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September 28, 2023

On June 23 2023, our youngest canine hero (Mr Stix) earned his NACSW NW1 title on his second try. He also earned a 2nd place and pronounced honors for his speedy exterior search at the event held at Rambler Ranch in Elizabeth, Colorado. He is SO cute when he is working with his nose. Don't miss these 4 videos! It also happened to be the 10th anniversary of my Mom's death (even though I say 20th in the final video), so I asked her for a little help. 

nacsw nw1 score sheets and ribbons

What is NACSW?

It stands for National Association of Canine Scent Work. So far, it's the only dog nosework venue we've tried. 

What's Required for an NACSW NW1 Title?

The dog needs to get all 4 searches in a single day, within the time limit and without faults, etc. Each search at the NACSW NW1 level features a single odor hide that the dog must find:

  • Interior search
  • Exterior search
  • Vehicle search
  • Container search

The odors NACSW dogs find are birch, anise, and clove. In some cases, I believe they also can combine odors. Someone correct me, if I'm goofy.

NACSW NW1 Vehicle and Exterior Searches Back to Back

Because Rambler Ranch is such a huge nosework trial site, the officials planned the day in 2 chunks with everyone doing 2 back-to-back searches before lunch and after lunch. So our day started with the vehicle search immediately followed by the exterior search. 

At Mr Stix's first attempt at a NW1 title in April 2023, he didn't even seem to notice the 3 cars, so I really had NO idea what would happen. I used every ounce of patience I had while he worked (and seemingly putzed around) before settling on the hide. 

Notice how I end up crowding him, realizing it, and backing up. I essentially pinned him in place with my body position, but once I backed up, he got back to work and found the hide. I wish I'd realized I was doing the same thing to Clover on her 5th try at a NACSW NW2 title a few weeks ago. Gah! Anyway, behold the vehicle search and his award-winning exterior search.

NACSW NW1 Interior and Container Searches Back to Back

After lunch, we did the interior search in a cute diner space and then the container search. We passed through the diner on our way to the vehicle search in the morning, so I knew from that Mr Stix thought the stripe of tile flooring was freaky. I had to carry him through the space to reach the cars he searched in the morning. I just really hoped that he didn't need to walk on the tiles to reach the interior search hide. The results are kind of darling. 

Thankfully, he completely ignored the creepy mannequin lady in the diner booth. I will add that I think it helped us that the container search was outdoors instead of indoors. He likes outdoor searches better, and we often practice container searches in our driveway. 

After the Final Search

I had to sit down in a quiet place on our way back to the car on after the final search, when I knew Mr Stix earned his NACSW NW1 title, and have a bit of a cry. I really held it together all day with memories of my Mom laughing, but I needed a minute to regroup. 

One of the people you hear asking me if we titled is a volunteer named Jean, who has been one of my biggest cheerleaders in the nosework world. I'm always thrilled to see her at NACSW trials because she feels like a good luck charm to me, Clover, and Mr Stix. So, thanks SO much for the enthusiasm at the end of the day. 

Also ...

Congratulations to my friend Megan Wallace who was the certifying official at this NACSW NW1 trial. It was her first time solo in that role, and she did an amazing job. Clover and I hope to do some nosework workshops and private lessons at her training place up in Loveland CO called NoCo Unleashed in the coming months in preparation for more nosework trials again in 2024. 

LINKS to other NW posts:

About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

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