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.


NACSW™ Rule Book - Version 10.3a, June 23, 2020

Summary of changes:

  1. Fixed a typo on April 1, 2020 date for ORT requirement for all levels.

NACSW™ Rule Book - Version 10.3, June 23, 2020

Summary of changes:

  1. Minor phrasing improvements and clarifications.
  2. Changed implementation date for requiring all 3 ORTs for all odors to April 1, 2021.

NACSW™ Rule Book - Version 10.2, January 23, 2020

Summary of changes:

There are no significant changes in this version of the rule book. However with the changes that were just implemented as of January 1, we had several places where there were discrepancies that needed addressed or clarifications needed.

NACSW™ Rule Book - Version 10.1, September 2, 2019 - effective January 1, 2020

Please note that version 10.0 of the rule book will remain in effect until December 31, 2019.

Summary of changes:

  1. Updated scoring of Blank Areas at Elite and Summit. 
  2. For NW1/NW2/NW3, L1/L2, and Elite, points per hide are determined by taking 100 points and dividing by the total number of hides, not calls. For Summit League, each hide is worth 5 points.  For L3 the points per hide is determined by taking 100 points and dividing by the total number of calls.
  3. NW3 Changes
    1. NW3 Titles may be earned in two ways. If a team receives a perfect score of 100 points and no more than 3 faults at a trial, they will earn a NW3 title in a single trial. If a team receives a “qualifying score” and no more than 3 faults, they will earn a qualifying leg towards their title. Two qualifying legs will result in a title. The maximum time for each search area, as determined by the specific competition, must not be exceeded. A team will earn a qualifying score at a trial if it has only 1 “error” and no more than 3 faults. Errors include the following: a False Alert/Fringe, a missed hide, or a time out (i.e., failure to call finish before time expires).
    2. The NW3 Elite title is awarded to competitors who have successfully passed the NW3 title level three times and have demonstrated competency in all four elements. Competency is defined as earning either the NW3 Element title or the Level 3 Element Specialty title for each element. For example, a team may demonstrate competency in all elements by earning the NW3-V, L3E, NW3-I, and L3C titles.
    3. Teams will be allowed to continue searching after a False Alert/Fringe in a search, however the search will end if a second False Alert/Fringe is called in the same search. 
    4. There will be 6 searches at each NW3 trial. There will be at least one search of each element (Container, Exterior, Interior and Vehicle). The remaining two searches may be of any of the elements. For example, there may be 2 Container searches, 1 Exterior search, 1 Interior search, and 2 Vehicle searches.
    5. Any one of the 6 searches may be a Blank Area with no hides. There will be no more than one Blank Area (search area with zero hides) per trial and it is possible a trial may not have a Blank Area.
  4. Faults for excusals, elimination, absences and dismissals  at NW1/NW2/NW3 were updated. At these levels, faults will no longer be assessed for false alerts/fringes.
  5. The Trial Scoring section was reorganized and updated with the new rule changes.
  6. Effective January 1, 2020, scores for an individual search may be negative at NW3, Elite and Summit. This is to ensure that teams who find the same number of hides and have the same number of deductions end up with the same overall score and not have the scores dependent on which search the hides are found and deductions occurred. Overall scores will have a minimum score of 0 and will not be negative.
  7. Added clarification that wolves, wolf-hybrids, coyotes or coyote-hybrids, foxes or fox-hybrids are not eligible for registration or participation in NACSW events.
  8. Minor phrasing and language updates.

NACSW™ Rule Book - Version 10.0, June 26, 2019 - effective through December 31, 2019

Click here to read the Official Announcement for this version of the rule book

Summary of changes:

