Trial Rule Book

This is the current official rule book for the NACSW. To see prior summary of changes for versions of the rule book, go to the rule book archives page.

NACSW Trial Rule Book - 2014

NACSW K9 Nose Work Rule Book Version 9.5, January 26, 2019



NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 9.5, January 26, 2019

Summary of changes:

  1. Update to clarify that it is not appropriate to contact trial locations in advance for information (in addition to the existing language about not visiting trial locations)

  2. Clarified that dogs may be excused from a search if there is extreme disruption or disrespect of a search area.
  3. Reinstated 30 second warnings for all searches at Elite (timer will make their best effort).
  4. A title will be given for teams who pass all 3 ORTs (Birch, Anise and Clove).  There is no requirement to pass all three odors at the same event, but the ORT title will not be earned until all 3 odor tests have been passed. Titles will be granted retroactively for all teams previously achieving the requirements for this title.

Please note that we expect to have the NACSW site updated to reflect these titles by July 1, 2019. We will begin issuing title certificates for teams earning this title as of July 1, 2019. We will also provide an option for those earning the title prior to that date to request a certificate at that time.

  1. Clarified that there may be more than one hide on a vehicle in Vehicle searches.

  2. Minor language and phrasing updates


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 9.4, June 11, 2018

Summary of changes:

  1. Updated the Entry Eligibility Section to include Certifying Officials for the restrictions on judging members or dogs of an official’s family or household.
  2. Updated language about permitted equipment to specify that the leash may not be attached to alternate equipment during searches.
  3. Clarified that a dismissal from an ORT results in all results for the day being scored as a disqualification.
  4. Minor language and phrasing updates

NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 9.3, March 23, 2018

Summary of changes:

  1. Added in rules for Summit League Trials
  2. Updated language regarding score books being for personal use only after June 30 (Competitors will fill them out themselves)

Please note that Summit League Trial participants should review the trial premiums as they become available for additional details including the current limitation that dogs may only participate in 2 Summit League Trials per calendar year.


For future consideration:

As NACSW continues to grow, we continue to work to broaden the parameters for appropriate trial locations.  One challenge with some locations is the proximity of search areas to the parking area or bathrooms and the audibility concerns this presents.  Especially at NW3 or Elite where the number of hides is unknown and hearing competitors call Alerts may give other competitors inadvertent information.  Additionally, the possibility of a judge asking ‘where’ can cause audibility concerns as well.  There are some teams competing whose trained alert behavior is a bark.  This alert behavior may limit the trial locations we can approve moving forward.  We have no intention of penalizing those teams already competing with this behavior, however as we look to the future we will be looking closely at adding a rule to discourage trained audible alerts.  We wanted to make our participants aware so that those starting with new dogs may take this into account when making training decisions about trained alert behaviors.  We do want to emphasize that we are not concerned about dogs that bark in excitement during a search, just those that have a specific trained alert behavior of a bark.


The numbering system for identifying the edition of the NACSW rule book is as follows:

  • If there are significant changes to trial structure, scoring, or title definitions, then a new numbered edition of the rulebook will be issued (i.e. 5.0, 6.0, 7.0).
  • If there are only small language changes, typos, changes to the guidelines, wording clarifications, or other changes that do not affect titling or training the version number will be added under the existing version (i.e. 6.1, 6.2, 6.3).
  • Major revisions to the rule book especially those that affect training will be announced with consideration for the time allotment for training adjustments.  Other revisions will be published no later than the trial entry open date.








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