Tracking and Nosework

While the Whippet, being a member of the sighthound family of dogs, isn’t in the same category of renown for its olfactory skills as the trailing scenthounds, it nonetheless possesses a perfectly functional canine nose. While only a small percentage of Whippet owners attempt tracking with their Whippets, those who do often find that both they, and the Whippets, really enjoy both the training and entering tracking tests, and Whippets are able to achieve the tracking titles offered by AKC. A newer activity that has begun to attract more attention from Whippet owners is Nosework.

Tracking

The sport of tracking is the competition form of search and rescue activities. We’ve all seen and read accounts of dogs used to track lost children and fleeing criminals, and to search disaster areas for victims in the debris. The tracking dog is trained to follow human scent trail and find an object, normally a glove, at the end of the trail. Dogs who complete a track by following the scent trail with accuracy and find the glove at the end receive titles, with the higher titles available to dogs that complete more complicated tracks over more varied surfaces.

You and your tracking Whippet in training must be ready to rise early and work with your trainer on fields that have not yet be trafficked by other people that day. Tracking tests are offered infrequently in most areas, but only one successful track is required to achieve each title. A promising Whippet tracking candidate will be one that from puppyhood enjoys following scent trails and often has its nose to the ground.

More information on tracking can be found on the AKC's website.

K9 Nose Work

As tracking is the competition version of search and rescue, nose work is the recreational version of police and security screening work performed by dogs, where highly-trained security screening dogs are trained to sniff containers and clothing for scent traces of drugs, contraband, or explosive devices.

K9 Nose Work is the specific sport created and sanctioned by the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW).The terms "nose work", "fun nose work," "scent work," and "search work" are all commonly used references to describe any activity where the dog is using its nose to locate a target scent or odor. K9 Nose Work is the official sanctioning body for Nose Work events where titles can be earned, but many owners simply enjoy taking a few nose work classes with their Whippets to see if they have aptitude for the sport. This is a new canine sport, but one which appears to be attracting growing numbers of enthusiasts, and the Whippets that have been given the opportunity to try nose work often do quite well, although they are not among the breeds considered most intrinsically talented at this activity.

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