Gracie Chronicles: Nose Work (with odors)

Gracie has always enjoyed Nose Work, a dog sport, where the dog has to find what has been hidden in order to get a treat. Dogs learn this sport starting with hidden treats, which is what Gracie has done up to this point.

Last week, we started on a more advanced version, and she is starting to work with odors – birch, to be exact. It is paired with a treat as the dog learns and eventually she will be able to search just for the odor.

On a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being very enthusiastic, Gracie is a 12. The birch odor is much stronger than the treats we’ve always used and she searches a high speed. When we used treats, she used to use her head too much and often looked where she though the hide was likely to be. With the odors she is definitely using her nose more. She catches the scent very quickly and works fast to find it. So much fun.

I made you a little video, and I helped Gracie a little on the third treat so the video wouldn’t be too long. But she will work as long as it takes to find the paired hide right now, and in case you can’t tell, she’s having a blast. I think our foster, Leelu, wants in on the play too!

We had done a few rounds of this before this video, so you see her looking in places that she found them before this. Even though the swab carrying the odor is in an enclosed tin, the smell is still pretty strong, so she’s finding residual odors.

And one of the best things about Nose Work? Tired dog when you’re done, and that tired dog is a good dog!

12 thoughts on “Gracie Chronicles: Nose Work (with odors)

    1. Gracie wouldn’t dare bother Hiro (cat). Hiro likes dogs, but suffers no nonsense from them, and will not hesitate to give a warning swat if he thinks Gracie is being a pain. He weighs the same as Gracie, so a big boy!

  1. Aw, sweet Gracie is having a blast! You Go Girl!!! Looks to me like Leelu is a good candidate for nose work, too! It would certainly help build her self-confidence. I actually do ACE Free Work with Ducky. It’s something I learned about through a friend – who specializes in helping reactive dogs – in the UK. ACE is the acronym for Animal Centered Education. It’s been a godsend for me in helping Ducky.

  2. I learned of it through Janet Finlay who owns Canine Confidence and is a friend/colleague of Sarah’s. Janet uses the free work in her own courses as well. I’ve been taking Janet’s courses since 2014. The current one is YEL 2.0 and I’m loving it. She also has a book out – Your End of the Lead – which I highly recommend to anyone with a reactive dog. It’s available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle, if you’re interested. If you want more info, email me at

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