Bockenem (dpa / lni) – When Uta Opel goes to sports, she just has to go to the park. But sometimes she also goes downtown or to a hardware store. There is always Dexter, Takutai and Poko – three dogs of the American Miniature Shepherd breed.
The 62-year-old vet does dog dance with her dogs, a sport in which humans and animals play tricks to music. In Germany, Uta Opel is one of the best players in its sport. She has already won the German Championship three times. You have already become the world champion as a team. Alone was enough for the final in the world and European championships. So that her animals are not too stressed by the noise at tournaments, she also exercises with her in exotic places, such as downtown or on the side of the road. Or at the hardware store.
In 2009, the 62-year-old, who already owns a veterinary clinic in Bocknem (Hildesheim district), took part in a competition for the first time. At that time it is still in the so-called fun category, that is, free competition. Previously, Opel was active in other dog sports otherwise it was all about dogs. Even her earrings resemble dog paws.
Having fun and meeting new people has been a top priority for the 62-year-old since she first entered the dog dance competition. success? Not that important, she says. “There are simply endless possibilities for tricks you can do with your dogs,” says Opel. Dozens of them advanced in competition with her dogs. Positive side effects: keeps you fit. Depending on the class, the show lasts between two and four minutes. Among other things, by appearing on TV shows, dog dance has recently gained popularity in Germany. The sport originally comes from the United States.
poses and jumps
In her garden, Ota spends hours doing tricks with her dogs, which actually belong to another woman. Using classical conditioning, Takutai, Boko, and Dexter taught poses and jumps. So there are bonuses for real offers. This does not always work. If the dog makes a completely wrong number, the sometimes incorrect implementation is also included in the program. The choreography takes months to finish – and minor mistakes in the actual performance almost always mean improvisation.
When the dogs should do something, the Ota Opel demonstrates it to them with gestures or sounds: the finger indicates the direction, while Heep runs and manages the Takutai to jump over the Opel’s arm. A few more signals and the animal jumps to the Opel’s chest and performs a tail blade. “I try to communicate as much as possible about sounds and calls, because they rank better,” she says. Authenticity, level of difficulty and the story presented are also important in the evaluation, which human dog teams may use as props as well.
Dog dance for health
Not every dog manages to be elegantly led by calls and sounds—like the oldest Opel dog, Dexter, who is deaf. “Dexter has had some success, but now he only competes in the disabled dog category.” Opel isn’t even thinking about quitting with Dexter, after all, dog dancing is still good for dogs. The vet says exercise is good for the animal’s joints and for the mother-dog relationship.
A spokesperson for the German Animal Welfare Association in Lower Saxony praised her, just as with other canine sports. Since humans and dogs are subjected to the same stress, the animal does not burden them. Dogs will also voluntarily do their own thing and are playfully motivated to do so. Only long trips to competitions can become a burden for animals. “That’s why I always drive at night when the dogs are sleeping,” Opel says.
good for relationship
“Dogs learn to respond to their humans’ instructions in dog sports and convince their desire to move,” says Martina Group. The 39-year-old specializes in so-called animal-assisted interventions and has used her dogs in animal-assisted education for children and youth with mental disabilities since 2010. “Dogs love to go out with their people, they need something to do, and they want to please people,” she says. . The combined action and interaction of positive energy through pride, praise and joy in successful workouts strengthens the bond between the dog and the owner.
The 39-year-old is also particularly critical of dog dancing. “No dog will naturally enjoy these movements,” Groppi says. The animal is primarily looking for the reward, that is, the reward. It has nothing to do with a good relationship. “Since dogs want to please their human being, they are willing to do a lot more.” Uta Opel knows it too: “Dogs can dance to ecstasy – you, as a lover, have to watch it.”
Trust, respect and break together
Grube asserts that whether canine sport in general is good or bad for a team of humans always depends on the individual constellation. Many of the positive aspects, especially when subsisting on the animal’s desire to move and obey, can also be achieved through alternative functions – for example through rhinoplasty such as tracking or other exercise demonstrations. In any case, trust, respect, and a shared detachment from sport and employment are important to a good human-animal relationship.
Uta Opel trusts her dogs so much that Dexter, Takutai, and Boko, whose names are based on Aboriginal Australians, are allowed to sit on the 62-year-old’s back to do some tricks. For example, after a short shout, Poco jumps on an Opel, which bends her upper body forward to do so. Then Poco sits on the woman’s throne like a king.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220525-99-424147 / 5