Canine Freestyle is just dancing with the dogs to music. This is a fun sport for owners and dogs and the spectators. Freestyle is based on basic obedience training, together with other dimensions such as music, tricks, timing, costume, routine development, and showmanship. It is a fun and entertaining way to keep your dog’s mind active.
You would not have to dance. It is the dogs that will wow the crowd! Build a solid foundation in dog obedience before learning freestyle. Your dog should know how to heel, stay, come, sit, lie down, go, finish and stay focus in distracting environments.
1. Obedience Training
Practice obedience commands in all possible positions. Familiarize your dog with commands while standing, sitting, kneeling and lying. Teach your dog to execute commands in front of you, to your left, to your right, to your back, and between your legs. Encourage your dog to move smoothly from one position to another. The means to achieve this feat are only limited by your imagination and the laws of physics. For example, your dog may cross from heeling on your right side to heeling on your left side by stepping between your legs, rotating around your body or backing around you as you turn in the opposite direction.
Choose music that complements the movement and rhythm of your dog. For your first piece, select a song from 60 to 90 seconds. It can be instrumental or have words. Select a song you like, because you will listen to it dozens of times throughout the training process. Listen to the music a couple of times to envisage tricks, movements, and footwork to add to the routine. Choose the movements that you feel showcase the capacity and training of your puppy. Freestyle does not apply to air tricks and complex movements, it also isn’t about aerial tricks and complex movement; it is about confidence and positive heeling in all positions! Know what you want to happen during the routine before you start practicing. Planning ahead is definitely important!
Break the music into 10 to 15 seconds segments. Write the movements corresponding to each segment on an index card so that the whole routine is easier to control. Learn your part of the routine before adding your dog into the mix. If you do not know what you are doing with your feet throughout any part of the song, it will be much harder to teach your dog her part of the footwork.
3. Practice and be patient
Bring treats and be ready for rock and roll. Listen to the song once throughout, then segment by segment; add the sections of the heel, tricks, and movements. Reward your dog frequently. Practice one segment at a time until your dog is comfortable with it and connect the pieces together until you both can perform the routine fluidly. If your dog’s performance starts to weaken, take things more slowly and give her more time to practice.
It will be implemented gradually so that you and your dog can develop the strength and flexibility necessary to learn the movements and the routine. To avoid injured, prevent pushing the workout too fast and too far. Remember, not to get angry at your dog. Get your dog’s attention when you are training him by using his name frequently!
All the best and good luck! You are now ready to be a proud owner of a well-trained canine music freestyle dog!