We recently posted about our Nose Work class. Not long ago I saw my dog do a really cool thing that shows the power of his nose. Oz, my 7-year old Rottweiler was with me and my husband outside of a house we were staying in for the weekend. Oz was busy sniffing our car tires, with his back to us. My husband walked away toward the back of the property and went around to the back of the house, out of sight. In city distance, he was about three houses away. Oz did not notice him leave. Oz finished inspecting and watering the tires and turned around, looking to where my husband had been standing. He ran quickly to that spot and lifted his nose up in the air. Catching my husband’s scent, Oz snapped his head in the direction my husband had gone and ran directly to him. It was fascinating to see him use his nose so purposefully and to see the spark in his eyes the moment he detected the direction my husband had travelled.
Oz took the level 1 Nose Work class in the Spring 2011 session and we still do some of the exercises at home. We hide treats and have him find them. One night we had run out of dog food and Oz started searching all the nooks and crannies in the house just as if I had told him to “find it.” His pace and focus told me it was not just idle sniffing. It was cute but sad (I felt like a “bad” mom. I ended up making him scrambled eggs.)
We have not progressed into advanced Nose Work yet and maybe Oz is not doing anything remarkable by dog standards. Humans tend to take for granted the innate ability of dogs to smell what we can’t see. But the time Oz and I have spent working together has heightened my awareness and appreciation of this natural ability and of the importance of scent in Oz’s life.