What is Scent Work?

Scent Work is an overarching term for training dogs and their handlers in the skills based on the work of professional detection dogs (such as drug dogs, explosives dogs, tracking dogs, and search and rescue dogs). Dog and handler teams utilize the incredible canine nose to search for people and/or substances, such as cotton swabs saturated with essential oil for amateur sport, or lost people, illicit substances, or even disease to protect and serve the general public.

Whether or not you choose to compete or pursue a professional detection career, Scent Work is a wonderful activity for ANY dog - big and small, confident and shy, old and young - even dogs who are blind or deaf can play. 

  • Young or High-Energy dogs work their brain & body
  • Shy or Nervous dogs learn confidence in new places
  • Old or Injured dogs get mental enrichment and low-impact exercise
  • EVERY dog can benefit from the mental and physical activity of doing something all dogs love to do, sniff!

SWCSD embraces many disciplines of Scent Work - including AKC, NACSW, NASDA, and ASCA - to teach canine handlers the fundamental skills and provide continuing education regarding scent detection, including the science of scent detection and odor behavior skills necessary in the search and odor detection public service area. These skills are tested through amateur competitions. SWCSD follows the guidelines and standards established by the nationally recognized American Kennel Club (AKC) regarding competitions and animal welfare.

Our club’s activities also include providing subjects for Search and Rescue teams to assist in their canine training program, volunteering with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for their Detection Dog program, providing Community Outreach programs to teach children what to do if they get lost, and supporting the growth of all scent sports and the positive outcomes scent games have for dogs & their handlers.

Check out a video of one of our members doing an Exterior search at an AKC Scent Work event: