K9 event tests teams' noses


By Patsy Nicosia

K9 event tests teams

The nose knows and nowhere was that more true than SUNY Cobleskill Saturday and Sunday when the National Association of Canine Scent Work hosted two days of what's called K9 Nose Work.
From corgis to poodles to German shepherds, dozens of dogs and their handlers sniffed out scents hidden both inside and out.
Only the event's officials knew how many scents where hidden where and though the earned individual scores depending on how many scents they found, they were also competing against each other for the title.
Wendy Kreibel, a certifying official for NASCW, said nose work got its start on the West Coast in 2006 after canine handlers having so much fun with it began introducing the sport to dog owners looking for something different to do with their dogs.
"It gives crazy dogs an outlet," Ms. Kreibel said, "and for shy dogs, it's a real confidence builder. There's really no dog that can't do this and for shelter dogs, it's phenomenal."
In nose work, dogs and their handlers work to find the scent of essential oils-anise, birch, and clove-chosen because they're not commonly found in nature-hidden in an unknown number of spots and places.
Troy Mills, another certifying official for NASCW, said there's no dog who can't do the work, but sometimes handlers get in the way, physically blocking the scent or jumping the gun to call out "Finished!" while their dog is still sniffing around.
"It's definitely a learning experience," said Loni Berger, a competitor who was photographing the event for NACSW for the day.
"The more I do it, the more I see what I'm doing wrong. You have to learn to read your dog and work as a team."
The K9 Nose Work was held in SUNY Cobleskill's new ag building, thanks to help from Professor Stephen Mackenzie, a NACSW member.
"We're always looking for places," said NACSW host Kathe Baxter, "and this is perfect. We use a lot of camps and while we're here, we may also check out the Fairgrounds."