K9 Nose Work Classes

Yas Bakshian is a Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI) with the NACSW (National Association of Canine Scent Work) and she teaches nose work in two different locations in the Twin Cities. She competes with both her Portuguese Water Dog and her Border Collie. Yas & Junuh, her PWD, earned their NW3Elite title in 2017 and were only the 5th team in MN to earn such a title. She has also competed and earned Junuh's AKC CH, along with his Apprentice Water Dog Title and his AX and AXJ in Agility. Her Border Collie is just starting her nose work journey and has her NW2 and is also training in agility.

The Nose Work classes will focus on teaching both the dog and handler the foundation skills necessary to compete in this new performance sport. NACSW Trials includes the 4 elements of containers, interiors, vehicles and exteriors, while AKC Scent Work does not have vehicles, but adds handler discrimination and buried hides. NACSW has been holding trials since 2009, while AKC only began their program in October of 2017. Classes are most often indoors, but in the Spring, Summer & Fall we will also have field trips to local parks.

There are periodical openings in our Nose Work classes at the two locations. And we are planning on starting new classes as there is interest. So please tell us about your interest by clicking on any of the sign up buttons so we can contact you when we do start a new nose work class OR when we have an opening in an existing class*. (please scroll all the way down to see class descriptions and pricing.)
*By signing up, you agree to the class policies published on this site.



Nose Work classes are held in the same building as Shady Oak Vet Clinic and Veterinary Behavior Specialties of MN located on Mtka Blvd. & 169. Classes will be offered on Monday afternoons & Friday afternoons & evenings.


South St. Paul

Nose Work Classes are held on Wednesday afternoons & Saturday mornings at St. Paul Dog Training Club (SPDTC) in South St. Paul.  By clicking on the signup button you will be redirected to the SPDTC wait list form.

A Little Background About Nose Work Classes

Inspired by working detection dogs, this new sport is a fun search and scenting activity for virtually all dogs and people. This easy-to-learn activity and sport builds confidence and focus in many dogs and provides a safe way to keep dogs fit and healthy through mental and low impact physical exercise. The skills taught in these classes are a good foundation for both NACSW Trials and AKC Scent Work Trials.

We start with getting your dog excited about using his nose to seek out a treat or favorite toy that's hidden in one of several boxes; the game will then expand to entire rooms, exterior areas, and vehicles. We also will focus on training the handler on their observation skills of their dog while they are searching.

During each class every dog works individually and rests safely in his crate between turns. There should be no interaction or socialization between dogs at any time during classes. This is to ensure that every dog has the opportunity to work and gain confidence in a distraction and stress free environment AND this also helps the dog focus much more acutely when they are working on finding the source of a scent. 

Please Note: Students should plan to remain in each level for multiple blocks at the same class time as they work with their dog to build and strengthen skills. Each group of student within a class will transition from one level to the next as a group, so a class will start as a Nose Work Foundations class then transition to the Target Odor Basics and then to more advanced searches in Continued Nose Work.

Nose Work Foundations: Introduction to K9 Nose Work®

COST: $150 for 6 lessons
Each lesson is 50 minutes in length. Class size is limited to 4-6 dog with a minimum of 4 dogs to hold a class.

Dogs must be 6 months of age and crate trained.

Dogs are introduced to the game through the use of boxes and their favorite treat or toy reward (bring a back-up toy, and plenty of treats along with a hungry dog!). The goal of this class is to build the dogs' confidence to search and solve scent problems independently and to expose the dogs to various environmental challenges as they learn to focus on the search. Handlers get to learn the most effective methods for motivating their dogs to search independently, including the power of self-rewarding.

Students should plan to remain in Nose Work Foundations for multiple blocks as they work with their dog to build skills and confidence. Dogs and handlers who are looking to enjoy the game at their own pace, with no interest to compete may also continue in this class with adjustments to the difficulty level to keep the dog challenged and engaged. The Nose Work Foundations class will naturally transition into the Target Odor Basics Class, as the dog & handler's skill set are developed. This class must be completed in order to advance to the next class level: Target Odor Basics.

Target Odor Basics

COST: $150 for 6 lessons
Each lesson is 50 minutes in length. Class size is limited to 4-6 dog with a minimum of 4 dogs to hold a class.

Prerequisite: Nose Work Foundations

Building upon the skills from Nose Work FOUNDATIONS, this class focuses on teaching the dogs to search for the specific target odor of Birch, which is one of the three essential oils used in K9 Nose Work, the other two are Anise & Clove. Birch is also the first odor for the AKC Scent Work Program. There are a total of four AKC target odors: Birch, Anise, Clove & Cypress. Dogs will learn to search expanded areas more effectively and handlers will learn valuable techniques for supporting their dogs in the search. As your dog grows more confident with his nose, additional competition skills are taught.

This level will also help dog & handler teams develop the skills required to successfully search areas with more difficult hide placements and with focus on the four elements of competition: container searches, interior, exterior, and vehicle searches. This level will also include the introduction of the remaining target odors. Students should plan to remain at this level for multiple blocks as they work with their dog to build skills and confidence.

Nose Work
for Addicts ;-)

COST: $150 for 6 lessons
Each lesson is 50 minutes in length. Class size is limited to 4-6 dog with a minimum of 4 dogs to hold a class.


This level is for the continuing nose work enthusiast who loves searching with their dog and attending classes. Experienced dog and handler teams will find the challenges offered in this course highly rewarding. Dogs will be introduced to new and difficult search scenarios under the guidance of the instructor to ensure a positive learning experience including converging odors and more in-depth coverage of inaccessible hides.

Handlers will focus on increasing their ability to support their dogs in the search through a greater understanding of the various factors affecting how scent moves. Trial strategies will be discussed and implemented during class exercises with special attention to strategic handling choices that will benefit the teamwork of dog & handler.