In a competitive freestyle competition, points are based on difficulty, precision, and ability to stay in rhythm with the music. Judges may also take costumes into consideration, along with your interpretation of the music, as well as your dog’s attitude and enthusiasm for the routine.
With canine freestyle clubs and competitions around the world, rules will vary from club to club, so if you have hopes for global freestyle domination, you will need to learn the different rules and teach them to your dog. If you plan on staying local or national, you need only learn the rules of your club.
In most competitions, teams are made up of two: the owner/handler and the dog. However, there are also team competitions, from pairs of dogs dancing together to up to several dogs on a team dancing together.
A simple online search for canine freestyle will take you to some very enthusiastic participant pages, where you can learn a little through their experiences. The best way to learn more about canine freestyle as a sport is to visit the association pages, some of which are listed below in "Resources." Many websites also include videos of training and of actual competitions and shows.
If there is a club in your area, even better, since the best way to learn is to immerse yourself in the culture of canine dancing and competition. But first, go to see a demonstration, talk to members of the group and start dancing around the house with your dog to see if she has an enthusiasm for it.
Besides the fun and competition of canine freestyle dance, you can also take the joy of dance to your community by entertaining children and seniors. And who know, if you get really good, you may even be invited to perform on TV.
Image: Ed Schipul / via Flickr