America's weirdest pet hobby—dog dancing.

Humiliating myself for fun and profit.
July 18 2005 12:27 PM

Dog Dancing

My beagle and I try America's weirdest pet hobby.

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During one class, we were supposed to work on staying within the cones that delineated the competition floor. A substitute instructor had us each get up, stand in the upper left corner, cross to the middle of the floor on the diagonal, and cross back to the lower left corner. To Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass everyone did their triangular move. Then it was my turn. I explained that Sasha and I didn't really participate, but the class erupted with encouragement. I had to do it, everyone insisted—what was I there for? As Sasha and I got to the corner I felt as if I was in that recurring dream where you show up for your final exam and realize you've neglected ever to attend class.

Herb's trumpet sounded and I tried to get Sasha to follow my cheese cubes and get to the middle of the room. A stream of advice poured forth: "Loosen the leash," "No!" "Turn the other way!" "Use your voice!" "Loosen the leash!" I realized my classmates were right—what was I there for?

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Sasha is an adorable, sweet pet who is wonderful with children. All she wants out of life is to eat until she explodes, to sniff repulsive things, and to poop on newly cleaned rugs. She is no Edgar Allan Poo because I am no Joell. Sure, I could make fun of Sasha for her inability to simply walk in two diagonal lines, but whose fault was that? It turned out dog dancing had brought us closer as I realized how well-matched we were. I was as lazy and uninterested in turning her into a champion as she was in becoming one.

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