The Next Urban Dog Sport

Over the years I have traveled in many a dog circle. One of the biggest complaints that I have heard from urban dog enthusiasts is the lack of tracking fields available for training. For many of our rural dog owning friends this seems unheard of; no place to track, why that is silly. However, for many of us city types a drive over an hour, sometimes many hours to go tracking is the norm.

Along with my training partners Amy and Ron we developed a structured class curriculum that brings detection style training to those folks looking for something different to do with their four legged companions. We tested our first class in Long Beach in the summer of 2006. At that point, we didn’t realize how quickly folks would get hooked.

What we found was an audience of humans and dogs hungry for a new and creative outlet for all that natural doggy instinct and energy. It has been inspiring seeing such a wide variety of dogs recapturing those parts of themselves that, as companion dogs is often suppressed. This happens not on purpose often, but just because the need to hunt or scavenge ones daily meal isn't required for survival. What we hope to do is give the dog permission to be a dog and to help their people to harness that energy so it is channeled positively.

On January 25 we held our first titling event. We had 24 dogs entered in the first National Canine Scent Work Association sanctioned trial (www.ncswa.net) and 7 dogs earned their NW1 title. All the dogs did a top notch job and are well on their way to getting those NW titles. We had mixed breeds, small dogs & large dogs, purebred dogs and all the varieties in-between.

The most amazing part is watching the dogs that were unable to cope with people or new environments really start to blossom. My next project is to bring a structured version of nose work to the shelter dogs that I see who need a more organized outlet for all that pent up frustration. Over time I hope to bring a few of their stories to you and how the program helps them cope with the shelter environment.

I want to close by saying congratulations to all the new NW1 title holders. To see photos from the trial please visit http://www.aba-alt.com/ncswa-trial/ courtesy of Scott Peterson.