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More Articles

Where Obedience Leaves Off and Freestyle Starts
A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose
The Freestyle Challenge
Getting Started With Freestyle
Definition of Freestyle and Structure of a Freestyle Performance
More Than Just Heeling
Creative Development of Movement
Music, Rhythm and Freestyle
Understanding Required Moves
Do I Have to Dance?
Freestyle - A Point of View
Training: a New Mindset
My Introduction to Training a Freestyle Dog
It Takes Three - The Audience
Choreography: How to Begin
40x50 Feet: The Empty Canvas
Rhythm: The Great Organizer
What is a Guild

About the Canine Freestyle Federation Membership details News and Events CFF guilds Articles Frequently Asked Questions Contact us

by Alison Jaskiewicz

Do you love a challenge? Do you particularly love a challenge with your dogs? The Canine Freestyle Federation has just the challenge for you. Can your dog learn to do a suspended trot, a side step, heel on the right, or pivots on the fore and hind quarters? Can you choreograph all these elements into a fluid, compelling presentation to music which fits the rhythms of your dog? Your goal is to demonstrate your dog’s grace, beauty, athleticism and training. You need only look to the precision and training of equine dressage to glimpse the possibilities.

The working ring space for CFF Freestyle competition is 40 X 50 feet, the size of a regulation Utility ring. You should have no trouble finding this size space for practice. Select music which suits the rhythms of your dog. You, the handler, may or may not be moving to the music. The required length of the music changes from Level to Level, starting at one and a half minutes in Level One to a maximum of four minutes in Level Three. As you start to choreograph remember that your goal is not to show off every move your dog can do, but to create an artistic, flowing, compelling whole. Maintain a sense of space and direction. For instance, always choreograph with a clear idea of which direction is front, where your audience and your judges will be. Allow the structure of your music to guide the development of your movements into a unified choreographic whole, maximizing your dog’s strengths and minimizing his weaknesses.

Choose whichever of the three Levels of competition is right for you and your dog. Level One is on-lead and Levels Two and Three are off-lead. Each Level has clearly defined required moves plus the freedom to explore the training and movement potential of individual dogs. The required elements and definitions are necessary to establish a standard for judging. Optional movements are are up to you, your imagination, and your dog’s capabilities. Be creative, but remember, your goal is to show off your dog’s grace, athleticism and training. Just as in dressage, the emphasis is on the animal, its training and movement. The handler completes the team creating a harmonious whole. The eye should always be drawn first to the dog, then to the team, but never to the handler alone. Within each of the three Levels there are two Divisions, Individual Dog and Multiple Dog. The Multiple Dog Division includes Duet (two handlers each with a single dog), Team (three or more handlers, each with a single dog), and Brace (one handler with two dogs). The three Levels increase in technical and artistic difficulty. Points will be awarded based on technical merit (50 points) and artistic merit (50 points). There is also a creative Interpretation Class offered for exhibition only.

Are you intrigued? Do you think your students might be intrigued and challenged? The time is now to start selecting music and choreographing. CFF sponsors both demonstrations and competitions. CFF Freestyle Rules and Guidelines are available from Corresponding Secretary, Monica Patty, 21900 Foxden Lane, Leesburg, VA 20175, 703-327-4860. The Rules and Guidelines are $5 each or are included in your $20 CFF membership, which also includes four newsletters a year, a CFF lapel pin and the CFF Constitution and By-Laws.

Are you or your club interested in hosting a CFF Freestyle competition? Please direct your inquiries to Monica Patty and the Board of Directors will consider all requests.

Rise to the Challenge!

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