Yukon canines gather for some friendly competition

·2 min read
Dogs spent two days sniffing out hidden scents inside and outside at various locations. After a few minutes of searching, this fierce competitor located the scent. (Chris MacIntyre/CBC - image credit)
Dogs spent two days sniffing out hidden scents inside and outside at various locations. After a few minutes of searching, this fierce competitor located the scent. (Chris MacIntyre/CBC - image credit)

Twenty-six of Yukon's canines went nose-to-nose at the United Kennel Club's "nose work" match over the weekend.

Hosted by the Whitehorse Woofers Dog Club, the dogs spent two days sniffing out hidden scents inside and outside at various locations.

"Today, we've been doing vehicle searches," explained club member Michelle Wieser.

"The dogs are finding a specific odour on one of three vehicles. Everyone's having a lot of fun and a lot of success."

Each dog is judged on their speed, and how accurately they can track down the scent.

No judge in this 'fun match'

Wieser said pandemic restrictions have made this year's event a little different.

"It's a fun match. Normally we'd run a competition with a judge," Wieser explained.

'Everyone's having a lot of fun and a lot of success,' said Michelle Wieser.
'Everyone's having a lot of fun and a lot of success,' said Michelle Wieser.(Chris MacIntyre/CBC)

"Because of COVID, we can't fly a judge in so we're just sort of running a practice trial today."

Judges are normally flown in from B.C. or Alberta.

"There are no judges in the Yukon," said Wieser.

"That's why we have volunteers who know a lot about nose work doing the judging today."

It may just be a fun match, but the dog with the best time still leaves with some clout.

"Fastest time without any faults are bragging rights for sure," Wieser said. "It's fun for the dogs. Fun for the owners. It's a good relationship-building activity."

A competitor taking a small well-deserved break in between the nose work competitions.
A competitor taking a small well-deserved break in between the nose work competitions.(Chris MacIntyre/CBC)

The 'dog in white'

Some dogs that were in attendance at the weekend event were there for a different reason.

Nicole Dhillon says her pit bull Hugo had an important job, as the "dog in white."

"When they set up the search they need a test dog to make sure the hide is reasonable to find for dogs at his level," Dhillon said.

'When they set up the search they need a test dog to make sure the hide is reasonable to find for dogs at his level,' said Hugo's owner, Nicole Dhillon.
'When they set up the search they need a test dog to make sure the hide is reasonable to find for dogs at his level,' said Hugo's owner, Nicole Dhillon.(Chris MacIntyre/CBC)

She explained to CBC that pit bulls are normally considered to be "sight hounds," and that having Hugo go through the nose work exercise is important for his development.

"It's a great brain exercise for him," she said.

"Any kind of dog can do this and have a great time. I want people to see that pit bulls are sweet, loving, and versatile dogs that are great to be around other dogs and people."

"It's so much fun for the owners," said Dhillon.