Doggie Dressage

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Doggy Dressage or “Musical Canine Freestyle” is dancing with dogs to music. It is a fun sport that incorporates some traditional obedience moves, such as the heel position, but the overall goal is to get creative - choosing your own music and designing a routine based on your dog’s strengths.

Unlike many other dog sports, freestyle dogs must focus on their partner for a minimum of 90 seconds, and up to three minutes at the most advanced levels. The key to success with Doggy Dressage is positive reinforcement training using a dog training treat pouch and tasty treats.

First, select a musical composition to create your own special program. Second, choreograph a routine to your music, designing steps and movements for yourself and your dog to execute. This could include variations on obedience steps, dressage movements, or other tricks. Third, select coordinated costumes for you and your dog that coordinates with your theme and music.

The bond between you and your dog is imperative when performing doggy dressage. Your dog must pay attention to you constantly to get the cues, either verbal or physical. Using treats with a dog treat pouch will help you maintain this connection and promote the best results for your performance.

The Musical Dog Sport Association (MDSA) is a young organization, founded in 2002 and its website features resources such as a list of canine freestyle moves and advice on how to find a good freestyle trainer. Although most of the top competition dogs are Border Collies and Golden Retrievers, all breeds and mixes are welcome to participate, no matter the organization.

Diane Rosell