NW120: Introduction to NW Search Elements

Posted in Course Descriptions

Course Details

Nosework is the popular new dog sport that is sweeping the nation, and you can get in on the fun! Our nosework classes are taught with the method used to produce the nation's top drug and bomb detection dogs! This backchaining method is effective on almost all dogs, from insecure and unfocused dogs to highly driven and intense workers. The proof is in the pudding; dogs going through only one or two levels of our courses are earning their ORT and NW titles in record time!  Even if your dog has failed using other methods, we can help you succeed!

This is the second course in our nosework series, and continues on where NW101 left off. If you have not completely caught up with everything in NW101, that is okay. We will just progress from where you currently are. In general, we begin with the assumption that your dog has or is close to having the skill required for an ORT. We will work through each of the four elements required for the NW1 title - interior, exterior, container, and vehicle search - while looking at the unique challenges each poses. We'll also discuss handling techniques that you can implement to help support your dog in his search.  


Next session starts: April 1, 2017
Registration starts: March 22, 2017
Registration ends: April 15, 2017

Registration will begin at 11:00AM PST.

Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 25 students, Bronze: unlimited. If you are interested in bronze level, you can sign up any time during the registration period.

For answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.

Prerequisites and Equipment

Prerequisites: NW101 (Introduction to Nosework) or equivalent. This class would also be appropriate for dogs needing to revisit search element foundation skills.

You can purchase the lecture-only potion of NW101 from our Prerequisites Purchase page.

Equipment needed: 

  • Video camera/access to YouTube upload (Gold only),
  • Kit:
    • Birch oil (or whatever odor your dog will be searching for) 
    • scented q-tips
    • Metal tins with holes (see picture below of more types of "qtip containers" we'll be using).
    • tweezers
    • 2nd and 3rd odors for Week 6 lecture on introducing new odors (Anise and Clove for NACSW). 

We will start using other items to hold the qtips in for hide placement other than a tin. Here is a picture of some of the items we will be using. One of my favorite items to use are the flat heat shrink wrap tubes that you can get at your local hardware store.

holders small

Space required: None specified. Some people have asked about working outside in winter. We will cover exteriors and vehicles. However people in previous courses have found creative ways to introduce those elements in less than ideal conditions. This class, like NW101, is ultimately about obedience to odor - just work on getting that strong for the elements that you have access to and you aren't likely to have any trouble with the others!


Week 1: Foundation / Self-Assessment / Baseline
• Review of foundation games
• Review Intro to Interiors
• Self-Assessment and Baseline video
• Weekly Container exercise: Introducing food and toy distractions
• Acclimating your dog to crating for trial prep
• Introducing your dog to different qtip holders

Week 2: Interiors
• Weekly Container exercise and progress report
• Introduction to Airflow and how it impacts hide placement and search results
• Hide Placement: What makes a hide Accessible and Inaccessible
• Line of Objects
• Cluttered Room
• Interior Search in a New Area, not cluttered

Week 3: Intro to Exteriors
• Weekly Container exercise and progress report
• Importance of the value of the reinforcer
• Exterior considerations
• Small area exterior in known environment

Week 4: Exteriors Continued
• Weekly Container exercise and progress report
• Expanding the search area in a known environment
• Assessing the difficulty of novel locations
• Exterior Search, small area in a novel, easy environment
• Exterior Search, larger area in a novel, easy environment

Week 5: Intro to Vehicles
• Weekly Container exercise and progress report
• Vehicle Search, Introduction in known environment
• Vehicle Search, using smaller hides and common placements
• Vehicle Search, easy novel environment, known vehicle
• Vehicle Search, easy environment, novel vehicle
• Vehicle Search, known environment with adding cold car

Week 6: Putting it all together
• Aging Hides
• Weekly Container exercise and progress report
• Developing independent start lines
• Building stamina with sequential element searches
• Introducing additional odors
• Revisit Self-Assessment 

Course Testimonials



Before this course, my dogs were excited to search for odour and could easily do a simple box search. However, their alert behaviour was too destructive and I was unsure how to progress their skills beyond simple boxes. Both issues were addressed in this course and I am so happy with the results. My dogs can now successfully do interior and exterior searches and their alert behaviour is a beautiful nose-to-source indication without mouthiness or pawing. I would definitely recommend this course for anyone interested in working on nose work skills.             

This is the second nosework course I have taken with Fenzi. Both courses were excellent. Material was useful, practical, detailed and thorough. I have taken other Nosework courses before. None have come anywhere near to matching the quality of the Fenzi courses and the credentials, obvious expertise and supportiveness of the course leaders. Thankyou. Lesley M             

I love that videos of dogs of all skill levels are included. It helps emensely to see video of a dog at the same level as the one you are working, so you know what can go wrong, and what a dog just starting out looks like. The lecture material is well organized and laid out. The number of lectures and exercises was just right, not overwhelming but also enough to keep you interested and on your toes with something new.                        

Lecture notes are clear and very helpful. Video's are always very pertinent and show good examples of lecture topic.           

I am not able to take local classes because of my work schedule, so tried the online Nosework class for the first time. It is a super value; I got more from this 6 week auditing than I did from the prior 6 months of in person classes. I feel that my dog and I are really well prepared for our first trial next month.            

Once again, I'm amazed at how much progress can be made in only 6 weeks. This class was a great introduction to each of the the NW1 search elements.              

The lectures were very detailed and helpful, and released at a good rate...not too fast to be overwhelming, but enough that a ton of information was crammed into the 6 weeks. The videos provided with the lectures were good examples of the exercise.             

I was so pleased with this course. I was able to understand exactly what I needed to do, and my two Beardies picked it up quickly, thank you! Sherry M