Dog Dancing
May 26, 2015 6:02 PM   Subscribe

In a relatively unknown sport, humans and dogs dance together. Headquartered in Germany, DogDance International says it's a fast-growing dog sport. Enjoy Sandra and Lizzy dancing; she says it's the perfect sport. The 2012 world championship finalists. Two 2014 finalists, and one more with that giant fluffy dog.
posted by stoneweaver (34 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
This is everything I never knew I needed
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:08 PM on May 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

This is great. Just to put this in perspective, it takes months of dedicated training simply to teach a dog to walk backwards - it's not something they naturally do.
posted by Farce_First at 6:17 PM on May 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Previous adorable boogie-doggies.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 6:21 PM on May 26, 2015

This is the most amazing feat of dog training I've ever seen.
posted by Gable Oak at 6:27 PM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

This makes me want to drastically rearrange my life in order to become the new face of dogdance

Step one, get dog

Also, learn to dance
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:31 PM on May 26, 2015 [13 favorites]

That there are some astoundingly well trained dogs. I'm not surprised that the first one (your "Sandra and Lizzy" link) is a border collie.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:04 PM on May 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

Giant fluffy dogs are my weakness! Is that a Newfie? Ugh, so cute!

When we first got Pilar, I would do a little dance for her to amuse, just stepping in place and leaning over. She seemed inclined to rear up to lick my face, so it eventually became a little routine where I would step in place, standing straight up and tap my fingers on my hips. She puts her front paws on my hips and then we dance together a little. Just working with her natural inclinations, which makes for easy training.

I trained Shaggy to do the same thing but since he's a clutzy big moose, he usually punches me in the chest or shoulders and then drags his big claws slowly down the front of my shirt. It's not nearly as fun.

Maybe Pilar and I will take up dog dancing. :)
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:07 PM on May 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

I do not understand how there are any empty seats in that place
posted by armoir from antproof case at 7:38 PM on May 26, 2015 [5 favorites]

Thanks edeezy, I was going to have to go find that myself.
posted by emjaybee at 7:46 PM on May 26, 2015

If I had seen that first video when I was a Last Unicorn-loving seven year old... life would have been very different.
posted by invokeuse at 7:50 PM on May 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

Dancing Merengue Dog is one of my favorite videos of all time! oh and Ashleigh and Pudsey won britain's got talent in 2012 :P
posted by kliuless at 8:11 PM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

I thought these were just okay. My two favorite dancing dog videos are Grease and the extraordinary Mexican Dancing Dog.

Just to put this in perspective, it takes months of dedicated training simply to teach a dog to walk backwards - it's not something they naturally do.

You know, I've always been a dog owner. I'm 47 and have owned dogs for all but 11 of my years. I once advised a lonely friend to get a dog and she said, "I don't trust anything that can't walk backwards." She'd never had a dog and I was utterly baffled. Whoever started this rumour doesn't know what the hell they're talking about. Dogs walk backwards without training or difficulty. I've never had a dog that couldn't or didn't walk backwards. The claim is about as baffling to me as saying a human can't walk backwards.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:12 PM on May 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Of course dogs can walk backwards, but like Big Al says, they can't look up.
posted by axiom at 8:33 PM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

impressive, but it's no Dancing With Cats.
posted by mightygodking at 8:38 PM on May 26, 2015

Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out how to convey "don't poop on the porch."
posted by Countess Elena at 8:43 PM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's not that dogs cannot walk backwards, it's more that the "Attention! Dog reversing, Woof!" sound they make can get a tad tiresome.
posted by fallingbadgers at 8:49 PM on May 26, 2015 [4 favorites]

God, I wish this was easier to get involved in. All the precision and difficulty of competitive obedience, but a metric fuck-ton more fun to watch. Plus you can incorporate practicing cool tricks like backwards weaves through handlers' legs instead of just drilling focus all the time. And I don't wind up feeling like the human isn't paying attention to the dogs back. Incidentally, this is a sport that also sometimes goes by the name "Heelwork to Music", which is relevant if you want to watch the Crufts' champonship routines.

One thing that interests me about heelwork to music is that it has chosen to differentiate itself from freestyle disc dog, which is the most similar sport I can think of, by banning the kinds of vaults and rebounds which characterize disc dog routines on the theory that these are unsafe. I actually disagree with their logic there--I think rebounds aren't necessarily dangerous or unsafe for the dogs and that that rule change has more to do with wanting to show off the heelwork and the precision of the competitive obedience that dog dancing rose out of. But man, I would love to see a dog dancing routine that incorporated more of the flashy moves that dogs can be trained to do for sports like disc or more specialized trick training. Imagine what that would be like to watch!
posted by sciatrix at 8:50 PM on May 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Dogs walk backwards without training or difficulty. I've never had a dog that couldn't or didn't walk backwards. The claim is about as baffling to me as saying a human can't walk backwards.

It's not so much that dogs can't walk backwards as it is that dogs often don't have a lot of what's called "hind end awareness." Dogs usually, in my experience, are pretty good at paying attention to where their forefeet are and learning how to pull off maneuvers with their front legs--sit up and beg, shake, wave, that kind of thing. But dogs often don't do a lot of thinking about where their hind feet are at any given time; I get the impression that they sort of just expect their back end to follow their front end. So it can be much, much harder to teach a dog a specific action with their hind end on cue--something like "back up and put just your hind feet on this stool" is much harder than "put just your front feet on this stool," and for that reason tricks like "weave backwards through my legs" take a lot of practice and work on thinking about their hind end for a dog to manage.

I have heard similar things about horses--for example, both dog and horse trainers will trot the animals over short jumps or poles to encourage them to think about where their back feet are as they approach a jump, if they're training for agility or show jumping. It's not at all that it's impossible for four-legged animals to figure out fine-tuned motions with their hind end, but it does take some concerted practice to get them thinking precisely about which back leg is doing what.
posted by sciatrix at 8:56 PM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is literally the greatest thing ever.

