April is Active Dog Month
The month of April is Active Dog Month. This month-long…
You’ve heard of yoga — but have you heard of doga? The concept is simple: you do yoga, but you do it with your dog.
Here are a few of the benefits of doga (which rhymes with “yoga”), plus how you can get started practicing with your pup.
What Are The Benefits of Doga?
Yoga is great exercise, and doga is, too. The best part? Both you and your dog can reap the benefits. For humans, yoga can help improve your muscle tone and flexibility; protect you from injury; boost your respiratory and heart health; maintain your metabolism; reduce your weight, and calm your mind.
For canines, yoga can do some of the same things — build muscle, keep blood circulating correctly, and improve range of motion, preventing potential injury down the road.
Doga provides some wonderful bonding time for you and your pet. Doga works as a training session, too, as you help your dog stretch, fostering more trust between both of you. And if you take group doga classes, that’s an opportunity for even more training to get your dog comfortable around other humans and pets.
Doga can also help both you and your dog relax and have fun! Yoga is a naturally calming activity, and doing it with your dog will probably produce lots of laughter. Since laughter can reduce stress and strengthen your immune system, this is good news for your physical health as well as your emotional and mental health.
Is My Dog Right For Doga?
Sure! Most dogs will enjoy and benefit from doga. There are only a few reasons you may want to skip this activity: if your dog is very young or very old; if your dog has long-term health issues or a temporary injury; or if your dog is anti-social and does not enjoy being around strangers (in which case, however, you could still do doga at home).
Before you get started with doga, it’s a good idea to run your plan by your dog’s vet and make sure your pet is ready to take on the challenge. And if you’re going to take a group class, you’ll also want to check and make sure the class doesn’t have any limitations as far as dog size or breed. (Doga with a Great Dane might not be as easy or enjoyable as doga with a beagle!)
Where Can I Take A Doga Class?
Doga classes are offered in several cities at gyms, yoga studios, Humane Societies, and possibly park and rec departments as well. Do a Google search to find a class near you. A group class is a great way to receive professional instruction while meeting other pet owners and letting your dog make some friends.
Start getting your dog used to the concept of yoga at home before the class. Introduce the yoga mat and make it seem like a fun place by using toys and treats. When you do get to the class, move at your dog’s pace and help them feel comfortable with this new experience.
Can I Do Doga At Home?
Yes — you can certainly do doga at home as long as you make sure to perform the exercises and stretches correctly. Consider purchasing a book or DVD with instructions, or simply look up a free YouTube video with some ideas.
You can include your dog in your yoga practice in several ways.
If you have a small dog, lift them in your arms during Warrior I. Bigger dogs could stretch next to you; if they decide to flop down and take a nap on your mat, you can pet them as you bend over in a forward fold.
And don’t forget to end your practice with Savasana — or, in dog language, belly rubs!
Your dog now has a regular doga practice, but does he or she have pet insurance?
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