Rules and Etiquette

There are some rules we follow in our scent work events, classes and competitions, so searches run smoothly, and all participants have the greatest chance of succeeding and having fun.

No dog-dog interaction is ever allowed. We love to have fun, and dog fights, bites or scares are NOT fun. It’s your responsibility to control your dog at all times. Don’t allow your dog within 10 feet of another dog. If your dog is close enough to sniff another dog, you are way too close!

We appreciate it if you gently remind other handlers that are too close never to allow dog-dog interaction. It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep things safe and fun. Please remember that some dogs are reactive and some are unsure or scared of the environment, so some teams will need time and space to allow them to do their best. If your reactive dog is barking at another dog or person, interrupt his eye contact by stepping between the dog and the distraction. Move further away until your dog reaches a zone of comfort. Stay calm so your dog is calm.

When you arrive, potty your dog. Arrive early so you have lots of time so you are sure your dog has eliminated outside. If your dog eliminates inside, his turn is over (just like competition). Eliminating in the search area is a terrible habit we need to prevent, rather than trying to fix it later. Accidents happen to all dogs and handlers, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, but we definitely want to minimise accidents. Once you clean up the accident, take your dog outside for potty. After a break, your dog will have another chance to search.

Crate your dog in your vehicle and enter the building without your dog. Grab a seat and get comfortable. Watch until it’s your turn in the run order.

When it’s your turn in the run order, bring your dog in and let him get comfortable with the surroundings. Once your dog is focused, we can begin searching.


About carlalsimon (90 Articles)
Dr. Carla Simon is a Scent Detection Instructor, Certifying Official (UKC Nosework), and President of Sniff Alberta. She’s been breeding and training scent dogs for Hunter’s Heart since 1999. Carla's evidence-based, motivational training has helped hundreds of scent dogs to reach their potential, with target odors ranging from human scent to bed bugs. Follow her Nosework & K9 Scent Detection Blog at:

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