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Dancing in the park…

You won’t believe it from these pictures but we have been having awful, awful rain in the last few weeks in Sydney. Crazy winds & constant, pouring, typhoon rain  that never stopped all day and flooded lots of places…it was like a Never-Ending Bath! Ugh!!

It was actually so bad that I missed my walks on 2 days. Now, if you know my humans, you’ll know how bad the rain must have been because my humans never miss my walks if they can help it. They believe that “daily outings are really important for a dog’s physical & mental well-being” – no matter how big the house & garden the doggie is living in. So they always find time to take me out every day – even if it’s only for 10mins, on the street in front of our house.

But oh – this tme, the rain was so strong & heavy that we barely managed to get out of our front gate before we got completely drenched!!! So we had to miss our walk on 2 days…but to be honest with you, I didn’t really mind! :P Hsin-Yi did some clicker training with me and gave me a stuffed Kong to work on and I was pretty happy. Hey – when you’re a Dane, you can always catch up on more sleep, right? ;-)

But anyway, so when the rain finally stopped a couple of days ago and the sun came out, we were so happy that we quickly grabbed the chance to do some dance practice in the park!

Practising the old favourites…

…and trying out some new ones…

…perfecting our Synchronised Reversing…

…and polishing up our High Trot (when I have to trot with my head held high & paws lifting up – this move takes a lot of work so it’s a lot of effort for a lazy doggie like me! ;-) )

…revisiting some dance moves we hadn’t done in ages!

…and trying out some new poses!

Oh! It was the best fun! I just love doing dance practice with Hsin-Yi! :P

Speaking of dancing, thanks to all the people who tried to guess the name of the waltz we’re going to dance to…one person did get it right (well, two actually): it was Jed & Abby! :P And the answer is: the Emperor Waltz, also known as the Kaiser-Walzer.

This is a waltz by the famous Composer Human, Johann Strauss II – who also wrote the even more famous Blue Danube. Hsin-Yi loves all the Viennese Strauss waltzes – they are really “beautiful” music – but her favourite is the Emperor Waltz.

And if you’re wondering what it sounds like, you can have a little listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aG-kLDAj8mc – although we won’t be dancing to the proper full version coz that’s over 10 minutes long! 8-O Hsin-Yi is going to edit and cut it into a shorter version for us to dance to.

We love the beginning – it sounds so grand & majestic – just perfect for a Great Dane, don’t you think? ;-)

Who says doggies can't waltz?!

To match this intro bit of music, Hsin-Yi is trying to teach me to do my ‘Marching Paws’ facing her but from far away, across the room/field. I’m really struggling with this at the moment ‘coz you know how us doggies don’t generalise well…I’m used to doing my Marching Paws right in front of Hsin-Yi or right next to her and so when I’m far away, I keep trying to walk towards her first to get close, before I start doing my Marching Paws. Hsin-Yi has to keep telling me:

“No, no, Honey! Stay there! Just do the marching there!!” ;-)

But I’m still not really getting it – I keep wanting to come closer. So we’re having to practise lots and lots of me just standing far away and staying there and raising 1 paw!

So you see how even something that I know really well already – I can do Marching Paws in my sleep really –  can become really hard when I have to do it in a new situation or with a new variation. This is the same for us doggies whether we’re doing dancing or basic obedience type stuff.

This is why humans often can’t understand why we can do something perfectly at home or at training school – but can’t/won’t at the park or when we’re out & about in town or at a friend’s house. It’s because they haven’t taught us/practised with us in those new places/situations. That’s just like me learning to do Marching Paws far away – it may look like the same move but when you ask us to do it in a new situation, it’s almost like a totally new move to us! :P

So that’s why it’s really important for our humans to help us by taking us to practise our training in lots of different situations – not just expect us to behave perfectly everywhere, just because we did it in doggie school.  And remember: if the environment or distractions change – even if we’re doing the same action – it will still be hard for us. Don’t ask too much from us or expect too much, if we’re not somewhere familiar. We might have to go back a few steps and start almost from the beginning. Baby steps, remember?

For example, even if humans learn to drive a car machine perfectly in a driving school with little fake roundabouts & street crossings – that doesn’t mean that they will be able to drive well when they go to New York City or on the motorways or even in a foreign country! :P Of course, the actions are still the same – they are still turning the steering wheel and pushing their feet on the pedals – but they need practice doing that in all those new places, until they get used to it.

Same for us doggies. Just because we pay attention to our humans and “Sit” when told at dog school or in our kitchens, that doesn’t mean that we’re “trained” – when we go out into the exciting streets or parks with other doggies and yummies and other people and traffic and noises and interesting smells and other distractions – well, we have to start again, sometimes almost from the beginning. We’ll get there faster ‘coz we already know the basics – but you still have to be patient with us and help us and give us a chance to practise.

