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Nosework: Adding Clarity with Contrasts

February 13

7:00 am PT

This talk is eligible for CEUs from: IAABC, KPA


Nosework was originally developed as an enrichment activity and quickly grew into one of the fastest growing dog sports. While therapeutic in nature, it also requires skillful training and handling.

Training with clarity is a goal for any sports training and it’s no different for Nosework! It’s important we have clear criteria for behavior at source and provide consistency with our criteria, mechanics and communication.

Let’s consider how we can use contrasts to provide clarity. Will odor always be in a container? Will odor always be accessible? What about that distractor? Will there always be odor? Nosework is not only about finding target odor, but clearing cold areas, working through pooling odor, dismissing novel odors and more. By structuring our training to include contrasts, dogs learn to understand more clearly the essential elements of the task

Nosework struggles are often a lack of understanding. Contrasts highlight those struggles and provide a path of understanding for the dog and handler. We can then tweak the training to bring clarity to the game.

In this presentation, Julie will share many ways to strengthen your dog’s understanding using the thoughtful applications of contrasts!

Presented By:

Julie Symons

Julie Symons (she/her) has been involved in dog sports for over 25 years and prides herself on the versatile accomplishments she earned with her dogs. She has earned HITs across four different sports with three dogs and earned Championships in Obedience, Conformation, Agility and Nosework.

Her passion for dog training grew out of the incredible journey she shared with her first performance dog Rival. Julie learned how wonderful the bond can be with our canine partners and all that was possible to accomplish together. After the thrill of earning a TDX and immersing herself in Nosework with her next dog Savvy, Julie’s love for scent sports intensified. She has been coaching Nosework teams since 2014 and is an AKC licensed Scent Work judge.

Julie has been a faculty member at Fenzi Dog Sports Academy since 2014 and is owner of Savvy Dog Sports, Inc. She is a consummate learner, an energetic instructor and skillful at problem solving. Julie brings a wealth of experience to her students; her success across multiple sports is built on solid foundation skills and effective communication.

Besides the joy in reaching her competition goals and those of her students, Julie is most content when out on a trail hiking with her dogs!