Dog Nosework Trials Held This Weekend

A dog checks out the container where the target odor has been placed. (Photo by Pat Blair)

Dogs and their owners are competing in three days of Nosework Trials this weekend at the Sheridan County Fairgrounds.

Bev Coplin, who's been a judge in the event but who's a competitor in this weekend's show, explained what the event's about.

The event is hosted by the Rocky Mountain Dog Stars. Coplin said owners are from all over, from as far away as Washington, and include family pets as well as dogs trained to sniff out substances as part of a job. Coplin said her own dog, a 6-year-old German shepherd, is one of the working dogs.

She said there are five target odors, and the dogs are trained to alert at the source of the odor. Coplin said almost anybody can train their dog for nosework, and it's a lot of fun.

Sunday is the last day of the trials, which start at 7:30 a.m with check-in for owners and dogs. Competition starts at 9 a.m., and there are divisions from pre-trials to novice dogs to those who are experienced in sniffing out the target odors.

All dogs must be permanently registered or have a temporary listing number with the United Kennel Club and must be at least six months old by the day of the event in order to compete.

View more photos below.

Dog and owner get ready for competition in the novice Nosework class. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Another dog alerts on the target odor. (Photo by Pat Blair)
One of the smaller competitors hones in on the scent. (Photo by Pat Blair)