NACSW instructor Logo
NACSW instructor Logo

National Association of Canine Scent Work

Barbara Schwerdt, CPDT, Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI)


Barbara’s career as a dog trainer began in 1997 when she found a young dog she named Amanté wandering the streets in need of a warm, dry place to stay (okay, to live). With Amanté, Barbara learned quickly that some dogs have issues that require professional help. Amanté‘s dog-to-dog aggression was overwhelming, so Barbara sought out the assistance of a trainer who specializes in aggression cases.  

Barbara’s experience with Amanté and the work of the professional she hired helped her realize that there was much to be learned about the needs of dogs and their human companions. So she began to pursue a career as a canine-training professional.

After applying herself to the study of canine behavior and training theory, Barbara began an apprenticeship in 2000 with My Best Friend Obedience in Southern California, and by 2003 was promoted to the position of lead trainer, teaching classes in beginning obedience and Canine Good Citizen preparatory classes, and taking on private consultations. Barbara has been a certified AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator since 2003. She is grateful to have the assistance of her rehabilitated shelter dog, Shadow, a CGC himself, to assist her with evaluations.

Barbara became interested in canine scent work in 2005 after attending a seminar with John Rogerson. She discovered that her Yellow Labrador, Jarrah, showed talent for the sport of tracking, and they both trained for a short period of time with Missing Pet Partners, an organization that trains dogs to find missing pets.

Realizing how much she enjoyed working with dogs and their owners, Barbara spent several years volunteering at a local animal shelter conducting in-home adoptions for first time dog owners. In-home adoptions dramatically increased the success rate of dogs’ staying in their new homes, and Barbara felt she had found her niche, being able to counsel these novice dog owners. She was awarded the Most Valuable Volunteer – Special Support award in 2005 and the Dog Volunteer of the Year award in 2006 from the shelter.

Continuing her education, Barbara earned her CPDT-KA designation in November of 2006, which established her as a nationally certified Pet Dog Trainer.

In July 2007, Barbara and her husband Gerry adopted a young German Shepherd puppy they named Landis. They quickly found out that Landis would not be satisfied with a quiet life as a house pet. In January 2008, Barbara began training Landis with Ron, Amy & Jill through K9 Nose Work classes. In August 2008, Landis placed second overall in the Inaugural Fun Nose Work competition sponsored by the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) and in January of 2009, Landis took first place in the first official NACSW Titling Trial, earning an NW1 with Pronouncement, which designates the demonstration of exceptional handler-dog teamwork. Landis also received the distinguished Harry Award at that trial. Since that first trial, Landis has earned his NW1, NW2, NW3, and NW3 Elite (one of only four earned in the United States thus far) titles and as a team, received Pronouncement ribbons at each level.

Barbara is one of the first seven instructors (also known as a Founding Instructor) to complete her certification in the NACSW Instructors’ program, earning her certification in early 2009. Since that time, she has expanded her role with the NACSW by developing training materials and conducting workshops for students at the NW1, NW2, and NW3 levels throughout the country. In addition to teaching K9 Nose Work classes and conducting workshops, she also serves the organization as a designated Faculty member, Judge, and Certifying Official.

Some of Barbara’s other accomplishments include the founding of Amanté Dog Training, a division of Safe at Home Pet Care, a business Barbara owns with her husband Gerry. They specialize in in-home care of companion animals and have since added professional dog training services. In addition, by day, Barbara is a corporate trainer, helping people to be more effective and efficient in their daily work lives. Barbara holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Deaf Studies from California State University, Northridge. She is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, the National Association of Canine Scent Work, American Society for Training and Development, Different Spokes of Southern California Cycling Club, Ride on Cycling Cycling Club, and Shifting Gears Cycling Club.

Barbara enjoys long-distance road bicycling, and along with her husband recently (June 2012) completed the 545-mile AIDS/LifeCycle 11 bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Over 2,200 cyclists raised 12.6 million dollars, which will assist people afflicted with HIV and AIDS who cannot afford to pay for treatment. She shares a home with her very supportive husband, along with 3 dogs and 2 cats, all of whom are still trying to keep up with her frenetic, non-stop pace.





Want to become a certified K9 Nose Work® Instructor? 

Only the most passionate, talented, and knowledgeable people become Certified Nose Work Instructors (CNWI). The certification program teaches candidates the philosophy, concepts, and training methodology for the activity and sport of K9 Nose Work®.


Graduates of the certification program will have dedicated 1-2 years on average to the study of K9 Nose Work®, attending courses and lectures, and logging over 75 hours of training and teaching. All Certified Nose Work Instructors have demonstrated the skills necessary to train a dog and handle it in competition, as well as the ability to teach other dogs and handlers the activity and sport of K9 Nose Work® from beginning level to advanced. 


Put your passion, talent, and knowledge to use as a CNWI teaching official K9 Nose Work® classes! For information on how you can get started in the instructor certification program, Contact Us.