What are Dog freestyle Tricks?

What are dog freestyle tricks? Dog freestyle tricks are the moves you train your dog to do in “dog dancing” or “canine freestyle” choreographed routines. The routines consist of heelwork, tricks, and dance moves performed to a chosen piece of music.

There are several different clubs and associations that have a variety of different rules for their organization. The various organizations are in many cities and states in the US and in many countries throughout the world.

Heelwork to Music (HTM)

Heelwork to music (HTM) focuses on the 10 different heelwork positions. HTM also focuses on how each position is linked together to create a beautiful performance to music. In this discipline, the dog is often very close to the handler throughout most of the routine, and the contact between dog and handler is very impressive!

Canine Musical Freestyle

Freestyle (also known as Canine Musical Freestyle) shows great contact and teamwork between dog and handler but is more focused on tricks put smoothly together in a routine instead of heelwork. This allows the dog to perform impressive moves at greater distances.

Dog learning dog dancing - Dog Freestyle Tricks

This is often where you are introduced to dogs running in big circles around their handler, running backward away from the handler across the entire stage, or performing many different kinds of magnificent jumps. Freestyle routines often also include more props than heelwork routines, however, this is not always the case.

Freestyle Tricks

Teach your dog a variety of tricks. This competition encourages creativity. Makeup whatever tricks you can think of that your dog will be able to perform.

Train your dog to weave through your legs, weave backward through your legs, sideways heeling, spin, twirl, scoot, back up, rollover, and lots more. If you are interested in continuing with this sport, these tricks can be added to a routine with background music in Freestyle Dance class.

Dog Dancing Freestyle

Using verbal cues and body language, the handler is able to communicate to the dog the precise moment and body movement that the dog needs to make. The sport combines the creativity of a dog and handler moving in unison with their chosen musical number and also celebrates the graceful abilities of dogs.

Canine Freestyle is an excellent choice of dog sport for those looking for a creative way to work and bond more closely with their dogs. It is a great choice for dogs of any breed or breed mix, and it can provide both you and your dog with a way to get plenty of physical and mental stimulation.

World Canine Freestyle

Musical Canine Freestyle or just Canine Freestyle is simply dancing with dogs to music. It is a fun sport for the owners and dogs and the audience. Based on basic obedience training, it adds other dimensions such as music, timing, costuming, routine development, and showmanship.

In order to dance with your dog(s) to music, there are some simple basic procedures that you should follow. First, you start by selecting a musical composition to which you would like to dance. It may be one particular piece or you may edit several different pieces of music to create your own special music. Once you have the music, the second step is choreographing a routine to your music.

This means you should design steps and movements for yourself and your dog(s) to execute that relate to the music you have selected. The routines can be comprised of basic obedience steps or variations on the obedience steps. They may also contain dressage movements, tricks, and any new step you may create. It is important to plan the steps and movements within a defined area, covering the area as fully as possible.

The third step is selecting costumes for you and your dog(s). Your outfits should coordinate with the theme of the music you have selected and be pleasing to an audience. Once you have completed these three basic steps and put it all together, you now have a musical canine freestyle performance that you can take to a demo or a competition event. At a competition, there is a fourth step you must consider-meeting the rules/guidelines defined by the governing (musical) canine freestyle organization. 

You’ve Never Seen Anything Like Canine Freestyle

Competitive dog dancing is the amazing must-watch dog sport you didn’t know you needed. Many people are not even aware that dog dancing is a thing. It is also growing in popularity. 

Freestyle Dog Dancing - Dog Freestyle Tricks

You’ll recognize some traditional obedience moves, such as heel position, but the overall goal is to get creative and put your dog’s best paw forward. Fans of the sport love the freedom of choosing their own music, designing a routine based on their dog’s strengths, and using verbal encouragement during a performance.

How did “dog dancing” Begin?

Joan Tennille, president, and co-founder of the Canine Freestyle Federation (CFF) defined canine freestyle as a competitive sport rather than just entertainment. In 1993, four dog trainers approached Tennille, at the time, a professional dancer-choreographer, to help them create what would be the first canine freestyle demo.

They wanted to showcase their dogs’ advanced obedience training by setting it to music while treating both humans and dogs as equal partners. They showed her a video of a demonstration by a now-defunct Canadian organization. “There was a woman in high heels and stockings doing ballet with a Golden Retriever,” says Tennille.

“There were so many sequins and ruffles, you couldn’t even see the dog, and all the dog did was sit. Another woman had a well-trained Border Collie, but she had heavy sequins and balloons, so again, you couldn’t see the dog. I call that entertainment. That’s not what they wanted.”

Aside from the challenge of giving the dog equal stage presence, Tennille had to think about movement and flow. Four-footed dogs move very differently from two-footed people. Plus, a Border Collie is going to be more agile and light on their feet than a Bloodhound.

The demo proved successful, and Canine Freestyle Federation was born two years later. It remains the oldest active canine freestyle organization and is best known for what Tennille calls “performance attitude.”

Start Training

In 1999, the World Canine Freestyle Organization (WCFO) made its debut and began offering worldwide competitions the following year. The Musical Dog Sport Association (MDSA) was then founded in 2002. Its website is an excellent resource for beginners. It features resources such as a comprehensive (and ever-evolving) list of dog dancing moves and advice on how to find a good canine freestyle trainer.

MDSA also recognizes freestyle teams that perform at hospitals, schools, and nursing homes through its Spirit of Sharing program. Since freestyle classes are not available in some areas, MDSA’s Circle of Friends program is a great way for members to meet and train with freestylers in their area.

Canine Freestyle Competitions and Routines

Each organization has developed its own style and competition. You are required to perform longer and more challenging routines as you progress to higher levels. Freestyle dogs must focus on their partner for a minimum of 90 seconds and three minutes at advanced levels. The key is a strong bond and positive training using motivational methods. You really can’t make a dog do freestyle, it’s all about the relationship.

Freestyle dog competition - Dog Freestyle Tricks

Although most top competition dogs are Border Collies and Golden Retrievers, all breeds and mixes are welcome to participate. This is true for all organizations. Karen Lewis of New Mexico competes in WCFO and MDFA. She competes with her six-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bryce, who also competes in agility.

“The bond is even more important in freestyle,” says Lewis. “In agility, you pretty much do those obstacles the same way. In freestyle, you’re always doing new moves. The dog has to pay attention to you constantly to get the cues, either verbal or physical.

Since you’re supposed to keep up, you’re constantly thinking, What am I doing now? When am I going to say it? It’s amazing what can go on during a one-and-a-half-minute routine.”

Getting Started with Canine Freestyle

Are you ready to raise the level of your dog training and increase your bond with your dog? Then “dog dancing” might just be for you.

Natalia Rubleva, a dog trainer from Moscow says she was bored with obedience and wanted something more interesting and fun. Five years ago, she started setting obedience routines to music.

The first step, Rubleva says, is to set down a solid foundation in obedience and tricks. Then you pick music that you like, making sure it’s appropriate for the dog’s size and movement. Rubleva has competed with all kinds of dogs, including a LeonbergerGreat Pyrenees, and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

Once the dog masters the moves, next teach the dog to perform the moves in a sequence to a beat. Training dogs a sequence of moves and then linking them back together is known as “chaining”.

“Training dogs to compete in dancing is a rather complicated, long, and very interesting process,” the young Russian champion explains. She adds that, in her experience, nothing else forges as strong a bond between a person and a dog.

That’s something that Brown has seen with Lily. After about two and a half years of dancing, Lily has come into her own. She merrily greets people and is much more confident, even around things that used to scare her. Brown attributes it all to freestyle.

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