Nose Work is a fun, mentally stimulating activity that allows dogs to do what they do best – use their noses to find things. It is like hunting, but in the realm of nose work they are hunting for target odors and being rewarded with treats or a favorite toy. Dogs love it, and it is also a bonding activity for pet dog and owner.
Our Nose Work for Conservation (NW4C) volunteer program takes things a step further. Pet dogs and owners with a certain skill level of nose work under their belts may contribute to the environmental conservation cause by training to detect invasive species. Our current focus is on devil weed, an invasive plant, and melon flies, an agricultural pest (see Current Projects page for details). Teams participate in odor imprinting exercises, odor recognition tests and small scale field trials to gather data and experience to help grow the most impactful training plans and field implementation methods for our working dogs.
Certain dog/handler teams that meet the criteria for and have the desire to do so will go on to conduct field surveys as volunteer representatives of our organization.