Newfies are kind, magical creatures. I wish they could live forever.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:14 PM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

It is not hard to teach a dog to walk backward and does not have to take months, although I'm sure some dogs have greater aptitude than others. My dog walks backward away from me, backward with me while between my legs, backward in heel position on either side of me, weaves backward between my legs, does backward figure 8s between my legs, lifts his hind legs up onto a wall behind him to go into a handstand, and can lift each hind leg separately on different cues. He can also use only his back legs to pivot in a circle while keeping his front feet on an object (like a circus elephant). And many other tricks that use hind end awareness. I've put less time into teaching these to my other dog but still she can do about half of them. The big thing is teaching them to love figuring out what you want them to do--but the actual physical task of doing things backward is not any harder than any other trick.
posted by HotToddy at 9:24 PM on May 26, 2015

I'm incredibly impressed by this. The fact that the dog knows what to do when, the whole way through, is pretty mind-blowing. I'm sure the dog takes many of its cues from the posture of their dance partner, but it seems like there has to be a fair amount of awareness of the music as well - not just in terms of particular sound cues, but not getting confused when sections of the song repeat. Is there more info on what it takes to train dogs to do this?
posted by NMcCoy at 10:05 PM on May 26, 2015

Though looking at another video, it seems like vocal commands are used as well (and just drowned out by the music from the audience's perspective), which is entirely reasonable.
posted by NMcCoy at 10:10 PM on May 26, 2015

A few friends got "we should start a band" level baked with me recently and watched "Pudsey the Dog: The Movie" and laughed for an hour and a half straight. And then watched the actual Britain's Got Talent Ashleigh and Pudsey routine and laughed for another hour playing it over and over, and then clicked on more dancing dog videos including this one, my favorite video of all time.

For context, Pudsey the Movie has a super-rare 0% Tomatometer, and The Guardian said it was

"so depressingly bad that cinemas should play the adagietto from Mahler's Fifth over a loudspeaker as audiences file out grimly into the foyer afterwards, silently asking themselves if life has any value... Watching this movie, I was overwhelmed with three emotions: boredom, embarrassment and chiefly shame on behalf of everyone involved, shame that something so shoddily made and mediocre could ever have emerged from our film industry."

After watching, we marveled at the idea that dogs evolved rapidly from WOLVES into PUDSEY, and NUGGET (my puggle, who was at that moment blinking his giant bulging anime eyes at us from his bed)
posted by jake at 11:33 PM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Somehow I can't see my Welsh Terrier doing this. I was about to say that I can't ever see a Welshie being disciplined enough to do this, but I'm wrong on that one. (But I am confident in saying that mine certainly wouldn't be! : ) )
posted by SisterHavana at 2:23 AM on May 27, 2015

I Goddamn knew that MetaFilter was responsible for my thing about dog freestyle dancing! I used to watch this video all the time and end up shedding tears (I thought it was because nearly everyone in that video is dead, apparently, but whatever). I have found I without exception cry to every dog dancing video ever. Including Pudsey. I cry at this long before the Now We Are Free-alike music starts. I fucking cried during the 2012 champs video. When my spouse asked why I could only answer that I was crying because the dog was "so good at dancing." I don't understand. I am a burly person, and should not cry.

I'm honestly glad this isn't more of what trial and obedience displays are about because I'd die from dehydration.
posted by monster truck weekend at 3:04 AM on May 27, 2015 [4 favorites]

I was kind of hoping for juke-joint style boogie woogie set to Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes, but this is still great.
posted by echocollate at 5:57 AM on May 27, 2015

I can't watch this, it makes me cry literally every. time.
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:04 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

monster truck weekend, for me, it's like, all the hours of training, and how willing the dog is and trying to please, and how close they must be, and then...the waterworks.
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:05 AM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

Absolutely, fiercecupcake, you're right. I generally get about thirty seconds into any routine before I start leaking at how happy the dog is. Those dogs are so happy! They're so dutiful! Like, they don't give a shit that they're dancing to Grease, they've reached pinnacle Dog! Sob
posted by monster truck weekend at 9:22 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't understand! I'm not particularly a fan of dogs; I like 'em fine but they're not my thing. Dance I could take or leave. I actively hate much of this music. But I keep getting these heart-in-my-throat, involuntary chest heaves of emotion and having to turn off the videos. Is this like one of those weedout physiological phenomena? Like, "can you curl your tongue?" "Can you smell the asparagus you ate last night?" "Do you cry helplessly at dogdancing?" ...Then you are vampyre!
posted by Don Pepino at 10:51 AM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

Aw, man. My dog hates it when humans dance near him. Seriously, a waltz, a two-step, a foxtrot, he starts barking his head off like we're fitting to step on him, regardless of how far away we are. I think if I tried to introduce this concept to him he wouldn't give me kisses anymore.
posted by zeusianfog at 10:56 AM on May 27, 2015

They're just such good dogs! They are trying so hard, and it's all because they love their person so much! Getting choked up just writing this... Dogs are the best.
posted by chowflap at 10:58 AM on May 27, 2015 [5 favorites]

Oh my God. That Grease one. Weapons grade.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:59 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Dog love, above all things, having a job and doing it well. These dogs have a very hard job and they do it VERY well (as judged by their human). So they get to do a thing they love with one of the people they love and the thing they love makes their human happy.

You're watching some dogs fulfill all of their life's ambitions and they know that they're doing it and doing it with the people they love most while also making that person happy. It's totally understandable that rooms would suddenly get very dusty while witnessing such a thing.
posted by VTX at 2:39 PM on May 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

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