Elite Sniff and Go

national guard armoryDate: February 28, 2016
Location: National Guard Armory
522 Concord St, Framingham, MA
Time: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Limit: 26 entries
Hide placement/Judges: Jill Marie O’Brien, CPDT-KA and Gail McCarthy, CNWI

Registration is now open!

We will have 4-5 elite-level searches, using whatever areas we have available. Weather permitting, we will do some outdoor searches as well, hopefully with some cool military vehicles included. Be prepared to stay for several hours. Dogs will need to be crated in your vehicles when not working, so prepare for all weather conditions.



Cost: $95 per dog. Registration will open at 8:00 am on January 20, 2016. We will do a random draw of all entries received between January 20 and January 21 at midnight, using the following order of priority:

  • NW3 Elite dogs first
  • NW3 dogs second
  • NW2 dogs third

Limit one dog per handler (if entry limits are not met, we will allow two dogs per handler). You will be notified by email no later than Friday January 22 of your entry acceptance. You will be given instructions on how to submit payment if your entry makes the draw.

Refund Policy: No refunds for cancellations for any reason including, but not limited to: illness, injury, or emergency. The handler may transfer her/his entry to another qualified team that must be on all three odors and should have an NW2 or higher.

If the event is cancelled by NESD due to a weather emergency or severe weather, we will provide full refunds within 14 days of the event date. Details about weather notifications will be included in the welcome letter.

About the judges

Jill Marie O’Brien, CPDT-KA

Co-Founder/developer: National Association of Canine Scent Work, LLC® (NACSW™) & K9 Nose Work®; K9 Nose Work Shelter Project™

Jill Marie O'Brien, CPDT-KAJill Marie has been working with, training, and advocating for dogs since 1986; fourteen of those years were spent as Director of Behavior and Training Services for spcaLA. During her tenure with spcaLA, she supervised the creation and ongoing development of that agency’s first Animal Behavior and Training Department since its inception in 1877. Additionally, while there she worked on a variety of programs that included:

  • KalKan Bite Prevention and Feral Dog Safety program; a program designed to educate inner city youth on bite prevention and feral dog safety.
  • Teaching Love and Compassion (TLC); Jill Marie participated in as well as designed the dog training portion of the curriculum. TLC is a program that matches at-risk youth with shelter dogs to help build conflict resolution, develop appropriate anger management and impulse control skills for the youth participants, and to enhance the dog’s adoptability.
  • “The Standards Program”; included both a Canine Behavior Assessment used for the evaluation of the shelter dogs housed at the agency and a comprehensive behavior rehab and management component used to increase adoptability for long-term shelter dogs. H.E.A.L. (Helping Enhance Animals Lives); Jill Marie designed this program as a volunteer training, staff safety, and canine enrichment program.

As co-founder of the National Association of Canine Scent Work she has committed many hours to the ongoing development of the K9 Nose Work® Instructor Education and Certification program, as well as the development of both the competitive sport and activity of K9 Nose Work®.

Jill Marie’s future goal is to develop the ‘K9 Nose Work® Shelter’ project. This project aims to enhance the lives of shelter dogs around the world through the use of the simple yet profound K9 Nose Work methodology; through capacity building and knowledge sharing this undertaking will establish K9 Nose Work® as an inexpensive and powerful enrichment tool that any shelter could implement and sustain. Additionally, the project will focus on the use of K9 Nose Work® to benefit special needs canines in a variety of settings.

Jill Marie and her dog Beckett (retired) are a nationally certified Narcotics Detection Team and took 1st place in the novice division at the Oxnard Police K9 Inaugural Trial, 2009. She has been a longtime agility enthusiast competing and training in agility since 1990, though her work and family life required her to take a sabbatical from agility. In addition to Beckett, her other K9 partners are Grip and Raven, both Belgian Malinois that are now training with Jill Marie for fun in K9 Nose Work.

Most important in Jill’s life is her son Aedan without whom life would not be as exciting and wonderful as it is. She thanks him everyday for all the adventurous fun he shares with her and the world around him.

Gail McCarthy, CNWI

Gail McCarthy, CNWIAs the instructor at Scentinel Nose Work Dog Training, I have worked with horses and dogs all of my life.  I rode Hunter/Jumper horses and Three-Day Eventing horses professionally for many years after graduating from college and I gave horseback riding lessons up through the advanced levels in dressage and in eventing.  When I moved to Massachusetts to go to law school, my training interests shifted to working with search and rescue (SAR) dogs and, over the past twenty-three years, I attended over one hundred workshops and seminars from some of the most preeminent detection dog trainers in the country in my quest to learn how best to train independent, focused, reliable and efficient detection dogs.

While I recently retired from canine SAR, during that time period I trained and certified three dogs as wilderness live find search dogs, two dogs to the State Advanced Level.  One of these dogs I also trained and certified twice at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Advanced Level Live Find Disaster Dog Evaluation.  Another dog I trained and certified twice to the State Advanced Level in Human Remains Detection.  I was the founder and former Training Director for the Massachusetts Rescue & Recovery K9 Unit and I was a founder, former Chairperson and Canine Evaluator with the Massachusetts State Search and Rescue Federation.  I also was a Canine Handler with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue, Massachusetts Task Force 1 since 1994 as well as FEMA Lead Live Find Disaster Dog Evaluator and a FEMA Human Remains Detection Evaluator.  In these capacities, I have worked with numerous SAR dogs over the years and I freely shared my knowledge and experience, helping many people achieve their SAR certifications.  In recognition of my consistent dedication to the promotion of volunteer canine SAR in Massachusetts and to the training I gave my dogs and to my fellow handlers, the Massachusetts State Senate awarded me a “Massachusetts State Senate Citation,” a legislative award of distinction.

As a NACSW Faculty Member, I have instructed at most of the K9 Nose Work® Training Camps held in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Colorado and Oregon.  Currently, I serve as a NACSW Judge and Certifying Official-in-Training for NACSW sanctioned K9 Nose Work® Competition Trials.  I have been teaching K9 Nose Work® classes for several years now and I bring my past training experience to my students, many of whom now are among New England’s top title holders in K9 Nose Work®. I also am the instructor of six canine teams who have obtained their NW3 Elite Titles.