How to Start with Dogdancing

You might be interested in this dog sport but you have many questions before you can decide to start with it. Will my buddy enjoy it? Do I have sufficient physical abilities? When should we start, isn’t it too soon or too late? This article and advice from Alena Smolíková, European Dogdancing Champion and the author of a book called 'From Dogs’ Tricks to Dogdancing', might help you.

Fortunately, most people nowadays know it’s not enough to have a dog in the garden or tied to a kennel, dogs need to be occupied. They need to be occupied both physically and mentally. Dogdancing is a perfect sport for mental occupation of a dog. It learns to concentrate, be accurate, cooperate with a person and it learns how to learn. An activity done with a master also leads to developing a stronger relationship.” These are the words of Alena Smolíková who achieved great successes in dogdancing and has won many contest in this discipline. Among other things, she appeared in TV shows Talentmania and Czechoslovakia’s Got Talent.


Dogdancing is one of the newest cynological disciplines. However, it quickly spread around the world. In dogdancing, dogs do the moves their handlers want in the rhythm of music. However, it doesn’t mean you need to be a dancing talent, even though it might be an advantage. Alena Smolíková confirms that: “If a person has a talent for dancing, it’s definitely an advantage, but it’s not necessary. Dogdancing routines don’t need to have dance elements. Their topic is up to everyone’s skills and consideration. So, if I can’t dance I come up with a routine that doesn’t involve dancing.”


This sport is practically limitless. A dog can do any moves it can and that don’t pose a risk to its health. Your imagination and creativity play a more important role than your talent for movement. However, even those aren’t necessary. Alena says: “In my view, what I like the most about dog dancing is learning new tricks. I always try to come up with something original that no one has ever showed during the competition. I also like that you can train dogdancing almost anywhere. When it’s raining outside, we can train in our living room. We don’t have to go to any cynological training area, no special training equipment is needed.” Therefore, it’s not expensive.


Now, when we are sure no special talent or gift is needed for this sport, it’s the time for the big question: will my dog enjoy it? Alena thinks that “if a dog can be motivated in any way (with treats, toys), it can be assumed it will enjoy dogdancing. Then, it’s only up to the handler who will make training enjoyable for the dog.” Most dogs like learning, it disrupts their normal stereotype and they enjoy the time spent together with you.


The dog’s size doesn’t matter as well. Basically, choose moves that are doable for you as well as your dog. A Mastiff probably won’t jump at your back when it’s heavier than you and a Yorkshire can’t put its paws on your shoulders when standing. “There aren’t any compulsory elements in dogdancing, so it’s up to the handler what moves (s)he will teach the dog and how they will use them in a routine. Thanks to this, a routine can be adjusted to the possibilities and skills of your dog, so it’s really a sport for all breeds. Both a Newfoundland dog and a Chihuahua can compete successfully. You can start with a puppy as well as an older dog.” summarizes Alena.


If you decide to start with this discipline, it’s good to do it right to see some progress and to have a smooth beginning. “The most important thing is not to do any silly mistakes that would be difficult to get rid off later. I recommend reading some books, watching a video with instructions or finding an experienced trained who will give you advice” says Alena. You can also reach out to the Dog Dancing Club Czech Republic (for example) where you can definitely find help, a lot of useful advice and also a list of experienced trainers that can make your first steps easier.


So, what about you, will you try dogdancing with your dog companion?

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