Dogs must be at least six months of age to participate in an ORT and at least one year of age to participate in a trial and must appear to be healthy on the event day and should be current on all vaccinations required by law. Each trial organizer may set additional requirements for their location. Minimum age requirement for handlers is thirteen years of age. An adult must accompany minors at all times at official events. This adult may not be participating in the trial with another dog.
The number of entries permitted to compete and/or title per trial is set by the trial organizer. All dogs must have earned the ORT (Odor Recognition Test) Title according to NACSW specifications. The NACSW will verify ORT Title and prerequisite title completion for each trial entry. Titles will not be granted to any dog that has not previously earned the ORT Title and any prerequisite title designated for the particular title level. Titles must also be achieved in succession, NW1, NW2, and NW3, NW3 Elite, etc. ORT records will be kept on file with the NACSW and may be confirmed in advance by reviewing "Results" under the Membership account. In order to compete in an NACSW Trial or ORT event, handlers must be current members of the NACSW and must have registered their dogs with the NACSW.
The ORT Title is required for trial entry for the purpose of verifying the dog’s recognition of the odors used in trial and the handler’s ability to read the dog’s indication of the source of odor. It is not necessarily a measure of trial readiness.
The average time frame for training to trial readiness is about one year. Most handlers and dogs by that time have learned all of the elements of competition and have practiced those elements in many locations, under time pressure with the guidance of an instructor. The NACSW offers this guideline in the hopes that handlers will provide a long enough training period for the dog. This will allow for both dog and handler to have a more enjoyable and successful experience at trial.