Time to continue on your doga journey. We previously discussed doga and the benefits of relaxation for both you and your pup. This post is going to discuss the stretching part of doga and how it can help your dog in so many positive ways.
You may have noticed that your pup already has a natural ability to stretch. I know my dog is not the only one who strikes a few doga poses first thing in the morning before I am even out of bed. While this stretching just feels good to them, they are also helping their flexibility and range of motion skills. Penny (my Chiweenie) implemented stretching and doga in her post-ACL surgery recovery effort, and it has paid off. She actually enjoys when it’s doga and stretching time because she knows all the attention is on her. In addition to the attention, she is also rebuilding her strength and relieving her muscle tension one stretch at a time.
Make sure you are always practicing doga caution and awareness. In addition to consulting your vet, make sure you are listening to your dog and can immediately recognize any signs of discomfort. Follow their lead! Practice doga in a stress-free and quiet environment with your pup as well.
Working on your pup’s hip flexors is important for their movement when walking or jogging so this first doga stretch focuses exactly on that. This pose can also help relieve any arthritic pain they may have. To stretch their hip flexors, first have your dog stand and then hold onto one of their back legs above their knee. Being super gentle and careful, extend the leg straight out behind their body to a point of any resistance. Hold this pose with each leg for initially 15 seconds and complete 2 sets. Work your way up to about 30 seconds and 3 sets over the next few weeks.
Back It Up Doga Pose
Stretching out your dog’s back may just become one of their favorite things to do with you. First, grab a couple small training treats. With your dog facing forward, go sit on one side of them but make sure the treat is still in the front by their nose with your hand.
Move the treat slowly towards their tail and make sure they are only using their head to follow the treat. Once they are in a “C” position, hold that position with them for the 15 seconds (2 sets) initially, and then do the same stretch with the opposite side. You can gradually increase this stretch duration and sets as well.
Proud Doga Stretch
This stretch is awesome to do when you have your dog lying on his or her back. Take their front legs and very gently open them to the side. Make sure you are holding the dogs leg near their wrists. The wrist is the lower joint below their elbow. Hold this pose for about 10-15 seconds, and then repeat.
Practicing these doga stretches with your pup is not just going to help their muscle support and flexibility. This can also boost their blood circulation, increases oxygenation, calms them, and enhances your BFF bond.
And don’t forget their belly rub at the end of each session!