I’m asked a lot by dog owners whether their dog could be a search dog. Many times they seem genuinely interested in the process, until they learn the training requires about 300 hours per year for two years to get that first dog mission-ready.

The American Kennel Club has an outstanding option for those whose dog needs a job, or in this case, a hobby. K9 Scent work (sometimes called Nosework) is an AKC competitive dog sport that very closely replicates the world of cadaver dogs (or drug or bomb dogs). Instead of finding dead humans, the dogs are trained to find the odors of three different essential oils.

Here’s a link to the AKC page on Scent Work https://www.akc.org/sports/akc-scent-work/.

You can also find instructors in your area by Googling “Scent Work” or “Nosework.”

Can your dog do this? Of course. Some of the pug-nosed dogs might struggle, but pretty much every other breed can handle this. Some individual dogs won’t enjoy the game, just like some people don’t like tennis or Monopoly.

So get out there and have a good time with your dog, and Stay Found!

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