Let the music begin, and dance with your dog!
Freestyle obedience evolved as an artistic offshoot of obedience training. The sport combines music, creativity, choreography, and artistry, resulting in a dog and handler performance that is entertaining and fun. While a competitive sport, freestyle obedience is also a great addition to dog therapy visits, and a fun way to introduce children to the joys of dog training.
Freestyle starts with the music. You can chose from a wide selection of music – from classical to contemporary, jazz to hip hop, instrumental and vocal. Select several that match the natural trotting rhythm of your dog, then heel with your dog while playing the music. You’ll find that your dog will help you pick the best selection; your dog will respond more enthusiastically to music he likes.
Choreograph in movement that is safe and enjoyable for your dog. Movements frequently used in freestyle include jumping, backing, pivots, sidestepping, weaving, spinning, circling, crawling, bouncing, waving and bowing. You’ll want the dog to work off both sides of your body. Watch your dog playing, and incorporate your dog’s natural movements into your routine by training them to a cue. Your goal is to create an artistic, flowing, engaging performance, which shows your dog at his best.
If you want to go beyond freestyle obedience for fun, or for more information, check out the following North American Freestyle organizations:
Canine Freestyle Federation, Inc.
World Canine Freestyle Organization, Inc.