Scent Work & Tracking

The formal definition of scent detection is “a dog sport created to mimic professional detection dog tasks. … The dogs must find a hidden target odour, often ignoring distractors (such as food or toys), and alert the handler. After the dog finds the odour they are rewarded with food or a toy.”

Scent work in reality is so much more!! It is a way to engage with your dog, young or old, big or small, timid or energetic.  It helps your dog relax and teaches problem solving.  Scent work builds confidence and independence. Scent work is mentally exhausting – 20 minutes of scent can equal an hour-long walk.  And it can be done by all dogs – blind or deaf, athletic or arthritic, low drive or over the top, shy or outgoing.  All breeds, from 8 weeks to 18 years, all dogs that are able to work in company of other dogs are welcome!

Cassandra Elvish has been involved in scent work for 5 years and is working towards her accreditation as a World Scent Dog Association Certified Trainer and Level 1 judge.

Scent Work Level 1

Get started in scent detection with this introduction to pairing and sourcing essential oils.  Dogs will learn to source and find wintergreen, pine and thyme in a series of fun, interactive games, with lots of treats.  No prerequisites.

$120/6 week class

Scent Work Level 2

Continue to hone your dog’s scent detection skills with more advanced games. The dogs will learn dedication to odour, formal alerts, aerial games, distance work and working through food distractions.
Prerequisite – Scent Work Level 1

$120/6 week class


Scent Work Level 3

This class will focus on challenges found in trialling, although it is not a requirement, such as converging odour, multiple materials, aerial hides, distance work, and independent searches. Each session the instructor will customize the searches to the needs of the class.
Prerequisite – Scent Work Levels 1 and 2

$120/6 week class


Exteriors Scent Work

This course will focus on working in outdoor environments to challenge your dog with natural and added distractions, air movement, temperature and humidity.  Exteriors is one of the three main components of a scent work trial.  Trialling is not a requirement to participate. 
Prerequisite – Levels 1, 2 and 3 or permission of the instructor.

$120/6 week class

Scent Competition Skills Building

Ready to compete??
Hone your scent skills with a series of drills and games to prepare for competition. Focusing on container and interior searches, these games will challenge your dogs scent skills and ready you for trialing. (Trialing is not required)

Prerequisite – Exterior scent or permission of the instructor

Please note this class is 1.5 hours long.


$175/6 week class

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Tracking Foundations

Engage your dog’s natural ability to detect odour with tracking.  This 4-week course will start off with the basics of trenching, introduce articles, turn some corners, and finish off with a short course track.  Tracking uses positive reinforcement based training, and high value rewards.  This is an outdoor class that runs in a variety of urban environments.  Classes will run in light rain.  Cancelled if lightning.

Course Requirements

Canine Lifeskills 1 is recommended

Dog must be able to wait patiently and quietly in a crate or vehicle while waiting for their turn.

HIGH value treats – meat / cheese are recommended.  This course uses a high volume of treats, restricting their breakfast might be suggested for small dogs or less treat-motivated dogs.

A 6 foot AND a 15 foot leash

A harness with a back / top clip is recommended, but not required

Tug toy or ball for toy-motivated dogs

$130/4 week class

320 South May St. Thunder Bay

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