Can your dog dance like John Travolta? Are you able to follow the path in samba or dazzle the audience with their flamenco dance? Then maybe he’s the next freestyle canine champion. The canine freestyle is a wonderful sport to take to the extreme your skills as a coach, at the same time that your dog and you have fun.
Formally, the canine freestyle is a musical choreography represented by dogs and their owners or coaches. Informally, it’s fun while you’re dancing with your dog. The objective of each presentation is to demonstrate the skills of your dog in a creative and artistic way, accompanying with music his movements.
Unlike what happens in other sports such as agility or competitive obedience, older dogs can be very competitive in freestyle as the physical requirement depends almost exclusively on the potential of each dog. In fact, many freestyle champions are dogs that are over seven years old.
If you’d like to practice freestyle canine But you don’t think you’re a good enough dancer, think again. You don’t need to take dance classes to start practicing this sport because the spotlight will be your dog, and it will be your performance that qualifies in competitions. Read on:
The common movements in the canine freestyle
Some organizations, such as the Canine Freestyle Federation, Inc., require some compulsory movements. Others, such as the World Canine Freestyle Organization, allow any movement as long as it does not jeopardize the dog or the person who presents it.
Regardless of the differences between organizations and canine clubs, there are some common movements in this sport, so it is good that you know if you plan to dabble in it. The most common movements in canine freestyle are:
Heeling: This is your dog walking past you. You can go to your left (as it happens in canine obedience), to your right, face to face, behind you, etc. Any position around you is considered heeling, as long as your dog moves along with you.
Front work: Understands all the exercises that your dog runs looking at you head-on. For example, lie down, sit down, walk on two legs, etc. The difference with the heeling face to face is that in the frontal work your dog is not attached to you, nor does it follow your movements.
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Step changes: They simply consist of your dog speeding or slowing. Step changes are very useful to enrich the choreography.
Walk backwards and sideways: These are typical freestyle moves that are not found in other canine sports. They are spectacular in a well designed choreography. Imagine your dog coming to the call from 10 meters … back!
Half turns and turns: the turns and half turns are also frequent in the freestyle canine. Although its impact will depend on how you use them in your choreography, generally the most striking are the backward turns, especially if your dog has to pass between your legs.
How to dabble in the canine freestyle
The best thing to do is to contact a freestyle canine club so that you can sign up with your four-legged friend. If there is no one of these clubs in your city, try to convince those who practice some other sport, such as agility or flyball, and start practicing independently.
If you don’t find a agility club or other similar sport, just get a few books and videos about freestyle and practice on your own. Or better, join a group of Perreros friends and form their own club, even if it is informal. It’s just about going dancing with your dog.
Training styles for Freestyle canine
You can train freestyle with any dog training technique, but you will never get excellent results with techniques based on negative reinforcements or punishments. The ideal techniques for this sport, and for the dog’s education in a complete way, is the positive reinforcement, like the training with clicker.
If you want to read more articles similar to freestyle canine, we recommend that you enter our section of curiosities of the animal world.
Before you start this activity, consult your veterinarian about the health status of the dog.
Do not practice freestyle canine with your dog if you suffer any disease.
Check the movements of your joints and legs regularly.
Don’t overdo it on the dance time. The idea is to have fun, not to force the dog to have a hard time.