Posted on: January 22, 2020 Posted by: Allene Lewis Comments: 0

Dancing with dogs, or musical canine freestyle is a modern sport implying a combination of obedience exercises for dogs, various tricks, and dancing that promote the owner’s creative interaction with the dog. Nowadays, dancing with dogs around the world takes place in the form of competitions. But do you know what your doggo does when it is home alone? Probably, it does some foolish doggy things or has a personal dancing contest, looking in the mirror at one’s reflection. All in all, without dog cam with full HD video streaming and 4x digital zoom, you will never find it out. So, let’s dive into the details about such activity for you and your furry friend as canine musical freestyle. 


Musical canine freestyle appeared in 1989 in several countries almost simultaneously. This style was practiced in Canada, England, the United States, and the Netherlands with a difference of three years. The main unifying element of this sport was the desire to cultivate the love for music in dogs. The idea of dancing with dogs was borrowed from dynamic horseback riding with music.

The first official organization, Musical Canine Sports International, which manages the sport’s affairs, was founded in Canada in 1991. Soon, similar organizations appeared in the United States and England. Each region had its special style of movements and costumes. In the United States, the difficulties of tricks and beauty of outfits were preferred, and in England, on the contrary, the ability to control dogs was of more value. Musical canine freestyle often was a part of various performances and talent shows.

Dog Dance Essentials

Musical canine freestyle is a very popular sport. It may engage any breed – from the small chihuahuas to huge black terriers. It is possible to be engaged both with a high-speed dog and with a slower one – you only need to select music for each dog properly. Both people and dogs of any age can practice freestyle – competitions have particular classes for children up to 16 years, for puppies up to 12 months and older dogs. Musical canine freestyle does not demand from the person any special physical shape or ability to dance professionally.

The only thing that is necessary to consider is ground: the surface should not be hard to prevent the dog’s injuries. You cannot practice freestyle on asphalt or concrete, on uneven surfaces where the dog can stumble and injure sheaves.


Dogs are taught dancing so that they can work on each side of their owner, not just the left side, as it is common in obedience competitions. It was the first step towards performing freestyle exercises. First, the dog is trained to perform small individual fragments, combining several actions. Then, these components are combined to make a meaningful dance.

Dog Dance Styles

There are two types of dog dancing: controlled freestyle (heelwork) and musical freestyle.

Controlled Freestyle (Heelwork)

The controlled freestyle focuses on the dog’s ability to be near the owner all the time. The owner and the dog have to stay very close together all the time. If a dog goes too far, it’s performance shall be disregarded. The pair move back, forward, and diagonally in time with the music. Jumping, waves, rollings, and passages between the owner’s legs are not permissible within the controlled freestyle.

Musical Freestyle

Musical freestyle implies the dog’s ability to perform various tricks and obedience exercises. Within the musical freestyle, a controlled freestyle can be combined with such types of movements like waves, identical dog and human actions, jumping, tilting, and rolling across the floor.


In the world, several organizations that hold musical canine freestyle competitions exist. In the UK, the Canine Club has officially recognized freestyle-controlled sport. Rules of competitions can be different depending on the country where they are held. The team may include one dog and one owner, or two dogs and two owners. At the competition, the choice of music and correspondence of movements to musical tact play a significant role. Regardless of how well the dog moves, if it doesn’t get into the music, it’s performance won’t get much praise.

In freestyle, there are no prohibited techniques; it is intended to demonstrate the creative potential of the dog fully.

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