Information will be updated as needed as this continues to be an evolving situation. It is your responsibility to be aware of the current information if you attend an event.

Click here to view current COVID Requirements and Guidelines

Rule Book

Version 12.0a of the rule book is now available.

NACSW Rule Book, 12.0a, June 2, 2023


Dogs with Sensitivies

Additional information on expectations for dogs with sensitivities



We are now providing details about the types of containers you are likely to encounter at NACSW trials:

For trials on or after October 1, 2022 - October 1, 2022 NACSW Trial Container Guidelines for Members


Summary of Changes

NACSW™ Rule Book - Version 12.0a, June 2, 2023

Summary of changes:

  • Revised language from "non quick release" to "non break away" on the requirement that a dog wear a collar or harness at all times when out of the vehicle.

NACSW™ Rule Book - Version 12.0, June 1, 2023

Summary of changes:

  • Added the Elite Select guidelines and rules
  • Effective August 1: We are modifying the requirements to earn a NW3 element title to be by individual search vs by element. So, at a NW3 trial, if there are 2 interior searches and you pass both, that will count as two passes towards your NW3-I title. We are unable to make this retroactive as the data is currently stored by element and not by search. Your element passes from before August 1 will continue to count as a pass towards your element titles.
  • Removed the restriction that family members and dogs of an official cannot compete at a trial where that official is a judge or Certifying Official. 
  • Clarified that GPS/tracking devices are acceptable equipment for dogs at a trial
  • Added language that dogs must wear a harness or collar at all times when out of their vehicle at ORTs and trials.
  • Minor phrasing and formatting improvements, updates, and clarifications.

NACSW Rule Book - Version 11.4, January 18, 2023 - Summary of changes:

  1. Minor phrasing and formatting improvements, updates, and clarifications.
  2. Updates to references to types of containers removed and instead point to the current container guidelines available from the rule book page.
  3. Updates to the vehicle search sections to add additional information to clarify that dogs should not be putting their feet on painted surfaces of vehicles at NW1/2/3 and L1/2/3, and should abide by CO guidance for Elite/Summit searches that may contain vehicles.
  4. Fixed inconsistences with respect to scoring for excused/absent/disqualified/asked for info at Elite and Summit.

NACSW Rule Book - Version 11.3a, July 4, 2022 - Summary of changes:

  1. Minor clarifications to FEO section to clarify that information must be asked for prior to the completion of a search and that coaching/feedback from the judge is not an option.

NACSW Rule Book - Version 11.3, June 14, 2022 - Summary of changes:

  1. Minor phrasing and formatting improvements, updates, and clarifications.
  2. Minor updates to the Skills Challenge language to better clarify the definition of “Return to Hide” and to clarify that dogs should show active searching/seeking behavior during the searches.
  3. Clarified that a search will be scored the same as ‘Absent’ if a competing team choses to ask for hide locations or # of hides to support their dog in that search.
  4. Clarified that dog in white may not video their searches.


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.