Doggy Dance: A New Sport for Human and Dog
Ina de Ritter and Service Golden & Freestyler
The following information was
written in Dutch by Ina and then translated by Paula Gerdes
in January 2003. While the video clips are foreign ones,
the visual aspect of both types of skills are easily
When I was in Herpen at the school for Assistance Dogs (Stichting Hulphond Nederland), I told them that I would
love to dance in my wheelchair but I couldn't find a partner. They said, "Why don't
you see if you can dance somewhere with your assistant dog Yce?" I thought they were kidding me, but they weren't and they gave me some information about
In September I made an appointment with the dog training school in Delft. Marleen is the
trainer who has taught able-bodied persons and their dogs doggy dance for years, but she
never had a student in a wheelchair. Nevertheless, she was, just like me, very
enthusiastic and together we looked into the matter.
We worked very hard and I had individual lessons because almost all of the normal doggy
dance steps were not suitable for a wheelchair. Marleen taught me how I could teach Yce a
dance step, but I made up the steps and then taught them to Yce myself. Also I made notes
on how to learn the steps and which order belonged to a particular dance
When Yce knew twelve different dance steps, I began the most difficult part
selecting the music, etc. The nicest part of wheelchair doggy dancing is that you can
practice in a small room, for instance in your living room. Also you keep working with
your dog while you're teaching him new things and it's a lot of fun and relaxation. Yce
loves to do it and when we arrive in Delft to train he is wild with joy.
What do you need for wheelchair doggy dance?
1. A dog training school with a hard floor, because wheelchair doggy dancing on the grass
2. A dog trainer who likes a challenge.
On December 15 I danced my first contest. There were ten contestants. I was the only one
in a wheelchair, but everything went great and Yce and I won the third prize! I was so
The jury from Belgium never saw anyone in a wheelchair
perform doggy dancing, their later inviting me for further contests in Belgium. One of the
major TV stations also called after reading my article. They want to tape Yce and myself
when we are training. If all goes well, this will happen on January 21.