Dancing with Your DogPublished April 1, 2010
Photo Credit: Musical Freestyle Photo taken by Mary Jo Sminkey
While most folks know me as a passionate and avid cat lover, I must once again confess that I am addicted to that fabulous TV show, "Dog Town." Not only a sanctuary for neglected and abandoned canines, as part of the Best Friends Animal Society, many species of animals are given shelter and a caring home with their goal of finding forever loving placements for them. Additionally, Best Friend's sister sanctuary, Cat World is described by them to resemble a "little jungle" where homeless felines are safely housed in screened in porches with a magnificent vista view. This is definitely a sanctuary where cats rule. But I digress.
Dog Town staff is famous for their careful assessment, both behavioral and physical, of each and every canine accepted for either temporary or permanent placement, depending on the dogs' individual needs. For dogs that are considered to be more easily adoptable, training plans are designed to facilitate placement.
I was fascinated a few weeks ago with an episode about one of the dogs being readied for adoption. Featured on this show was a very affectionate, highly intelligent dog but whose undisciplined highly energetic behavior was considered to hinder placement. After a thorough evaluation, the Dog Town trainer who had deeply bonded with the dog came up with an innovative idea based on his innate talent she observed. She was focused on making his training fun, interesting and challenging. Her idea? She got busy teaching him to dance with her. "Dancing with the Stars" . . . look out!
Incorporating the canine's desire to please people, using basic behavior commands such as "heel", "stand" "down" and "sit", these simple obedience cues became the scaffold upon which more advanced and difficult moves in teaching this dog to "dance" with his human "partner." It was apparent that he thoroughly enjoyed himself and as a result his high energy was channeled into appropriate, acceptable and delightful behavior. In fact he was invited to perform at a local high school where the dancing "couple" was a huge hit.
But it is not only at Dog Town where canine Fred Astaires are discovered. Dancing with dogs has become a very popular and entertaining and exciting type of competition today. This is a delightful activity in which dogs and their human companions can not only compete to win prizes and get their 15 minutes of fame, but is an enchanting way to enhance bonding.
So for dog devotees hankering to lace up those party shoes and partner with their pooch, if dog dancing sparks your fancy, there is an excellent book and three detailed instructional canine musical freestyle videos available online here.
Take a moment to watch the popular video which already has over 60,000 hits, uploaded to YouTube by Incompletenothing.
Would your dog enjoy dancing with you? Leave a comment and share your opinion.