Yoga is not only good for humans, it is very beneficial for our four-legged friends as well. In dog world, we call this Doga, or Dog Yoga. When just starting out, some dogs perform like natural athletes and some need a little guidance. Either way – we have some tips to get your dog from beginner to pro in no time! First things first…
Teach your dog to roll out a yoga mat..
- Place numerous treats in a row across a flat yoga mat.
- Roll up the yoga mat while the treats stay in place.
- Your dog will get the first treat since it will be in the crease; causing the yoga mat to unroll slightly; eventually rolling out the entire mat.
- Once your dog gets the hang of it, decrease the number of treats. If your dog does not succeed with less treats – go back to step three.
- You will get to the point where only one treat is needed at the very end of the rolled up yoga mat.
Perform the Sun Salute
- Start in a seated position.
- Carefully lift your dog’s hind legs towards the ceiling.
- While you’re holding his thighs, massage the upper thighs with your hands.
- While in this position, try to get your dog to stretch his torso.
Sun salutations help stretch your dog’s muscles and get his body moving. This pose can help stretch the abs and the hips while strengthening the joints of the front legs.
- Bend from the waist until you are folded in half, with a flat back.
- Relax your hands and head.
- Pick your dog up carefully but not completely off the ground.
- The weight of your dog will help increase your stretch.
- As you hold your dog, he will get a stretch in his limbs.
Perform the Chair
- Get your dog to sit back on his hind legs.
- Hold your dog around the middle of his back.
- Help your dog raise his front paws.
- Gently massage your dog’s shoulders as you lift his legs to give him a good stretch through his back.
This pose stretches yours dog’s ab muscles and front legs. It also strengthens the joints in the back legs.
End with a Savasana
- Lie on your back with your dog on your chest.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
- Pet or massage your dog as you relax into the pose.
* The goal of this pose is to have your dog eventually snuggle against you as he settles down.
Benefits of ‘Doga’
Doing yoga with your dog can reduce your dog’s stress level. Dog’s respond to your energy. If you are feeling stressed, your dog can feel it. Since yoga helps relax your mind and body, bringing your dog along will help relax you both. Some believe that it can help with hyperactive dogs*.
Practicing yoga with your dog can strengthen and deepen the natural bond between you two. There is a certain connection that is had while the two of you are practicing together. Another benefit of yoga is the ability to focus. Focusing is a very important aspect of yoga. Your dog will need to maintain a certain level of focus in order to perform some poses. This is also very helpful off the mat; while trying to teach your pup new tricks or simply teaching your pup the importance of respect. One of the most important advantages of yoga is stretching. Just as for humans, stretching is very rewarding for your pup. It helps improve flexibility and the range of motion in their joints, and in yours!
We hope you enjoy this fun activity with your pup. Let us know how it turns out for you and send us pictures! We’d love to post them on our social media pages.