Monday, January 9, 2017

Musical Freestyle class

I signed up for an advanced-level Musical Freestyle class with Cai. It's taught by Judy Gamet of Dogs Can Dance. The class is for dogs and handlers who have already learned a variety of Freestyle tricks and are looking for help putting a routine together. There are three other students, all of whom already have some basic idea of what they want to do. I entered the class without any ideas; I need help figuring out what kind of music would fit us as well as putting together sequences.

After a warm up for each student, Judy asked me to pick one skill that we already do well, and we brainstormed together. I picked going through my legs. We ended up with a fun sequence that alternates between walking forward and weaving through my legs, and has me stepping both forward and backward as Cai weaves.

For next week I need to come in with another skill to work on. I was thinking of picking paw raises (though I need to be careful of overtaxing Cai's left shoulder) or backing up.

Going through the brainstorming process with Judy really helped me see how I could start putting together multiple moves with a theme. I suspect my biggest challenges will be 1) memorizing the choreography for an entire piece, and 2) coordinating doing my own movements with giving the correct verbal cues to Cai, with correct timing. That part has always been a weakness of mine, such as one time when I yelled "hup!" as Cai ran toward a tunnel entrance during agility class. (He pulled up short and gathered himself for a jump, then stopped and stared at me. I was amazed, as at the time I hadn't realized just how much he does listen to my verbal cues.)

I hope that we'll earn our Masters (aka Excellent) level title in Rally-FrEe this year, and possibly even Champion. Once that's done, I'm planning on transitioning my sports focus to Freestyle. Agility is still up in the air until we get the all clear from Dr Wallace.

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