Musical canine freestyle is the latest modern dog sport to invade dog shows.
Canine freestyle dancing is a choreographed musical program performed by handlers and their dogs. To showcase their teamwork, artistry, costuming, athleticism, and style, they use music and complex movements.
“Musical Freestyle is a choreographed musical program performed by handlers and their dogs. The object of musical freestyle is to display the dog and handler in a creative, innovative and original dance, using music and intricate movements to showcase teamwork, artistry, costuming, athleticism, and style in interpreting the theme of the music,” Patricia Ventre, founder of the World Canine Freestyle Organization (WCFO) defined.
It may look easy but it takes a lot of discipline, dedication, and trust to build a great relationship with the dog. Because it may be freestyle but it’s also a technique that involves obedience training, dog tricks, and dance moves all at the same time.
It may be called freestyle but all the handler’s moves need to be precise and perfectly timed.
Most importantly, the handler and dog need to have a respectful and trusting relationship. In order for canine freestyle to work, the dog needs to have complete trust in their handler so that the dog will follow all of the handler’s signals.
Teamwork is the main key here.
The best canine freestyle routines highlight a dog’s intelligence and how they pick up subtle commands and follow choreographed moves through music. Dogs can also show off their athleticism and endurance performing on two legs and doing heelwork.
There are two types of musical canine freestyle.
Freestyle heeling shows a dog’s ability to display different heelwork while the handler moves to music. Musical freestyle involves a variety of tricks and obedience skills.
Canine freestyle as a sport started in 1989 by canine freestyle pioneers, who wanted to create more expressive obedience and dog training demonstrations. The first organization eventually started in Canada in 1991 and groups began to form in the US and England.
It’s interesting to note also that the US and England have a different focus on canine freestyle dancing.
The US focuses on trick-based routines and costumes. And England focuses more on heelwork.
The WCFO have a few suggested guidelines to follow when performing canine freestyle dancing.
- Select the music you want to dance to.
- Create your routine and design steps and movements for both you and your dog that matches the music you’ve selected.
- Decide on costumes for you and your dog.
- Always review the rules and guidelines of the competition and make sure to follow them.
Would you like to learn basic tips on how to train your dog to dance freestyle?
Train your dog to work both sides of their body. Break the routine into sections of two to three moves at a time. When your dog gets used to the moves, start linking it with the other sections of the routine.
With freestyle heeling, make sure to work physically close with your dog at all times. With musical freestyle, plan a big finish, like having your dog jump into your arms or over or onto your back.
Although dogs are naturally smart and fast learners, there are certain dog breeds who have a better inclination for canine freestyle dancing.
Dogs who love attention, like Poodles, Dachshunds, and Golden Retrievers, are a good option. Newfoundlands, Great Danes, and English Mastiffs are also a great breed to choose from.
Should you and your dog train and compete for freestyle dancing?
Of course! Whether you choose to compete or not, training for canine freestyle will definitely help you and your dog develop a better relationship.
Watch the video below to see how canine freestyle dancing is done.
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