By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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But last weekend, dogs were also dancing, prancing and bounding to the beat of the music just a few shakes of a tail away, at the Guy Cole Convention Center.
More than 25 canines from across the U.S. and Canada took part in the Emerald City K-9 Freestyle Dancers Hula Showdown, a regional competition for trained dogs performing freestyle dance routines and dog dressage to music.
Owners spend countless hours training their pets, which often includes performing their tricks during walks.
“It doesn't take any longer than it would to train any dog to do 15 things,” aid Lori McKenna, 57, of Enumclaw, who entered her Belgian tervuren, Lindy, in the intermediate freestyle class.
“The hard part,” she said, “is teaching them to do it quickly, to keep to the beat of the music.”
Lindy wove through her owner's legs, turned circles, sidestepped and backed in a choreographed routine, then joyfully leapt in the air when the routine was done.
Not to be outdone, Tobi, a silver poodle, wove around his owner, Carrol Haines' dancing cane and legs, and then jumped onto Haines' back in a display of canine agility and bravado.
Some of the dogs at the competition are breeds with a reputation of being high-energy and intelligent, such as the poodle and the border collie.
Jake, a 4-year-old border collie, performed an intense, dressage routine, crawling on his stomach and bowing, that produced enthusiastic applause.
His intelligence and intensity doesn't make it all that much easier to train him, but it does produce a dog that is very trainable, said owner Annette Granbois, 63, of Langley, B.C.
“He's willing to keep working while the others are worn out,” said Granbois.
Granbois has been doing dancing dog competitions for nine years, she said.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at email@example.com.