Your Guide

7208e3c7 586f 4b67 9ea8 875710beade8 kandjacksmall

Kathy Weaver, CPDT-KA, CNWI

Kathy is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI). Kathy’s approach to training is to teach a strong foundation and gradually increase challenges to maintain the dog’s motivation and confidence. She encourages students to be creative in their training and, most importantly, to enjoy working with their dogs. In her classes, she emphasizes clear communication between handlers and dogs. For over 40 years, Kathy has shared her practical knowledge and enthusiasm for a variety of dog activities, including obedience, rally-o, nose work, tricks, games, parkour, freestyle and Rally Freestyle Elements. Her current canine partners are a Parson Russell Terrier and a Belgian Tervuren. Both dogs compete in Rally Freestyle Elements and in the Elite level in NACSW nose work trials.

Questions? Comments? Email me!

About this course

Introduction to K9 Nose Work®

This is an "On Demand" six-week course, which means you can start anytime. Once a week for six weeks you will receive a new lesson with training tips and videos, exercises,  and a short article about an aspect of nose work training. Instructor feedback is available throughout the course. You can ask questions and upload training session videos for review.

If asked, "What is the most often observed behavior in dogs?" you would most likely respond, "sniffing," and you would be right! Dogs investigate and understand their world through their incredible sense of smell. In our Introduction to K9 Nose Work® course, you will be starting your dog on a new and exciting journey using its nose for enrichment and reinforcement.

Nose work training is unlike training for other activities, such as obedience in which handlers train their dogs to focus on them and respond to verbal cues and hand signals. In nose work, dogs learn to work independently, using their innate instincts to sniff, search and find specific odors. You and your dog do not need previous training experience or special skills in order to start nose work.

Our course is designed to make searching/hunting a rewarding activity for your dog, to increase its confidence and to enable you to understand more about your dog’s behavior as you observe how your dog works out scent puzzles. The exercises in this course are the same ones your instructor uses in her group classes.

Note: This course is for dogs that have not been introduced to essential oils used in nose work. It is a prerequisite for an "Introduction to Odor" course. If you have questions about the course or uncertain if it is appropriate for your dog, email the instructor at before enrolling.

Nose Work is:

  • An activity every dog can do for fun
  • An enriching and mentally stimulating activity
  • Potentially an opportunity for you and your dog to engage in competition 

Nose Work helps to:

  • Stimulate the brain’s seeking system, which creates positive emotions
  • Increase confidence in new places because it provides focus on a task in unfamiliar environments
  • Create mental exercise for all dogs, which is especially important for young dogs and dogs retired from other activities/sports

 Introduction to Nose Work is for:

  • Puppies
  • Young dogs
  • Dogs retired from physical activities
  • Dogs needing an outlet for excess energy
  • Sensitive and reactive dogs that are uncomfortable participating in group activities
  • Handlers who want to try a new activity with their dogs
  • Handlers who intend to ultimately compete in nose work

 Course Goals

That your dog will

  • Become a confident and motivated searcher
  • Eagerly search independently
  • Be comfortable searching in a variety of environments

That you will

  • Learn to interpret your dog’s changes of behavior when it's searching
  • Build reward timing to support your dog’s efforts and increase its enthusiasm for nose work
  • Learn how to help your dog successfully acquire new skills by increasing difficulty in small increments

Primary Goals for You and Your Dog

  • To learn about and be successful in an exciting new activity
  • To develop teamwork
  • To have fun!

What you will need:

  • High-value food or toys
  • Cardboard and/or plastic boxes
  • Secure, safe area to work off-leash in your home
  • 6-foot leash 
  • 8 to 12-foot long line when working in unsecured areas outdoors