If you are a Nosework addict, then you might be excited to hear about the new option being offered by the American Kennel Club.  So far the new venue looks exciting!  It seems to be a fun blend of different venues plus an exciting new option, Buried Hides!

Cypress scents

So far, the AKC has been very open to suggestions from competitors.  Originally, the 4th odor (beyond Birch, Anise and Clove) was selected to be Peppermint.  That has since been changed to Cypress.  There have also been some clarifying rule changes regarding judging criteria and what constitutes a “Yes”…. the new changes allow for some leeway based on environmental conditions…. which makes sense!

If you are used to trialing in NACSW, you are used to four elements, Containers, Interiors, Exteriors and Vehicles.  In AKC, Vehicles have been eliminated in favor of Buried Hides.  There are also 5 levels instead of 3….  Novice, Advanced, Excellent, Master and Scent Detective, and each class offers a titling option as opposed to titling by level (e.g., you can earn a Novice Interiors title by qualifying three times in that class…. it’s not required that you pass every search in a day in order to title).

Here’s Tippet finding a Buried Hide!

Dog nosework

There is hope that this will mean more chances for Nosework competitors to play this great game with our dogs.  AKC promises to be a lot of fun!

As with all venues, this venue may not be for every dog as the classes may have more intentional distractions (such as people, auditory, visual or “mimic”) and it’s unlikely that the venue will be as welcoming to reactive dogs.  That said, there are great many dogs who should do well!

Here’s a video of Lucy, performing a container search with a Mimic Distraction. She completely ignores the stuffed dog!

The biggest boon is that because of AKC’s size and influence, this move has the potential to really rocket forth Nosework as a sport.  The sport, already one of the fastest growing dog sports, will soon get a shot forward with more options to compete across the United States.

If you are interested in learning and practicing for AKC Scent Work, I’m teaching a class this April session:


AKC is also offering a division based on handler scent discrimination.  At the Novice Levels, the dog is searching for a scented glove or sock…. as the levels increase in difficulty, the hide might be located in an interior or an exterior!

If you are interested in learning more about Handler Scent Discrimination, Julie Symons is teaching a class on this subject, also in the April session:


Happy Sniffing!!!