Clarification that For Exhibition Only (FEO) entries must meet the basic age/health requirements outlined in the rule book.  FEO is for teams that may not have the required titles for participation in the level, or who may already have earned the title, or for a handler running a 2nd dog in the same trial.
A warm-up area will be designated at all ORTs and NW1/NW2/NW3 and L1/L2/L3 Element Specialty Trials. There will be one identified hide among 3 ORT type boxes. One handler/dog team at a time may use this area. Dogs on deck will have priority. The area may only be available to those teams enroute to a search area depending on logistics. This may also serve as a recovery area for dogs post-search. Elite and Summit level trials may have a single recovery box with an identified hide available to the dogs as they return from their searches.
Clarification of the types of containers that you may encounter at NW1 and Level 1 Element Specialty Trials.
Effective July 1, 2020: All 3 odors may now be used at all levels and teams will be required to have earned an ORT title to be eligible for NW1 and Level 1 Element Specialty Trials.
Effective January 1, 2020: For NW2 there will be 5 search areas.  There will be at least one of each element (Interior, Exterior, Container, Vehicle), the 5th search may be any one of the elements.  For NW3 there will be 6 search areas.  There will be at least one of each element (Interior, Exterior, Container, Vehicle), the remaining two search areas may be any of the elements. 
Effective January 1, 2020: For NW3, any one of the search areas may be a blank area.
Effective January 1, 2020: For NW3, we will define qualifying criteria for those who are almost perfect to allow for 2 legs with qualifying score to earn a title, or perfect (100 points and less than 4 faults) in one trial for title on same day. Criteria will take effect January 1, 2020 and will not be retroactive.
Minor phrasing and language updates.


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

Summary of changes:

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)
Clarified that dogs may be excused from a search if there is extreme disruption or disrespect of a search area.
Reinstated 30 second warnings for all searches at Elite (timer will make their best effort).
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.

Clarified that there may be more than one hide on a vehicle in Vehicle searches.
Minor language and phrasing updates


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

Summary of changes:

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


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

Summary of changes:

Added in rules for Summit League Trials
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.


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 9.2, December 27, 2017

Summary of changes:

Clarification in rule book that officials may require a non-audible alert such as a hand raise to allow for search areas that are in proximity to the parking area or staging areas.  This will allow us to use more locations for trials.
Noise making reward items such as squeaky toys may only be used in search areas and may not be used elsewhere on trial grounds.
Other minor phrasing updates and clarifications


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 9.1, July 3, 2017

Summary of changes:

Effective October 1, 2017: NW2 may now have up to 3 hides in a single search.
Effective October 1, 2017: At Elite Division Trials there will only be 30 second warnings for searches 3 minutes or longer.
Container searches at Elite may contain novel (non-food/non-toy distractors)
Effective October 1, 2017 teams must earn a minimum score of 43 points at an Elite Division Trial for the points to be included in a competitor’s accumulation of points towards their Elite Title.
Effective October 1, 2017 there are changes to the types of containers that will be used at NW2/NW3/Elite trials. 
NW1 – No change (boxes only, 1 hide). 
NW2 – Distractors present, known number of hides (1, 2 or 3), boxes, add additional container types – needs to be new and non-fabric (plastic bins, metal tins, paint cans, etc).
NW3 – Distractors may be present, unknown number of hides (1, 2, or 3), same container options as NW2. 
Elite – Add used and fabric containers like backpacks and luggage.
Other minor phrasing updates and clarifications


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 9.0, November 22, 2016

Summary of changes:

1.  Change to allow for completion of required ORTs and titles up to 3 days prior to the event (previously 14 days).  14 days prior to the trial opening for entry is still required to be considered in the primary draw.  
2.  Update that if you are dismissed you are ineligible to participate in remaining trials for that event.
3.  Removal of the restriction for judges judging their own students.


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 8.9 September 10, 2016

Summary of changes:

1.  Minor phrasing updates and clarifications including disciplinary action process, hosts will be directly hiring COs after April 1, and fix to incorrect phrasing on how scores are calculated. 


