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NACSW instructor Logo

National Association of Canine Scent Work

News :: Tips for Practicing K9 Nose Work at Home

When practicing at home, always keep it fun and simple. Save the challenging stuff for a workshop or class, where you and your dog will be under the supervision and guidance of a skilled K9 Nose Work instructor (CNWI).

  • Fun hides for your dog are those that are accessible. Self-rewarding is very powerful for the dog. If you're placing hides in boxes, make sure the dog can reach the boxes, and that he has a way in to self-reward.
  • Have a friend help by placing hides. If you're using food or a toy, the friend can move the reward around cleverly, in and out of boxes, to keep the dog guessing. If you dog is on odor, the friend can still help, but make sure he/she understands the importance of handling odor carefully, and setting up hides that are well within the dog's abilities.
  • Take a break! At a workshop or class, dogs get valuable "down time" between turns to recover and process what they've learned. Dogs new to the activity of K9 Nose Work should spend no more than a minute or two working out a single hide, and no more than ten or fifteen minutes of practice at a time without the guidance of an instructor.
  • Think new objects. A pair of baby galoshes, an oscillating fan, a toilet paper roll. Use simple searches to introduce your dog to as many new objects as possible.

Feel like a change of scenery? Try making use of all the tips above at a friend's house, or at the park. New environments can be challenging, so be prepared to give your dog a super easy recovery hide. Above all, keep it fun for you and your dog!

Want more ideas on keeping your dog excited about K9 Nose Work? Attend a workshop or join a class.

Happy Sniffing!


When practicing at home, always keep it fun and simple. Save the challenging stuff for a...

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The activity of K9 Nose Work is designed to be accessible to virtually any dog, including dogs...



The National Association of 
Canine Scent Work™
(NACSW) sets the standards
governing the sport
of K9 Nose Work.


NACSW is the only official 
sanctioning and organizing 
body for K9 Nose Work 
titles and ORTs.


Ready to sign up 
for a workshop? 

Visit the 
for details.


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about workshops?

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