All News & Blogs
They call it dancing--it looks like joy to me. By Sarah A. Ferrell
Dog trainer Patie Ventre and Dancer perform at a competition.
World Canine Freestyle Organization
Visit the Photo Place
DOGS DANCING! All over the
Ask Patie Ventre, founder of the World Canine Freestyle Organization (worldcaninefreestyle.org), "How do
Ventre's keen attention rivets onto your expectant face, and she pours out her heart's work: the joy of one human moving in concert and synchronicity with one dog. With unflagging enthusiasm and candor describing the sport she loves, Ventre took me on her odyssey from the idea of dog dancing to understanding the deepening bond that develops between human and dog as they perfect dancing for teamwork and joy.
How it all began
In 1993, Ventre presented the first organized demonstration of canine freestyle dancing at the Gaines Classic in Memphis, Tenn. Ventre beams as she tells me: "I created WCFO Inc. with 13 other people in 1999. We now have over 60 people actively making the organization go round, over 30 clubs worldwide and over 5,000 active people on our information lists.
"I love that we all created a dog sport that truly represents the spirit of sharing and bonding with your pet and with each other. Hopefully someday, before I die, I will get to see canine freestyle in the Olympics. If someone told me 10 years ago I would be dancing with dogs, I would have laughed in their face!"
What makes canine freestyle so enthralling to Ventre?
"The sharing and bonding with my dogs and the fun we have! It is a stress reliever, too. I love choreographing routines, selecting music, designing costumes and practicing, practicing--that makes us laugh! I can actually see when the light bulb goes off on their faces and they've finally got it! They know they understand and just want to do it over and over because they are so proud of themselves."
Ventre's freestyle training approach is very holistic. She trains the whole dog: mind, body and spirit. The core of her training and her performance celebrates her dog's joy to prance with mom, while entrancing the audience. Her techniques are upbeat and focus on fun for the dog.
Clickers? Yes and No
Does Ventre use clicker training to perfect all these bouncing bows and smooth moves on the dance floor?