Surprise Your Reception Guests with a Doggie Dance!
Including Pets in Weddings
Yes, it’s true. You can dance the night away with your new spouse and your dog. What fun it would be to include your dog in your reception by adding a doggie dance to the DJs list of announcements! Of course, if you haven’t done so already, you must first train your dog to dance. There are now freestyle trainers available to teach your dog to dance with you. But, you don’t have to hire a trainer, or be an expert freestyler yourself. Now, you can teach your dog some basic dance steps right in your own living room. Ask us Vermont Pet Friendly Weddings or share your comments. To feature your Vermont wedding or pet friendly lodging, contact us.
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Of course it wouldn’t hurt, and it may simplify the process, to observe a freestyle demonstration before beginning your doggie dance lessons. To start dancing, your dog needs to know the ‘heel’ command (walk on your left side), and the ‘right’ command (walk on your right side). Teach these basic commands first and then start adding spins, leaps, and more complex moves to your routine. Freestyle trainer information is available at the end of this article.
Music Selection Is Very Important
The first step is to make sure your dance music is enjoyable for both you and your dog. While you may enjoy pop music, your dog might prefer classical or country and western. If your dog doesn’t like the music, he will demonstrate disobedience by laying down or walking away. You will be able to tell your dog’s preference by his reaction to the different types of music you select. The one he responds to most eagerly is the best type to use while dancing at your reception.
Learn Basic Dance Steps First
Assuming your dog has been through basic training and understands the ‘heel’ command, it will be easier for both of you to start your dance steps with him on your left. Start by holding his favorite soft treat in your left hand, allowing him to get just a whiff of it. When his interest is peaked, begin to slowly walk and turn, keeping the treat just slightly ahead of him at nose level. Once he has the idea, reward him with the treat and begin again with another, this time increasing your turn until it becomes a spin… now you and your dog have started four-legged dancing!
Add Advanced Steps To Your Routine
Once you have the turn and four-legged-spin routine down pat, try to add a four-legged hop or leap, or a two-legged spin. These steps are more difficult and may require a trainer’s input. It is important to teach a command word to coincide with each dance step your dog learns. For example, if you want him to stand on his hind legs, you could use the command ‘up-tall’. If you want him to turn on his hind legs, you could use the command ‘up-turn’. You will most likely have to help your dog balance at first by gently holding his front paws, or with a larger dog, by placing his front paws on your shoulders. This practice aid could lead to a new dance step called ‘up-waltz’…
Make Lessons Fun
Remember to keep lessons enjoyable and brief. This will entice him to want to dance more often – to the point that he even starts begging for a lesson. Doggie dancing is great fun and a good form exercise for both you and your dog. And, when you get really good at it, you could enter a freestyle competition to show off your talent.
Above all, remember that this is a fun activity for you and your dog. If he doesn’t want to dance you won’t be able to make him do so. Some dogs just don’t have a talent for dancing, and would be happier watching from the sidelines.
Online Freestyle Organizations Are Available
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You and your dog might enjoy freestyle more if you can participate with other dancers to gain input and exchange ideas. Call a local obedience trainer and ask if they offer freestyle training. National freestyle organizations exist and are available on line – they are the Canine Freestyle Federation (www.canine-freestyle.org), and the World Canine Freestyle Organization at (www.woofs.org/wcfo).