Canine Freestyle is a creative interaction of obedience and trick behaviors combined with music and pulled together with choreography. Beginning freestyle emphasizes the dog/handler bond, teaching behaviors to the dogs and exposure to simple choreography. Behaviors are taught from the ground up and each behavior builds to more advanced behaviors as the team progresses and increases its understanding for both the handler and dog. No dance experience is required on the part of the handler. The Freestyle community is a small group of people interested in “dancing with their dogs”. Because the community is small, the classes offered vary with the needs of the students. Not all classes will be offered every cycle. Prerequisites are required for each level of Freestyle. Levels may be combined to better serve the students (i.e. Advanced/Intermediate Freestyle).
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This class is for the beginning handler and/or dog. The handler does not need any freestyle experience. This class is a perfect home for beginning teams (dog and/or handler). The first session is an Orientation Class at the discretion of the instructor (no dogs will be present). This class aims to build teamwork between handler and dog. Dog’s attention to their handler and platform work for the 3 basic positions (front, side, heel) are emphasized. Transition moves such as spins, circles and throughs are introduced. Lures with treats are expected at this level but new ways of rewarding your dog will be introduced.
Prerequisite: Manners 101 or Proficiency Test by the instructor
This class is for the beginning handler and dog who have successfully completed FOUNDATIONS or by permission of the instructor. The handler does not need any freestyle experience but must have as a minimum the behaviors taught in FUNdamentals. Those behaviors include off lead spins, twists, circles, and throughs. Tricks and transitions will be emphasized. Additional skills such as backing, chaining and distance work will be introduced. Platforms are still used to give the dogs the correct positions but skills must be performed without the platform before teams can advance to the Intermediate level. Hand signals and lures with treats are gradually faded into a more positive reward system. An introduction to competing and selecting music for competition will be included. Students may continue to take the FUNdamentals class for review or to hone their skills as long as there is room in the class. When students who are not ready to advance fill a class, those students that are ready to enter Intermediate/Advanced classes will be asked to move up to make room for the less experienced students.
Prerequisite: FOUNDATIONS or Proficiency Test by the instructor
Dog/handler team will be considered intermediate when the team has a grasp of all the basic skills taught in FOUNDATIONS & FUNdamentals. Beginning choreography and more advanced skills will be taught. Chaining behaviors together as well as positions other than the basic 3 will be taught.
Although music is used at the beginning level, music becomes part of the basis of understanding the use of behavior and choreography at the Intermediate level. How to construct a routine will be emphasized.
Advanced Freestyle emphasizes community performances and/or competition in canine freestyle.
Intermediate and Advanced Freestyle may be combined, depending on the number of students needing these classes.
Prerequisite: Fundamentals and/or Proficiency Test by the instructor
CHOREOGRAPHY / ROUTINES
This class is limited to handler and dog teams that are experienced in competition and/or putting the final touches on competitive routines. There are NO dog skills trained in this class. This class is intended to do run throughs on completed routines and to polish choreography for a more professional looking routines.
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor and successful completion of Intermediate/Advanced Freestyle
HOTC"s freestyle group, the Canine Co-Motion Freestylers, compete through WCFO (World Canine Freestyle Organization) and perform in the community and North Alabama region for civic groups, schools at all age levels, churches, senior groups, city-sponsored activities, and other groups that enjoy the interaction of talented and well-prepared dogs, handlers, costumes, foot-tapping/hand-clapping music. Handlers are encouraged to develop routines when their dogs and have achieved basic skills and are moving toward more advanced behaviors. Freestyle is an audience-driven sport. One of our goals is to share the bond of dog/human teams performing to appear as if they are dancing. You may request more information on our performances via our Contact Us page.