Nannette, a graduate of the Marin Humane Society’s canine Behavior Academy introduced me to the concept of Canine Musical Freestyle and her training under Judy Gamet of Dogs Can Dance. Nannette explained how dancing with her Husky, Binks, was such a wonderful way to bond with her dog, and provided some mental and physical exercise for both dog and human.
Canine Musical Freestyle combines advanced elements of obedience training and moves set to music. Judy had danced professionally for thirty years before discovering her best dance partners and students might just be her dogs! Judy trains and competes under the regulations of the Canine Freestyle Federation. Although the focus is always on the dog, her canine dance partners never wear costumes.
Here, Judy talks about some of her recent activities and her plans for National Dog Week…
Recently, I was honored to be invited to a Golden Retriever reunion along with my rottie/jack russell named Alena. She played with the big goldens, enjoyed discovering agility equipment, did cannonballs in all of the kiddie pools, and graciously greeted all of the goldens. Each dog showed off how they could “bust a move” and everyone applauded.
Monday was dedicated to senior dog care. Nail trimming, brushing, a nice relaxed warm up walk, then turning on their favorite music for a well rounded freestyle workout. Retirement isn’t an option in Dogs Can Dance. We just change our expectations and create dances that glorify the abilities of the senior dogs. Everyone should be blessed with an old dog.
Later this week, I will change my focus to puppy dance. All puppies dance. They back up and move sideways when they are playing tug, then spin when they get excited, and love the one on one attention of training. Even just a few minutes a day, puppies can learn so much. Now put that to music!
Finally, the week ends coaching therapy dog teams to dance; showing the handlers how to use music and freestyle moves to create entertaining routines that can be used during therapy dog visits. What a wonderful way to share my world of canine freestyle.
As for my movie project, Doggie Boogie, several years ago, Romanus Wolter was writing the screen play about a dog dance competition. He wanted to really understand what went into making a dog dance team, so he enrolled in one of my classes here in the San Francisco Bay Area. When the movie, Doggie Boogie, went into pre-production, I was honored to be asked to be the dog dance choreographer. It’s an incredible story about guts, ethics, and believing in yourself and the path your dog can lead you to in life. Anabelle, my Rottweiler and I also appear in the movie. Looking forward to the completion of the editing and its release early next year.
We are, too, Judy. Thanks for sharing with us during National Dog Week 2010.
To learn more about Judy and Canine Freestyle: