Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | September 23, 2008

Dance With Your Dog

Cedric - Author/Pet of the Week

Cedric - Author/Pet of the Week

Have you ever turned up your stereo and “danced” around the living room with your dog? Well, now you can join others (yes, you are not alone…) and do so in public via the medium of Canine Freestyle, also called K9 Dance Sport. Loren Jensen Carter, a Freestyle competitor and instructor, is coming to Telluride to introduce this growing international sport which combines a dog’s natural behaviors with movement and music.

Carter, a member of World Canine Freestyle Organization, a group that administers the sport and offers events for serious competitors throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, shares her enthusiastic passion for this sport throughout the Southwestern States. Canine Musical Freestyle is likened to a cross between figure skating and ballroom dancing. Dance partners complete choreographed footwork, spins and jumps that are set to music, while a group of judges watches and scores the routines. And, of course, one of the dance partners is a dog.

Competitions aside, Canine Freestyle offers a positive way to train and deepen the relationship between dog and parent. It is a fabulous way to build a dog’s self esteem and positively redirect negative behaviors.Additional benefits include improved socialization with other dogs, increased physical activity and enhanced mental function, all of which lead to a well mannered dog.

But most importantly, as Carter states, “Most people will notice a marked difference in the relationship with their dogs after they’ve started doing this sport. The bond develops at a deeper level, and I do think it’s because of the joy that comes from the movement and the music. When you engage with your dog in a positive way, it’s a whole new connection.”

Carter and her Golden Retriever-partner, Aloha, have performed together on CBS Sunday Morning and The Greg Behrendt Show. And they have been contacted twice by Late Night with David Letterman, but have been unable to schedule an appearance. They will be in Telluride leading the Freestyle Frolic the weekend of October 4th-6th, which will include beginner and advanced seminars.

Unsure if your dog would do the tango? Well, all kinds of dogs participate in this sport, of every breed, size, and age. Carter says that any dog can dance. Different dogs create different opportunities for movement. “You can make it as physically active or physically relaxed as possible and adjust for the dog. Three legged dogs can do this sport; even blind dogs can do this sport,” she adds.

Dogs do need a foundation of obedience skills to participate in Canine Freestyle as well as be able to socialize positively amongst a group of dogs. They should know how to respond to hand signals and verbal commands including sit, stay, down and come. During the seminars training tools and positive reinforcement are used to develop the dog’s behaviors that become weaves, crawls, rolls, circles and spins. When the mannerisms are molded into a choreographed routine set to music, the dancing begins.

Music, the glue that binds the behaviors with movement, adds the spark that makes the sport fun. It must match the dog’s natural cadence and personality and be comfortable to the handler. Carter feelsdogs have musical preferences that are fairly obvious and you can watch their reaction to sounds.

You must pre-register for either seminar by an e-mail or phone call to: Loren Jensen Carter: 520-906-9939; lorenjc@bigplanet.com. Locations vary depending on class. Private, Group and Internet Freestyle Training is also available. There has also been some interest in establishing a Telluride Chorus Line, a drill team or “Doggie Chorus Line”. This would be a fun activity and a way to share your dog at local events and parades, so let Loren know if you have an interest in this.

My name is Cedric, I am a shelter dog here at Second Chance hoping to dance my way into your heart. I hope to be attending the Freestyle Frolic, I am particularly fond of hip-hop and just need a lifelong dance partner…

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet or learn about SCHS Spay/Neuter Vouchers, Volunteer & Foster Care and other Programs. Visitwww.secondchancehumanesociety.org to see our adoptable pets. Responses to Pet Columns can be sent to Kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.org.

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