Julie Symons (she/her) has been involved in dog sports for over 25 years. Starting with her mix, Dreyfus, in flyball, she went on to train and compete in conformation, agility, obedience, herding and tracking with her first Belgian tervuren, Rival. Rival was the first CH OTCH MACH Belgian Tervuren and they competed and placed in many regional and national events, winning Ultimate Dog (High Combined in Utility and Agility) and repeat 60 weave pole champs at the All Star tournament in 2002.

One of Julie’s favorite things is a versatile team!  She truly believes that participating in multiple sports is enriching to both person and dog and builds on that mutual partnership and trust. Nosework is an ideal sport to compliment your other activities. It’s intrinsically motivating for the dog and it’s also pretty cool to have a pet detection dog! Julie has also gone HIT in 4 different sports with 3 dogs (Obedience, Agility, Nosework and Herding).

Julie currently shares her life with 3 dogs. Savvy who is now retired, earned a CH, MACH2, UD, TDX, VCD3 and the following nose/scent work titles: ELT-CH, SWN, SIM, SCE, SEE, L2C, L1V, L2I. Earning their TDX and competing in nosework intensified Julie's love for scent sports!

She also shares her household with her Belgian Malinois Drac, continuing the versatility work having earned his TD, HSAd, OA, OAJ and his ELT-2 nosework title. The newest member of the family is her young terv Moxie. Finishing her breed CH and NW1 titles at 1 years old, they have racked up a few more titles, earning their Open Agility titles OA and OAJ, her NW3-Elite and her HSAd herding title. All of Julie's dogs keep her very busy!

Julie is a consummate learner and energetic instructor, immersing herself in everything dog training!  While teaching agility in the early 2000s, she found how rewarding it was to teach and help others. The simple truth? People just really love their dogs and enjoy doing activities with them. Knowing this helps set the tone for how she runs her classes: giving students ample working time, staying positive when things get challenging, and giving more than 100 percent of her efforts toward their development.

She is also a co-creator and judge for the FDSA virtual TEAM NW program and is a retired AKC licensed Scent Work judge 

In her other life, she is married and raising a teenage son. It goes to show that you can “do it all” with just a little bit of planning and smart training.  Julie is also owner of Savvy Dog Sports, a local dog school that focuses on sports foundation skills and competition nosework, rally and agility training!  More information can be found at: 

Pronouns: Julie goes by she/her.

Julie's Current and Upcoming Courses

N130J: NW130 - Developing Advanced Nosework Skills

Want to continue the Nosework fun?  Then this class is for you!   This is the third skills level course in our nose/scent work program and will build on...

October 1, 2023

NW325: Purposeful Drills for Progressing Skills

You’ve probably heard this before … that training should be done with purpose and not just going through the motions. There is power in purposeful training! When we have purpo...

October 1, 2023

N101J: NW101 - Introduction to Nosework

Nosework is easily the hottest new sport around, and it’s easy to see why!  It’s fun for humans, dogs love to participate, and it’s good for building confidence and focus...

December 1, 2023

NW720: Find It! - Lost Item Recovery

Instructor: Julie Symons

December 1, 2023

N120J: NW120 - Introduction to NW Search Elements

This course picks up where NW101 left off! This course also can be used as a refresher for introducing the search elements. Our method is effective on almost all dogs, from in...

February 1, 2024

NW415: Nosework Handler's Choice

During this 6 week course, the handler can decide on WHATEVER it is that they want to work on for the duration of the course. Yes, that's right! Absolutely anything related t...

February 1, 2024

NW180: Developing Scent-sational Skills for Competition

You’ve learned the basics, even dabbled in some advanced skills but are you ready for competition? With so many scent detection organizations out there now (up to 11 and count...

April 1, 2024

Self Study Classes - lectures available for purchase

NW620: Introduction to Handler Discrimination Scent Work

Want to learn a new aspect of scent detection sport training? In both UKC and the upcoming AKC program, there is a Handler Discrimination class where the handler's s...

Julie Symons (Faculty)

NW640: Advanced Handler Discrimination Scent Work Skills

Get ready to trial in the new AKC Handler Discrimination Scent Work division!! This class will cover the advanced skills needed to trial at Advanced, Excellent and Master AKC ...

Julie Symons (Faculty)

OB330: Obedience Games

If you like to think of training as a game, then this is the class for you! If you have a busy schedule and are always on the go and finding your obedience training tak...

Julie Symons (Faculty)

Contact Information

Have a question about an upcoming course taught by Julie?  Not sure if your dog is suitable for a specific class?  We welcome you to contact instructors by email to make sure the course is suitable for you and your dog.

Click here to contact.

Student Testimonials

We throughly enjoyed Nosework with Julie. She was a patient and kind instructor who really cared about how we did. The lectures were interesting and easy to understand and Julie was quick to respond with encouraging and helpful replies. Thanks Julie :) Sherri R.

Julie is a gifted and extremely caring teacher, both for dogs and humans.                   

You are a great instructor and very patient with all of us students! Your lectures are well written and you were very prompt to answer questions and comment on videos. I appreciate everything you did for me in this class!           

NW130 was one of the best classes Ive taken yet. It was so perfect for our skill level and Julie gave us SO much help. I hope she teaches many more classes at FDSA. She's not only an awesome trainer but she's also an awesome individual.

Julie is a phenomenal instructor, meeting each student where she is and helping us to move forward. Initially I signed up for this class at Bronze, as I didn't feel we were quite ready. I upgraded to Gold. Am I glad I did! I learned so much from Julie's clear, concise instructions and examples. And even though we didn't get through all of the lessons, we have a clear path for moving ahead. Thanks, Julie! Jolynn W.

Julie provided prompt, detailed analysis and well reasoned and tailored recommendations for each student. She definitely wanted to see her students succeed in whatever phase of nosework they were doing - so she provided very helpful suggestions for preparing for various upcoming trials.

Julie was so awesome and supportive.... She was one of the main reasons why Judd and I passed NW2!! She always had an encouraging word and comstructive help.

Julie is the best instructor I have had at FDSA. She is an amazing woman, and is truly passionate about nose work.  Every time I take a nose work class my dog and myself come out ahead. The instructors are awesome, they make you want to work your dog to the best they can. 5 stars from me. Nancy Steinbrecher