There’s a new sport in town and it’s called Nosework! One of our regulars, Sammy, started a 6 week course in this sport and came to Dawg House right after his class. He seemed thrilled! He is also one of the dogs that will spend 15+ minutes in the parking lot early Tuesday and Thursday mornings just sniffing, so we’re not surprised!
Nosework has only been around for a couple years, and most competitions occur in California and New Mexico; a local trainer looks to change that. JJ Belcher teaches the class on Thursday mornings from 9am-10am at Canada del Oro Riverfront Park at 551 W. Lambert Lane in Oro Valley. He is hoping to expand his class offerings and have a Saturday morning class in the near future.
During the beginning classes, the dogs work with food. JJ Belcher sets up a bank of plastic bins and places a treat in one of the bins. The idea is for the dog to find it, and then of course, they get to eat it. Each dog is only given about 5 minutes to do so because it’s important for the dog not to lose interest.
After the dogs have the process down, they move to Q-tips that are dipped in essential oils. The three scents they use are birch, clove and anise. And, of course, are given a treat when the scent is discovered. After a dog has mastered the bins, the search area is expanded. For competition, the area can be as large as a large parking lot.
The wonderful thing about this type of competitive sport is that any age dog can participate. From an 8 week old puppy to a senior dog—they only have to use their nose. It’s a fun and challenging sport for any age and fitness level.
For more information, please contact the Oro Valley Parks and Rec Dept at 229-5050. They can answer any questions about upcoming classes, and also get you registered if you are interested.
Thanks to Sammy’s parents for letting us know about this great addition to the Tucson dog community!