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 9.3, March 23, 2018


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.


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

Summary of changes:

  1. 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.
  2. Noise making reward items such as squeaky toys may only be used in search areas and may not be used elsewhere on trial grounds.
  3. Other minor phrasing updates and clarifications


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.





Questions about the rule book? 

Contact Us.