Your dog’s nose knows

Scent work classes build bond, confidence

Dogs of all types and sizes can try the sport. Photo Supplied

Chihuahuas, labradors, retrievers, dobermans, terriers and all kinds of dogs in between are getting hooked on a new canine sport, scent work.

The foundation is simple—dogs using their noses to sniff out tasty and smelly treats or toys hidden anywhere from boxes to cars.

It’s the inclusivity and ease of entry that Kamloops trainer Arleigh Bell appreciates.
Five years ago when she got her Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Trbel she looked for an activity they could do together and found scent work.

“We took lots of classes and loved it,” she said. “Every weekend we were training and practising.”

It wasn’t long before Bell began the process of becoming a certified instructor with the National Association of Canine Scent Work. She travelled to the United States multiple times to earn her designation as a Certified Nose Work Instructor.

Since then she has taught countless classes in Kamloops and the surrounding areas while working full time for the Thompson Rivers University nursing faculty.

In addition to workshops and classes like Introduction to Odour and Advanced Nosework, Bell volunteers her time with local shelter dogs.

“Once a week we play nose work with dogs waiting to be adopted. It’s a lot of fun, they’re mentally exhausted.”

The sport, she said, is great because it can be done anywhere, doesn’t require expensive gear, can be played inside or out, bonds dogs and their owners and helps dogs learn confidence and stay on task.

“The biggest thing is to come and watch your dog take the lead in a sport and learn about the cues your dog gives you. There are no rules for them, you can watch them excel and be confident.

“I love seeing all the communication from the dogs. We focus on fun with your dog, it’s all about the dog running around having fun.”

Any size, breed and age of dog is welcome. Dog aggressive dogs are also able to play as there is no interaction between dogs.

“As long as they’re not people aggressive they can play.”

To learn from Bell register for her courses with Five Star Dog Training in Kamloops or

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