Monday, March 29, 2010

New Nosework Article

Nosework’ classes brings dogs into their own

Boxford dog trainer has more than 100 clients hooked on ‘Nosework’

Nationally-recognized dog trainer Scott Williams has recently begun introducing the activity of Nosework to dog trainers and local pet owners in the Northeast. His company, Beyond the Leash, is currently one of a handful of training businesses in the country certified to teach the sport that is rising in popularity.

While your dog doesn’t like checking facebook on your laptop and you are not too keen on sticking your nose into a pile of wet leaves, Nosework represents an activity that you and your dog can genuinely enjoy together.

Nosework’s search-dog techniques introduces structured activities to your dog that allows him or her to grow on its own; to grow more into focus, grow closer to their strongest sense, and grow closer to you.

And by giving dogs the freedom to unlock the powerful potential in their sense of smell, Nosework classes can uncover the sometimes unnoticed intelligence and autonomy in canines.

Scott Williams, of Boxford, has firmly placed himself as an east coast pioneer of the activity. Starting with classes in West Boxford, William’s Nosework training has now spread throughout New England as his students, some of whom are dog trainers, are now beginning to teach the classes in their own respective regions. Williams, however, is one of only a dozen trainers in the country with a certification to teach Nosework through the National Association of Canine Scent Work , the official governing agent for the sport.

While it has been well under a year since he moved from the west coast, Williams has engaged over 100 dogs and dog owners in the activity that can bring a domesticated canine back to its primal instincts.

The class begins by first incentivizing your dog to search and hunt using food hidden in one of several cardboard boxes. But in subsequent lessons, these canine students will track a birch scented q-tip under the wheel carriage of a pick up truck.

In addition to your dog’s short term enjoyment, the classes also have the real potential to see long term mood enrichment in an otherwise bored or stubborn canine.

Watertown resident Viviana Cordano began working with Williams in July and said that her two-year old Labrador Betty, who she found in an animal rescueshelter, has become more tranquil since first beginning Nosework classes.

“She’s a rescue dog that had been returned to the shelter three times so I knew she was a little bit of a trouble maker. But she didn’t know her boundaries; no one had ever taught her anything,” said Cordano. “Not only did she need to learn but I wanted to get her mind working, her nose working…mentally tire her out.”

Cordano goes onto explain what she noticed about Betty after going through the courses with Williams.

“I found this sport and she’s doing really, really good. We enjoy it very much. Our relationship has grown tremendously and she seems calmer too,” said Cordano.

Dog trainers are also drawn to the sport that strengthens a dog’s ability to identify certain smells through some of the same methods taught to law enforcement canines.

While some trainers find that Nosework is able to increase their pet’s repertoire of abilities, others find it is simply an outlet for their dog — and for themselves.

Dog trainer Mac McCluskey travels down from Lebanon, Maine to attend the Nosework classes in Boxford. During a recent class, McCluskey took his 3-year-old Belgian Malinois Naiya through an advanced Nosework course. The course had the canine looking among random boxes, around the perimeter of a building, and in the various nooks and crevasses around the outside of a car using the search command “find it.”

“I do other dog sports with the rest of my dogs and I needed to find something for her. She seems to be pretty much a natural for it,” said McCluskey. “So it’s good for her and it’s a great outlet for her.”

McCluskey goes on to explain how his dog, and others,can enjoy the sport so much.

“Dogs are just like giant noses on four legs…dogs smell things the way we see things. So in a structured environment like this it really draws on what they do best. And that’s use their nose.”

To learn more about Nosework and enroll in Williams’s most popular class, “Intro to Nosework,” visit Beyon or contact Williams at 866-957-3647. Williams also offers obedience classes as well as his nationally recognized “Doggy Boot Camp.”