What is a Working Dog Trial?

The North American Sport Dog Association (NASDA) was formed in 2016 to provide dogs of all breeds to experience those scent games previously open to a select few breeds and working dogs.  Competing teams earn titles and championships which showcase their merits and abilities within hunt and search situations.

Trials resemble both historic working and competitive field work as closely as possible.  NASDA Working Dog Trials give an opportunity for all breeds, ages, and sizes of dogs to experience those scent games previously open to a select few breeds and working dogs.  Competing teams can get titles and championships that showcase their merits and abilities within hunt and search situations.

What kind of dogs can play?

NASDA opens its working dog events to any dog of any size, breed, or mix.  These are fantastic games for older or retired dogs (and handlers, for that matter!).  Similarly, a very young dog can play as puppy classes are set up in such a way that dogs can focus on their task in an easy, rewarding environment.

NASDA allows dogs and handlers with physical disabilities to compete, provided that they are not in pain and able to safely navigate the environment.  Some accomodation may be made with permission of the judge and trial hosts, provided the difficulty level of the test remains equivalent for all competitors.

What do the dogs search for?  

NASDA games provide a wide variety of “stuff” for your dogs to sniff out – you can choose a game based on your dogs interests, or you can play them all!  

  1. Trailing and Locating – live rats, contained safely in special made quarry boxes.
  2. Urban Locating – Live rats, contained safely in special made quarry boxes.
  3. Shed Dog – shed ungulate antler with added antler odour.

Where do the dogs search?  

The goal of NASDA Working Dog trials is to mimic, as closely as possible, historic field, hunting, and search dog work. As such, the search areas typically mimic those events – in an open field, warehouse, barn, etc.  Check out our website for pictures of trials that have already taken place.

What kind of training does my dog need to enter a trial?

None!  No prior training is required, and your dog can be as young as 4 months old to enter an event.  Basic obedience is not (necessarily) essentially for learning scenting based games. Because many dogs have natural focus and drive for odour and NASDA allows treats on course,it is possible to be successful at trials with very little training.

My dog has some behavioural issues – can they play?

Whether your dog is suitable to participate in NASDA events depends on their specific behavioural issue.  Many dogs that are reactive to other dogs or people are able to participate in our events as dogs work one at a time, and have an option of working on leash in early levels.  NASDA also allows muzzles both on site and while working. Dogs with behavioural issues are welcome as long as they do not present a threat to other handlers or dogs at the event.

How do I register my dog with NASDA?

Your dog will need to be registered with NASDA in order to participate in trials.  There is a one-time fee of $10 USD, and the registration number lasts for the lifetime of your dog.   You can register your dog online at https://nasda.dog/registration/

Can I enter a NASDA event before receiving my dogs registration number?

If you do not receive official confirmation that your dog has a registration number before participating in the event, you are able to enter “pending” on your entry form.  You may also apply for a registration number at the event. Your performance and results will still be valid – but you MUST register prior to the start of the trial.

How do I Get a Title?

To earn titles, dogs must meet a cumulative number of points in a specific level of competition, similar to Flyball and FastCAT.  For example, the first Trailing and Locating title requires 100 points to earn. Each run begins with a score of 25 with a minimum number of 20 points needed to qualify with deductions outlined in the rule book.  There is a point bonus for winning Best of Breed or High in Trial. It typically takes an average of 4 runs, but no fewer than three runs to earn a title.

Who is eligible to handle my dog in a trial?  

Any person may handle your dog provided the dog is registered with NASDA.

How do I start a club?

Any group, organization, or business can become a NASDA club.  Your group can apply for status at https://nasda.dog/clubs/