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Scent Work

A fun new game to play with your dog

What is AKC Scent work

AKC Scent Work is a sport that mimics the task of working detection dogs to locate a scent and communicate to the handler that the scent has been found. Real-life detection dogs are trained to search for a variety of things–drugs, explosives, human remains, currency, other contraband, living humans (such as for Search and Rescue), and much more. AKC Scent Work takes this amazing working relationship and turns it into a fun game that any dog can play.

How a Scent Work Trial Works

Scent Work trials, as with any AKC sport, are organized and held by AKC-Licensed or Member Clubs. The club is always your first contact regarding specific events.

The official announcement of a club’s event is a called a Premium List. It contains all relevant information regarding the trial, including date, location, classes offered, and judges–as well as an entry form.

To enter an AKC Scent Work trial, the owner of the dog must submit an official AKC entry form, which can be found in the premium list. The entry form should be sent to the trial secretary that is specified in the premium. After the entries have closed, a program showing the schedule for the judging will be sent to you along with all relevant information about the trial.

The Elements

Searches in AKC Scent Work are completed in a variety of environments, known as “Elements.” The Elements in AKC Scent Work are:

  • Container: The target odor is concealed within a container (such as a cardboard box or briefcase), and the dog must indicate in which container the scent is hidden.

  • Interior: The target odor is concealed on or in an object in an indoor search area.

  • Exterior: The target odor is concealed on or in an object in an outdoor search area–this requires the dog to locate the scent despite changing airflow patterns, weather conditions, and natural distractions.

  • Buried: The target odor is concealed within a small container and then buried underneath the ground.

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