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 8.8 July 1, 2016

Summary of changes:

1. Updated phrasing relating to time at the start line
2. Added ELT3 and ELT-CH titles
3. Lactating bitches are not permitted to participate in events
4. Updated trial eligibility relating to listed judges.  Effective January 1, 2017, Trial Judges will be listed on the entry premium. As of January 1, 2017, Competitors are not eligible to participate in a NACSW™ event if they are a student, immediate family member, or member of the household of a listed judge or if the dog belongs to an immediate family member or lives in the household of a listed judge. A competitor is considered a student if they have received instruction from the judge as part of a “working team” spot in a class or workshop with any dog more than twice in the ninety days prior to the trial date. Immediate family member is defined as spouse, partner, child, grandchild, or in-laws.
In the event that there is a judge replacement after the trial entry open date, then the above eligibility requirements are waived for the replacement judge. 
5. Other minor phrasing updates and clarifications


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 8.7 March 29, 2016

Summary of changes:

1. Update to disciplinary action process for dismissals
2. Other minor phrasing updates and clarifications


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 8.6 November 9, 2015

Summary of changes:

1. Update to footwear policy
2.  No longer require a score of 100 or a title to earn pronounced at a trial.  Need a 'P' in each search for the trial to earn pronounced
3.  Changes to scoring for faults and a few other minor scoring updates for the Elite Division.
4.  Now require ORTs and titles to be completed 14 days before a trial to participate in a trial and both ORTs and titles need to be completed 14 days prior to a trial opening for entry to be considered in the primary draw.  This allows the NACSW time to ensure all results are processed.
5.  Other minor phrasing updates and clarifications


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 8.5 August 16, 2015

Summary of changes:

       1.  ELT2 Title requirements defined
       2.  Took out the clause that the word 'Clear' is an alternative to 'Finish' at NW3 for a blank interior.  'Finish' should be the term used in all scenarios at NW3 when you wish to declare that you have completed searching an area.
       3.  Minor phrasing updates and minor clarifications


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 8.4a February 25, 2015

Summary of changes:

       1.  Fixed Typo
       2.  Requests for medical exemptions to wear panties will not be considered after June 1, 2015


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 8.4 January 3, 2015

Summary of changes:

       1.  Added in Elite Division Trial Rules.
       2.  Minor phrasing updates and minor clarifications.


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 8.3 December 11, 2014

Summary of changes:

       1.  The option to enter Element Specialty Trials at higher levels based on your NW1, NW2, NW3 titles ends on April 1, 2015.

 


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 8.2, July 14, 2014

Summary of changes:
Clarification of language for NW2 Finish call.
Calming caps are not permissible equipment except in crates/confinement areas
Dogs may be dismissed for Excessive/sustained vocalization in the crating area
Other minor clarifications.


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 8.1, March 26, 2014

Summary of changes:
Updated title abbreviations for element trials.


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 8.0a, January 30, 2014

Summary of changes:
Effective February 1, 2014, ORTs must be completed at least 14 days prior to trial entry to be considered for the primary draw.


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 8.0, January 12, 2014

Summary of changes:
Effective March 1, 2014, at the NW2 level the handler will need to call ‘Finish’ to stop the time.
Added Element Specialty Trial Rules
At NW3 and Level 3 Element Specialty Trials you will now call ‘Finish’ to end all searches including any blank areas.  For the time being if you do call ‘Clear’ in a blank area the call will still be valid.
Minor phrasing changes, clarifications, reorganization of sections, etc.


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 7.3, October 21, 2013

Summary of changes:
Effective March 1, 2014 there will no longer be a 10 second time warning at the NW3 level.


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 7.2, March 22, 2013

Summary of changes:
Updated our policy on accessories for dogs to clarify that muzzles are not allowed on trial grounds and that dogs may not wear head cameras during ORTs
Handlers may opt to wear a head camera during an ORT, but no video is allowed at trials
Clarified that score books are optional and are not required to participate in an ORT or trial.  
You will no longer be given faults for an incorrect response.  Instead, the judges may opt to consider your final response behavior when deciding to award  'Pronounced' for an element.
NW2 may have up to 4 vehicles, NW3 may have up to 5 vehicles.
Updated the disciplinary action section.
No alcohol allowed on trial grounds.
Other phrasing additions and updates to clarify things and to add information where we have received questions.
 


