Relaxing with Rover: Yoga for Dogs

Are you feeling a little guilty about not spending enough time with Fido but desperately want to go to your yoga class? Well, why not combine the two, and complete a yoga class with your dog.

Yoga for dogs or commonly known as doga was a class that was originally developed by Susan Teitelman for Crunch Fitness. She began this practice because she noticed the natural curiosity that her dog displayed when she completed a yoga routine in front of her dog. According to Teitelman, it appeared that her dog wanted to participate so she developed a program which could incorporate both the human and canine needs.

Since the launch of Doga in New York, similar classes have popped up across North America, Japan and the United Kingdom. In addition, Teitelman has now developed a DVD so that if there aren’t in classes in your area, you can practice doga at home.

The Value of Pet Therapy

Pet therapists recognize the significant positive results that occur from simply connecting a person with an animal. Animals have been used to aid people with overcoming loneliness, depression, cancer and abuse. Developing a connection with animals helps us to relax, increase our positive moods, decreases blood pressure and can actually help alleviate pain.

By participating in yoga with your dog, you will obtain the benefits of yoga paired with the benefits of connecting with your pet. According to participants in doga, by the end of the session even the most active canines and owners will feel more relaxed.

Benefits for the dog

  • Calming effect
  • Strengthens bond with owner
  • Reduces anxiety (helps with separation anxiety)
  • Increased flexibility
  • Aids digestion
  • Increases circulation
  • Helps with socialization

I have a beautiful German shepherd, however; he suffers from an undiagnosed form of ADD when there are other canines around. So I wonder how do these classes incorporate active pets such as my puppy? According to what I’ve read, dogs such as my Max, would be the perfect candidate for these classes. All doga classes begin with a relaxation session, which helps strengthen the bond between the canine and their human partner.

Similar to other partner yoga classes: part of the principle behind a doga class is to build a strong connection between partners. The focus of the class is not on the movement itself but on connecting and communicating with your pet. The positive attention that the dog receives from their owner helps relax and focus even the most active participants.

How does it work?

The initial relaxation session helps strengthen the bond between the dog and their owner. The class’s main focus is on working through the movements of the postures together. The human participant aids their dog through each posture, gently moving their dog’s bodies through the stretches. This helps increase both the dog’s and their owner’s flexibility as you are jointly stretching together.

In addition, a large portion of the class focuses on pressure points and massage helping the dog to relax, connect with their owner, and aids with their digestion. It is all about paying attention to your dog and their needs, which quite honestly, is often all we both want: a bit of love, relaxation and attention.

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