Scent Work is an exciting new Dogs Australia sport that is based on the task of working detection dogs to locate an odour and communicate to the handler that the odour has been found.
Detection is done in a variety of environments and often during changing weather or environmental conditions. Scent Work is a positive, challenging activity that allows dogs the opportunity to use their strongest natural sense in a way that is fun, and engaging, and builds and strengthens a foundation of trust between the handler and dog.
Dogs are trained to recognise specific odours and to alert their handlers when the odours are detected. Dogs may paw, bark, point with their nose or body, sit, lie down, or use any other non-destructive behaviour to communicate the location of the odour. Handlers take their dogs through a search area which may be set up in a variety of environments.
The dog and handler must work together as a team. The handler is part of the team, using body language and verbal encouragement to ensure all sections of the search area are covered, directing the dog’s search only when necessary and indicating to the Judge when the dog has found the odour. Communication with and praise of the dog during the search are encouraged.