Saturday, April 23, 2011

Is there a dance routine in Jackson's future?

Well, I haven't decided yet, but.... at least I'm thinking about it : ) Our blog friends, Honey and Hsin-Yi in Australia, are having a contest - Dancing with the doggie Stars - and have encouraged us to participate. She suggested that we might use some of Jackson's obedience moves to create a dance routine. We have until June 15 to come up with something, so if anyone has ideas on which obedience moves might lend themselves to a dance routine ... please, send them our way. I'm a little short on creativity. But, I'm thinking it would really be a fun challenge.

In the meantime, we continue to work on our obedience exercises. I think my readjusted attitude is making a difference. Now that we are no longer under pressure to achieve the udx title, we have really relaxed our training attitude and are having a lot more fun. I didn't realize how stressed we were!

We've also started tracking again. We hadn't been out tracking for a couple years so we're starting over this spring with the basics - doing straight line tracks with lots of food drops along the way. Both Jackson and Jolee are doing great with it. I'll leave you with a short clip of Jolee and hubby on their first time out tracking this spring. (The orange flags mark the beginning and end of the short track.)


Honey the Great Dane said...

Oh! I'm SOOOO Happy that you're going to consider it! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do give it a go!!!!! :-) It would be wonderful and I think it would really complement your new training style with the more relaxed, fun approach - PERFECT for dancing! :-)

And to be honest, any of your obedience moves can be used in dancing! I mean, Heeling is perfect coz it's the dog keeping by your side - whatever you do - so can do some figure 8's or left & right turns in time to the music...a lot of amateurs who try dancing actually haven't got your advantage coz their dogs can't Heel so they have to use food lures and touch targetting (their hands) to keep their dogs with them - so you've already got a head start! And you can even incorporate a retrieve into your routine - like say use an item that's sort of like a dumbbell and get Jackson to fetch it - it's all the stuff he knows already but maybe just loosened up a bit so you both don't have to look too rigid and regimented but he's still going through his exercises.

To be honest, the original "dog dancing" was called "Heelwork to Music" and it didn't involve lots of fancy tricks but just beautiful flowing obedience moves done in time to music. That was how the sport started. They wanted to show that Obedience wasn't just boring drills but could be creative & entertaining to watch too. Then it's gradually grown into 2 types: HTM where the dog has to remain in the 8 "heel" positions around the handlers body and Canine Freestyle, where you can get more creative with tricks and the dog can work far away from the handler,

Anyway, our contest is just a fun thing so no need for formal distinctions and really anything goes! The main thing they're looking for is enthusiasm from the dog so I would say put Jackson's favourite exercises in - the stuff he likes to do best - rather than insisting on an exercise he is very slow or reluctant to do. And you can even use it as an opportunity to teach him a new move or trick if you like!

Anyway, I really do hope you give it a go - I think it would be a great learning & bonding experience for you & Jackson - and a very fitting 'next challenge' for a Dane that has achieved the UDX! :-)


Honey the Great Dane said...

Here is an example of a Heelwork to Music type routine - you can see how different it is to the Freestyle type routines that I do with Honey - there are a lot fewer tricks & much more Heeling. Also, you can see the dog moving into the different "Heelwork" positions - aside from the traditiona Left side, facing forward, the dog also has to learn: Right side facing forward, Left side facing backwards, Right side facing backwards, in front across the handerl's body facing both ways and behind across the handler's body, facing both ways.

Only the top advanced HTM people teach all the 8 positions, though - most start with just the traditional left facing forward and then the right side. I have taught Honey to Heel on the right (we call it "Side" as opposed to "Heel") and I did start trying to teach her the other position but didn't really persevere as I find HTM a bit boring compared to Freestyle where you can come up with more creative tricks! :-)

Of course, this is a top routine done at Crufts by one of the top trainers in the country so you wouldn't expect a beginner to achieve this but it's just to give you an idea of a routine which uses more Obedience types moves.

And here is a simpler HTM routine: - I think you & Jackson could achieve something like this easily.

The only move I think that would be useful to teach Jackson for dancing is a spin - either to the right or the left (we usually teach both ways, with a different command for each). I also sometimes cheat - like you can use the "return to Heel" move (you know, when Jackson is in front of you and walks around behind you to the Heel position) - and turn that into a sort of circling move if you also circle in the opposite direction as he does it - hope that makes sense? Anyway, you can cheat a lot with you traditional Obedience moves! :-)


Amy / Layla the Malamute said...

That's a very cool idea!

I don't know much about the freestyle or canine dance, but the ones that I think would be very useful are the regular finish and around finish, as well as a front.

I loved the tracking video! I haven't had the time to get out tracking in the past month, but I do still love it.

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

ooh have fun coming up with a routine! I'm not that creative. I'm also SO glad that you're having more fun training obedience!!!

tervnmal said...

I've always wanted to try freestyle but like Laura, never felt creative enough to try choreographing anything.

A spin would be a very dramatic and impressive move for a dog of Jackson's size!

Have fun!