​Training for People

           with Dogs

The ABC Games Odours: 
SOG - Single Odour Game: Birch or Wintergreen
DOG - Double Odour Game: Birch and Anise or Wintergreen and Pine
TOG - Triple Odour Game: Birch, Anise and Clove or Wintergreen, Pine and Thyme

(in Canada, we will use NACSW or SDDA odours but not together or at the same game)

NACSW Odours:  
Birch - Betula Lenta 
Anise - Pimpinella Anisum
Clove - Eugenia Caryophylatta

SDDA Scents:
Wintergreen (Gaultharia procumbens) 
Pine (pinus pinaster or sylvestris) 
Red/WhiteThyme (Thymus vulgaris) 

C-Wags Scents:
Birch Bark Sweet (Betula lenta) 
Clove Bud (Eugenia caryophyllata or Syzygium aromaticum L) 
Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus ) 


 K9 ABC Games - to enter the games, you must first register your dog here

Odour preparation is different for the SDDA and NASCW and C-Wags. Check out their websites and make you get the exact odours / scents that are listed there.


National Association of Canine Scent Work or NACSW


Sporting Detection Dogs Association or SDDA


Canine -Work And Games  or C-Wags


K9 ABC Games

NACSW Oil Preparation:
Keep your scented cotton swabs in a glass jar with a screw top – as air tight as possible.  Fill the jar about 3/4s full with q-tips cut in half; put several drops of oil over the tops of the q-tips, then put the lid on and shake it up.  This will most likely last six months or so before you need to add more oil. 

SDDA Oil Preparation:

Generally , one drop of oil on a swab or cotton ball

Handle with care:
I can be messy so I prepare all my odors at home and not where my training location will be (avoiding accidental spillage). That also applies to putting those swabs into containers. I avoid getting the oil on my skin by using tweezers to remove the swabs from the storage jar, or rubber gloves.  You want to avoid letting the oil (be it on cotton swabs or anything with the oil on it) touch things in the environment.  This causes what's known as residual odor in the environment and dogs may alert on it. This could harm your training and the dog's odour interest over time. Particularly if you don't know it is there.

Containers: When hiding scented swabs, it is best to contain them in something so that the they do not touch anything in the environment and contaminate anything with residual odour. The container should allow for odor to escape, so you may need to poke some holes in it. 

Small Metal tins are my favorites but use a variety of container types:  You can place a magnet (rare earth magnets available at Lee Valley are awesome) inside the tin to secure it to metal surfaces.  You can also use putty or tape to secure the tin when you are hiding it. Use a variety of containers will help to avoid problems that are linked to associated odours.  In practice I use a variety of containers and I vary the number of swabs in each container as well as the intensity or strength of the odour  (older / faint as well as fresh / hot odour).

Examples of other containers: chap stick tubes, flower pics, insulation casing etc. larger mint tins etc. From the dollar stores I've used : hollow plastic Christmas balls , Soap Containers, Fabric Change Purses, Wooden Pegs, and much more. Remember to drill holes so that you let the odour out. 

Storage of Odour
Store your odour in a place where you don’t do searches.  Store in a container that is as air tight as possible. Lee Valley has some new containers that are awesome. They have a great rubber seal. Don’t store odour in a place where the dog can smell it all the time.

Crap, my dog at the swab! Safety tips:
Each dog is different when searching. My own dogs have ingested half of a cotton swab without incident but have never eaten or swallowed  tin with a magnet! 

- I use cotton Q-tips with paper cores ( not plastic ones). When I cut my swabs, I also cut away most of the paper stick too.

- Consider the size of your hide container when setting them for your dog. Many students want smaller ones for those 'Blind Hides' but I tend to start new dogs with larger containers until you get to now their search style and know that that they won't actually inhale the container!  

Disposing of swabs:
You can use the swabs over and over, unless they get very soiled or contaminated with other things. I keep mine in an old cream carton in the freezer. That carton then goes into the green garbage bag on garbage day so that on garbage day  . . .  there is no chance of cotton swabs flying off of that truck in my neighborhood!   

Where to purchase: Not all oils are created equal. Avoid anything that has been distilled with chemicals

A reliable supplier for all oils and Nose Work equipment contact Deb (Chilliwack) of: 
K9 Sports Lines -  www.k9sportslines.com