All dogs and handlers need to be able to navigate the ORT and trial environments and the surprises that come with it.  Our searches are in real life environments and our volunteers, participants and spectators are real life people.  The unexpected can and does frequently happen.  We need to do our best to ensure that all people and dogs remain safe in the ORT and trial environment.

Any dog displaying aggression towards people or dogs is subject to disciplinary action. Please refer to the rule book for full details. Additionally, any dog that causes injury to another dog or human in any circumstance will be dismissed and will be suspended from future NACSW events pending review and a final decision by the Trial Disciplinary Action Committee.

In a class setting frequently instructors are able to make accommodations for dogs with various sensitivities and issues that we are unable to guarantee at ORTs and trials.  Some dogs may be able to successfully enjoy the activity of K9 Nose Work but may not be able to cope with the competition environment.  Some handlers have found that the activity has helped their sensitive or fearful dog improve dramatically to a level where they are able to safely cope with the trial environment.

The optional use of a red bandana at a NACSW event is intended ONLY to indicate that a dog needs a little bit of extra space from other dogs.

Following are some guidelines of what our ORT and trial environments do and don’t provide with respect to dogs who have concerns about dogs, people and the environment.

Dogs who are concerned about other dogs

What we do give you…

  • Search areas without other dogs purposefully in the area
  • Reasonable assurance that people will do their best to follow the rules and maintain at least 8 feet of distance between dogs
  • No stand for exam, group down stay, or purposely off leash dogs
  • Culture and rules that have dogs contained when not going potty or getting ready for their turn

What we don’t give you

  • Guarantee of no accidents or surprises – you and your dog need to be able to safely navigate any of these surprises including dogs directly approaching your dog.
  • We do not require other dogs to be put away or “extreme” space given for your dog to navigate to the potty areas or search areas.
  • Approval to have a dangerous dog at an event

Dogs who are concerned with people

Dogs must be comfortable in proximity to people of varying ages, genders, sizes who may move in unpredictable ways.  For many searches your dog must be able to pass through doors with a volunteer opening/closing the door for you.  People may pop out around corners and judge’s stewards and gate stewards will approach you to guide you to your next area and/or give instructions

What we do give you…

  • We ask our volunteers to show respect and not interact with your dog without permission
  • We ask our volunteers to give you a little bit of extra space if requested (stepping back a step or two)

What we don’t give you

  • We don’t clear areas, hallways, ask spectators or volunteers to leave search areas or to step back away from the search area. 
  • Any guarantees that our volunteers or spectators or other people at the trial location will not attempt to approach/interact with your dog
  • Officials and volunteers will not alter their attire (i.e. remove a hat or jacket) to accommodate a dog with concerns.
  • While volunteers and officials will not intentionally exhibit behaviors that add social pressure to a dog, we cannot take requests that a volunteer, official, spectator, or other person on trial grounds not exhibit certain body language/behaviors such as making eye contact with the dog.
  • We don’t condone dogs displaying aggression (for example: lunging, barking, growling, etc) towards humans at any time.

Dogs who have environmental sensitivities

What we do give you…

  • Understanding if you need a bit of time to help your dog recover from an unusual scary event.

What we don’t give you

  • Accommodations to avoid certain environments, situations, etc.
  • We can’t give you an alternate path to a search area, or additional time to acclimate to an area, etc.

For questions please email