Labrador Retriever Learning ‘Freestyle Obedience’ Has People Doing a Double Take

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If you're a dog owner, you know how much time and patience it can take to teach your dog simple commands, and it can be frustrating at times, too. Now imagine combining a basic command like 'heel' with a trick, like a dog walking backwards. That’s basically what freestyle obedience training is and it’s very cool to see! STSK9 shared a video at the end of May showing how it works, and you’ve got to see it to believe it.

The video starts with the dog trainer, telling the Labrador Retriever named Chase to heel. Then, the trainer starts running backwards. In order to heel, Chase has to sit by the trainer's leg, so Chase also starts to run backwards to try to catch up with the trainer so that he can heel when he stops. It’s amazing to see!

This is so cool to watch! I've probably watched it three or four times just because it's so weird to see a dog moving backwards like's almost like he's moonwalking.  I can barely get my dog to do basic commands, so I can’t imagine taking it to this next level!

Commenters had a lot to say about STSK9's video. Many people left comments about how impressed they were with both the Lab and the trainer.  I can’t even imagine the patience this would take! Commenter @Kris cracked me up with, “This is simultaneously the goofiest and most impressive thing I’ve seen all week!” @Serenity_0025 laughed, “He looks so silly going backwards LOL!”

Related: Dog Sits on Command When Mom Says Any 'S' Word in Funny Video

More about freestyle, obedience training

The dog trainer explains what's really going on in the video, "There was NO command given to slide back so long. Labrador Chase does this because I asked him to come into heel position. Since there was no leg to be found he would slide until he finds it! That's what FREESTYLE obedience is. Your dog finds solutions with a FLOW of MOVEMENT!"

Wags and Wiggles shared a definition of this new training style, “Canine Freestyle is a modern dog sport that is a mixture of obedience training, tricks, and dance that allows for creative interaction between dogs and their owners. A variation of canine musical freestyle is called Heelwork to Music.”

Since I’ve never heard of this style of training, I thought it would be interesting to share some more facts about it. With this type of training, anything goes; there are no required moves, it's usually set to music, and some people refer to it as dancing with your dog. In this video I wouldn't have thought it was dancing, but in other videos I've seen that's exactly what it looks like.

Now you might be wondering why people would put so much time and energy into this type of training. There are a ton of benefits for the dog: it provides both physical and mental stimulation. The dog gets to practice coordination, balance, and focus while exercising. Humans get to create and perform choreographed obedience and dance routines set to music. This results in an impressive display of teamwork, creativity, and communication...not to mention it's fun!

Don’t bother to Google other videos of the sport unless you have time to kill because you’ll fall down into a rabbit hole full of fun and cool routines to watch!

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