How To Start Practicing Yoga With Your Dog

November 07, 2022

The practice of doga, or yoga with dogs, has become an incredibly popular method of exercise for dog owners who prioritize their health and want to bond with their canines. Yoga is extremely beneficial for human beings as it improves mental health and boosts physical fitness. Regularly doing yoga can help reduce inflammation, soothe arthritis, and improve physical strength.

While normal yoga is great, dog yoga further enhances the effectiveness of yoga, especially in a mental and emotional sense. People thus often wonder, “How do I get my dog to do yoga with me?”

We’ve covered how to train your dog to do yoga and everything else you should know about dog yoga below!

Yoga With Dogs: What Does Dog Yoga Do?

Dog yoga positions are often traditional yoga positions, but with a dog’s involvement. The hybrid nature of dog yoga does a lot to deepen the experience physically and mentally. 

The creator of dog yoga, Suzi Teitelman, says, “The person takes the dog deeper into a stretch, and the dog takes the person deeper.” This suggests deeper and more enhanced effects than traditional yoga. 

Elaborating, she says that having a dog on your arm in a standing posture can improve strength and balance.

Additionally, it also makes you more mindful of your poses as you connect with your dog and create a peaceful and calming atmosphere.

Dog yoga is great as you get to enjoy the benefits of traditional yoga while bonding with your dog and making them feel included.

If you’re doing dog yoga at home, it allows you to feel more grounded and better connected with your dog. It also helps to drive home the concept of unity and togetherness with fellow beings, which yoga promotes as a philosophy of life.

Aside from this internal connection, dog yoga is also great for building social connections at yoga classes. Having a pet along with you can help you immediately feel comfortable and confident in a new environment, especially if you’ve just joined a yoga class. It’s also a great way to break the ice and get a conversation started as people tend to bond over their pets easily. Simply asking, “How do you do yoga with your dog?” initiates an engaging discussion with a new acquaintance.

Whether you’re doing yoga at home with your dog, or in a doga class, it’s a great exercise for the mind, body, and soul.

Can Dogs Really Do Yoga? Why Do Dogs Do Yoga Poses?

Though there are poses named after dogs, namely the upward-facing dog and the downward-facing dog, dogs cannot actually do yoga — at least, not the way humans do.

Though your dog may be able to do certain stretches or join you in certain poses to make them more fun, they cannot follow certain aspects that are fundamental to yoga. This includes breathing and holding poses for specific counts among others.

Interestingly, despite the fact that dogs cannot actually do yoga the way it was intended, their natural movements have been a source of inspiration to yogis.

There’s a reason upward and downward dog poses are named after dogs. Dogs tend to do these “poses” or stretches fairly often, especially after a nap. Stretching helps to warm up the muscles and improve blood circulation, giving the dogs a boost before they get back to doing doggy things after a period of rest.

How To Train Your Dog To Do Yoga With You

“How do I get my dog to do yoga with me?” is a fairly common question among those who want to share their yoga experience with their dogs but don’t know where to begin.

Well, training your dog to do yoga doesn’t mean that you have to become their yoga instructor. It’s only a matter of involving them in your yoga exercises in some way and encouraging them to join you in your yoga poses.

The key to training your dog to do yoga and for you to enjoy the benefits of dog yoga is to have fun and take things easy. You don’t have to do complex yoga poses that you’d do in a traditional yoga session.

Instead, focus on holding simpler poses for longer with your dog included as a weight or focus point. For example, you could hold a plank pose with your dog on your back or do forward folds and pet your dog when you bend down.

There’s no limit to how you can involve your dog in your yoga practices as long as you’re both having fun.

If your dog feels included and encouraged to do yoga with you in their own capacity, they will automatically be trained to join you on the mat when you start your workout.

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Does Yoga Help Senior Dogs?

Yoga can help the mobility of senior dogs and adult dogs who have stopped growing. When do dogs stop growing? The answer depends on different factors that affect its growth. However, a common sign of old age in dogs is the onset of health concerns such as arthritis or joint pain and a lack of mobility.

Similar to human beings, yoga stretches can be helpful in reducing the discomfort caused by arthritis while improving the mobility of senior dogs.

Some helpful yoga exercises that are helpful for ailing or aging dogs include:

  • Bicycle stretches – gently moving the hind legs of the dog in a bicycle motion
  • Shoulder extensions
  • Sitting and standing
  • Hip flexions
  • Play bow

Simple dog yoga exercises can help with:

  • Improving blood circulation
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Soothing hyperactivity or anxiety
  • Relaxation and stress relief
  • Impulse control development
  • Reducing inflammation and arthritis 

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Why Does My Dog Freak Out When I Do Yoga?

If you regularly do yoga around your dog, you may have noticed your dog’s behavior changes a little when you get on your mat. This could be because your dog assumes that since you’re donning your workout clothes, you’re going to take them out for a walk. It could also be due to the fact that dogs aren’t familiar with most yoga poses and may be curious about your unusual stance.

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Though there aren’t any scientifically proven benefits to doing yoga with dogs, it’s still worth the effort. If you haven’t involved your dog in yoga sessions yet, it’s time to give it a try. Many owners find it to be an engaging and fun experience. Now that you know what it takes to get started, you’re all set to be a dogi!