First and foremost… if you’re wondering how you’re going to get your dog to hold any pose besides Downward Facing Dog, you can relax. Puppy Yoga isn’t about postures or physical exercise. Instead, Puppy Yoga focuses on relaxation and mindfulness in your dog. Dogs, especially high-energy breeds, don't just sit down and relax. They need help learning how to ignore distractions.
Puppy Yoga is an excellent training tool, and once you begin practicing it with your dog, you’ll find that it actually comes in handy in multiple situations. Let’s talk about how you can apply what your dog has learned in Puppy Yoga to… just about anything in your everyday life with your dog!
What Is Puppy Yoga?
To put it in really simple terms, Puppy Yoga is about teaching your dog to control their impulses and do nothing. It’s similar to placing your dog in a long “down” command but with the goal of your dog being able to relax and disengage instead of waiting for the next command.
Puppy Yoga builds on itself, and you will want to slowly work your dog through the 5 levels. Your dog will work on the relaxed position, duration, disengagement, distance (as in you distancing yourself), and distractions.
Before moving on to the next stage, your dog should have a firm grasp of the prior level. There’s no need to rush. If your dog is having trouble moving to the next stage, just step it back for a little longer. Every dog is different, and working at their own pace will get better results than trying to rush your dog along.
How You Can Apply Puppy Yoga to Your Everyday Life
Once your dog has mastered Puppy Yoga, you’ll find that you use it all the time in your daily life. Just like meditation and relaxation breathing is helpful to us in handling tense situations in our daily lives, Puppy Yoga gives your dog a tool to maintain a relaxed state of mind. Living a dog friendly lifestyle means being aware of how many situations that are normal for us, might be things that make our dogs anxious or excited. These are just a few of the scenarios where Puppy Yoga comes in handy.
Meeting New People- If your dog has never met a stranger, you may have had trouble with them jumping on people. Puppy Yoga teaches your dog to control their impulses so your dog will stay settled instead of jumping up every time a guest walks in the door.
Unclinging a Clingy Dog- If you feel like you can never get a minute alone because your dog is always watching and waiting for your next move, Puppy Yoga can help. The disengagement stage teaches your dog that they don’t need to react to every movement and that they don’t constantly need to be on high alert. This can prevent injuries to you and your dog due to them materializing directly behind you.
Anxiety- Dogs can suffer from anxiety for a number of reasons, separation anxiety being one of the most common. Puppy Yoga helps train your dog to not feel the need to be reactive to every noise outside; they can disengage and stay relaxed. Puppy Yoga is also a pretty intense exercise for your dog’s brain. The mental stimulation they get from your practice sessions will also help address nervous and anxious behaviors that may actually stem from inactivity.
Trips to The Vet- A trip to the vet can be a nightmare if your dog is distracted by every smell and sound. Puppy Yoga can make a trip for a check-up much less stressful. If your dog has made it through every stage, they will be able to ignore the distractions in the waiting room and stay in a relaxed state.
Meeting New Dogs- A visit from a new potential furry friend can go much more smoothly if your dog can start the visit in a state of Zen. If your dog is relaxed, their visitor is also more likely to be relaxed, and they can meet each other in a calm frame of mind instead of in a frenzy of excitement. Socialization is important for a mentally healthy dog, and Puppy Yoga is a great way to help facilitate a successful puppy playdate.
Visiting New Places- New places are full of fun new smells. Unfortunately, excitedly sniffing all over the hotel room or your in-law's house isn’t good etiquette. Puppy Yoga can prevent the frenzy of sniffing and allow your dog to relax and settle in comfortably. After they’ve settled, exploring the room and having a calm sniff around is much more appropriate.
During a Gathering- If you love to entertain and your dog loves to get in the way, the skills taught in Puppy Yoga will be helpful. They will help keep your dog relaxed around all the smells and noise and keep them from trying to find the sucker in the friend group who sneaks them snacks. You can help your dog even more by making sure they have a calm place to retreat to in the event things start to get overwhelming for them.
At The Dog Park- You’ve been working with your dog, and you know they can be trusted. Unfortunately, you don’t know that about every other dog at the dog park. Most trips will be uneventful, but we all know that some people don’t adhere to the rules. If a dog who has not been properly socialized or trained comes into the space and chaos ensues, your dog can stay calm and undistracted so you can remove them from the fracas quickly.
At Dog Friendly Living, we wholeheartedly believe that practicing yoga with your dog is an essential part of their training and development. That’s why we created Zen AF: Puppy Yoga! Sign up today to get access to all 5 levels. We guarantee that, if followed correctly, your dog will leave their Puppy Yoga course with a new level of relaxation. Plus, it’ll be a wonderful bonding experience for the two of you along the way.
Questions about Puppy Yoga? Leave a comment below!