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Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions? We've got answers!

general rules & Information for all levels

Do you have a minimum and a maximum age for a dog to compete?
6 months minimum; there is no maximum age.
How long will it take to train for each level?

Time will vary depending on the foundations you have already trained. You should plan to spend several months preparing your dog for each title.

Do I need to join a membership organization?

No, however you must register your dog with the Fenzi TEAM titling program.  You can do that here.

My dog is trained past the first level. Can I enter at a higher level?
No – each level must be completed in order to be eligible for the next level.
Will I need special equipment?

The required equipment is listed for each exercise at each level. It is all fairly common nosework training equipment, and access to search areas. Please see our “Definitions” page for more assistance.

Can my friend hold the video camera or is a tripod required?
You have options!  Do what works best for you.
Is there a minimum space (square footage) required?

Any specific requirements will be noted in the exercise. It is the handler’s responsibility to make sure the size is appropriate for the defined search.

Can I reuse locations in the lower standard levels (Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3)?

Yes. Locations can be reused in the lower standand levels and across all the levels. NOTE: In Level 1, EACH of the 6 search aeas must be in a different location or a different area within the same space.

Can I use praise or talk to my dog during the test?

Praise and play are allowed.

Can I use food or toys to reward my dog during the test?


Do both my dog and I have to be fully visible at all times during the test?

The dog must be visible at all times during the search, however, we recognize that the handler may go out of camera range to avoid crowding their dog or due to search space or camera location. We also recognize that the team may be briefly obscured during vehicle searches or other similiar searches and that will be taken into account during judging. 

Can I wear a bait bag during the test?

Yes, treats may be carried in a bait bag, pocket, vest pocket, etc.

Can I use a mechanical clicker during the test?

Yes, however handler must still call alert and/or raise their hand.

Can I hold food in my hand during the exercises?

Yes, food may be held while searching.

Can I hold food in my mouth?


Do I have to be a Fenzi student to compete in the NW TEAM Program?

NO, but you do have to register with the Fenzi TEAM program. The Fenzi TEAM program is a separate organization from Fenzi Dog Sports Academy.  Everyone is welcome!

Can differently-abled dogs compete?

Any dog can compete, but we are not structured to provide special accommodations for dogs with special needs. So, if your dog is differently-abled, he/she will still need to perform the exercises as written.

Can differently-abled handlers compete?

Yes; however, you should be sure your search area is accommodating. Please contact us to discuss specific modifications as needed.

My dog has a short coat. Can my dog wear a jacket for warmth during the test?

Yes. Your dog can be “dressed” if that makes him or her more comfortable.

Can I call you on the phone to discuss?
No – we don’t have a phone number.
Where are you located?

As an internet based company, we are everywhere.  Our judges are international. Our server is in the US. Our administrator is in Canada.

Can I compete if I live outside of the US?
Yes. There are no restrictions based on geography.
Do I have to pass all of the searches to pass?

Your dog has to find all of the hides

Am I required to have a trained final response?


Can I compete if I do not have access to YouTube?

No – you’ll need to find access to YouTube in order to submit videos.  We do not allow Vimeo or other platforms because these videos cannot be read on all devices.

Where can I learn more about Nosework training?

You have options!
You can take classes at FDSA.
You can watch YouTube videos – all of the skills will be covered somewhere!
You can follow instructor blogs.
You can find a local instructor to help you. 

Judging & scoring

Who are your judges?

Our judges are all individuals who have titled at high levels of nosework in their own country, and are experienced trainers.

How will judges be selected for each video?
Videos will be assigned according to workload, but in a random fashion.
Will I know which judge I have been assigned?
No. Judging will be anonymous.
How long does it take to get my video judged and receive the results?

On average about 5-7 days. Occasionally it may take up to two weeks.

Do you score the performances?
No, our system is pass/not yet!
Will I receive feedback on my video?

