Could Your Dog Be the Next Pudsey, Winner of Britain's Got Talent 2012?

Pudsey the dancing dog and his owner Ashleigh Butler swept to victory as the winners of Britain's Got Talent 2012 with their dynamic Freestyle Heelwork to Music routine choreographed to the Mission Impossible theme. The close bond between Pudsey and Ashleigh shone through and won the hearts of the nation.
Heelwork to Music originated from set exercises forming the heelwork component of dog Obedience competitions, which were set to music. Emphasis on musical interpretation and creativity increased with the introduction of Freestyle routines into competitions.

Freestyle or Heelwork to Music can be used to as a way to play with your dog, encourage them to listen to you and respond to your body language. This strengthens the bond between you. It also offers great mental and physical exercise for your dog. Successful routines rely on your dog responding to your commands when off lead. This provides motivation for you to train your dog in a reward based way towards a fun goal and at the same time improve your dog's basic obedience.

Some people enjoy participating in Heelwork to Music competitions and to compete in Kennel Club organised events you will need to register your dog on their Activities Register. All types of dogs can register - it's not just for pedigrees!

Trying Freestyle Heelwork to Music with your dog is easy. Mary Ray is a renowned world expert in the sport and her book, "Dancing with Dogs: Easy-to-Learn Techniques and Fun Routines For you and Your Dog" is available from Amazon or via her website. Richard Curtis is another of the UK's leading dog handlers in Freestyle and he has competed successfully at Crufts many times. DVDs from Richard and Mary using positive reward based training methods are available from

If you prefer to learn in a group there are loads of dog training clubs on the Kennel Club website where you can try Heelwork to Music with your dog Do your research and visit the class in advance to make sure that it will be a positive and fun experience for you and your canine companion.

Who knows, your dog may turn out to be the next Pudsey...

Louise Dolan
Copyright 2012.

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