2020 Seminars and Workshops

by Fred Helfers

“Understanding Olfaction and Odors”                  

Seminar outline:       Classroom only - no dogs.  ( 8am – 5pm)

Seminar Topics:     

  • Understanding the Canine Olfactory system - How the canine nose works.

  • Breathing  vs. Sniffing

  • Theory of scent discrimination.

  • The Odor molecule. - Factors Influencing Odor   

  • Temp  -  Wind -  Humidity  -  Environment.

  • Definitions -- Use of training aids – containment and handling.

  • Utilizing your knowledge of Odors and Olfaction in K9 Nosework®.         

  • Training scenarios and environmental issues.

  • Problem Solving Workshop – Review of detection dog training scenarios. 


This seminar is for everyone who has a dog and is interested in how dogs use their nose to detect odors. This seminar will cover the areas of Canine Olfaction, how the canine nose works, scent discrimination, factors effecting odors and utilizing your knowledge of Odors and Olfaction in the field of K9 detection and the sports of K9 Nosework® or K9 Scentwork





Handler Error and Skill Building sessions
“Identifying the 10 most Common Handler Error Faults”  
Seminar Outline:


 Morning Seminar –  

 Description: “ This lecture specifically focuses on Handler Error and incorporates both video and power point   presentations. Experience has shown that by establishing and applying a consistent maintenance training   program, the areas of handler error (e. g. leash handling, detailing skills, reading changes of behavior, search   patterns, cueing, considering environment) are easily understood and correctable. The experienced canine   handler will quickly recognize that there are many situations that can lead to handler error.”


 Afternoon Seminar -

 Foundational Handler drills and Skill building with 6 dog teams.


 Utilizing containers, Fred will guide both Novice and experienced Nosework handlers through basic drills to   increase their handling skills. 

 Video review of dog teams after the practical sessions. (You can have those persons who attend the handler   error clinic in the morning also attend the afternoon as an auditor if not working a dog team.)  


 I would need a classroom facility in morning / afternoon (projector and screen) and then practical training   sites for the afternoon.


 (It would be helpful if all the handlers had previously attended the Olfaction and Odor seminar I present.)



 From Foundation to Finesse”       practical workshops.


Fred Helfers will provide class and field instruction to the handlers on how to build from foundational handling skills to the finesse handling skills that are required in competition.


These training sessions will assist the scentwork / nosework handler in identifying and strengthening those problem areas of handling their dog.

The class is an eight hour day with teams working their dogs for half a day and also auditing half the class.  Additional auditors also allowed. 

Utilizing a field and class training concept this workshop will focus on the following.


  • Reviewing the foundation of your dogs training.

  • Understanding your role as a handler in the foundation of the teams training.

  • Overview of Odor theory from Olfaction and Odor class.

  • Overview of Handler Error traits and how to train to problem solve these areas.


Practical sessions will demonstrate simple exercises to build on the foundation to more complex handler involvement exercises.   


Optimum Training session -


It can be done with just 6 teams all day ( per day) and cover all four elements. There have been a lot of handlers who really like this approach and day. The group remains small, more time per team with the instructor and they only attend 1 day of weekend training. Video review of dog teams after the practical sessions.

Plus, you can add auditors if you wish.


Class size is limited to 6 dog teams in the morning (am) and 6 dog teams in the afternoon (pm) - to maximize theory and practical sessions.

Described as the the following:


Foundation to Finesse  (Handler skills, reading your dog, patterned searches and handler drills. )   

(12 dog teams total) 6 dog teams in the morning and 6 dog teams in the afternoon.  (6/6)    

Those teams working their dogs in the morning session would be available to audit the afternoon session and those teams working their dogs in the afternoon would audit the morning class.

TRAINING FOR SUCCESS  - seminar and workshops  ( 2 days seminars and workshops)

Part 1 (1st Day)

Limited to 6 teams per day - auditors unlimited


Morning presentation:

  • Building a detection dog training program—developing training goals for you and your dog by implementing proven training goals. 

  • Hide Placements—using hide placements to educate yourself and your dog.

  • Building independence and hunt drive while working your dog on leash.


Afternoon working sessions:

  • Exercises with working teams based on the morning’s presentation.

  • Working team levels for Saturday will be NW1 and NW2.


Part 2 (2nd Day)

Morning presentation:

  • Converging odors–using converging odor setups to educate yourself and your dog.

  • Inaccessible hides--how to increase your dog’s drive to focus on the source.

  • Building confidence as a detection dog handler.        


Afternoon working sessions:

  • Exercises with working teams based on the morning’s presentation.

  • Working team levels for Sunday will be NW3 and Elite.