Canine Freestyle

Schip Tricks

Musical canine freestyle, also known as musical freestyle, freestyle dance, and canine freestyle, is a modern dog sport that is a mixture of obedience training, tricks, and dance that allows for creative interaction between dogs and their owners. The sport has developed into competition forms in several countries around the world. Teaching a dog to be able to work on both sides of the handler's body, not just the left side as in standard obedience heeling, is the first step to doing freestyle. The trainer first breaks the routine into pieces with only two or three moves linked together, and as they progress these pieces are linked together.

There are two types of musical canine freestyle, freestyle heeling (also known as heelwork to music) and musical freestyle.


As an instructor, Terry is always well-prepared for classes and does an exceptional job of considering individual dog and handler needs even in a group setting. She gently guides her students towards the next level by breaking down training into manageable, realistic steps. She not only models appropriate training and handling techniques, but ensures that owners understand the rationale behind the desired behavior.

There are two types of musical canine freestyle, freestyle heeling (also known as heelwork to music) and musical freestyle.

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Currently, there are several organizations regulating competitive freestyle, such as the World Canine Freestyle Organization, Canine Freestyle Federation, and the Musical Dog Sport Association in the United States, Paws 2 Dance Canine Freestyle Organization in Canada, Canine Freestyle GB in Great Britain, and Pawfect K9 Freestyle Club in Japan. In the UK, the sport is called Heelwork to Music and is an officially recognized sport of the Kennel club.

Competition rules vary from group to group, and from country to country, but most are based on a variety of technical and artistic merit points. All routines are done free of training aids or leashes, except in some beginner categories. Competition can be done as a single dog-and-handler team, as a pair of dogs and handlers, or as a full team of three or more dogs and their handlers. Generally, there is only one dog per handler for competition.

In either type of competition, the choice of music and the way the routine reflects the music is important. Routines not following the rhythm, no matter how well executed, do not score well.

Exhibition freestyle is a no-holds-barred routine designed to demonstrate the full extent of creativity and excitement that musical freestyle can offer. Though highly entertaining and representing what most people see on television or at events, it allows for moves, props, cues, and costumes that would not usually be allowed on the competition circuit.