Detection Games is a 2 day detection dog competition open to all detection disciplines. Various search areas will be set up to challenge the dog and handler.  Placement is based on total score over the 2 days.
Rules and Judging:  The Detection Games.

This is a competition designed to challenge all types of detection dogs teams to compete against each other all that the same event.  The Detection Dog games are based on either themes and or by the creativity of the judge or host.

The environments are set to challenge both dog and handler as a team. Just like real searches… you never know what challenges might be in your search area. Various types of areas or mixture of areas will be searched, however you can expect. Interior and exterior search areas, containers and luggage, and vehicles.  This is the FUN of the Detection Dog Games.  Hides set from ground level up to 7ft high

K9 Teams are judged in the following ways:

  • Dogs indication to its trained odor(s). 5 points max
  • Dog’s commitment to odor (despite the challenges in the environment) 5 points max
  • Handlers ability to read the dog. 5 points max
  • How well the area was searched. 5 points max

Search areas will be given a maximum time for the search…however K9 teams do not get points for how fast they find odors in the search.

When a handler feels they have completed the search area. They simply advise the judge they have finished, and time will stop at that point.


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The Detection Games: FAQs

The response to The Detection Games has been truly remarkable, and the influx of emails and messages has left me both amazed and pleasantly surprised. I'd like to take this opportunity to address some of the frequently asked questions I've received:

1. The Detection Games are one-time events; they do not constitute an organization or a sport. Think of them as similar to Tough Mudder and other programs where each event is a unique challenge for you and your dog. Hosts and potential judges create each event. Just like in real detection work, where every search presents unforeseen challenges, I've designed The Detection Games to share these distinctive challenges and experiences in a fun, competitive environment.

2. The Detection Games are not a sport or an organization. I made this choice for several reasons, primarily to avoid the politics often associated with such endeavors and to ensure that it remains an all-inclusive activity accessible to everyone. This approach places all competitors and detection disciplines on an equal footing, where they face similar challenges, and the best K9 team emerges victorious. I've taken steps to copyright the name and program to preserve the integrity and brand recognition of The Detection Games.

3. How to Host The Detection Games? We've been thrilled to receive numerous requests from various locations across the USA and even from around the world to host The Detection Games. We are enthusiastic about expanding this event to new locations and are actively working on a formal process to facilitate these requests. Our aim is to create a clear guideline on how to host this event, detailing what is required. Stay tuned for further information, as we anticipate having these guidelines ready by next month.

4. A common question we've received is how The Detection Games differs from other programs like Scentwork, DDT, and others. First and foremost, The Detection Games is not an organization or a sport program, which provides greater flexibility, reduces bureaucratic hurdles, and minimizes political involvement, as previously mentioned. While there may be similarities with other programs, we have distinct differences, particularly in judging criteria and site flexibility for event hosting.

In comparison to other programs, we are most closely aligned with DDT, as we also welcome multiple detection disciplines to compete.

However, there are differences  to other programs with how we judge and what we emphasize. Notably, we are a two-day scoring event where speed and time are not considered in the judging process. Instead, we focus on evaluating the performance of the team, which consists of the dog and handler. We assess whether they search thoroughly, whether the dog effectively locates odor, if it provides a clear indication when it finds odor, whether the handler can read and interpret the dog's behavior accurately, and whether the team can successfully navigate the challenges presented by the search area.

5. Which detection disciplines are eligible for competition? If you are involved in any of the Nosework sports, including human remains, bedbug, narcotics, explosives, firearms, conservation, electronic media detection, antler shed, Kong, Pseudos, tobacco, arson, or any other type of "odor" detection, you are welcome to compete in The Detection Games. In cases where the event site does not have the specific odor required for your discipline, the judge or host will work closely with participants to arrange for the necessary odor acquisition two hours before the event starts. It is essential that all proper and safe handling procedures are adhered to.

We have received numerous requests to include Live Find in our lineup, and we are actively working on making this happen. However, one of the primary challenges we face with Live Find is the need for a substantial amount of space—approximately 10 acres or more per Live Find competitor. This is necessary to ensure we can replicate optimal search conditions and provide each competitor with a dedicated search area while considering potential Live Find contamination issues. Rest assured, we are committed to finding a solution that will allow Live Find handlers to participate in a fun, competitive, and safe environment.

6. What are the skill levels in The Detection Games? Currently, we have established the following skill level labels:

**Basic: This level is designed for new teams and is suited for smaller areas with a known number of finds. It presents fewer environmental challenges.

**Intermediate: In the Intermediate level, teams face an unknown number of finds within medium sized search areas and encounter more environmental challenges. Hide heights do not exceed 5 feet.

**Advanced:The Advanced level features the largest search areas in the event, and teams must navigate all the challenges presented in the competition. Hide heights can reach up to 7 feet, and hides may even be buried or submerged.

**Professional: This category involves searching the same area and adhering to the standards of the Advanced level. It is reserved for certified K9 Detection teams specializing in the following disciplines: Narcotics, Explosives, Firearms, Arson, Cadaver, Electronic Media, Bedbug, and Conservation.

(It's important to note that Conservation K9 teams, due to the wide range of sub-disciplines within Conservation, have the option to request entry into the Intermediate level if they prefer).

Natalie is in the process of preparing a sport dog level comparison for the Basic to Advanced levels. This comparison aims to provide sports teams engaged in Nose and Scent work with a clearer understanding of where they align within these designated categories.

7.)  Is it possible to observe other handlers working their dogs? Absolutely, once your team has completed their run, you are welcome to watch other teams competing in different disciplines. One of the distinctive aspects of The Detection Games is the opportunity for handlers to not only observe their peers but also offer support to friends and colleagues. This practice promotes growth and learning for every handler. Furthermore, the use of video recording devices, such as action cameras mounted on the handler or dog, is allowed. However, it's important to note that these videos cannot be shared with others until that particular discipline has concluded. As per the rules, it's crucial to emphasize that sharing search area information with others is strictly prohibited and will result in disqualification for all parties involved.

Are you a spectator and want to watch?  Yes you can do so and there is a $25 fee this is for the simple expenses for the event.

Volunteer: if you want to Volunteer for the event email to be put on the list and if needed you will be contacted.

Can I be a judge?  If you want to be on the list of possible judges for these events please email with your CV of experience across multiple detection type disciplines.  Since this is a sport going across multiple different detection disciplines we need judges who also have a varied background of experience in multiple detection types of work.

Hope this answers most of the questions I have received so far but if you have any other questions just write them below and I will do a follow on post for other questions after Christmas.

I can’t thank you all enough for all the interest and support we have received so far for The Detection Games…

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