K9 Nosework Classes
taught by Martha Windisch, CNWI (Certified Nose Work
What is K9 Nose Work?
K9 Nose Work is a new, exciting, detection-style sport that develops dogs’ natural scenting
abilities by using their curiosity, desire to hunt, and their love of toys, food and exercise. K9
Nose Work was developed in California by Amy Herot, Jill Marie O’Brien and Ron Gaunt. The
founders have experience in training detection dogs for narcotics and explosives. To find
more about K9 Nose Work visit www.k9nosework.com
Where can my dog learn and practice K9 Nose Work?
The sport of K9 Nose Work includes fun nose work classes that are spreading from California
to other parts of the country including the east coast. K9 Nose Work classes are currently
being offered at Clever K9. The classes range from Introduction to Nose Work, to
Introduction to Odor, to various levels of advanced Nose Work including container searches,
vehicle searches, interior searches and exterior searches.
Why get involved in K9 Nose Work? Are there K9 Nose Work titles?
K9 Nose Work is a great sport for your dog because it requires no prior training or skills and
is relatively easy to teach your dog, only requires mild physical demands on you and your
dog, gives your dog tons of mental stimulation, is suitable for both confident and timid dogs
as well as high-energy and low-energy dogs and can be practiced at home and in urban
settings. Some get involved with K9 Nose Work just for the fun of it and others like the fun,
but also are interested in competition and earning titles.
If you are interested in finding out about the requirements for K9 Nose Work competitions
and titling visit the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) at www.nacsw.net.
The NACSW is the official sanctioning and organizing body for the sport of K9 Nose Work.
What type of dogs would like and/or benefit from K9 Nose Work?
K9 Nose Work is great for extremely high drive dogs as a way to use up some of their excess
energy. K9 Nose Work is also good for dogs that need some encouragement to investigate
using their noses; nose work classes can be a great confidence-builder for these dogs.
Because dogs get to work one at a time, dogs that are shy or fearful, unfocused or
unmotivated, or reactive with other dogs are able to participate.
How do you train a dog for K9 Nose Work?
Teaching nose work to dogs begins with a hide-n-seek game involving cardboard boxes and
treats. Both dogs and their owners love nose work because it allows a dog to use his or her
natural hunting instinct – it lets the dog be a dog and it lets the handler learn about scent
from the dog. Co-founder Ron Gaunt emphasizes, “We don’t teach the dogs anything about
nose work, we’re just the tour guides.”
As training for K9 Nose Work advances, dogs get to use their remarkable scenting abilities to
find the level 1 odor of birch, then the level 2 odor of anise, and finally the level 3 odor of
clove. First, the dogs learn to seek the scent in cardboard boxes and then they move on to
interior searches, exterior searches and vehicle searches. The scent-searching game also
involves it being hidden at various heights.
Martha Windisch's Biography
Martha Windisch CPDT-KA CNWI and owner of Personalized Dog Training
LLC has been involved in training dogs for over 20 years. Through her
in-home business, she teaches pet owners how to better communicate
with their dogs. She currently has four Golden Retrievers, Spring, Clue,
Sobey and Ghetty. She competes with/trains her Goldens in
obedience, rally, hunt tests and tracking. Her various Goldens through
the years have earned hunt test titles up to MH, obedience titles
including UDX and 98 OTCH points, tracking titles including TDX, rally
titles up to RE, and agility titles up to AX and AXJ.
In 2010, soon after the “California-developed” sport of K9 Nose Work
(www.k9nosework.com/) came to the east coast, Martha decided to
attend an Intro to K9 Nose Work seminar to check it out. She has since
then attended additional K9 Nose Work seminars and instructor training courses, attended a
Work class with a Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI), volunteered at Nose Work Trials
including the first K9 Nose Work Trial held in New Jersey, passed the ORT
(Odor Recognition Test) for birch with two of her Goldens, and attained the designation of
Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI). Two of Martha’s Goldens are ready to compete in
NW1 trials – Sobey passed a mock NW1 trial at the PA Nose Work camp.
Martha teaches the K9 Nose Work classes at Clever K9. She started
teaching K9 Nose Work because she enjoys helping students discover
the new sport/activity with their dogs. She also enjoys helping students
learn to observe their dogs’ body language while finding hidden scent;
including body language that can be quite subtle.
From her childhood game of teaching her shepherd-collie mixes to
follow looping hotdog trails to a piece of hidden hotdog, to her AKC
tracking experience, plus working with a friend whose German Shepherd
was being trained for search and rescue, plus the find-the-hidden-toy
games her Goldens love to play at home, she knows that dogs tend to
love to play games using their amazing sense of smell. She likes that
Nose Work can be taught both inside and outside and unlike tracking
does not require large fields. She also likes that Nose Work requires no
prerequisite training, can be played either for fun or with the goal of
competing in trials, is good for old dogs (i.e. dogs that are retired from
other sports), young dogs (a great way to socialize a puppy and teach a
fun game that can be used for life), dogs that need to build confidence
(hunting games are great confidence builders) and for dogs that need
an energy outlet (Nose Work is a great energy outlet due to the problem-
solving the dog has to do).
Certified Nose Work Instructors may use the acronym, CNWI™, following their name to
indicate that they have met the instructor certification requirements. CNWI™ are required to
maintain continuing education in order to maintain a current certification status. Each
instructor may have their own class requirements and structure since they operate under
their own businesses and are not employed through the NACSW™.