K9 Nosework® In Shelters
Featured in the Spring Issue of IAABC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants) Journal
Written By Amy Ogleby, Lawrence Humane Society Behavior Manager
The winter months are cold and damp in Kansas. During this time, a lot of our dogs do not get out for enough exercise. At the Lawrence Humane Society, we do not have indoor space for exercising our dogs. We are situated on 4 acres, and most of our property is divided into six large exercise pens. During the warmer months, many dogs spend large portions of their day outside in playgroups or with volunteers for long periods of time. Once it gets cold, however, we do not have anywhere to take dogs off leash to play inside. At the beginning of this winter, I was challenged to come up with a training program we could hold indoors.
We decided to start doing K9 Nose Work® (hereafter, “nose work”) with the shelter’s dogs after watching a DVD called The Parker Videos: How One Dog Got Started in K9 Nose Work from The National Association of Canine Scent Work. Getting started in nose work did not appear to take up a lot of space, time, or resources. It looked like a challenging game of hide and seek. Since most dogs are food motivated, we found it easy to get started.
The first challenge we experienced was finding a big enough space for the dogs to search. We have a multi-purpose room we use for behavior assessments and food storage, so we had to make sure nose work didn’t interfere with either of those. Each day, we block off one hour of time in the multi-purpose room for nose work. The scheduling allows staff to have access to food as needed, and perform behavior assessments.