Saturday, 3 November 2007

do dogs listen to the music in doggy dancing?

I think Penny and I know enough doggy dancing moves now to have a little fun with some music. (I'm stiff and clumsy as a dancer but I've decided to just enjoy myself in the kitchen, even if I'm not game to do it in public.) I had another look at Amber-Mae's dancing to encourage myself and off we went, twirling around the house to the music of Elvis.

Maybe the music encourages me to loosen up, or maybe Penny likes it too - whatever the reason, we are both more energetic with Elvis playing.

I thought I'd check out the Net to see whether there is information about how dogs react to the actual music and I came across the home page of Mary Ray. There I found a discussion of the origins of canine dancing and an overview of the sport around the world. It seems that Mary Ray might be the first person to put heeling work to music - the article says:
the researched facts are that the first authenticated performance of what we would call Heelwork to Music at a public event occurred when Mary performed in 1990.

Another discussion of dog dancing, as the author calls it, suggests that it began simultaneously in the UK and in Canada. There are a series of articles about the sport on this site and I found one about whether dogs actually listen to the music and use the beat in their 'dancing'. It was titled 'Do Dogs Dance to the Music?' The whole article is an interesting read, but in particular I thought this was a useful reflection:
An important role of the music is the context effect, that it becomes an occasion setter. It signals the dog that what comes next is the enjoyable training / performance session, including the enjoyable rewards contingent upon performance. To teach the dog to recognise the music as an occasion setter I start practising with music

¨ When I start working on sequences.

¨ When I make the training session enjoyable by varying the sequences, and by using variable and high value rewards.

In contrast, however, I use lower value rewards, practise longer sequences, and repeat the exercises more time (drill practice) in the absence of music.

Another article by Courtney Andersonhas a piece of advice that I think is valuable:
"You need to choose music that goes with your dog, not music that you like, Patridge explained. She said most dogs' walks go with hoe-down style music. "Sometimes, half of the class will walk with their dogs and then the teacher will ask the rest of us to decide what dog went with what music," Patridge said.

Patridge said other types of music that go well with dogs walks are Spanish or tango music and songs like the "Happy Days" theme song or "New York, New York."

"When I'm in my car I try to listen to the music and visualize my dog walking to it," Patridge said.
By the way, the writer of this article suggests that the sport began in Canada.

1 comment:

Amber-Mae said...

Hey! Sorry I have been missing for many days. Mommy has been really busy with her studying for her upcoming examinations. Oh yeah! I do listen t the music especially music with very strong beats. At the first few days of listening & dancing to it, I can't get it & will just do what my mommy directs me to do. But after a week or so, I get the music but the music must have very strong beats. I'll probably be doing another performance or two for a private function next month. Not confirmed yet but I hope they will choose me. If I do get chosen, mommy will teach me another new routine. Some CHA CHA BABY!!! Well, it's not really cha cha. The song is a bit modern. A bit of Cha Cha mix with techno & pop. LOL!

Love licks,
Solid Go,ld Dancer

Love licks,
Solid Gold Dancer