Yes! In particular, if an exercise is not passing the judge will provide you with helpful comments that you can incorporate into your future video submissions.

I submitted a video that is not quite there yet. Will I receive a chance to re-submit without an additional fee?

No.  Please review criteria for each skill and level carefully BEFORE submitting. Only submit videos that meet criteria so that you will earn a passing score! Each video submission is judged; that is what the fee covers.  If you choose to submit a new video, you will also submit another entry fee.

Can I appeal a non-qualifying attempt?
No. Videos are scored carefully using clear criteria for passing/not yet! designations.
How many times may I attempt a level?
As many times as you wish but please – save yourself money and all of us some heartbreak – don’t submit non-qualifying videos!
If I pass, may I submit another video and attempt to pass multiple times?

No. There is only one pass per title. In order to ensure that we can review as many videos as possible, only submit a video when you have a passing evaluation. Then train for the next level or work toward your Plus title!

What are the criteria for passing a level?

Our program is designed to measure the handler’s ability to achieve excellence in training. All exercises in all levels must be performed correctly and according to criteria, which are stated in the detailed exercise pages for each level.

A titling submission requires search areas to be set up per instructions. All hides must be found and accurate calls (Alert/Finish) must be clearly audible. Dogs must search without undue influence by the handler. The entire video must be within regulation time. 

What if it’s so close the judge can’t decide?

The criteria were designed to be clear, but realistically there may be grey areas. A clean submission with up to 2 “questionables” will earn a passing score and title. If an individual seach does not pass then both the search and the title will be designated “not yet”.

“Questionables” include but are not limited to: unclear hide placement, distance requirements, or dog’s proximity to hide; sustained interaction by the dog with a cold object, safety issues, excessive cues as well as minor faults including dropped leash, dropped food, or missed finish call on known number of hides.

I want to set up a search differently than the sample video demonstrates, and I’m not sure from the written description if it’s ok. What should I do?

When in doubt, don’t make the judge think!  If you follow the sample video, in conjuction with the stated exercise rules, then you will know that you have performed correctly according to the spirit intended for that exercise.  Each judge will decide for him or herself if an exercise is correct and meets passing criteria.  The exception is a legitimate reason for being unable to do the exercise as demonstrated in the video.  For example, the handler has a specific disability which needs to be accommodated.  In that instance, please contact us in advance for an acceptable alternative arrangement.

Is it possible to fall short on an exercise even if that specific error is not mentioned in the “non-qualifiers” description?

Yes!  There is no way that we can specify all of the reasons why a dog might fail an exercise, so we list the ones that are most common. Focus on performing each exercise as described in the written section and according to the sample video.

Titling with NW TEAM 

Do you offer certificates for titles?

After submitting a passing video, you will earn a title for that level.  A printable certificate in .pdf format will be emailed to you acknowledging your accomplishment.

Will my dog’s registered name or call name be listed on the certificate?
Both will be listed; the call name will be in quotation marks.
Can I add a NW TEAM title to my dog’s registered name? What would that look like?

Yes, you can. If you qualify, you may add “NW-TEAM” (with the correct level number) after your dog’s name. For example, “Brito NW-TEAM2, NW-TEAM1+.”

Can I search your database to see who has earned titles?

Yes, if the dog’s guardian has opted to include his or her name in the open search function.

Competition submission information

How do I earn a title?

Register your dog, study the requirements for the first level title (NW-TEAM1), and start training!  When you feel that your dog is fluent on all of the exercises required for a level, set up the video camera so that a judge can clearly judge your performance, and take your video!

Levels 1–3: (NW-TEAM 1, 2, and 3)

NW TEAM levels 1-3 focus on building a dog-handler team able to execute straightforward searches that emphasize the building blocks of solid teamwork in a way that shows training progression. As the level increases, so does search complexity, including distractions and multiple hides!

