Welcome to the St. Louis Scent Work Club!
STLSWC is a division of Missouri Canine Athletic Club, below you will find summaries and additional information on the sports currently trialed or practiced by MCAC.
Barn Hunt - http://www.barnhunt.com
The site above has lots of great information about the sport on which our club was founded. A very basic description of the sport would be that rats are put in tubes that have pre-drilled scent holes and they are hidden in straw. The dog is tasked with finding the rats that have been hidden in the straw while ignoring tubes filled with dirty bedding and empty tubes. How many rats the dog has to find is based on the level the dog is competing at (Novice, Open, Senior, or Master) and must be followed up with completing two additional requirements. Either while or after finding all the rats the dog must also complete a climb onto a straw bale (all four feet on the bale) and go through the official tunnel on the course (there may be more than one but the Judge will annouce during the briefing which tunnel is the official tunnel).
Earthdog - http://www.akc.org/events/earth-dog/
This is a go to ground sport where dogs of the permitted breeds (per AKC) simulate the activity of tracking and cornering quarry. In the lowest levels the dogs follow a scent path into buried dens to the quarry which is a rat safely caged behind wooden dowel rods. The dogs must then work the quarry for the required time to simulate marking the quarry for the above ground hunter to find them, dig them out, and dispatch the quarry. At the highest level dogs hunt in blind pairs, meaning two unfamiliar dogs hunt together. At this level the judge has laid out a path through the available terrain that the dogs must hunt through leading up to the buried dens where the dogs must indicate quarry is hiding within. Then each dog will take a turn hunting the tunnels and marking the quarry for the required time. All phases of Earthdog have time limits that vary based on the level, but each level builds to include a skill the dogs would need if they were to actually actively hunt.
Scent Work- https://www.akc.org/sports/akc-scent-work/
The site above has lots of great information about Scent Work. The sport of Scent Work is based on the work of professional detection dogs (such as drug dogs), employed by humans to detect a wide variety of scents and substances. In AKC Scent Work, dogs search for cotton swabs saturated with the essential oils of Birch, Anise, Clove, and Cypress. The cotton swabs are hidden out of sight in a pre-determined search area, and the dog has to find them. Teamwork is necessary: when the dog finds the scent, he has to communicate the find to the handler, who calls it out to the judge.