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I've been watching a few of the YouTube videos from the Red Bluff sale this year. I am a little confused as to how they score the animals. It appears to me that some of the higher scoring dogs took "cheap shots" at the cattle before even attempting to move them.


How is scoring at cattle dog trials different from that at a sheep trial? Do they actually get points for heading and or heeling?

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Red Bluff has their own system of "scoring," that has nothing to do with any other competition anywhere that I know of. They are scored on three areas: (this is from memory from a couple of years ago, so may not be totally accurate) 1) how "strong" the dog is, 2) if the dog is working with the handler to accomplish a goal, and 3) if the dog is listening to/taking commands from the handler (or something like that). They have a panel of judges, and each category is worth anywhere from 0-30+ points, and each judge awards as many points as s/he sees fit. So it's pretty subjective, and I think fairly political.


One thing they are very big on is the dog's ability to "stop the cattle"--when they turn the cattle out into the arena, they push them out hard, or use a cattle prod to get them really moving. They want you to wait until the cattle are moving at a good clip and then, when they are halfway across the arena, you have to send your dog to stop them and turn them. While things have changed a bit over the years, they are still looking for a LOT of bite.


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