Monday, October 15, 2012

More dancing

Fozzie and I had even MORE fun at last week's Doggie Dance class. 

This time, Florian had to rehearse for his own dance show over the weekend--a show that would not, alas, include Fozzie--so he couldn't join us. My friend Francine was with us though and took some really good pictures. 

First we practiced a bunch of spins. 

This is a trick Fozzie's known for some time, but I never thought of Fozzie doing them beside me as I walk forward, or doing them as part of a dynamic shifting total dance event.

Fozzie got really good at spins--at one point he did a quadruple pirouette!

Again I was so impressed with how Fozzie was getting into it. I've always suspected he would be a natural dancer, as there are so many dance-like movements that he really enjoys. 

We practiced what we learned last week a lot, and really worked on going around, through the legs, then back and forward together. Going forward is easy, but getting the dog to back up when he's between your legs is a bit tricky! If you can't see the video, bear with me...we are still a bit in the dark ages technologically.

Then we focused a lot on paw behaviors. 

That's right, Fozzie actually got to be rewarded for putting his paws on my arm, on a prop, around my leg, and on my butt. 

The goal is to actually get your dog to interact with all sorts of things with his paws, 

and eventually get him to hold onto things with his paws. 


It was easy to encourage him to paw whatever body part or target I presented him with, as Fozzie is a natural paw user.

Fozzie loves to grab onto things--most often, Florian's leg when he is getting into a humping sorta mood--so it is so great to have a positive outlet for these tendencies.

The grand finale was a couple of really fun tricks I've been wanting to learn for a while.

How great is it to have a big scary looking Mastiff mix man who can do a play bow on cue? 

What better way to let people know his true nature?

We call our bow "Bravo" so Fozzie doesn't get confused hearing "Bow" for a behavior that is so similar to "Down." 

To do it, we lure his nose straight down from a stand, the treat going from the nose straight down to the floor, but we have one arm under Fozzie's belly to keep that butt up in the air. 

We click and treat when the front elbows hit the ground...and then we get him out of it by luring the nose straight forward, so he goes out of the bow into a standing position and doesn't conflate Bow with Down.

The last trick was one we already know, going into a down and then crawling forward. Carolynn recommended actually kneeling over your dog to get him to do this, so he doesn't get up when the treat is moved forward. I didn't find this to be necessary when I taught Fozzie...he just naturally crawled forward as long as I kept the treat close to the ground.

I feel just like one of those ballet moms Florian is always going on about.

I'm so proud of my little dancer boy!


  1. It looks like Fozzie really enjoys this! How wonderful!

  2. Sampson does the army crawl but I haven't given it a name, so he doesn't know he's doing it.

    Delilah sometimes does a bow when she stretches to which I usually say, "Nice Bow." But I'm not treating her so I'm not sure she gets it. She and I are taking a trick class next month and I'm really looking forward to it. :-)

    Great job, I bet this could also help Fozzie when he's stressed, especially if he enjoys doing them!

  3. Wow, looks like so much fun! For everybody involved!

  4. Looks like you both are having fun - amazing how breaking down tricks into tiny steps gets you a wonderful dancer! What a cultured family :).

  5. Looks like so much fun! Kaya does bow but I call it "stretch" I think it is her favorite command:D

  6. You are going to be on Dancing With the Stars soon
    Benny & Lily

  7. You two just look like you're having too much fun! I agree with Benny and Lily....dancing with the stars here you come! LOL!

  8. Hi Kirsten, the photos show two individuals enjoying each other's company and having fun. Good times.

  9. So much fun! I've been thinking 'bout teaching Hurley a bow. Like Fozzie has an infinity for pawing, Hurley likes to keep his rear in the air. :)

  10. I might be the last person in the world who knows this but I just heard a few days ago about the dancing dog that won UK's Got Talent! Could Fozzie become #2? He really seems to be enjoying it :)

  11. So, so sweet there Fozzie, you look like you're really enjoying yourself :)

  12. What fun! Your pictures are terrific and it looks like you two are working well as a team.

    Thought I'd send some inspiration your way. This is my absolute favorite doggy freestyle performance:

    I can't wait to see what you and Fozzie come up with. Especially with a professional in the house to help with choreography. :)

    1. That is an awesome performance Pamela! You're right, it is an inspiration!


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