Thank you for submitting your USCSS™  CSD Application.  The next step is to submit the $25.00 fee via PayPal here.  Upon our review of the Application and receipt of the fee, we will schedule a short telephone interview in two-weeks time.  Should the Application be approved, the applicant will receive a welcome packet including all the necessary information for the said position.



Thank you for your interest in United States Canine Scent Sports™ and in becoming an approved Chief Search Designer (CSD)!  CSDs are crucial to USCSS™ and are the “chief executive” of the trial.  Not only are they an expert on odor and responsible for designing all the search areas and setting the hides, they are also responsible for designing the flow of the trial, communicating to Judges regarding the various searches and parameters, assigning jobs to various trial volunteers while working hand-in-hand with the Trial Chairperson to ensure the trial runs smoothly, efficiently while still offering challenging yet fun searches.  As such, CSDs must have impeccable attention to detail while also being capable of seeing the big picture, possess excellent communication skills and be comfortable delegating tasks in a kind, concise and clear manner.  Most importantly, all of these tasks must be done with a smile and great sense of humor; the CSD sets the tone for the trial and they must be professional, prompt and pleasant at all times.  Below is a listing of minimum requirements necessary to be considered as a  USCSS™ Judge, although every Application will be reviewed on an individual basis:



  • Must be 21 years of age or older
  • Must be a member of USCSS™ in good standing
  • Must be familiar with the Rules and Regulations of USCSS™
  • Must have full mobility and physical endurance to withstand the rigors of a trial
  • Must have a minimum of one-year experience in Scent Work
  • Must have experience either as a CO or an equivalent position setting hides in a trial environment
  • Preferably will have a NW3 title or equivalent title in Scent Work, but each application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis as we understand valuable experience can be gained without having earned a NW3 title.
  • USCSS™ urges individuals with the following experience to apply as a CSD:
    • Trained and/or handled professional detection dogs for the military, police force or privately-owned company
    • Trained and/or handled search and rescue dogs
    • Scent Work instructors (CNWI or equivalent)



VIDEO SUBMISSIONS:  CSDs may be required to provide a minimum of (3) videos of mock trials where they set the hides before being approved officiate a sanctioned USCSS™ trial.  These videos must show the following:

  • The setting of the hides and reasoning behind each placement
  • Running of dog-in-white any adjustments made as a result
  • The flow of the mock trial (staging areas, where competitors entered and exited, etc.
  • Running of at least 5 competitors
  • Recording of any changes in the trial conditions


SHADOWING APPROVAL: Those applicants who meet all the other requirement but lack sufficient hands-on experience in setting hides in a trial environment, they will be placed on a shadowing approval status.  As such, the applicants must at least (3) videos of them acting as a CSD at a mock trial and also shadow under a mentor CSD at least (3) sanctioned USCSS™ trials.  This mentor CSD will take the lead in the first trial, allow the applicant to be more involved in the second and then have the applicant take the lead during the third. The mentor CSD will provide feedback to USCSS™ regarding how the applicant performed and if they are ready for full-approval or if they need more time to shadow.


WHAT IS THE 2-DAY JUDGE AND CSD CERTIFICATION WORKSHOP?  All approved Judges and CSDs must attend a 2-Day Judge and CSD Certification Workshop within 6-months of being approved.  In order for their attendance to count toward this requirement, officials must enrol in a “full working capacity”, meaning that they will attend both days, take the written exam and officiate the mock trial held on the second day.  Doing so will ensure that all of our officials are on the same page.  Those individuals who are interested in learning more about the organization or what is involved in becoming or being an official are welcomed to audit the Workshop.  However, auditing the Workshop does not fulfil the 6-month requirement for approved officials.
OTHER REQUIREMENTS FOR USCSS™ OFFICIALS?  USCSS™ believes strongly in continuing education.  Therefore all approved USCSS™ officials must maintain biannual continuing education credits.


Online Courses Available courtesy of Scent Work Univerisity