Version 11.0 of the rule book is now available. Please note that this version includes the rules for the new Skills Achievement Challenge. We anticipate that the first Skills Achievement Challenge will be offered in Q1 2022

NACSW Rule Book Version 11.0 July 19, 2021


NACSW™ Rule Book - Version 11.0, July 19, 2021

Summary of changes:

  • Minor phrasing and formatting improvements, updates, and clarifications.
  • Added Skills Achievement Challenge rules. We anticipate that the first challenge will be available in the first quarter of 2022.
  • Added information about For Exhibition Only (FEO)
  • Updated the walkthrough information to reflect the new Virtual Walkthrough process.

NACSW™ Rule Book - Version 10.4, December 12, 2020 – Effective February 1, 2021.


Summary of changes:

  • Minor phrasing and formatting improvements, updates, and clarifications.
  • Level 2 and Level 3 Element Specialty Trials will now be scored following the NW3 scoring format that took effect Jan 1, 2020.
    • Titles will be earned with a perfect score and no more than 3 faults
    • Qualifying scores will be earned if you have no more than 1 “error” and no more than 3 faults. Errors are missed hides, false alert, and at Level 3 only a missed finish call.
    • Teams will be allowed to continue searching after their first false alert in each search. The search will end if there is a second false alert. The reason for this is that the team may still be eligible for a Qualifying Score. We wanted to provide consistency for multiple hide searches so all the teams have the same opportunity to find additional hides. Sometimes there is a single location where many dogs false alert, and in the prior scoring, if you encountered that location early in the search vs late in the search it would affect how many hides you had found prior to your false alert.

NW2 scoring will NOT be changing and searches at NW2 will end after the first False Alert. The reason for this is that a perfect score is required to title at NW2 and a single false alert means that a title is no longer an option.

  • Update to scoring for blank areas and eliminating during a search for Elite and Summit trials.

Reminder: The implementation date for requiring all 3 ORTs for all levels will be April 1, 2021.


To see the historical summary of changes for versions of the rule book, go to the Revision History page.

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


NACSW Trial Container Guidelines for Members - effective September 1, 2020 


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.