Barking Blondes: That Dog Can Dance, Paul O’Grady and wet pooches in cars

Joanne Good and Anna Webb

barking2 300x225 Barking Blondes: That Dog Can Dance, Paul OGrady and wet pooches in carsWhoever would have thought that in the fight for top TV Christmas ratings, two dog-themed programmes would have been placed so prominently in the schedule?

That Dog Can Dance and Paul O’Grady’s Christmas at Battersea Dogs Home showed how mainstream owning a dog has become. To transmit a programme about rescuing dogs on prime time Christmas Day television would have been a risk had it not been for O’Grady. This was the culmination of his already successful series and was a real emotional roller coaster, leaving you as was intended, wanting to reach out and help animals.

The bonus of having O’Grady at the helm was that with his sharp wit and good humour it never for one moment felt “worthy”.

We wonder how many will actually act on this goodwill once we sink into the January blues? Strictly fever as well as Ashleigh and Pudsey’s landslide victory on this year’s Britain’s Got Talent, inevitably led to a show about doggy dancing. This doggy sport has been around for years thanks to the likes of Mary Ray who started a doggy disco at the Crufts finals.

However, That Dog Can Dance took on the format of the now familiar reality talent show with a Simon Cowell-inspired panel and for anyone who decided to sit through it, it really delivered the wow factor. Lucy Heath’s routine with Inde was an amazing achievement. Did either of these programmes  manage to attract non-dog lovers? Well, apparently East Enders won over the dancing dogs but given that we are a nation of animal lovers with 27 per cent of families owning a dog, we think it was a risk worth taking.


There were some very amusing sights over the rather wet holidays on how to deal with getting a wet dog into the back of the car. In Sussex, deep within St Leonard’s Forest, we followed a very wet and muddy springer spaniel and its owner back to the car park. Along with other drenched owners, we stood with the boot open whilst deliberating on whether it was best to dry the dog or risk the upholstery. The answer was in front of us.

We watched with admiration as the spaniel’s owner took out, what looked like a toweling draw string bag. She then placed the obliging dog into it, leaving his neck free and placed him on the back seat. Then drove off with him looking out the window, seated in a bag. Brilliant.

As they drove off we turned our attention to a middle aged couple, dealing with a caked in mud golden Labrador. Whilst the dog stood on a towel on the ground, the wife brought out a washing up bowl from the boot. The husband filled it with warm water from a flask and they then proceeded to scrub their dog from head to paws. Having wrapped him in a towel, each car mat was then removed, vacuumed with a hand held appliance, replaced and then dog, still in towel, placed on back seat.

So it’s a big cheer for The Spaniards inn in Hampstead. Being directly opposite the Heath, they have in their car park the only automated dogwash in Europe. It works along the same lines as a car wash. The dog is shampooed, conditioned and blow dried all for a small fee.

Not only do we recommend giving Fido a try we also suggest you give it a go yourself. Boxing Day saw both of us, along with our dogs, emerging, coiffed like two Farrah Fawcett Majors, prior to a pub lunch.


‘Barking at the Moon’ is on every Thursday from 3pm on BBC London 94.9fm

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  • marcbletchley

    morning jo and anna
    ahh i can only comment on wet dog syndrome i once looked after a springer who had great delight in running in the muddy area of a pond it took me 2 hours to shower her or was that me!!
    ive never seen so much dirt come out of one dog however i was warned by the owners dont take her too near the pond during the walk as shes likely to dive in!!
    great reading as usual
    woof woof from bletchley towers

  • MrReasons2BCheerful

    Good morning, Jo, Anna, Molly and Matilda. Huge Christmas and fetive woofs to you all. Yes, I did watch the thoroughly enjoyable Paul O’Grady programme, but as you well know, I’m not a fan of anything that an owner does that might make their dog look silly, so, “that dog can dance”, was, like Downton Abbey, a complete turn-off for me. Sadly anything where an animal is made to perform purely for entertainment is just… Sad!
    I also would draw caution to anything with a draw string – I don’t wish to be the harbinger of doom, but dogs have a tendency to fidget and could very easily land up strangling themselves. Bruno is quite happy to sit damp and smelly in the back of the car after a long walk, I didn’t opt for the upholstery “option” when I bought my car – something that magically protects the upholstery… When I come to replace it, I will be ticking the “leather” option!!!
    On the other hand a “wash ‘n go” service might be a brilliant solution – I wonder if they might throw in some hand stripping as well! Woof woof to you all and happy new year xxx

  • madgooner1

    Paul O’Grady’s programme must have helped Battersea dogs home enormously

  • hectorsmum

    Would have loved to have watched either programme but the dog wouldn’t like it.

