Beyond the Leash produces a solid group of Nosework contenders

Viviana and her Labrador Betty work to find scents on ordinary objects during a recent Nosework class. Betty passed her odor recognition test in March.

Nosework trainer Scott Williams went through his first round of odor recognition tests in the last two days of March since moving from the West Coast. His canine students produced a success rate that speaks to their abilities and reveals a positive evaluation of Beyond the Leash courses.

The odor recognition tests are a means to obtain an official certificate to allow canines to compete in sanctioned Nosework competitions or trials, which test a dog’s ability to locate a target odor within a predetermined period of time. The odor recognition test requires that dogs locate a scent within three minutes and sufficiently alert their owner. If do this they are awarded their certificate on the spot.

Despite the rainy weather, dog after dog filed into the basement at Lincoln Hall in West Boxford to take part in the tests and earn their certificate. Over the two days of trial tests, Scott ran 43 dogs of all shapes and sizes through his gauntlet of white cardboard boxes, one of which contained a birch-scented Q-tip.

With the help of one of his friends from the West Coast, Penny Scott-Fox, he gave each dog three minutes to find the birch scent inside one box. And of the 43 dogs, 39 were able to locate the scent and alert their owners sufficiently with in the three minutes, producing a success rate of 91 percent.

The four dogs that did fail do so because they either could not find the scent in three minutes, their owners did not notice that they had found the scent, or they simply alerted their owner on the wrong box.

He said that the success rate was satisfactory and that the four dogs failed for the typical reasons, i.e. new environment, human error.

Scott’s canine clients are now prepared and their owners are hoping to enter them into upcoming Nosework trials .  The next trial will be coming up soon in September at Masterpeace Dog Training in Franklin, MA.

With an official certification in Nosework training, Scott has the appropriate training to issue certificates that allow dogs to enter Nosework trials. He will soon be running another round of odor recognition tests for some dog owners in Connecticut.

Scott is beginning a new round of Nosework classes on May 23. Contact him at

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