Scent Work

Jump to: Class Overview | Signing Up | Competing in Scent Work | More Information

Archie completing an exterior search
Archie completing an exterior search

Scent Work is a new ANKC 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, 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, engaging, and builds and strengthens a foundation of trust between the handler and dog.

Class Overview

Basil completing a container search
Basil completing a container search

In Scent Work classes, dogs are trained to recognise specific odours (birch, anise, clove and cyprus), 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.

Signing Up for Scent Work

Scent Work Beginners class is 6 weeks long and is usually run on Friday evenings. It is open to dogs which have gained their Silver Canine Companion Certificate or above. If you are interested in trying out Scent Work please fill out our online waiting list form.

For teams who have completed Beginners class, you can train at home and in your own time. We do intermittently run Scent Work training days and seminars to enable development and the ability for teams to compete in ANKC Scent Work Trials.

Competing in Scent Work

Scent Work trials are held in the ACT and NSW. BDOC hosts two Scent Work trial per year, and our members are also involved in organising trials on behalf of Dogs ACT. Scent Work is an ANKC-sanctioned dog sport, and competitors and their dogs must be registered with the ANKC before they can compete in a trial.

There are four levels of competition for Scent Work – Novice, Advanced, Excellent and Masters Each level requires the team to achieve a number of qualifying scores, and once these scores have been obtained, the handler can submit their paperwork to Dogs ACT to add the relevant title to their dog's registered name. Handlers can progress to titles in a class category with passes across all 4 elements (eg Novice interiors, exteriors, containers and vehicles) or via element categories (eg Novice Containers, or Advanced Vehicles).

More Information

For more information, please read through the ANKC rules for Scent Work. If you have any questions about Scent Work at BDOC, please email the Scent Work co-ordinater at scentwork@bdoc.asn.au.

Archie completing an exterior search
Archie completing an exterior search
Basil completing a container search
Basil completing a container search
Fenix completing an exterior search
Fenix completing an exterior search
Mya completing an exterior search
Mya completing an exterior search
Photo credit: Cheryl Neal