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A dog has about a million times better sense of smell than a human

Nose work is when a dog uses its sense of smell to look for everything from animals that have been injured, people who have gone missing or been exposed to accidents, to illegal products, mold and pests in houses, and disease in human samples.

A dog has about a million times better sense of smell than a human and on average forty times as many brain cells involved in scent recognition. The olfactory organ in dogs forms an area that corresponds to somewhere between 60-200 square centimeters depending on the breed and much of the dog's perception of the world takes place through the nose.

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Independent work builds self-confidence

There are several people who have dogs who work actively with nose work on a hobby basis or in competitions, but relatively few have approved rescue dogs or dogs who, together with their handlers, work to find a smell above all other smells.

Heeler på sporet

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Some forms of competition or training that include nose work:



The dog must find people hidden in the terrain. Rounding is an independent competition branch, but can also be included as one of several elements in, for example, working dog sports. Rounding is also included as an element for patrol dogs and rescue dogs. As a separate sport or activity, it is exciting and fun for dog and handler. In a competition, the driver walks along the center line of an area approximately 100 meters wide and up to 800 meters long. The handler sends the dog out about 50 meters into the terrain on either side to search for figurants (humans). At the outer edge of the field, the dog rounds (turns) and strikes out accordingly towards the other side of the area, while searching. In a competition, the number of finds is judgedthehelpers as well as the dog's willingness to cooperate with the handler and effort. The number of helpers, area size and search time depend on the competition class.


Blood traces are part of the approval test for search dogs, but there are also separate tests in blood traces for dogs that do not want an approval test. A test track is 600 meters long with a 10 meter break in blood, a 90 degree angle without blood, a wound bed to be marked and the end of the track with a game shank. 3 dl of blood must be used on the entire track and before the dog is put on the track it must be between 18 and 24 hours. On a hobby basis, it is entirely possible to leave blood traces and walk them with a dog without a test. It is important to get the landowner's permission to lay blood and it is wise to avoid the periods when the game gives birth. A hobby activity with a dog should not be a nuisance to game.


Instead of following the smell of blood, you can teach the dog to follow the scent of its own footprints, preferably reinforced with small soft treats in between. Different types of surfaces and different types of angles and directions present major challenges for the nose that must follow the track. It is wise to think that a track may need some time to lie down so that the smell of the track does not become so broad that it makes it more difficult for the dog to follow it. Walking a treat trail is fun for both dog and owner. Looking for family members can also become a form of hide-and-seek that is great to take children on to strengthen bonds between all family members.


Field search is part of working dog competitions, but can be trained as a separate activity. In a working dog competition, the dog must search an area of 50 x 50 meters within five minutes. The driver sends from one side of the field and is not allowed to move on the other parts of the field. The dog must find and retrieve four objects hidden in the field. There are requirements for retrieval, pace, efficiency and endurance in the search, in addition to cooperation between dog and handler. The dog must find all four objects within five minutes to get the top score. Even if you don't want to compete, field hunting is a fun activity to do with your dog. Do you have a tendency to lose keys, glasses etc. - teach the dog to find it on its own and come to you with it - extremely useful in everyday life. Field training is also excellent head training and self-confidence building in dogs if it is done correctly, so even if you don't want to compete, it is well worth training.


Nosework is directly translated nose work. The dog will learn to recognize the scent of three essential oils and mark where they find the smell. Nosework is a search sport that was established in the USA and Nosework Norway was founded in 2014. When the dog has learned to recognize the smell of three essential oils. Before it can start competing in nosework, it must go through a test on each of the three smells. The test is called an odor recognition test and in the test 12 boxes are laid out, one of which has an odor in it. Dog and handler have three minutes to search and find the right box with smell. The test is taken for all three smells. Once this has been passed, dog and handler can start the competition. In a competition setting, odors must be found in four different areas: search in packaging, search in rooms indoors, search in a designated area outdoors and search on the outside of one or more vehicles.


Smeller involves letting the dog find and mark ID odors from different people. The sport is free of traditional obedience exercises and does not require prior knowledge, but it is important to practice smell recognition and freeze marking (or similar) of odor detection. The dog sport is administered and developed by Norsk Smellerklubb. In a competition setting, each participant draws a closed bag containing an alien 'banger'. This is either made of paper, leather, plastic or rubber and is given an ID smell from a stranger. Until the first exercise, the dog handler must introduce his own dog to the smell of bangs. How the driver introduces the smell is up to the driver. The dog must find and mark this smell in each exercise. When the dog marks an odor detection, the right hand is raised above shoulder height so that the judge can assess whether the marking is correct or incorrect. The competition is based on both skill and time. If you are not a competitive person, slaps are still excellent as activation for dog and handler.

En heeler trener på sporing

En heeler trener på sporing

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Becoming a rescue dog is rarely something suitable for small down-to-earth dogs like the Lancashire Heeler, but there are exceptions. Some smaller breeds can be suitable for searching for people in collapsed houses, in unsafe breed areas and the like. It is important to be aware that training a rescue dog requires a LOT of time, training and resources and that after completing your training you are expected to participate actively in the voluntary rescue service.


Rescue dogs are NOT like a vanlig dog club where you train dogs for fun, but a service that requires dedication and is a way of life. To be able to start an education in rescue dogs, you must attend a basic course and then complete an appeal test. The basic course is designed for drivers with theory, practical first aid and field trips. The appeal test is basic obedience exercises and the dog must be over 10 months old to participate. If you pass the basic course and the appeal test, you will be able to start training in three branches: search, avalanche and disaster search.