Testimonials « K9


“Shelley is an amazing teacher. She has the ability to adapt her teaching style to each student’s needs. It is incredible how she understands each dog breed and their unique training approaches. 

Warning – Nose Work is addictive for the owners and dogs! I started off 9 years ago with my first class with Shelley, and have taken 3 Labrador Retrievers to the Elite level of Nose Work.” 

-Colleen & Dexter 

“I began Nose Work with Shelley with dog my Minka a GSD almost 9 years ago. She did a marvelous job of teaching me what Nose Work was about and my dog Minka quickly learned to love the sport. Shelley helped give us a solid foundation, I took classes with her until Minka titled at Level 3. Shelley was a major part of bringing the sport of Nose Work from California to the Northwest. In addition to fabulous classes where she gave the dogs and us as teams skill development and challenges she also brought a number of workshops that I participated in. Shelley also worked us in many different locations and environments which gave us valuable experiences to help us with trials and practice solving different problems. I also took classes with my dog Baron also a GSD the last couple of years until she moved to Southern California. She is an excellent instructor!”

-Elyse Clawson

“I began taking Nose Work lessons from Shelley back in 2010.  It was the early days of the sport and she was an enthusiastic ambassador of Nose Work to the Portland area.  She brings knowledge and joy to her classes and has been a great trainer over time for both my Aussies.  My first Aussie was behaviorally very solid, and my current Aussie has anxiety issues.  I’ve found Shelley to have the skills to train handlers and all types of dogs, from NW1 to Elite.”

-Nancy Galbraith

“Shelley introduced me and my first Swedish Vallhund, Jackie, to Nose Work 10 years ago and we were hooked!  All three of my dogs were fortunate to train under Shelley’s guidance, and all achieved NACSW titles at the NW3 and Elite level. 

Shelley’s classes and hide placements were well thought out to introduce new challenges and build on our skills.  Her insight on how odor moves and how to read your dog’s behavior as they search were valuable lessons for me.”

-Jody Becher

“Shelley was my Nose Work instructor for many years, with my first and second canine partners.  She consistently provides her students with a wide range of training experiences, through: varying and unique class locations; hide placement; search coaching and analysis; and memorable seminars with Nose Work gurus.  Anyone who gets the opportunity to train with Shelley is truly blessed!” 

-Holly Thau

“After years of enjoying working with my dogs in multiple dog sports I heard from a good friend about a new scent work sport, called Nose Work, he was doing in California.  I instantly knew I wanted to do the sport and started searching for a trainer here in Oregon. The sport was so new, it was hard to find someone who had heard of the sport, let alone knew how to train it!  Luckily, I found Shelley Smith & started taking classes with her in October 2008.  Shelley was the very first CNWI to offer NW classes in the state of Oregon.  She was also one of the very first trainers to teach students in both OR & WA, which were the first two states the NACSW expanded to, after the sport originated in CA.

Shelley had trained many years with the founders of the sport and trained beside some of the earliest participants & very best trainers in the world of this sport.  She is a good instructor because she really understands the importance of the foundations in the sport.  She herself has trained & participated in many other dog sports including obedience, agility, SAR (Search and Rescue) therapy and service work & evaluates Pet Partners therapy animal teams. Shelley has worked with lots of dogs, trials with her own (magnificent) dogs, has put on many, many Trials and continues to be invited to be a Certifying Official & Judge at various types of trials. She was also the very first person outside of CA to host a “MOCK” NW 1 trial and then, a few weeks later, the very first ‘real’ NW1 Trial (outside of CA)! Founder Ron Gaunt was there to see it! 

Shelley really understands every facet of the sport!  She is such a good instructor because she has taught so many students and worked with so many different kinds of dogs. She also understood the benefits of variety and having her students learn from other ‘greats’ in the Nose Work community.  The workshops Shelley hosted always had the best instructors (even the NACSW founders came!), the most useful and interesting topics, and were fun, filled with good information & motivating.

Shelley really teaches her students a great foundation & if you choose to compete, you will notice how well she has prepared you, to handle all sorts of different situations & trial conditions.  Her classes are a good size (not too big or too small), she is well-organized, and her classes are often held in different venues, which is great experience and novel for you and your dogs. It goes without saying Shelley’s classes are fun & in demand! I feel fortunate to have taken classes with Shelley for over 12 years with 5 different dogs, and while I once took classes from another CNWI (because Shelley had no spaces available in her beginner class for our new family member), I never felt I needed to “move on” to another trainer!  I’m afraid she spoiled all of us in what to expect from a great nose work trainer & we all miss her very much, here in Oregon!   I believe she has the skills to take any student from “boxes” to “Elite” level – or as far as they want to go!  I know that if my dogs could talk, they would all tell you, Shelley allowed them to do their absolute favorite activity (scenting & sniffing) with their favorite person (who had been taught by Shelley), to be their dog’s best partner!”

-Jill Roman