The first time Nova went to a “nose work” class at the Ventura County Animal Services shelter in Camarillo, the 3-year-old Mexican hairless dog was so scared, she’d lie on the floor, flat as a pancake.

“She was literally terrified to death,” recalled Genie Tuttle, a certified canine nose-work instructor who leads the class at the shelter on Fridays. “She would just lie here, so we would spend 10 minutes just letting her pancake. Even though she wasn’t able to do anything, we knew over time that she would.”