THE HISTORY OF HEELWORK TO MUSIC WA Jill and Amanda Houston started a demo team in1988 and as part of the demonstrations a section was incorporated to include heelwork with music.They put a heeling routine together and played music in the background and did heelwork with two to three dogs including some double about turns and diagonal turns in the pattern where it fitted the music. In 1991 they heard about Mary Rays amazing heelwork to music demonstrations and determined to find out more about it, once they did they started a group called ‘The Doggie Dancers’ a name thought up by Michelle D’Wynn, a team member, also in the team was Michelle Carter Joanne Houston, Allison Miller Debbie Hyde, Helena Fitzgerald and of course Jill and Amanda. Many die hard enthusiasts around the world did not like the name as they thought it trivialised the sport, however ‘doggie dancing’ has become a catch word worldwide since then.The group soon had many routines going and were performing all over the State including the Perth Royal Show, and a TV programme on Channel seven.Following all of this Amanda and Jill were invited to Singapore to demonstrate Doggie Dancing and give some lessons. They were told our Singaporean friends would be a bit shy about performing in public but they soon found this not to be the case!! The decision was then made that although they were running fun competitions in WA it was now time to get serious and arrange an official event.The WA Canine Assoc. was very helpful and WA became the first state in Australia to hold an official HWTM competition.The inaugural event was held in December 1998 at Lumen Christi College in Gosnells, run on similar lines to the judging format of the UK competitions.The judges, two obedience Honey Gross-Richardson, Sue Smith and two confirmations judges Mavis Cochrane and Andrew Beattie were wonderful and a great night was had by all.The whole event was written up in Ringleader with a fabulous full critique by Honey. There have been further competitions since then with companies offering fabulous sponsorship enabling great prizes being offered to the entrants and gaining profits to donate to the Princess Margaret Hospital for children. As well as demos and competitions the group have opened stores and dog shows and one of their proudest moments was opening the Golden Retriever National in 2002, Amandas Goldie ‘Tina’ O CH Mhadaidh Doggy Dancer ADM JDM was the lead dog with the Borders one owned by Jill O CH Brynbank Magic Sunday ADM JDM ADO JDO SPDX SD UDX the other BC owned by Debbie Hyde O CH Brynbank Dangrous Liason ADM JDM also performing solo routines. After many years of behind the scenes work HTM, renamed Dances With Dogs, became an official ANKC competition in 2009.It was split into two different sections one for heelwork to music where at least 60% was to be made up of heeling positions and the other freestyle which showed off more independent moves.Prior to this Jill Houston ran training sessions for foundation judges including judging video and live performances.The ‘new’ judges threw themselves into the training with great enthusiasm and passed a written exam on the rule book on January 14th 2009 then sat and passed a practical exam on January 25th 2009.The foundation judges for WA were Jill Houston, Amanda Houston, Debbie Hyde, Anne Lacy-Herbert, Honey Gross-Richardson, Rick Richardson, Cheryl Bedggood, Karren McCluskey, Paul Skewes, Valeta Pethrick and Helena Fitzgerald.
Midland DTC ran the inaugural competition on the 13th June 2009 with a fabulous entry of 28.The second competition in WA was on the 4th July 2009 and this saw Australia’s first dog to hold an official ANKC title in HTM and Freestyle Borderfame Hart To Hart CDX HTM S DWDF S a Border Collie with his very proud owner Anne Rowe.Since then many competitions including those held at the Perth Royal Show, The Western Classic and the Canine Centre have attracted excellent entries of 28 to 61 routines.