NACSW  K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 7.1, March 6, 2012

Summary of changes:
Updated our policy on accessories for dogs to clarify that DAP collars and other scent based accessories are not allowed in the search area
Updated the phrasing for NW3 interior search from “will be a blank room” to “may be a blank room”
Top 5 rescue dogs eligible are now eligible for the Harry award at NW1 trials.
Ort video – updated video policy to allow for friends/family to video/photograph to reflect the change effective January 1, 2012
Incorrect response – modified to only allow for one fault per element for this type of fault.
Time now starts when dog’s nose crosses start line (took out “or when search cue is given”)
Added language that dog must enter the search area by crossing the start line (or may incur a fault)
Clarified that teams with faults place below teams without faults with the same score regardless of time
Added language to clarify the physical demands on a handler at a trial.
Other phrasing additions and updates to clarify things and to add information where we have received questions.


NACSW™ K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 7.0, November 30, 2011

Summary of changes:
Restructured some sections to clarify the regulations and guidelines that apply to both ORTs and trials and to try to make information easier to locate.
Updated email addresses to use to contact us with questions.
Updated minimum trial age for the dog to 1 year of age.  (Any dog that has participated in a trial prior to Jan 1, 2012 is still eligible to trial)
Clarified minimum age of volunteers and the policy on adult supervision and waivers signed by a parent or guardian.
Approved Nacsw guests may also spectate at orts.  This is intended to allow us to approve people who might need training or possible future judges to be in the room for an ORT.
Added clarification that the same handler must handle a dog for all 4 elements at a single trial.
Updated our policy on accessories for dogs to state: Accessories for dogs are allowed if they are deemed to be for the wellbeing, comfort, or safety of the dog – for example boots, jackets, sweaters, hair pins.  If the Certifying Official or Judge deems that the equipment interferes with the search, is a safety concern, or exhibits inappropriate advertising, you may be asked to remove the accessory from the dog before the search begins.  If you have a specific concern or question, email trial@nacsw.net at least 14 days prior to the trial date.
Moved the policy on retrialing after earning a title out of the rule book – this information will be available on the trial premiums.
Clarified that the handlers shouldn’t touch objects in search areas (not just boxes)
The Certifying Official may allow for an alternate alert if conditions do not make it conducive for the judge to hear the word ‘Alert’ (for example high winds)
Updated the phrasing for NW3 interior search from “may be a blank room” to “will be a blank room”
Added examples to the possible faults that may be given at the judge’s discretion: For example: taking your dog off leash in an on leash search, allowing your dog to go completely under a vehicle in the vehicle search, placing your dog in an unsafe situation, etc.  Also updated phrasing for faults related to compromising the search area.
Clarified scoring for the situation where a handler excuses themselves from a search vs the judge excusing them from the search
Added in a scoring matrix as information to help understand placements for non-titling dogs.
Other phrasing additions and updates to clarify things and to add information where we have received questions.


NACSW K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 6.3, July 11, 2011

Summary of changes:

Took "Fringing" out of the ORT section
Clarified "Excused" vs "Dismissed"
Restructured and rephrased faults explanation
Minor phrasing changes and updates in the following sections: "ORT - Test Specifications", "ORT - Summary", "General Guidelines", "Equipment", "Location Guidelines", "NACSW Titles", "Container Search", "NW3 Alerts", "Terminology", "Trial Job Descriptions".


NACSW K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 6.2a, May 31, 2011

Summary of changes:

Updated faults for false alerts and elimination.  Needed to ensure that placements for non-titling dogs worked out correctly.  For example: At NW1, a dog that misses one element with a false alert, will now place below a dog that misses one element and has a fault for pawing a vehicle.


NACSW K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 6.2, May 2, 2011

Summary of changes:

Added NW3 element titles and NW3 Elite title


NACSW K9 Nose Work® Rule Book - Version 6.1, April 1, 2011

Summary of changes:

Q-tips no longer need be in a 2 oz container in the box for ORTs.
More clear phrasing with respect to Faults for non qualifying infractions such as false alert, elimination, dismissal.
Clarification about when a judge asks "Where?" after an alert.  Added: NOTE: Once you say “Alert”, if the judge asks “Where”, you must respond promptly. This is not an opportunity to re-cue your dog to continue searching to clarify the hide location.
Other minor phrasing updates.