Put It Together
One of the key components to freestyle is the flow of your performance. This can also be the trickiest ( no pun intended ) part of building a routine.
What I like to do is work with the dogs strengths and weaknesses. I like to incorporate tricks that the dog isn't too fond of and have them self reward by doing a trick they really like. Something I get asked frequently is if I have a treat / treat my dog during the routine. In many cases I am not able to and personally I think it looks messy if you pause and reward your dog. I do have ONE treat in my hand that the dog gets once we complete the show.
Self rewarding can also come in other forms. You can use a prop and have the dog interact with it. If you dog like to tug ( make that apart of the routine )
Transition tricks are used to keep the flow of your routine and prevent awkward pauses.
Transition Tricks may include but are not limited to:
These are behaviors you can use to help your sequences flow - using a proper amount of transition tricks can help elevate your performance to another level. When watching people do freestyle I like to count how many transitions they are including. Here are a few performances, let's count the amount of transition and see if we can spot new ones not listed above.
This team has some very subtle transitions that are almost invisible until pointed out.
Her first is a quick spin at 0:41
Her second transition at 1:11 is a scoot and was used as a wonderful transition to get into a bow in front of the handler.
Notice that she is rewarding the dog throughout? She is rewarding but does not pause to do so, thanks so that it doesnt look odd.
This is a great example of transitions used with a smaller dog. This pup clearly enjoys spinning so the handler incorporates that behavior on a regular basis.
Her first transition is inserted at 0:35 when the pup spins before going into the next desired behavior.
Her second transition is at 1:04.
I will point out that the roll over three times in the same direction was unnecessary and this is something I would avoid doing. If you want to incorporate that in your routine - have the pup roll over in each direction and not in just one direction.