The first thing you must do to compete in a K9 Nose Work® trial is to pass a test that confirms that your dog can recognize a specific odor. There are three odors used for K9 Nose Work® trials. They are Birch, Anise, and Clove. The dogs must pass an Odor Recognition Tests (ORT) for each of the specific odors. The ORT odors can be passed in any order; however, the Birch ORT must be passed before the dog can compete in a trial.
Birch – Required for NW1 eligibility
Birch and Anise – Required for NW2 eligibility
Birch, Anise and Clove – Required for NW3 eligibility
What is a Trial?
The official K9 Nose Work® trials are sanctioned by NACSW™. There are three levels of trials, NW1, NW2, and NW3. Before you can compete in a trial the dog must be at least six months old and appear healthy on trial date. The dog must be current on all vaccinations required by law. The minimum age requirement for handlers is thirteen (There is no proof of vaccination requirement for handlers - Tee hee!).
The following are the elements that must be passed for all titles. Each of the elements are worth 25 points for a total possible 100 points overall. There is maximum time limit set for each element. That time limit for the search cannot be exceeded.
Note: For most trials, the time limit for each element is generally five minutes or less.
- Container Search (25 points for passing)
- Exterior Area Search (25 points for passing)
- Interior Building Search (25 points for passing)
- Vehicle Search (25 points for passing)
What are the Trial Elements?
Container Search is similar to the box drill used for the ORT. The search must be on-leash.
NW1 – 15 to 20 boxes set in any pattern. The boxes can be any shape or size. Only one box will contain the Birch odor.
NW2 – Containers and/or luggage (or combination thereof) set in any pattern. Multiple hides can be used with Birch, Anise, or a combination of the two orders. Distractor odors, such as food, toys, and animal smells and be hidden within the containers.
NW3 – Containers and/or luggage (or combination thereof) set in any pattern. Multiple hides can be used with Birch, Anise, Clove, or any combination of the three orders. Distractor odors, such as food, toys, and animal smells and be hidden within the containers.
Exterior Area Search can include the exterior of a building, a parking lot, grassy field, courtyard, etc. It is very difficult because of the many distractors and smells. The search area and search time limit will be determined on a number of factors including, size, weather conditions, complexity, distractors and title level. The search may have on and off-leash areas, depending on the particular trial requirements
Interior Building Search may include from one to three search areas depending on the title level. These are typically room-sized environments such as a kitchen, bathroom, conference room, office, or warehouse space. The search may have on and off-leash areas, depending on the particular trial requirements
Vehicle Search may have three to five vehicles in the search, depending on the title level. Any type of vehicle may be used (car, motorcycle, truck, trailer, semi, etc). Handlers must determine which vehicles contain the hide and specific location of that hide. The difficulty of this type of search is to pinpoint the location as the odor is likely moving around and below the exterior of the vehicle and/or bouncing among vehicles. Handlers must help their dogs work to the source of the target odor before committing to an alert. Handlers may be assessed a fault if their dog excessively paws or damages the vehicle at the judge’s discretion. The handler will never need to open a vehicle door for their dog to locate the hide.
K9 Nose Work® Resources
Find and Instructor in your area
K9 Nose Work® is rapidly growing in all parts of the country. You can fine certified instructors in most states. Not all regions have instructors who have completed the certification process. However, many people in your area are enrolled in the instructor program and have demonstrated their commitment to learning how to teach K9 Nose Work® as developed by the founders of the sport. These teachers will be designated as ANWI™ which stands for Associate K9 Nose Work® Instructor. A listing of both types of instructors can be found here: Find an instructor in your area.
Farmdogs that Participate in K9 Nose Work®