Dogs to test their noses this weekend at the fairgrounds | Local News


Dogs who put their sniffers to the test will frisk the Hardin County Fairgrounds this weekend.

The Mid-Kentucky Kennel Club is hosting an 8 am to noon scent work trial on Saturdays and Sundays for dogs across the region.

While dogs must be pre-registered to participate, Tony Ginter, who organizes the scent work for the club, said everyone is welcome to come and watch the trials but leave their dogs at home.

“There is no charge to go out to watch,” he said, adding that COVID rules will be in place and a mask may be required to get inside.

If anyone has never seen a perfume working trial before, Ginter said it was an opportunity to watch dogs of all breeds, even mixed breeds, work.

“Scent work is basically testing the dog’s ability to find or trace a particular scent,” he said. “Now we don’t introduce them to the scent. Generally speaking, the dog in training, they have already learned the scents they are looking for.

Much like a dog trained to identify drug smells, the dogs competing this weekend undergo training to identify particular smells and signal once they are found, Ginter said.

“The dog will come in, and you don’t need to give it a special smell, you just tell it to get down to business and they will start looking,” he said. “Basically, the dog has to almost put his nose to the scent (to signal that he has located it).”

Dogs and their handlers will compete on several levels, starting with novices and moving on to handlers.

“It’s a relatively straightforward task, especially getting started,” Ginter said of those competing at the novice level.

Each dog must receive three qualifying scores in one of the four elements – Container, Buried, Inner Search, and Outer Research – to advance to the next level and must achieve three qualifying scores in each of the four to achieve an overall level title.

“Once you’ve qualified in a particular item, like containers, you can go ahead and take it to the next level,” Ginter said.

Novice is followed by advanced, then excellent, then master.

“Each time we add a little more to the different elements to make the dog work a little harder,” he said. “Some dogs will do it exceptionally fast. If you can get a qualifying score fast enough, you can get a placement. A lot of [the competitors] are after those big ribbons, so they’re working hard to get those quick pass marks.

Ginter said any dog ​​can complete the training required to compete. The club has training classes at 6 p.m. Wednesday night at their building, 421 E. Dixie Highway in Elizabethtown. The training course is $ 5 for non-club members.

Ginter said all it takes to participate in a class is a willing dog, a collar, a 6-foot leash, three plastic containers with lids and “lots and lots of treats.”

If the owners bring the three plastic containers with lids to First Class, Ginter said he can provide a scent so the dog and his owner can train at home.

“I’ll give you cotton balls that have the smell on them,” he said. “Basically, you put a cotton ball in one of the three Tupperware containers. You place the containers in a triangle and surround them with your dog. Every time your dog puts his nose on this container with the scent, he receives a reward.

“I’m a big fan of ‘At-a-boys’,” he added. “I think a dog gets as much from your love for them as they do from a treat, but I encourage them both.”

Ginter said dogs learn very quickly once they find out treats are involved.

“Very quickly the dog starts to learn that every time he smells this particular scent he is given a treat,” he said. “Once he gets the hang of the game, he gets two more containers.”

Ginter said they are building up to 10 containers, which equates to the novice level, and once they start to identify the scent consistently, it’s time to participate in a scent trial, like the one that has take place this weekend.

The Mid-Kentucky Kennel Club is a nonprofit dog sports organization serving the central Kentucky region. To learn more about the club, visit or follow them on Facebook for course updates.


About Chuck Keeton

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