How to Train Your Dog to Do Yoga with You

Easy
2-7 Days
Fun

Introduction

Looking for an indoor activity that you can enjoy with your canine best friend? Then why not try dog yoga? Doga, as it is also known, is a type of partner yoga that people do with their four-legged companions. Though you’ll be doing most of the poses, there are some that your pooch can get involved in. The best part is that doga can be modified to suit pups of all sizes and ages, including large and elderly dogs. Doga is not only good for getting some exercise with your pooch, but it’s also a furrific way to spend quality time together! 

Defining Tasks

The ultimate goal of doga is to bond and de-stress with your pup. If you have a skittish canine, then doga may help them become calmer and happier. Our dogs are affected by our energy, so when you relax by doing breathing exercises and poses, your furry pal will feed off that. 


There are two forms of doga. The first is a yoga class where four-legged students get to tag along but don’t have to do any moves—they’re simply free to mill around, play with other dogs, and enjoy the calm ambiance. This provides a puptastic socialization opportunity that helps your dog become acclimated to other people and canines. 


There’s more handling involved in the second style of doga, as you’ll be helping your pooch into different poses, using them to support your own, and/or giving them pats and rubs in between movements.  


All this physical contact may teach your dog to become more tolerant of being touched, which is especially helpful when it comes to grooming and vet visits. Handling your pup also gives you an opportunity to discover any hot spots, lumps, or other possible health issues. And what dog doesn’t appreciate getting extra attention from their favorite human?

Getting Started

Whether you and Fido attend a doga class in a studio or practice at home, there are a couple of things that you will need before you can launch into the poses. First, a yoga mat is a must; just one will do as you and your pooch will be sharing it.


Though dogs are allowed to wander around in a doga class, you might want to have some treats on hand in case your pup can’t sit still and keeps trying to sniff the other yogis. It would also help if they know how to “come,” “sit,” and “stay”—you can use these cues to ask your furry partner to get into position when needed. 


On the other hand, you should never force your dog into doing anything. Let them leave whenever they want, and don’t scold or yell at them if they make a mistake. Remember, doga is supposed to be fun and relaxing, and it’s called a practice for a reason. Don’t expect your pup to get everything right on the first try; instead, focus on giving them your undivided attention.


If you’re practicing at home, be sure to do so in a quiet space that’s free of distractions. You can even put on some gentle background music. Here are some simple poses that you and your furry friend can try in the comfort of your own home!

The Standing Forward Bend Method

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Stand with your feet together and your dog sitting or lying down in front of you.
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Bring your hands to your hips and inhale deeply.
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As you exhale, hinge from your hips and fold your torso over your legs while keeping your spine long.
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Extend your hands to your dog and give them a gentle rub.
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Bring your hands back to your hips. Inhale and return to an upright position while maintaining the length of your spine.
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Repeat a few times.
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The Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend Method

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Stand with your legs wide apart and your dog sitting or lying down in front of you.
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Rest your hands on your hips and make sure your inner feet are parallel to each other.
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Breathe in and lift your chest.
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Breathe out and hinge from your hips. Maintain the length of your spine as you fold forward.
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Reach your hands toward your dog.
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Keeping your right hand on your pup, inhale and sweep your left hand out to the side as far as is comfortable to you.
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Exhale and bring your left hand down.
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Switch hands, repeating a few times with each hand.
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To come out of the pose, bring your hands back to your hips on an inhale, then return to standing with a straight spine on an exhale.
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The Easy Pose Method

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Sit cross-legged on the floor with your back straight.
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You can stack your hands in your lap with palms facing up or place them on your knees with palms facing down.
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Breathe slowly, focusing on long inhales and exhales.
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Let your dog come to you. They may try to sit on your lap or lie on the floor next to you.
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If possible, place one hand on your heart and the other hand on your dog’s heart in Heart-to-Hound Mudra. Continue to breathe slowly.
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Written by Aurus Sy

Published: 05/26/2021, edited: 05/26/2021

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