Denmark has a new Heelwork To Music discipline. The HTM Skills Tests were approved by the Danish Kennel Club from 1st January 2014 and it is a series of 4 tests, where you do moves and heelwork, but do not have to work with music or wear a costume.
There are some mandatory moves in each class, but also there are always exercises, where the handler has to be imaginative and create his/her own moves.
In class 2 – 4 the dog and handler team has to link some of the moves to a series of 2 – 4 moves.
You can gain a score between 0 and 5 points for each exercise in the test. You always have the right to chose one exercise that you do not want to do. There can be lots of reasons not to do a move – an older dog that no longer jumps, a move that the dog or handler just doesn’t like etc. It has no consequence for the test result to choose not to do one of the exercises in the test.
There are no titles to win in the first 3 classes, but if you achieve an average score of between 3 and 4.4 in the 4th test, you will gain the title HTMF. If you achieve an average score of 4,5 or higher, you will gain the title HTMFx.
You have to gain an average of 3 points or more in each class to qualify for the higher class. You can stay in a class for as long as you wish and if you move up a class, you can always move back down to the lower class, if the higher class proves too challenging for the dog.
You do not compete against anyone but yourself in the Skills Tests. There are no placings – you will receive a ribbon or another prize if you pass the class.
The exercises in class 1 are:
• Weaves – the dog has to weave between the handler’s legs 8 times.
• Backing away – the dog has to walk 4 steps backwards away from the handler.
• Circling – the dog has to circle the handler twice
• Spins – the dog has to do 2 spins.
• Jump – the dog has to jump a cane/stick, which the handler holds in one or two hands.
• Paw work – the dog has to touch the handler’s hand with one paw
• Prop work – the dog has to circle a cane/stick, which the handler holds.
• Positions – the dog has to put it’s head on the handler’s hand or on the floor and keep it there for at least 3 seconds.
• Heelwork – one position – 10 steps forward, right turn, 10 steps forward, left turn, 10 steps forward, halt.
• The free move – any move that the team likes.
The exercises have the same headlines in all classes (Weaves, Backing, Circling etc.), but the moves that the team have to perform become more difficult the higher the class.
In class 2 – 4, there is an exercise, which isn’t in class 1: Dog working with its back to the handler. In this exercise, the dog has to perform a move with its back to the handler.
The hope is that the Skills Tests will make it easier for new handlers to get started in HTM or Freestyle. Through the Skills Tests, the team will gain the skills needed to put together a Class 1 or 2 HTM or Freestyle routine.
You can see a class 1 Skills Test on video here:
The Skills Test rules have not been translated into English yet, but it can be downloaded in French below.