Features November 2009 Issue

Dancing With Dogs

Don’t fret; you don’t actually have to dance to enjoy this sport!

Snapping fingers and tapping feet are the signature moves of musical freestyle – and that’s the audience! What happens between dog and handler during a musical freestyle performance is simply magical. The handler gives subtle cues, and her dog executes complicated maneuvers, one after the other, as the pair moves across the floor, their routine choreographed to music that emphasizes their connection. For those of you whose introduction to this sport was watching a widely distributed video clip of Carolyn Scott’s routine to “Grease” with her Golden Retriever, Rookie, you were probably awestruck. You may have even gotten a little misty eyed, recognizing the commitment, training, and connection between two different species. But it was the look on Rookie’s face that sold you that this was a sport worth exploring. This dog was having a blast, and the behaviors he was doing were difficult! How could training something so hard be so fun?

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