  • hectorsmum

    Tend to agree, Hektor uses a box, one of those Aircraft type boxes. We have a very small car and he sits right behind us and has his own airbag.

  • Sharon Webley

    Enjoyed Paul’s show at Battersea but I was upset by the lady who took her 12 year old dog there and said she couldn’t exercise it any more. What rubbish.

    Also enjoyed the dancing dogs show. Thought the winners were excellent but the contestants were certainly not the best in the country! There are far better teams out there.

    With regards to wet dogs in the car. I have seen those drawstring bags but I can’t imagine my dogs being very impressed with them. I’m afraid I put up with having a dirty smelly car when the weather is wet. The doggy aroma has been commented on by non-doggy friends when I’ve given them a lift, but they can always walk if they don’t like it! I do put my dogs in Equafleece jumpers when we get home if they’re very wet and muddy. They take the wet out of the dog’s coat and stop them shaking it all up the walls and furniture.

    Good luck and best wishes for 2013 Jo and Anna. See you at Crufts. Only 67 days to go! Not that I’m counting.

  • Ziggydog

    I think it’s morally mandatory to rescue a dog these days as there too many doggies abandoned and need a good home. Paul O Grady has hopefully inspired people to adopt , and I loved For the Love of Dogs. But I also loved That Dog Can Dance – just shows what great fun dogs and their humans can have together – that’s the pawfect relationship!

  • 5brian5

    Happy New Year Jo, Anna, Matilda & Molly! Paul O’Grady’s Christmas programme would have been a welcome sight on American “freeview” TV over the Christmas period. Thank heaven for radio & the BBC. If it doesn’t sell maybelline or loreal, we don’t see it, except possibly on Public Television. I’m glad to know that people like Paul care so much for our furry family members. As far as wet or muddy dogs and cats are concerned, A car is an appliance like a crock pot. If I’m afraid it might become dirty, I’m being silly (in my opinion)! Babies soil themselves, and young children have accidents and mishaps, and we don’t freak out. As I get older (yuck!) I find myself less concerned about the small stuff or material possessions. My cat, Tula, drinks out of the kitchen water spigot. Although that would upset many people, she’s not doing anything I didn’t do as a child. If it makes her happy, so be it. She and I are on the same wavelength, and I think she’s perfect! She’s a young cat, just like I used to be a young child. I’m more concerned about ice melting salt on my shoes or boots. Salt will eat the floor in a car. I would like to wish everyone in London and the U.K. a very Happy and Healthy New Year! I sincerely hope 2013 will be much better for all of us! Thank-you for this wonderful blog the four of you have provided to us all, throughout 2012. Take care of each other, and again, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Brian (Detroit) XXXX

  • Sarah

    For those who aren’t familiar with Freestyle (doggy dancing) competitions it would be easy to assume that Lucy Heath’s routine was, as you describe it ‘an amazing achievement’. This lady is obviously a very talented trainer but there was nothing unique or original in her routine – it was merely a compilation of tricks and moves that other trainers have invented over the years. How quickly the public forgets what has come before – the cute as a button move where the dog ‘hugged’ her leg was performed originally by Chandi (as in Tina and Chandi) on Britain’s Got Talent – along with the back to back move which they also invented. Where the dog stood and leaned into Lucy and lifted two legs on the same side was first performed by Richard Curtis…. do you get my point?!The final pose – the dog balancing on it’s front feet – hasn’t that move been banned by the Kennel Club in competition (and made famous by another handler)?
    If copying other people’s ideas and hard work is what constitutes an ‘amazing achievement’ then God help us all.

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