The nose knows!

On Queen's Birthday weekend Rebekah, Kayla and Sandy attended the Association of Pet Dog Trainers NZ annual conference in Wellington, on the fascinating topic of K9 Nosework®.

It was presented by Jill Marie O'Brien, the co-founder of the American National Association of Canine Scent Work LLC® (NASCWTM), and was an amazing opportunity to learn about the possible applications and uses for nosework within the veterinary and dog training worlds.


Did you know?  A human has approximately 5 million olfactory receptors and a dog has upwards of 220 million, and about 30% of the dog's brain comprises of the olfactory lobe (the part of the brain involved in interpreting odours).


Nosework is the term used to describe the canine scent detection activity which has been developed to give dogs and their owners a fun, easy, enriching way to learn and apply scent detection skills.


ANY dog! While some breeds of dog (eg bloodhounds) may have an especially heightened sense of smell, every single dog has an amazing nose and they can all "sniff"!


  • Dogs engage and tap into a naturally occurring behaviour.
  • No prior training is needed and no obedience is needed.
  • Shy or fearful dogs build confidence.
  • Elderly or physically compromised dogs can still be mentally fulfilled.
  • Reactive or boisterous dogs have an outlet for their mental and physical energy.
  • The dog and handler bond is strengthened. Owners learn how to observe and understand their dog's behaviour and body language.
  • The whole world is a search environment so searches can be performed anywhere!
  • Dogs who are recovering from surgery or who have exercise restrictions in place are given ample amounts of mental exercise instead.

In the companion dog world, K9 Nosework® is primarily a fun activity and in the working dog world it can be used to help train drug detection dogs, search and rescue dogs, and more!

The emphasis of K9 Nosework® is on creating learning experiences for the dog while supporting its independent problem-solving skills - celebrating the dog and its amazing abilities!