Dog Freestyle

Dog Dancing – History, Rules and Training

Dog freestyle is an official sport, which combines dancing elements and obedience. A dog and its owner moves with the music, but the points are mainly depending on the quality of the dog's performance. Techniques, artistry and teamwork are the main criteria for scoring. Movements of any complexity that are done in tact are allowed. The dog's and the owner's movements can be various, but the most important thing, they should be safe for both. Dogs of any breed, size and age are allowed for freestyle. Adult owners as well as children till the age of 12 take part in freestyle. There are no limits for participants.

Dog Freestyle UK

Freestyle Is a Joyful Sport for Dogs and Handlers

Dogs that were trained agility can be easily taught freestyle. However, dogs that finished basic obedience training courses, can master this kind of sport, all the more so, as dogs have natural sense of music.


Dog freestyle dates back as far as the late 1980s. Performances of heeling to music were shown in Great Britain, USA, Canada and Netherlands. All these groups wanted to make obedience and training demonstrations more dynamic and creative. It was Canada, where in 1991 the first official freestyle group, Musical Canine Sports International, was founded. Other groups also followed soon in the UK and the USA. Each of them had been developing its own style. As a result, American groups are focused more on tricks and costumes. English groups - on heel work and on the dog.

Dog freestyle includes the next skills:

  1. For the dog – obedience (commands "Heel", "Sit", "Down", "Stand"). Basic tricks, such as standing on hind legs (command "Up"), turning round, jumping through the hoop and moving back are pluses.
  2. For the owner – dancing skills, artistry, sense of rhythm.
  3. For both – good contact between the dog and the owner.

Dog Freestyle Training

Freestyle Training Is a Way to Communicate with Dog


  • Performance lasts to 4 min.
  • It should be clear for judges and audience that a pair shows a dance.
  • Dog should be involved into process.
  • Handler can't use irritants to attract the dog's attention.
  • The performance is considered to be failed if the dog stops frequently. The exceptions are the stops to music.
  • Choke collars, muzzles and leashes are fordidden during the perfomance.

Pay attention that pairs are competed in several categories!

Freestyle heeling – the dog moves in the heel position while the handler moves to music. Heel work to music means the handler and he dog move close to each other. The distance is no more than 2 m. It should be uniform during the performance. Rhythm, moving direction and movements intensity of the pair should be timed. The dog moves at handler's left or right leg, through the legs, in front or behind the handler, but the dog's shoulder-blades should be always in parallel with the handler's knees.

Weaving, jumping, passing through the handler's legs rolling and any other movements considered "not heeling" are forbidden.

Dog Freestyle Training UK

Freestyle Training Is Perfect for Active Dogs

Musical freestyle – is the dance, when the dog performs various tricks and obedience talents. Heel work with other moves, such as jumping, rolling over, weaving, bowing, moving together at a distance, leg weaving, sending the dog away and more creative tricks can be combined in musical freestyle.

Dog Freestyle Competition

The competition is run at 4 levels:

Level 1 and 2 - Beginners

Movements nearby the handler, from the left or right side. Face to face position. Leg weaving. Two timed rhythms.

Dog Freestyle Training UK

Every Dog Breed Can Be Trained Freestyle Tricks

Level 3 – Intermediate Includes movements from the previous level plus moving backwards, forwards and diagonally.

Level 4 – Advanced Includes movements from the previous levels plus pivots, work at a distance more than 2 m (freestyle), spinning, rolling over, jumping.

Remember that dog of any breed can be taught freestyle, the main things here are motivation, eagerness and big love to the pet, then your dance will look like the organic whole.

You may need high-quality tools for dog freestyle training, click on the pictures!

Dog Training Pouch Dog Water Bottle Dog Treats UK

Read also about dog agility.