Where the nose leads you

Sport­ing de­tec­tion: A fun ac­tiv­ity for dogs and peo­ple

The Amherst News - - REGIONAL - BY LYNN CURWIN TRURO DAILY NEWS lynn.curwin@truro­daily.com

Tar­get loves track­ing down scents, and Barb Deg loves see­ing him do it.

When Deg re­tired her Ir­ish set­ter, Tar­get, from field work she knew he needed to get in­volved in an­other ac­tiv­ity; sport­ing de­tec­tion is prov­ing ideal.

“His nose and mind works well and he al­ready un­der­stood scents so I thought he’d en­joy it,” said Deg. “It’s open to all breeds and mixes. It’s a fun ac­tiv­ity all dogs can do, even those who are blind, deaf or have other dis­abil­i­ties.”

Deg, who lives in Cole Har­bour, is one of just a few sport­ing de­tec­tion train­ers.

She said she’s seen dogs from the age of six months to 15 years take part.

Once dogs are ready, they can com­pete in judged tri­als and earn ti­tles.

“It’s a rel­a­tively new sport, but some of the tri­als in On­tario, B.C. and the U.S. were filled in about half an hour,” said Deg. “It men­tally chal­lenges dogs and the peo­ple re­ally learn to read the dog’s body lan­guage.”

Sport­ing de­tec­tion (some­times called nose work or scent de­tec­tion) mim­ics what is done by work­ing dogs who search for drugs and ex­plo­sives, but in the sport the an­i­mals are taught to lo­cate es­sen­tial oil scents.

They do con­tainer searches, room searches, ex­te­rior and ve­hi­cle searches.

As they progress through the lev­els the searches be­come more dif­fi­cult, with dis­trac­tion scents be­ing added.

Deg has two Ir­ish set­ters and a mixed-breed she adopted through a res­cue group tak­ing part in sport­ing de­tec­tion.

“Any dog can do this,” she said. “I have ev­ery­thing from a Papil­lon to a cane corso in the classes, and there’s a Papil­lon who has a mas­ter cham­pi­onship.”

The first sport­ing de­tec­tion trial in the Truro area will be held at Lit­tle Moe’s K9 Academy, in Bi­ble Hill, April 7-8. Peo­ple in­ter­ested in learn­ing more about the ac­tiv­ity can ar­range to watch the out­door search­ing, or to watch a class (which Deg teaches at Lit­tle Moe’s, as well as other lo­ca­tions around the prov­ince).

More in­for­ma­tion can be found at https://frontnscen­ter.com or www.sport­ingde­tec­tion­dogs. ca or by email­ing Deg at info@ frontnscen­ter.com

LYNN CURWIN-TRURO DAILY NEWS

Barb Deg trains dogs, in­clud­ing her Ir­ish set­ter, Tar­get, in sport­ing de­tec­tion. She teaches classes in the pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity at Lit­tle Moe’s K9 Academy.

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