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Scentwork UK competitions – What to expect

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In Scentwork UK competitions, everyone starts at level 1.

All your dog has to do to progress to the next level, is find 3 out of 4 scents.

Easy right?!

One target odour

Your dog will be asked to find one article (target odour) in each of the 4 search areas. In scentwork UK, the recommended scent is cloves. If your dog has learned a different scent, the judge may accept your entry, however, you must provide the articles for the search.

There are 4 areas to search

  • Tables and chairs (indoors). There will be 8 chairs placed around 2-4 tables. The article will be hidden on a chair.
  • Boxes and luggage (indoors). One article will be hidden amongst 10-15 boxes and pieces of luggage.
  • Vehicle or wall search. An article will be hidden either on a vehicle exterior, or a wall.
  • Exterior search. There will be an article hidden amongst 10-15 different objects in a clearly defined area. The judge will ask you if you wish to be told 3 objects which the article could be hidden in.

Dogs must be able to find the article within 3 minutes. Don’t worry, 3 minutes is often plenty of time if your dog is confident with seaching.

Timing is everything.

Your dog must complete the search within 3 minutes. Don’t worry, thats plenty of time for a confident dog.

The judge will tell you when there is 30 seconds left on the clock. If you think you know where the article is but your dog has given no solid indication, then feel free to put your hand up and point to where you think the article is.

Calling the find

Before beginning the search, the judge will ask you how you will let them know that your dog has found the article. You can do this by raising your arm, or telling them verbally.

The judge might want to make sure that you know where the article is and ask you to point to it.

Points mean prizes

Each search area can earn you up to 25 points.

Your dog earns 20 points by finding the article (but you must tell the judge that the article is found).

And you earn 5 points for your handling skills.

This means a maximum of 100 points on offer.


To pass level 1, you must earn at least 60 points.

When you pass the level 1, you are now qualified to enter level 2 if you would like to move on. Which means your dog needs to find at least 3 of the 4 articles.

You don’t have to move on after your first pass.

You can remain in that level until you have won your excellence title.

After each competition you will be awarded points based on how well you did.

1st place = 10 points

2nd place = 8 points

3rd place = 6 points

4th place = 4 points

Clean sweep = 2 points (your dog must find all of the articles.

Qualified = 1 point (your dog finds 3 out of 4 articles).

Bonus points = 2 points (for teams that have gained full marks but not achieved a 1-4th place).

Achieving excellence

To achieve an excellence award, your dog must win 20 points (level 1-4) at their current level, or 30 points (level 5-8).

You can stay at your current level for as long as you need, however, once you gain 20 points, you will no longer be able to enter that level to compete.

Excellence points are not carried forward to the next level.

All of your earned points do go towards a ‘dog of the year’ award. Where the team with the most points will earn a prize!

Click here to get started in scentwork



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