Count me among the many who thought dancing with dogs was just a goof from "King of the Hill." But no, it's real, and it's called "freestyle." I know I'm supposed to offer some kind of smart-ass remark here, but I'm stumped.
To maintain decorum, freestyle competitions keep the costuming of the animals to a minimum, though the handler can get away with dressing up like Charlie Chaplin for theatrical effect. And among the main organizations, including the Canine Freestyle Federation and the Musical Dog Sport Association, there are philosophical differences over freestyle moves and issues like attire and how much dancing the humans should do.
'We want the dog to be the star,' said Ann Priddy, a freestyle teacher in Richmond, Va., and the vice president of the Musical Dog Sport Association, which formed this year.
The efforts to define canine freestyle as it grows also include a possible name change. 'People think it's swimming,' Loren Jensen Carter, founder of a two-year-old regional group in Arizona called Sonoran Canine Freestylers, said of the name 'freestyle.' She is among those advocating 'K-9 dance sport' instead.
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