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Expert advice to help you understand and mold your dog into a life-long family friend. The first weeks are a fleeting, precious time during which you establish pack order and shape behavior and habits.



Doggie Dancing or Musical Canine Freestyle?

by Cindy Hicks - 1998


Within the participants of this entertaining yet demanding sport,there is a wide variance in opinion of what it should be called. As discussion of making this an Olympic event continues, the debate of the importance of the descriptive name intensifies. Some media coverage has used "doggie dancing" to headline and describe the sport in their coverage.


"Doggie Dancing" is considered by some to be too frivolous and demeaning. They believe that the name underplays the intense training and choreography of the routines and ignores the dedication to promote a sport that did not exist 15 years ago. Musical Canine frivolous more correctly defines the sport while recognizing the dignity, skill, and unique bond created between the handlers and dogs.


From the first exposure to this sport ( which often results from seeing Carolyn Scott and Rookie perform their routine "You're the one that I want" from the movie Grease ( As you go to the site now, to watch the routine again, be sure to check for the raffles and other fund raising activities which help to pay for a documentary film that is being filmed.


While watching this routine,observe the intricacies of it.

  1. Rookie knows the movements required and thoroughly enjoys performing them, with his handler.

  2. The movements of the dog and handler are matched to the music, both in rhythm and in lyrics.

  3. The music is perfectly matched to the dog's natural movement.

  4. Carolyn Scott's "costume" is an approximation of Olivia Newton Johns character in the movie.

These are only a handful of the observations that can be made of such a "magic" performance. "Doggie Dancing" trivializes it. To be able to "feel the relationship between this team, is to begin to understand why the name is offensive to some.


The breed of dog, its size, and its personality are as important as the life experiences of the handler, as the dog is the star in this team. When a team performs their routine to a level that brings its audience to tears, "Magic" has been achieved! When it is immortalized on video tape, we can all share that moment!


Click link below to watch Maggie's Waltz (11 years old at the time of the video) and her handlers, Kris and Brian, performing a waltz to the song "Stars over Texas". As you watch, consider if it is doggie dancing, or musical canine freestyle. (Requires Windows Media Player)


Watch Attila Szkukalek perform with "Fly", their Charlie Chaplin routine, or the Gladiator routine Visit Mary Ray, who performs at Crufts each year, with at least 2 dogs in unison. .  Such precision and grace are astounding. Doggie dancing or musical canine freestyle?


Only a minute portion of the memorable routines have been mentioned here. So many wonderful routines have been left out, and more are being created all over the world! Ultimately, the name will be established by the popularity of the sport, within its audience.


For now, "Doggie Dancing" or Musical Canine Freestyle, call it whatever pleases you but don't underestimate the drive, determination, training, and creativity that is making it possible. Enjoy the result, and applaud the relationship between the dog and handler teams. Find a group near you or start your own. Begin to develop the skills to create that bond with your dog. This sport is as diverse as the teams performing!


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Our mail dog (DoodleDog) is Sendto's sire.  Sendto has been through 8 weeks training and loves his job.  Being a bully pup, it was hard to stop him from chewing on the articles but he works good now so click him to send this article to your friends.


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