This doesn’t mean that it’s an excuse for us doggies to be naughty and disobedient in new places, of course – you mustn’t just let us “get away with it”, just because we’re in a new situation and it’s a bit challenging for us. Our humans must still enforce their commands – they must teach us again to listen – just in a new place! And each time we do it, we’ll get better & better! :P

So yeah – it’s going slowly at the moment with my new dancing moves but that’s OK – I always learn things slowly and Hsin-Yi doesn’t mind. It usually takes us months & months to learn all the different moves for a dance routine and then put it altogether. But we have a lot of fun doing it! :P


 * A message from Hsin-Yi:

I’m really sorry if some of you are having trouble with typing in the Comments box. It seems that you’re unable to “click back” in a sentence you have already written, to insert or change a word. I’ve been having this problem myself when I try to type replies to your comments so I know how frustrating it can be. Using the cursor buttons helps a bit but not if you’ve written a long comment with several lines…!

I haven’t installed new Commenting software, as some people have asked (the Facebook comments is a separate thing – that’s just to make it easier for those on Facebook to comment using their FB accounts, saves having to fill in more boxes, etc) – but I think the problem is because I installed a new version of WordPress.

Oh – it is so annoying- but WordPress “forces” us to upgrade to a new version every few months. I hate it whenever this happens because usually, we’re perfectly happy and everything is working fine with the “old” version – but the minute we upgrade, we start having all sorts of problems due to “bugs” in the new version. Grrrrrr! I wish they would just leave it alone…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!!

But anyway, usually what happens is people complain & report the bugs and then they release another version a few weeks later, fixing those bugs. That’s what happened in the past when we had problems with the blog. So I’m hoping the current problem with the Comments box will resolve itself in a few weeks. (I’m also having a problem myself when I’m writing a post – the “Insert a Link” button is not working and I have to do all links manually myself by inserting the HTML code, which is a real pain – thank goodness at least I know enough HTML to get round this problem, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to link to anything at the moment!)

Anyway, so if you’re having problems with the Comments box, please be patient – and I will report this bug too and hopefully they’ll sort it out soon! Thank you.


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29 Responses to Dancing in the park…

  1. Dancing in the park looks like so much fun, and very cool that Honey is learning new things :-)

    Now that you’ve changed the comments box (so you don’t have to sign into WordPress) it works just fine for us :-)

  2. Cindy says:

    You both look so happy when you are learning your dance moves.


  3. What great pictures!!

    For her new marching trick, is there a way you can put her on a platform, mat, or in a PVC box so she has a visual place she must remain at/in? Or maybe behind a baby gate, or on the edge of a curb…

    • bighoneydog says:

      Oh thanks, Laura – those are great ideas! I will try them :-) I have tried at home putting the coffee table between us but she just ends up tapping the table with her paws instead – like targeting the table with her paws – when I want her to learn to lift them up in the air, without anything. But you’re right – I think having some kind of clear visual boundary for her will help a lot. I like the idea of using a curb! Thanks so much!


    • Those are just some ways we proof/teach the dogs to do their sit-down-stand position changes without moving forward :) Usually I use their front feet on a perch work to do position changes, but that wouldn’t work for marching!

  4. Dorothy S in Michigan says:

    That analogy of learning to drive in a different location makes me understand dog training better.

    Nice pictures of your training session. It looks fun! You are lucky to have each other!

  5. Nicki says:

    i can’t wait to see your waltz! I think it will looks so elegant and if not I know it will bring smiles to all of us.

    Love the last picture!!

  6. BODIE says:

    Good to see you’re keeping on practising those dance moves Honey.

  7. Jed & Abby in MerryLand says:

    We’re just pretty much having to write off the month of June, mama is so ‘busy’ that we hardly get to read any blogs. We’re so excited about your new mystery series! We can’t wait to follow the adventures of Honey the great detective! We’re really looking forward to seeing your waltz, too. Mama also loves the Emperor Waltz.

    We’re wondering if your ‘allergy’ problems are spider bites. Mama had that problem when she was much younger, when her family lived in a cool, damp climate [Belgium, worst in Fall and Winter]. Took her mama a while to figure out what was going on because these were not big like most American spiders and they were hard to see. They hid during the day and came out from the baseboards at night and bit mama while she was sleeping and she’d wake up with big lumps all over her face.

    Jed & Abby

    • bighoneydog says:

      Gosh – what an awful story! Spiders biting in your sleep!! :-?
      Yeah – a lot of people have mentioned insect and in particular spider bites, now. And it was what the vet said from the very beginning…so maybe that is the answer to the mystery! It would also explain why there was no consistency to where we went – I guess it didn’t matter where we walked that day – since the spiders were probably biting her at home! Anyway, hopefully it won’t happen again anytime soon…

      ps. I can so relate to writing off the month! I feel like I’m constantly doing that! :P

  8. You both look great! Looks like a lot of fun. :)

    Yup, getting annoyed with the comment box.

    – Jasmine

  9. You waltz BEAUTIFULLY, Honey and Hsin-Yi! We love the pictures!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  10. Lassiter Chase & Benjamin says:

    Mommy knows that song! That’s one of the songs on her CD when (ON RARE OCCASION) she works out on the treadmill. However, Mommy doesn’t look graceful — she waves her arms in the air and pretends she’s conducting! I can’t wait to see how you two dance to the waltz, because all I have in my head is Mommy’s pathetic workout routine on the treadmill. The one good thing about that long song is — it keeps Mommy motivated to work out longer. She says to herself — I’ll just stop working out after this song — and then the songs is done like 10 minutes later.

  11. sara, oreo and chewy says:

    Im glad it stopped raining so you could get back outside. We’ve been stuck inside the past few days because it was too hot. Took the dogs for a walk in the woods this morning and we were attacked by vicious black flies :( Chewy thought me waving my arms around wildly, swatting them away, was the funniest thing ever.

    I really like Laura’s idea! Oreo has a hard time doing tricks at a distance. I never thought about giving him a do it on his mat or some other visual. I’ll have to try that!

  12. Jacquie says:


    I know a new software release can be frustrating….but usually the company is making some good enhancements! I work for a Saas product offering and we are on 4 week release cycles….one nice thing though is we usually release the updates in phases….so not all the customers are impacted at once, and usually the engineers can make changes to correct any “bugs” before the full release….but for the groups that go first it can be frustrating I’m sure.


    Keep on practicing that march from a distance, I am sure you will get it soon! I’m glad to hear the rain finally stopped so you could enjoy the outside time w/ Hsin-Yi.


    • bighoneydog says:

      Thanks, Jacquie – I had never thought of it that way before but you’re right. I’ll try to remember that! :P I think it’s just when everything is working smoothly, you get impatient with changes that muck things up! Good to have some ‘techie friends’ like you!


  13. Sarah S says:

    Great blog:) made me think about a lot of valid points that I had never even thought of. Excellent :)

  14. Garth Riley says:

    Dancing looks like so much fun! Mom and I are thinking about signing up for a freestyle class starting in July!

    your pal,

  15. Kari says:

    you guys are awesome dancers

    Stop on by for a visit

  16. Marley says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Honey! We love having new international friends! Lady and I drooled when we saw the steamed buns, especially the flower buns. We haven’t found decent Chinese food here, not like food in Yunnan and Sichuan. The momos (jiaozi) are okay. You are ONE BIG DOGGY! We love your waltzing! We’ll come back and visit more!

  17. Roo says:

    So glad the rain let up and you were able to dance in the sun! :D Yay!

    Waggin at ya,

    PeeS: Are you using the free wordpress or is this happening to you on the hosted version? Rather curios as have been contemplating using the hosted version on another site. If you get a chance, holler your response at me k? :)

  18. parlance says:

    I love seeing photos and videos of you two dancing together. It inspires me to get off my seat and do fun things with Penny.

  19. Jennifer says:

    Beautiful dance practice pictures!

    (I’ve never posted but have been a long time reader. I just wanted to thank you for making Honeys Blog “mobile friendly”. Most of my blog reading is from my phone and not having to squeeze and pinch to fit and then having to scroll back and forth to read is sooooo nice! Thanks so much!)

    • bighoneydog says:

      Hi Jennifer – thanks for your lovely comment and I’m so pleased you have come out of lurking to say hello!

      Oh – and I have to confess – I didn’t really know about the “mobile-friendly” bit…that must have been an automatic change that came with the recent upgrades! Oh well, I guess these upgrades are good for something then! :-)


  20. echo says:

    Hi Honey,

    I’m glad the weather is better in Australia, I hate rain too, you know !
    Here it’s getting very hot on days and some evenings or nights, bit summer thunderstorm, witch I hate more !!

    We get our big walk on the mountain now or late on the evening, cause it’s too hot for us with our big fur.

    Your pictures are wondefull, I try to keep up with training but Maïté is working with Link a lot this days (he getting over protecting on leach and isn’t friendly to other doggies anymore, even girls O_o ) so we’re just practicing basics right now.

    A bientôt !

    Bisous baveux.


  21. Oh Hsin-Yi, you are so good and Honey is so clever! This is very successful!You are my training guru- imagine training a cat to do what you want her to do!!! Amazing!

    I am trying to emulate you with our new ‘little’ Mantle Great Dane puppy, Daisy, ( I even started a website for her at http://www.daisythegreatdane.com ) We’ve been training her since we brought her home at 8 weeks and I keep referring to your videos of you training Honey.
    Thanks for your great inspiration!
    Cathy and Daisy

    • bighoneydog says:

      Hi Cathy & Daisy – thank you so much for your nice words! We are blushing!! :-)

      Yes, I will certainly come over to check out your blog as soon as we have a moment free…looking forward!

      Honey the Great Dane

  22. I think I am going to like the new dance. I hope you eventually get the “Marching Paws”. Do you think renaming it might make it less confusing? Make it a different command?

  23. I noticed that about the comment box, but I usually type out my comments in a notepad and copy/paste it to the comment box, so it’s no big deal.

    You guys look like you have so much fun dancing. :D I was thinking for the marching paws at a distance you could try using targeting. You can use a place mat and teach her to march on it with you close to her and then slowly increase the distance. That way she has a spot to focus on so you don’t have to keep telling her to stay or back up. If she gets off the mat just tell her to target again and keep trying. In theory (in my head) that should work lol. :D

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