Freestyle (DOGS Scoring)

The D.O.G.S Scoring System for Freestyle-Disc uses 4 judges who each focus their attention on a specific attribute (Releases, Catches, Tricks, Errors) of the freestyle routine and simply record their observations. Results from these grading sheets are used to calculate ratios to provide scores in 5 categories (Difficulty, Agility, Diversity, Performance, and Showmanship).


Each time an error occurs, judge #1 scores that miscue. Every mistake earns Performance point deductions and is scored in 1 of 4 categories (Fumble, Bumble, Stumble, or Tumble). Fumbles occur every time a disc is missed or dropped. Bumbles would include the handler changing his mind in mid-stream or a dog refusing a trick (a.k.a. Balks). Stumbles and Tumbles refer to both team members, and are differentiated by whether the team member falls to the ground or not.


Each time the dog catches a disc, judge #2 scores that catch. Every catch earns Agility points and is scored in 1 of 4 categories (On-Ground, In-Air, Flipping or Balancing). Rollers count as On-Ground catch if the dog picks it up cleanly while the disc is still rolling. If any paw is On-Ground at point of contact, that’s how it is ruled, with In-Air being all four paws off the ground when the catch is made. Balancing can be when the dog is standing on two feet, sitting in a begging position, or standing/sitting/laying on the handler. Again, this is the dog’s position when the disc is caught. Takes do not count as a catch.


Each time the handler lets go of a disc, judge #3 scores that release. Every released disc earns Difficulty points and is scored in 1 of 4 categories (Basic Short, Basic Long, Advanced Short, or Advanced Long). For long vs. short, use 10 yards as a guideline. For basic vs. advanced, a simply rule of thumb is that all takes and backhand tosses are basic releases, with pretty much anything else ruled as advanced.


Each time the team (canine or human) demonstrates an attempt at a trick variation, judge #4 scores that move. Every unique trick attempt (release-grip, dog maneuver, team posturing, etc.) earns Diversity points and is scored in 1 of 4 categories (Non-Disc/Common, Non-Disc/Creative, Disc/Common, or Disc/Creative). Disc tricks (vs. Non-Disc) mean that a Disc was involved in the trick attempt. Each trick variation is scored regardless of whether or not it results in a successfully catch. Common vs. Creative is the most subjective observation. Basically, the judge should just make the call as he sees it. When in doubt, give the team the higher mark. The important thing is to record every trick variation (the
same trick done repeatedly only counts as one trick).

At the end of a routine, each judge must also record a showmanship mark (on a scale of 1 to 10)
on the grading sheet for that team. The points are then totaled on each judge’s worksheet and divided by the disc and time factors to produce a ratio that eliminates the need for setting limits on these performance elements.

  • No Time Limits (One song maximum, no minimum)
  • No Disc Limits (Any quantity of any dog friendly disc)

The Disc D.O.G.S. System is an attempt to quantify the key observable attributes of freestyle into
equations to produce a fully balanced scoring system that recognizes the subjective nature of the sport, while striving for objectivity and consistency in its evaluation process. While the math may seem a little complex at first glance, the real strengths of the system are its ease of use for judges and the total flexibility it provides competitors.

Category Formula
Performance (Errors) ((Fumbles x 30) + (Bumbles x 60) + (Stumbles x 90) + (Tumbles x 1200) ) / (Time)
Agility (Catches) ((On Ground x 20) + (In Air x 40) + (Flipping x 80) + (Balancing x 120)) / (Time + Number of Discs)
Difficulty (Releases) ((Basic Short x 20) + (Basic Long x 30) + (Advanced Short x 40) + (Advanced Long x 60)) / (Time + Number of Discs)
Diversity (Tricks) ((Non-Disc Common x 20) + (Non-Disc Creative x 30) + (Disc Common x 60) + (Disc Creative x 90)) / (Time + Number of Discs)
Showmanship (Judges Average) (Handler Showmanship) + (Canine Showmanship) + (Team Showmanship) + (Team Choreography) / 4