North Coast dogs hot on the scent at trials

Coffs Harbour’s Angela Sercombe with ‘Peach’.

DOGS from the North Coast of NSW, including those from Dorrigo, Coramba, Nambucca, Fernmount and Coffs Harbour, competed at recent Scentwork trials in Grafton hosted by the local dog obedience club.

The trial was the first for some of the Coffs Harbour Dog Club’s newest Scentwork handlers, with owners pleased that most of the rain held off at the Grafton Showgrounds.

From Coffs Harbour, Cocker Spaniel cross ‘Peach’ can’t get enough of scentwork, otherwise known as nose work or scent detection.

“Through a workshop at the Coffs Dog Club, my dog loved it and so did I,” Peach’s owner Angela Sercombe told NOTA.

“So far Peach has got her Tricks Starter Title and Tracking Dog Title.”

Admitting not to love the Agility aspect of dog sports, Angela said Peach much prefers nose work.

“In Agility, she looks for ways to get out of the ring straight away and with Scentwork she looks for ways to get in there and get started really quickly,” said Angela.

“She’s keen and happy and she finds the scents well.”

Scentwork suits a wide range of dogs, from six months old to the elderly.

It suits dogs that may not be very comfortable or happy around other dogs, such as reactive dogs, because they perform alone, away from other dogs.

It’s also good for dogs that may have conditions that restrict them in other sports, like vision impairments, physical impairments or ailments.

While scentwork can be fairly instinctive for the dogs, there is an element of teamwork required.

A handler must understand their dog and know what their alerts look like when they find a scent.

“Peach has a soft alert in that she changes her behaviour from seeking to a more refined searching, for example hunting in a more particular area.

“When she finds it, she’ll look back at me,” said Angela.

In Scentwork, there are lots of levels/classes, different elements/scents and types of searches (containers or exterior, interior and vehicles) and different heights.

Peach picked up three qualifications over the weekend.

Nothing to sniff at!


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