Levels 1–3 Plus:  (NW-TEAM1+, 2+, and 3+)

The Plus series requires the skills in Level 1, 2, and 3 be completed in a novel location other than that used for Levels 1, 2, and 3 and different for each of the Plus levels. Details for Levels 1, 2, and 3 may be found on the individual pages. Teams may complete each Plus level in conjunction with the original level or may choose to complete them after successfully completing Level 1-3. For example, a team might choose to do NW TEAM1, 2, and 3 followed by NW TEAM1+, 2+, 3+ OR the team might do NW TEAM1 and then NW Team1+, NW TEAM 2, and then NW TEAM2+, etc. Once completed, the NW-TEAM+ title may be added after your dog’s name at the appropriate level. Completion of Levels 1+ through 3+ will be necessary to continue on to Levels 4-6.


How do I submit a video?

Upload your video to YouTube, then include a link to your video with your submission. If you’re unsure of how to upload a video to YouTube, please search Google for assistance or visit the YouTube website. We cannot provide technical assistance on how to use YouTube.

How long should the video be?

The video time should be less than the stated time for each level. Your video time will be dependent upon how you choose to set up our testing area and how quickly your dog works through each search. Maximum length of video is stated for each level.

Must I perform the exercises in the order as listed on the level rules page?

No. However, please add to your video in the sequential order of the titling information.

Do all exercises have to be completed on the same day?

No. However, they must be completed within 7 days. Videos cannot be from trial videos or group classes and must be set up per the rules specifically for this titling submittal. Videos should be unique and not repurposed. The only exception is if you have a team class and are getting together to work on NW TEAM titling searches.

Can I do each exercise separately and edit the video together?

Yes. They can be done in any order and then edited into one video in the order of the exercises.

Can I use an assistant to help me place hides?

Yes, just be sure they understand all of the setup requirements.

How should I structure my session to be most efficient?

Follow the requirements for each search as well as view the sample passing video. Take note of where the equipment, camera, dog, and handler are located throughout the search. You are not required to set up according to the sample, unless the level states those specifics in the instructions.

Do you have sample videos that will help me perform each level and exercise correctly?

Yes.  We have provided video examples of each search. You can find those by selecting the level that you are interested in, and then scrolling down to the specific exercise.  From there you will find a sample video.

Will my videos be made public?
When you register your dog for a competition, we will ask you if we may use your video for promotional or training purposes. It will be your choice.
Do I need other people to train with or to create test videos?

Yes and No. You can train and videotape your search alone. At some point, you will be testing in public, and you may find it easier to have an assistant. In the higher levels, you will have blind hides, so will need an assistant to place your hides.

How do I ask questions about each level?

Please take the time to read all of these FAQs and the criteria for each level with care. Your questions are extremely likely to be covered in one of those places. If you cannot find the answers, then the next best option is to join the Fenzi NW TEAM Players Facebook group, where other experienced participants can guide you.

Registration & payment information

How do I register my dog?
Follow this link and read the directions. Registration is easy!
If I have multiple dogs, can I receive a registration discount?
What do I need to do to compete for Fenzi TEAM Nosework titles?

1. Register your dog here
2. Train your dog to criteria!
3. After you receive registration confirmation and a registration number, you’re ready to go! Submit your trial application using the link provided in your dog’s profile.
4. Your video will be assigned to one of our judges for review. You should be notified by email within one to two weeks about whether you have passed or if you need more training.

Can I pay by check?
No. Our payment system is fully automated and requires either a credit or a debit card.
What is the cost to register a dog?

$20 per dog. Once your dog is registered, you will receive an email with the registration number. Please take the time to spell your dog’s name and your personal information with care!

Does the dog’s registration ever expire?
No.  It is a lifetime registration.
What is the cost to enter a video?

$29 per video submission.

If you have read through all of the FAQ pages and you still have a question, please send your inquiry to: We’ll consider adding it to the FAQ!

You also will find a good deal of support and information from your fellow Fenzi NW TEAM Players; join the Facebook group here!