One of the most fascinating and superior features of a dog is their nose and innate capacity to detect an odor. What smells like vegetable soup to us, your dog can parse out each and every vegetable.
Nose work, scent work, call it what you will but the sport of “finding” a specific essential oil has exploded in popularity and forewarning, it is addictive.
The handlers’ job is to take note of the environment upon starting the search and to observe as the dog maps it out drawing a picture, circling, and working edges of scent cones, plumes, and eddies, using the wind to their advantage or bouncing around in pooling odor. Thankfully, if we are attentive to the signals our dog is giving us and we are patient, the dog will eventually work its way to the source (odor), and we will feel confident in calling “alert.”
Scent detection is a non-obedient sport; the dog is the expert and you and your dog are working as a team. Try it!
— Sara Cole (with a photo courtesy of Samson)