Magic of the Match Online Workshop 2013

Preview and Video Submission Instructions

Sign up by May 10th

Submit Video footage by May 23rd

Workshop begins June 1st

Want to see some Magic?

MDSA's Magic of the Match Online Workshop will begin in June. More information about the workshop is included below, but here's a sneak peak at some of what you'll see. To watch the magical match below, first click the play button on the heeling video and turn volume all the way down.. Next, click the music link and make sure the volume is turned on for the music. Return to this window to watch the magical match!

Emily & Little Miss Sunshine

Dance of the Reed Pipes from the Nutcracker Ballet (Marinsky)

About the Workshop

As a reminder, the MDSA monthly online workshops are provided for MDSA members only. There's still time to become a member! Click here to join MDSA.  Then, you can join the MDSA Online Workshop List and take part in this workshop.

MDSA believes the Music element is key to creating a successful routine. The importance of music is evident even in our name, Musical Dog Sport Association.  Without music there'd be no freestyle! The right music can enhance the natural movement of your dog, the personality and energy of the team, and it can make even basic choreography sparkle. The goal of this workshop is to help you understand the core role that music plays in freestyle and how to recognize (and find) those magical matches. We'll also offer invaluable guidance about what to look for in a music choice.

MDSA members are invited to join the Magic of the Match workshop by uploading a video to the Internet and sending the link to the Executive Board. During the month of June, we'll post a special web page just for this workshop in which we'll post new videos and suggested matches every few days. You'll get to see the matches, discuss with other members on the list, and even try your hand at finding other magical options. Warning! This is so much fun it can get downright addictive! If you want to submit footage and have your dog matched, follow the directions below. The workshop will proceed with a set process and order, and we'll explain that as we kick it off, so please don't post your footage directly to the workshop list.

How to Sign Up and Submit Footage 

  • Let us know you intend to participate by sending an email to by May 10th with your name; your dog's name, breed, gender.
  • Read the"How to Record Footage" instructions (below) CAREFULLY.  If your footage is not appropriately filmed, don't be surprised if we ask you to re-film.  Good heeling footage is key, so read carefully!
  • When your footage is ready, post it to the Internet using YouTube or another site of your choice.
  • Then, send the link to the footage along with your name and your dog's name NO LATER THAN MAY 23 to  If you have your footage earlier, please send it along!

Important Participant Notice

A handler may use a workshop music suggestion or use the suggestion as a guideline. A handler is certainly under no obligation to use any of the songs suggested during the course of the workshop. In addition, using a suggested song will not affect the judging of the routine and does not guarantee a Qualifying score, if submitted for competition. Remember, this workshop is based on simple heeling footage, often under two minutes in length. We cannot know your musical preferences and every nuance of your dog's personality after watching less than two minutes of video footage. If you eventually put a suggested song to an actual routine, the match could be less successful for several important reasons: your choreography, the flow of the movements, your attitude on that day, your focus, the dog's focus, the environment of filming, your pace, your dog's speed, using no food or toys, and many other variables. The primary focus of this workshop is to highlight the elements you should look for in choosing the ideal freestyle music for your dog, including suggested tempo, instrumentation, and/or weight of music. How you use that suggestion and how successfully you showcase the match in a routine is up to YOU!

How to Record Footage

  • Film you and your dog heeling in a large, smooth circle in a big space such as a tennis court, vacant parking lot or cul de sac. Solid sufaces are best as grass tends to hide the dogs feet.
  • The dog is always on the outside of the circle, in a comfortable trot if possible.  Heeling is all that is needed to get a good music match, other moves/tricks actually make the process more difficult.
  •  Do not play music while you film.  It's okay to hear talking and background noise and there’s no need to edit out those noises, they will not matter later.
  • Heel on or off leash, whatever works best for your dog.
  • There is no time requirement; the period of time you work depends on your dog’s skill level. But generally, at least a good minute and a half is very helpful. Work just long enough that it stays fun and your dog has a good energy level.
  •  You can work either clockwise or counterclockwise, but try to get longer periods in one direction before you change.
  •  It's best if you have someone film you. Ask them to zoom in so we can clearly see your dog's movement and your own, too.  Over the years we have discovered that to do a good music match, we need to see the dogs face and feet as much as possible.  It is not necessary to show the handler's upper body.
  •  If you choose to treat your dog during your filming, please do so when you are heeling on the far side of the circle - opposite the camera. This will allow for an un-interrupted view of the dog’s movement coming towards and going away from the camera.

IMPORTANT:  we want to see interaction between you and your dog - it's not a formal heeling exercise.  This should be a relaxed and fun exercise, up-beat with smiles!