of Canine Scent WorkCanberra Nosework TrainingEmail us