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Sit, Heel, Fetch … Dance!

When it comes to bonding with their dogs, some pet owners will stop at nothing. The latest trend is teaching dogs to be dance partners.

The Early Show's resident veterinarian, Debbye Turner, reported on the phenomenon that's known as canine freestyle.

Dog owners like Patie Ventre choreograph a dance routine, set to music, which they perform with their dogs. Ventre's dog, Dancer, is like most border collies: She likes to take walks and play fetch, but what Dancer really loves is to cut a rug.

"Dancer loves best in the world to dance with me," said Ventre. "She will dance for three solid minutes, never miss a beat. And she's smiling and her tail is wagging and she's having a good time because we're doing it together."

Ventre loved dancing with her canine so much that in 1999 she founded the World Canine Freestyle Organization, a group that promotes doggie dancing.

"Once you stop saying this is stupid, these people are crazy, once you get your foot out on that floor, and you get a dog and you start and you just train one move, that's it you've got the bug," she told Turner.

This year there will be nearly 50 different canine freestyle competitions held in the United States.

Each team creates its own choreography. Marilyn Braunstein says Willie, her sharpei, has come up with some moves of his own.

"Willie has a signature move that no other dogs do. We call it the rumba move. When I kick my leg out, he kicks his leg out. It's a natural move for him. It isn't anything that I really trained," said Braunstein. "You have to find the kind of moves that are good for your dog and that your dog is capable of doing."

Contestants are judged on technical skills and artistic impression. Pat Barlow and his dog even wear matching tuxedos.

"Dancing with Tristan is different than dancing with a woman. He follows extraordinarily well," he said.

As to the question of whether these dogs are really dancing or just performing trained tricks, many contestants tell Turner their dogs do react to rhythm and even have musical preferences.

Patie Ventre insists this is something above and beyond a regular animal sports routine. "I do not consider this a dog sport. I consider this a team dance sport. It's just that one of the partners happens to be a dog," she said.

Learning these moves takes time and patience, but Ventre says there's only one thing you need to get started — and it might be the most important thing of all.

"The first thing you need is you need to love your dog. And you need to spend time socially interacting with your dog," she told Turner.

Given the inspiring performances in Torino this winter, Ventre says her dream is that canine freestyle someday becomes an Olympic sport.