When one thinks of canine nose work the mind often goes to drug sniffing dogs, bomb dogs, and search and rescue animals. That is no longer the case in the state of Washington. A new sport called K9 Nose Work is being done by hundreds of companion dogs and their owners in the Puget Sound area.
"It is a competition sport that and there are three levels. They search for the odor of birch, clove or anise," said Erica Wells, certified K9 Nose Work instructor.
Wells says that the sport is for every dog.
"We have old dogs, puppies, blind dogs, deaf dogs, even dogs with cancer" said Wells.
Many dog owners that have taken up the sport say it has really helped their pet deal with fear and aggression issues.
"It's an awesome sport. Gracie is a shy dog and she had issues with people as well as other dogs. It has really developed her confidence and that's just helped in general with her dealing with people and other dogs," said Claire Merinar, owner of a rescued dog.
For those that do not wish to compete, the sport can be turned into a game at home. Instructors say that all you need is a few boxes and some treats. Hide the treats in the boxes and place them around the room then have your dog sniff out the treats.
There is a Nose Work scholarship available to dogs ten years of age or older, dogs that are blind or have a severe visual impairment, those with mobility challenges or animals that have a limited life expectancy due to cancer or another life threatening illness. For more information on that or how to take classes visit www.dogsdayoutseattle.com.