Written by Melissa Viera
If you have ever visited MJ's Pet Training Academy between appointments and classes there is a good chance you might have walked in on me dancing with my dog Riley!
I love finding new ways to challenge my training and communicate with the dogs, and of course have fun! Canine freestyle is still fairly new in the world of dog sports, but it has not gone unnoticed. From simple and just for fun routines, to very complex and well choreographed routines, canine freestyle is a great challenge for all levels.
What is Canine Freestyle?
Canine freestyle combines obedience, tricks and other moves into routines performed with music. The dogs learn to work in all different positions including the heel position, right side, in front of the handler, in back of the handler, and even at a far distance away from he handler. This requires great focus and a joy for training on the dog's part. Tricks can include just about anything. Handlers have the challenge of getting very creative at coming up with new tricks, and new ways of performing old tricks to incorporate into routines.
Who Can Participate?
There are a number of organizations that hold both live and video competitions for canine freestyle, but you don't have to compete to enjoy the sport. Living room routines are a great way to give your dog mental stimulation. You might also choose to perform at local events and community functions if you want an opportunity to show off all of your hard work!
Routines do not have to be complex to enjoy. The routine should best suit the dog and handler, and it should be fun for both. Even if you don't plan on performing, throwing a few moves together to music is another way of practicing your training including obedience training.
What Does The Training Involve?
It is essential to have a good working relationship with your dog to enjoy sports. Basic training is a good place to start. You can begin by incorporating tricks into training, and stringing together multiple behaviors. Before you know it a routine will be forming. Keep training sessions very short and exciting. Your dog should always look forward to freestyle practice. Dogs can be very creative too. If your dog comes up with an unexpected move you can build on it!
What About the Music?
Short songs that you enjoy and that are suited to your dog are a great place to start. Try to find a beat that matches your dog's natural rhythm.
I'm Ready to Give Canine Freestyle a Try!!
A Few All Time Favorite Routines to Get You Inspired...
Will your dog be the next dancing all star? Let us know what you think of canine freestyle in the comments below, and don't forget to share with your dog loving friends!