Step Up To Dog Dancing

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
Time to get out on the floor and shake your treat maker! Dog dancing is a popular sport and a great way to have fun and get active.

If you’re looking for a fun and unique sport that helps you bond with your dog, consider dog dancing. Dog dancing is also known as musical canine freestyle and it’s rapidly increasing in popularity. Though it may seem silly, dancing with your dog is not only a lot of fun but it can go a long way in cementing your dog’s obedience training as well as further developing your bond with him. Let’s go over the basics about dog dancing – and we’ll give you a few tips for getting started with it yourself.

What is Dog Dancing?

Musical canine freestyle, or canine freestyle, is a dog sport that combines obedience training with tricks and dance. This sport allows for creative interaction between the dog and his owner and it has become a competitive sport in countries all around the world. This sport began in 1989 when demonstrations of obedience training set to music were shown in Canada, England, the Netherlands, and the U.S. all within three years of each other. Though each performance was unique, the main unifying element between them was the idea of incorporating music into creative obedience demonstrations. Inspiration for this dog sport may have come from the equine sport musical kur, a creative form of dressage. The first official canine musical freestyle group was formed in British Columbia, Canada in 1991. Since then, many groups in other countries have followed suit with each region developing its own unique style.

Related: Nama-stay! Doga Gives Yoga A Furry Makeover

Techniques Involved

The most important aspect of dog dancing is obedience training – the dog and owner must have a close, trusting relationship in which the dog responds to the owner’s commands. It is important that the dog be able to work on both sides of the owner’s body – in standard obedience heeling, it is most common that the dog work only on the left side. In most performances, the routine is broken into several pieces, each consisting of two or three moves linked together. As the routine progresses, the pieces are then connected.

There are two different types of dog dancing – freestyle heeling and musical freestyle. Freestyle heeling involves on the dog’s ability to retain the heel position in various forms while the handler dances to the music accompaniment. In this type of routine, the dog and handler stay in close proximity at all times and key elements involve pivots, diagonal movement, backward movement, and forward movement. Musical freestyle incorporates various tricks and other obedience talents outside standard heeling. In this type of routine, the dog may be seen weaving through the handler’s legs, moving with the handler at a distance, or exhibiting tricks like jumping, rolling, spinning and bowing. One of the most popular finishing tricks for this type of routine is for the dog to jump into the handler’s arms or over his back.

Related: Tips To Improve Your Dog’s Physical Fitness

Before You Get Started

Before you start with canine musical freestyle, you may be interested to hear a little more about the benefits of this type of dog sport. Not only is it fun and a great way to bond with your dog, but it also helps to improve your dog’s discipline and gives your dog mental as well as physical exercise. This type of sport can be performed by dogs of all breeds and ages – it is also a great treatment for behavioral issues like hyperactivity or anxiety.

If you plan to train your dog for dog dancing, your first step is to make sure he is fully trained for obedience. Your dog should listen and respond to basic commands. You should then begin to teach your dog basic moves like moving backward in a straight line, pivoting in place, side stepping, and weaving through your legs. The best part about dog dancing is that it is a creative sport so it is entirely up to you what you teach your dog to do and how you use those moves in your routine.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

More by Kate Barrington