What is Canine Freestyle?
It could be described as “Dancing with your dog”; “choreographed moves to music”. There are no rules, no required moves.
My first exposure to canine freestyle was a video clip featuring Carolyn Scott and her Golden Retriever, Rookie, dance to the “Grease” song “You’re the one that I want”. I was blown away by their teamwork, the moves and by Rookie’s exuberance. I knew right then that I would like to do that with my dogs. In the fall of 2005 Jesse, my tri-color border collie came into my life. He was going to be my freestyle partner. As he grew up I started reading books and browsing the internet to find out about how to teach my dog (and myself) to perform this sport. There wasn’t anyone around to teach me so I had to find my own ways.
I came across clicker training whenever I was reading about positive dog training methods and decided that this was the way I wanted to train. After I felt confident enough that I wouldn’t ‘spoil’ my then 4 months old puppy, I started using the clicker to teach him everything from sit, down, come, to ‘shake a paw’ and I was amazed at how fast he learned everything. I took a trick training and a basic freestyle class and learned the scope of what can be achieved with clicker training. I used it to teach him basic obedience, tricks, agility and of course freestyle moves.
Hope did her first simple freestyle routine at only 5 months old: Hope’s first puppy freestyle routine
One my many demos with Jesse at Edmonton Farmfair in 2008: