The Rumbark | Dogs Trust

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The Rumbark

Rumba - Dancing with Dogs

How to teach your dog the Rumbark!

In this dance your dog simply sits and stays still while you dance around them. Although this sounds simple, some dogs actually find this harder than we might think. They might be excited, or even a little worried to begin with, by you dancing or moving away from them and it takes confidence, control and skill to sit still and watch you without joining you. You don’t need to go very far from them at first, build up to the whole movement gradually so your dog will always be successful. You’ll need to make sure your dog is always rewarded for sitting and staying still, no matter what you’re doing around them, so they’ll learn that this is what they need to do to get their reward. The more you practice, the smoother the whole movement will become, because your dog will learn exactly what to do through repetition and being rewarded for getting it right! Have a read of our Steps to Success page for more dance training tips and to catch up with other dances.

  • Ask your dog to sit and reward them right away with a treat.

  • Start by just leaning away from your dog and reward them for sitting still, with a treat.

  • Once they’re comfortably sitting still when you lean away from them, you can progress to taking just one side step away. Don’t wait there for too long, just step away then step right back and give them their reward. Repeat this until they seem very comfortable just waiting for you to return and reward them.

  • Now ask them to sit and stay then take two steps away from them before returning and rewarding them straight away. Repeat this several times but start to move in different directions away from them. If they’re doing well you could also start to dance a little, so they become used to you moving differently. Still always reward them for sitting still and keeping time away from them very brief at first, especially if you’re changing the way you’re moving too.

  • Gradually build up to being able to move all the way around them while they sit still and wait for you to return to give them their well-deserved treat. You might find that holding your hand out towards them, with the treat in it, as you move away and around them helps to encourage them to stay where they are until you return and reward them.

  • Once they’re comfortable sitting still and will wait for you to return you can start to dance away from them and back. If they’re doing really well, you might even be able to dance all the way around them… but build up gradually to that!

Remember it’s helpful to practice WITHOUT your dog first until you’re confident in the movement yourself!

Don’t forget to film yourselves and share on social media! Tag @DogsTrust and use #DancingWithDogs so we can see your gorgeous dogs, your awesome moves and just how well you’re doing! It’s always a 10 from us!