Judging at a typical disc dog toss & fetch events is generally straightforward and objective: the field is lined so zones and out-of bounds are distinct, and where the dog lands is usually obvious. Also, the judges tend to be impartial and disc doggers, who are competing as individuals, keep a close watch.
Call ‘em Like You See ‘em
In K9 Frisbee Toss & Fetch League, judging tends to be a little looser: lines are not required so close calls tend to be a little more flexible; as Club members, judges can be biased for their Club. That’s OK – Toss & Fetch League’s philosophy is we want everyone to be as successful as possible and “when in doubt”, close calls should favor the player.
Even so, we want to keep judging as fair, standardized and honest as possible amongst all the Clubs in the League.
With that, here are some guidelines for judging Toss & Fetch League play:
Position 3 Judges on the Field: Two sideline judges and a line judge.
The Line Judge keeps the time and watches for foot faults.
The Line Judge should stand where they have a straight line-of-sight between the starting line cones.
When a team is ready, the line judge should check that the sideline judges are watching and then announce “Ready, Set, Go”. Time begins on “Go” and a round is sixty seconds.
If a player, during a throw, steps on the imaginary line-of-sight starting line, the Line Judge should give a warning and tell the player to step back for subsequent throws. If the foot fault is obvious and egregious, it should be called a foot fault and the throw would not count.
The Sideline Judges award points.
The Sideline Judges should move, based on the typical throwing distance of the team, to place themselves at alternating zone markers giving themselves a straight line of sight between cones at zones where the Team is most likely to score.
For instance, if a Team typically throws long, one sideline judge should stand at the 30-yard cone and the other sideline judge at the 40-yard cone. For mid-range teams, one sideline judge should line up at the 20-yard cone and the other the 30-yard. And for short throwing Teams, judges should move to the 10-yard and 20-yard cones.
Each sideline judge is responsible for gauging Out-of-Bounds calls on their side of the field.
The Line Is Your Friend Rule
Toss & Fetch League follows “the Line is Your Friend” rules whereby Teams score Points for each successful catch based on where the dog’s trailing paw lands for each catch.
A trailing paw on a Zone line earns the higher Zone.
At least one paw must land in bounds or on a sideline, otherwise a catch will be out-of-bounds and scored zero.
Air Bonus Explained – Kinda
A ½ Point Air Bonus is awarded when a dog leaps UP to make a catch with all four paws clearly off ground. This is one of the trickier components to judge – sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it’s a judgment call. Be fair, be consistent.
For any Air Bonus to be awarded, even the back paws MUST be clearly off the ground when the disc is caught, even if it’s just an inch.
If the dog tips the disc and then leaps to catch it, Air Bonus is awarded providing all four paws are off the ground.
If the dog jumps, lands and then catches the disc with the back paws down, no Air Bonus should be awarded.
Air Bonus can be awarded even when the dog is running in stride if, at the moment of the catch (when the teeth grab the disc), all four paws are clearly off the ground.
The key to judging this is to watch the back paws. If, at the moment of the catch, there’s even a sliver of daylight between the back paws and the ground, award the Air Bonus.
Keep it Fun and Lend a Hand
That’s about it. This is an easy game.
And, while it’s the Club Captain’s job to oversee, verify and validate the judging, because they’re the ones who report the scores, all Club members who help with judging also need to be vigilant, fair and honest.
In fact, we recommend that all Club members take turns, pitch in and help judge. Take a minute to learn the rules (that’s about all the time you’ll need), jump in and judge now and then – your Captain will appreciate it.