More reports of Mia Steller
Dog Dance, that can also be named "rhythmic obedience", is a canine sport that consists in performing a choreography on a musical background. Based on equestrian dressage, this discipline appeared in England in the 1990s. It quickly expanded in Europe and has now gained international recognition. Although dog training remains predominant, an increasing importance is attributed to creativity and dynamism of the performances. The master guides his companion exclusively by the look and the voice, only a few whispers are sometimes perceptible: switch... stop... twist... stop...

Qualifications take place in the different countries according to the internal criteria of their federation. Delegations are thus set up to participate in major competitions. This year, the European Dog Dance Championship took place at the Swiss Dog Arena in Münsingen, near Bern, a hall and its infrastructure unique in Switzerland entirely dedicated to dog activities. Competitors from 14 countries came forth in order to accumulate points individually on one hand, but also for their national team.

Dog Dance has two categories: Heelwork to Music (HTM) and Freestyle. To perform HTM, the dog must adopt a minimum of 10 imposed positions (the HTM has 18) during 75% of the choregraphy. The dog's shoulder is constantly close to the driver's leg, whether static or moving laterally, forward or backward. The transitions between the figures, allowing the performance fluidity, are part of the Freestyle. This second category leaves more room for creativity, allows the dog to move more than two meters away from its handler, to perform jumps, and often includes the use of costumes and accessories to enhance the attractiveness of the show.

The judges evaluate different aspects. The technique of course, which includes the accuracy of the animal and its control by the leader, but also the artistic dimensions like the respect of the rhythm and its variations or the judicious use of the ring. The charisma of the dog and its driver as well as their complicity are also taken into account. Penalties may be applied for excessive barking or gestures intended to assist or manipulate the dog. A disqualification can even be pronounced in some cases such as the entry or exit of the ring at the wrong time or inappropriate behavior on the part of both the canine and the master.

Dog Dance requires a considerable investment, some train almost daily. However, everyone can take part in competitions, without age, breed or pedigree restrictions. Attending them is also very exciting, we will see for example a jogger doing abdominal exercises and rope skipping with her border collie, another one playing the piano on a funk music... A joyful and family atmosphere surrounds these events filled with captivating and touching moments. Whether it's Joey, the carea leonés coming from the animal shelter, or Clown, the toy poodle with the golden home, all show a limitless attachment and affection for their master, which is obviously reciprocal.
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