DogSmart Detection Training
Dogs have an astonishing sense of smell and are often used to find missing people, search for human remains, and sniff out narcotics, termites, explosives, and even disease. The sport of scent detection, also known as nosework, challenges dogs to find particular scents and notify their handlers to the source of these odors. Dogs develop specific “alerts” – unique body movements or gestures that unequivocally indicate the presence of scent, allowing handlers to confidently call it.
My guys and I had tried scent detection many years ago and when the opportunity presented itself, we picked up again with Karin Apfel, the dynamite owner-operator of DogSmart Detection Training. Karin is a veteran in the world of canine sports, with over 30 years of experience spanning IGP, Rally-O, and agility, to name a few. With her core passion for scent detection, she went on to co-find the Sporting Detection Dogs Association (SDDA), one of the leading organizations dedicated to scent work, providing “registration, education, and titling” for a growing membership across Canada and the US.
One of the most wonderful things about scent detection sports is that they’re accessible to dogs of all breeds, ages, sizes, and abilities. The SDDA founders were particularly keen on creating a sporting environment where even dogs with behavioral issues could work and find an outlet for their instincts.
For all these reasons, I consider scent work one of the best sports for dog owners who are new to sport or as an added sport for folks already involved in sport. I also can’t recommend Karin enough, as few match her level of passion and experience.
Pictured: Nejra and I at scenting practice under Karin’s watchful eye
Photo Credit: Dianne Devison