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What is Nosework?

Who hasn't been wowed by watching dogs who are working in drug detection or search and rescue. Their skill at detecting and following odor is amazing. If you have ever wondered whether your canine friend could do this, then Nosework is the sport for you and your canine friend, and is the newest sport for dogs. It was developed in 2006 by Amy Herot, Ron Gaunt, and Jill Marie O'Brien who are experienced in training detection dogs for narcotics and explosives. These individuals have since developed a comprehensive training program for instructors and developed an organization to provide trial opportunities to those who are interested in obtaining a Nosework Title.
Dogs have a fantastic sense of smell. This combined with a natural desire to hunt makes Nosework an amazing opportunity to further your relationship with your dog. Nosework is designed to develop and enhance your dog's natural scenting abilities by using their desire to hunt with their love of toys, food and exercise. It can be done anywhere - inside or outside - and is a wonderful sport for all ages of dogs. If your dog has a nose, this is a sport where he can excel. 
If you are interested in helping your dog build confidence and challenge his physical and mental skills, this course is for you!! Check out our classes page for more information on class dates and times. Classes fill quickly, so contact us today!

Who can participate in a Nosework class?

Nosework classes are open to any dog who is over the age of 4 months. This sport is not restricted for either the dog or the handler - it is open to anyone regardless of physical ability or age. This is a great opportunity for dogs who are shy and need to build confidence as well as the aggressive dog since classes are designed where only one dog is working at a time. This course will also benefit the senior citizen canine by maintaining an active mind with added physical fitness. This low-impact sport allows the dog to participate in a seek and find game that he always wins. The dogs are in charge of the game, and the humans play a supporting role by encouraging their companion and rewarding him for a job well done. 

Who Can Benefit from Nosework?

Truly all dogs can benefit from Nosework classes. The perfect, sound dog will love the game for the hunt and the reward. They will truly enjoy spending time with their favorite human companion.

For the shy dog, having a purpose and hunting for odor can build confidence. Shy dogs can experience a transformation and expand their view of the world. Shadow, a shy black lab who was petrified of the world, began her nosework career in 2011. Shadow spent her first class crated in the corner of the training room covered in a sheet. The entire crate was shaking from her fear. She was able to come out and find food easily in the boxes placed right outside her crate. Over the next few weeks, Shadow’s confidence grew and she was able to work in the training room with other people around. Her submissive behaviors diminished and she loved to find the hides. This shy, scared dog who couldn’t go anywhere without peeing on the floor and shaking had transformed to a phenomenal searcher and confident explorer. The best part is how comfortable she is in her own environment. Shadow earned her NW3 Elite in May 2015 and still loves looking for odor.

If you don’t have a shy dog, can Nosework help them? Nosework is perfect for all dogs. It is mentally stimulating without being overly physical in nature. Dogs who may have had long agility careers and are sidelined for injury can likely handle the low-impact nature of Nosework. The mental stimulation from Nosework can help the aging or retired dog maintain a level of fitness and stimulation. Dogs who have disabilities are also wonderful Nosework candidates. Nosework has provided disabled dogs with a job that can boost their confidence and self-esteem. Blind dogs, deaf dogs and dogs with a physical ailment can all benefit.

Dogs who are reactive to other dogs are also welcome in the Nosework community. Because of the nature of the sport, only one dog is allowed out to search at a time. This is critical to dogs that are fearful and reactive of other dogs. Only one dog out at time will allow the reactive dog to hunt and be successful.

Nosework is truly a sport for all dogs! Trainers expand their bond and truly learn from watching their dogs hunt. Dogs love the hunt, time spent with their human companions and the rewards.

From our students: 

Hi, my name is Dreamer!  When I started with Paws Plus Training I was so scared and insecure, what may seem natural, (going for walks, playing or bonding with friends and family) was overwhelming for me.  The Paws Plus team guided me and my Mom to build my self-confidence.  The team never gave up on me, even when I did not want to participate.  Now I run to see them and say hello.  My new rescue brother has started his own path with Janie, Jim and Jen, tailored to  his issues and pace.  Thanks so much PawsPlus for being there for me and my family with your expertise and kindness.  I am ready for our continued journey to come.   Dreamer  -  Si  -  Susan (my mom)


The transformation of our dog, Mabel, in just one session of Nosework classes has been amazing.  Mabel was re-homed to us when she was eight months old and has a lot of fears.   During Mabel’s first Nosework class she barely participated.  Her tail was tucked.  She shook, panted and needed to re-group in the car several times.   By the last Nosework class of the first session, Mabel was enthusiastically greeting her instructors and full participating in the training with her tail up and wagging.   I never would have believed it.  Mabel loves Nosework and loves the Paws Plus instructors.   This confidence in Mabel has carried over to other areas of training as well.    We are very grateful to Paws Plus for the confidence and joy they are helping to build in our dog.  Mabel and Jody


I have been taking Nosework classes with Paws Plus Training for years with my white GSD. Having fear issues, my GSD has become more confident by doing nosework with Paws Plus. They are wonderful people who have helped us in so many ways. We have been able to earn and NW1 title and an obedience title, and believe these wouldn't have been obtainable without Paws Plus! I am truly grateful and believe Nosework runs through their blood! I highly recommend them and will continue on our journey forever thankful. Elizabeth Elliott and Starr 


Nosework News

All of Paws Plus Training's Instructors, Janie Simmons (Daisy and Rosie), Jim Simmons (Reese) and Jen Johnson (Shadow and Ruby), earned their Elite titles. These teams have reached the highest level in K-9 Nosework!
Paws Plus Training has THREE Certified Nose Work Instructors (CNWI), Janie Simmons, Jim Simmons, and Jen Johnson. Janie and Jim completed a rigorous 18-month program to become fully certified as K-9 Nosework Instructors by the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) in May 2011. Jen Johnson completed her training program with the NACSW on October 1, 2012. Together we offer all levels of K-9 Nosework training for clients in the Central Virginia Area.  
Paws Plus Training has had 70 students obtain their NW1 title for K-9 Nosework, 33 students obtain their NW2 title, 23 teams obtain their NW3 titles, and 5 NW3 Elite titles.

We look forward to more success in 2020!

If you are interested in learning more about Nosework, visit our Classes page or contact Janie at (804) 672-7308.