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The Nosework Confidence Trifecta: Mood, Engagement, and Independence

February 11

4:00 pm PT

This talk is eligible for CEUs from: IAABC, KPA


Confidence is one of those qualities where it can be difficult to put your finger on WHAT it means or how to develop it. At the same time. it is a critical component to ensuring that a nosework dog is successful, either at competition or at utilizing the activity for deep enrichment. It turns out that when we enhance a dog’s mood, engagement, and independence while searching, the result is greater confidence.

Mood for our purposes can be described as a feeling of optimism and connection to the handler. This quality is directly tied to the handler’s own emotions. We will cover how to shift the handler and the dog’s mood prior to the search.

Engagement in the search is directly tied to the dog’s interest level. We will cover ways to increase engagement as well as address the “sweet spot” in terms of hide placement or search area challenge level. Too challenging and we create anxiety … Too easy and we risk boredom. By finding and developing that sweet spot, we can see a huge uptick in the dog’s search performance.

Independence is more than just standing aside and letting the dog work. It’s partly created by developing the belief inside that dog that YES, they CAN do it; and partly by understanding the impacts of accidental pressure due to handler proximity so that we can constantly seek to release that pressure.

This talk will go into how these three aspects, the Trifecta, work together, why each are important, and we will highlight actionable ideas to improve each of them. You will find that by addressing all three of these aspects at the same time, you will create a more confident team member. We will have the opportunity to not only discuss the concept of how these qualities work together, but we will also review videos demonstrating what we can specifically do to enhance our dogs’ confidence overall.

Presented By:

Stacy Barnett

Stacy Barnett (she/her) is a top nosework competitor and trainer, being one of only a handful of teams with multiple Summit Level (SMTx3) titles in the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) with her dog Judd. Stacy has been a faculty member at Fenzi Dog Sports Academy since 2015 and is an international clinician for seminar. She is a licensed Judge for for AKC Scent Work where she was also retained in an advisory position for the AKC Scent Work program for 2 years. Stacy is the author of the popular blog, Scentsabilities Nosework, and hosts weekly educational webinars.

With her degree in Chemical Engineering and her understanding of fluid flow dynamics, she has a deep understanding of odor movement. She believes in utilizing scent theory and odor to educate and craft the highly competitive nosework dog, as well as bringing enrichment to dogs using Nosework as an activity to build confidence. She prides herself in being able to bring creative solutions to build odor obedience, confidence, drive, and motivation for the sport. Her mantra is CONFIDENCE, MOTIVATION, SKILLS and STAMINA.

Stacy’s approach to training goes beyond just setting Nosework hides. She takes an approach that cares for both the emotional and the cognitive aspects of the dog in order to help bring out the dog’s full potential. Her approach is not only reflected in her own dogs’ successes but also in her students. Stacy truly finds joy in tapping into a dog’s desire to search and to communicate with the handler.

Stacy loves helping others and her enthusiasm for the sport is contagious. Even greater than her love for the sport is her love of teaching. She prides herself on being a highly creative, enthusiastic and caring instructor, easily able to teach all levels of Nosework students. Stacy loves seeing teams flourish in the sport and enjoy what has become an extremely popular outlet for all dogs.