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Official Rules & Exercise Descriptions for each Level

Judging and Scoring

Who are the Judges?

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

How Long Will it Take My Submission to be Judged?

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

How Submissions are Judged

Each video submission will be rated overall as either “pass” or as “not yet.”

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.

What are the criteria for a passing score?

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.

A clean submission or 2 “questionables” will earn a passing score and title.

Rating on Individual Exercises

In addition to rating the video as a whole as a “pass” or as a “not yet,” each search will also be rated. Individual searches will be given one of three ratings: “pass,” “questionable,” or “not yet.”

Two “questionables” will earn a passing score and title. If there are three  “questionables,” the video will be designated as “not yet” for the title. If an individual search does not pass then both the search and the title will be designated “not yet”.

Reasons for Earning a “Not Yet”:

While each level lists some of the most common ways a dog may achieve a “not yet” on a given exercise, there is no way we can specify all of the reasons possible. Focus on performing each exercise as described in the written section and according to the sample video. 

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

The criteria were designed to be clear, but realistically there may be grey zones. Did the handler make a minor error that did not affect the exercise? Was there a slight variation in the search setup but met the spirit of the exercise? Because we recognize that criteria can be hard to judge, we allow judges to consider an exercise as “questionable.”

“Questionables” include but are not limited to: unclear hide placement, distance requirements or dog’s proximity to hide; excessive interaction with containers; safety issues; unnecessary multiple cues as well as minor faults including: excessive search disruption due to leash handling, dropped food, or missed finish call when required. 

Two “questionables” will earn a passing score and title.  So if you get two questionables and everything else is a clear pass, then you’ll earn your title! If there are three  “questionables,” the video will be designated as “not yet” for the title. 

Focus on performing each exercise as described in the written section and according to the sample video. When in doubt, don’t make the judge think! If you want to do a search differently than the sample video demonstrates, each judge will decide for him or herself if the exercise is correct and meets passing criteria. If you follow the sample video, then you will know that you have performed the exercise correctly according to the spirit intended for that exercise. 

The exception is a legitimate reason for being unable to do the search 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.

Non-Passing Submissions

If your submission does not pass you must submit another video along with another judging fee. If an exercise is judged as “not yet” you will be given feedback on the reason for that decision.  Please take this feedback seriously and make changes in future submissions. We really want you to pass!

You are allowed to reuse your previously passing searches within a 2 week grace period from the time you received your results. You can re-video the searches that did not pass (even using the same area!) and resubmit the whole video again with all 6 searches. It is recommended that you re-video any searches that were scored as a Questionable Pass if you have 2 or more QPs. If you have a NY and a QP, you only have to resubmit the NY search. There is always a risk that redoing a search results in a NY if all the requirements are not met.