Tap to Read ➤

Doga: Practicing Yoga with Your Dog

Madhushree Kelkar
Doga or dog yoga is an innovative concept that benefits both the dog and its owner. It helps to incorporate your dog in the various yoga techniques. Not only does Doga help in practising yoga with your dog, but it also has several mental and physical advantages.

How It All Began!

In 2002, dog yoga was started by Suzi Teitelman, an American yogini, when she saw that her dog took keen interest in her yoga sessions at home.
Doga is the new fitness mantra that is fast gaining popularity with every passing day. It has been a unique concept designed to offer the benefits of yoga to both the dog and its owner.
It helps to undertake regular stretches, poses, massage, and chanting of yoga along with your dog by your side. It also includes gentle stretching, eye gazing, and meditation. Some classes also offer the facility of acupressure along with massage for the dogs.
Some poses for dogs include the downward-facing pose and the Savasana pose. In the latter, they lie on their backs and someone rubs their belly. The other one is the chaturanga pose in which the dogs lie on their stomachs and their back is stroked.
Yet another is the chair pose where the dogs sit on their hind legs with their paws in the air with the support from their owners. Some other poses which you can do along with your dog include the balancing stick pose, fixed firm pose, awkward pose, half moon pose, etc.

What Doga Offers

The owners may utilize the dogs as weights or props during the stretches. While you can take a dog of any age for Doga, many prefer to start with younger dogs as they are relatively easier to train. You can also start with a standard yoga video and practice at home until your dog is comfortable.
While you are doing yoga, rub his belly, or gently tap him on his head in order to make it stay close to you.
Once your dog gets used to this, you can join Doga classes. While there are several benefits of Dog yoga, many question its viability.

Benefits for Dogs

The proponents of Doga vouch for its several benefits. Here is a list of benefits for the dog as well as its owner.

Enhanced Flexibility

As our canine friends grow older, their joints become rigid. In Doga, the owner massages the joints and conducts stretching exercises for the dog, which help in maintaining its flexibility and keeping it active.

Treating Behavioral Issues

Conducting Doga with many other people and their dogs helps your dog in socializing. Apart from this, it helps to calm and relax dogs with behavioral problems, like anger, aggression, etc.

Helps in Digestion

Various massages and yoga poses help the dogs to regularize their food digestion and eliminate the problems associated with it.

Stress Buster

Like humans, yoga helps to soothe their minds; hence, it acts like an excellent stress buster for your canine friends. It helps them to relax and unwind. Also, it is said that dogs pick up your behavior and scent when you are calm, and this helps them to relax as well.

Helps in Treating Injuries

During Doga, the dog is laid on the mattress and all the joints are gently massaged. This helps in treating the stiffness of joints in dogs, which often increases as their age progresses. It also helps in treating a dog who has joint or bone injuries.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Regular exercise helps in lowering and maintaining the dog's blood pressure levels. As their breathing also enhances along with their heart function, Doga helps in keeping your furry pets healthy.

Aids in Tackling Obesity Issues in Dogs

Obesity in dogs causes the same health problems, like humans. Undertaking less stressful exercise activities in Doga ensures that they do not put on weight. Overweight dogs can also benefit largely from Doga.

Benefits for Owners

Strengthening the Bond

Dogs like to keep their owner's company no matter where they go, and they enjoy every bit of attention. Doga helps the owner and the dog to spend quality time with each other. This facilitates the owners to understand their dogs better, and the canines learn to trust them.
As you share the same mat with your dog and participate in the Doga session together, a strong bond develops between both of you. Hence, it is beneficial for both of them.

Helps to Train Them

Doga is an excellent platform through which you can easily train your dog to follow your instructions. As you teach them new Doga poses, they learn to listen, understand, and follow you.

Prepares Dogs for Grooming

Dogs who are not used to human contact or touch can create a fuss during bathing, nail clipping, teeth brushing, tick removal, etc. Not only can they make you run behind them, but can also scratch and bite you. Doga teaches them to follow your instructions which helps you when you are grooming them.

Extra Weight

Dogs help in adding extra weight to your postures and in deepening your stretches. This helps you to work out in a better way.

Doga is Fun

Just like yoga is fun with a partner, your canine companion will add a lot of fun to your regular yoga routine. A cooperative Doga partner can help you to enjoy your Doga class thoroughly.


Apart from this, it gives the owner the regular benefits of the yoga, i.e., relaxation, stronger mind and body, flexibility, and reduced stress.

Some Tips Before You Start Doga

✓ Inquire with the instructor if you need a certificate for your dog's shots.
✓ Make a trip to the vet, and ensure that your dog is healthy to handle all the exercises.
✓ Be gentle when you handle your dog; you wouldn't want to harm it.
✓ Ensure that your dog does not pick up ticks from other dogs at the class.
✓ Also, if it is aggressive, you may consider teaching it at home.
✓ Before taking him to the class, have a general practice session at home.

The Flip Side to It

The opponents of Doga are skeptical about its advantages. Here are a few reasons why Doga may not be as good as it sounds.
✓ It may trivialize the 2,500-year-old practice of yoga.
✓ Many believe that dogs do not need yoga.
✓ There is no official certification for the instructors teaching Doga.
✓ The dogs may just sit in the corner and not do any postures at all.
✓ The dogs may only sit and eat treats.
✓ The dogs may run amok or bark and disturb others.
✓ The approximate cost of Doga classes is somewhere between $15 to $25 per session.
There are many online videos and DVDs available for Doga instructions. However, it is advisable to take proper precautions in order to understand its techniques and not hurt your dog in any way.
The most important benefit of Doga is that your pet will be able to spend quality time with you. It is okay even if your dog just sits on your mat and makes you rub its belly; what is more important that it has your complete attention.