What is "Dances with Dogs"
Dances with Dogs (DWD) is a relatively new canine sport, which began in the UK in the early 1990s. It was approved by the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) as an official sport in Australia from 1 January 2009.
DWD provides handlers and their dogs with an opportunity to demonstrate a skilful, choreographed routine, performed to music. While having its foundation in obedience heelwork, DWD enables the handler to include innovative and creative moves and movement in time to music, giving the illusion of dance. In Heelwork to Music (HTM), another division of DWD, which is more closely aligned to obedience heelwork, the dog performs in one or more of the prescribed heelwork positions for at least 60% of the routine.
In DWD, handlers and their dogs develop a terrific rapport and, most of all, have fun doing it! Spectators also thoroughly enjoy watching the sport and seeing the enjoyment of the dogs and marvelling at their achievements.
DWD is suitable for handlers of all ages and dogs of all breeds, sizes and ages. There are no compulsory moves in DWD Freestyle and the handler develops the routine to showcase the individual dog’s strengths and can omit moves which the dog finds difficult or which are not yet perfected.
Quoting from the Top Lodge Dancing Dogs website (Kath Hardman, Daren Sykes and Leslie Neville www.dancingdogs.co.uk :
“The dog and handler team choreograph their performances to a variety of music, illustrating their training and joyful relationship. Watch for the dog moving to the beat of the music; you will see graceful and intricate manoeuvres performed with precision and artistry. Every movement is accomplished through the subtle use of verbal cues and body language. .. The reach, drive and beauty of an athletic, trained dog moving to music can take one’s breath away…. The result of this fabulous new sport is a balanced partnership between dog and handler with a rapport that many dog owners would love to achieve and there is no better reason to get your dancing shoes on!”
And from Attila Szkukalek’s website www.dogdance.net :
“The team present themselves as partners but the dog is always the STAR. … Canine freestyle is guaranteed to make your dog’s tail wag and give you a new sense of freedom and fun unlike any other dog sport”