Dances with Dogs (DWD) is an ANKC sanctioned competition sport comprising Heelwork to Music and Freestyle. DWD competitions provide handlers and their dogs with an opportunity to demonstrate a skilful, choreographed routine, performed to music. DWD has its foundation in traditional obedience heelwork. However, the inclusion of innovative and creative moves, and movement in time to and interpretation of the music are expected. Competitions are held Australia-wide, including in Canberra and Sydney.
BDOC’s DWD class is a challenging and fun sport for those who want to take their dogs to the next level in training.
In DWD class you will be teaching your dog a wide range of behaviours such as spins, crawling, sit pretty, rollovers, backing up, jumps, a variety of leg weaves, paw movements, working with props such as circling a cane, getting onto a platform and many other great moves. These won’t be just one-off tricks but will end up as solid behaviours happening on cue in a choreographed sequence.
We also focus on heelwork as there are eight heelwork positions in DWD Heelwork to Music. You will learn several methods to get your dog into the heel position and moving with you forwards, backwards and sideways. Then of course there’s getting your dog from one position to another – called ‘transitions’. (Many world and Australian obedience champions compete in DWD and learning several heel positions will not affect your dog’s ability to work at your left for other sports; there is also good cross-over to sports such as Rally-O, Obedience and Agility in having a dog that is supple and able to work in different areas.)
To have your dog be able to do all these behaviours needs a dog that understands what its body is doing and is capable of doing. For this we work on awareness such as targeting the movement of the back legs on platforms and working across ladders and other obstacles.
All this before you even have to worry about music! But that’s the fun part. In DWD we fit the music to our dog – watching the dog move and its footfalls to find its pace before choosing music – which can be anything from the latest pop to marching bands. No dancing skill is required for this sport as the music is your choice as are all the moves. Many great routines involve nothing more than walking.
Looking at your dog’s pace and repertoire, you’ll learn how to choose the music that suits your dog and you, how to look at music from a routine point of view and some simple music editing skills.
Add some ‘showmanship’ such as turning plain hand signals into part of the act, a great start and finish position and how to place your dog to look his best, and you have …. a routine! Whether just for fun, to amaze your friends and family, join the group at demos or with competition in mind, this sport is addictive! Our furry-footed friends love the variety and our great mood when we listen to a favourite tune while we train!
If you have passed Bronze and would like some more information or to put your name on the intake list, please email the DWD coordinators at email@example.com.