Dog Yoga????

Dog Yoga Classes Catching On

April 3, 2007 — By the end of their doggie yoga class, most of the wandering and sniffing participants are passed out on their mats, in a position their instructor calls the “upward facing belly pose.”Beans, a majestic 2-year-old Vizsla, however, is ready to play. The overgrown puppy has tried to relax with his owner, Chantale Anderson, but once Magnet the black lab heads off to explore the room, Beans is ready to go.

Mostly, however, both the dogs and the humans on a recent evening at the Seattle/King County Humane Society seemed relaxed and focused for about 40 minutes of “doggie yoga.”

Leilani the toy poodle is the star of the class, perhaps because the tiny 11-year-old is too timid to venture off the mat to play with the big dogs.

Her owner, Suanne Nagata, said afterward that Leilani just loves being touched.

“I could just feel her relax,” she said.

Brenda Bryan, who teaches human yoga as well as the new class for both dogs and humans at the Humane Society, says the dogs react to the gentle energy in the room.

“As we get into it, the dogs all kind of calm down,” said Bryan, who developed the poses for the class by working with her own two dogs — Gus, a mixed breed, and Honey, a Shar Pei-Boxer mix — and talking to instructors in other cities like New York, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh where yoga for dogs and their owners is starting to catch on.

The question she and the Humane Society get the most from prospective human students is how do the people and dogs interact?

In Bryan’s class, the humans do traditional yoga poses — yes, including “downward facing dog” — while staying in contact physically with their pets.

Part of the class includes gentle stretching and dog massage, another specialty of Bryan’s, but most of the time the humans gently use the dogs like yoga props.

In downward facing dog, for example, the humans rest their heads on their companions, who are relaxing — napping? — on the mat.

The yoga poses are modified both for the humans of different sizes and abilities and for the dogs. During class, Bryan reminds the people not to push their canine partners to perform.

“Don’t be too ambitious,” she said. “Honor where your dog is and remember that dogs respond to our energy.”

The class was designed to offer a new way for humans to spend time with their pets.

“This is 80 percent fun,” said Eve Holt, director of community relations for the Seattle Humane Society.

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Dog Water Safety

Dog Water Safety

by Mark Siebel – Owner – DOGGIE STEPS Dog Training

Its summertime. Time for beer, brats, baseball, and the beach. It’s also time to be sure that your kids AND dogs are safe around water. For many Valley residents, most homes come equipped with a swimming pool. It’s important that your dog learns HOW to get out of the pool if they fall in.

I always stress the importance of (2) major factors relating to dogs and water: Safety & cleanliness. I often show up to customers homes for a first training session, and observe how the dog freely enters the pool at its own leisure. It is important to train your dog that they are ONLY to enter the pool when invited, resulting in dog safety and not having to worry about a wet dog in the house shaking off!! By following the below tips, you can rest at ease knowing that your dog will be safe around your pool:

1. Invite only. Just like I train a dog to ONLY jump up on the couch when invited, it is the same approach when a swimming pool or body of water is involved. Dogs are reactive to sound and motion, so it can be challenging when you jump in your pool and not have FIDO jump in after you. Practice having a family member or friend hold onto your dog when your about to enter the pool. Next, issue a STAY command. Calmly enter the water, and then invite your dog in the pool. This routine will become routine/repetition for your dog, and in time reduce the desire to enter the pool on his own terms.

2. Swimming for the first time. Most dogs have a natural attraction to water. So, in case a pool is present in your yard, your dog must have the basics of how to swim. I suggest finding the lowest step in your pool to introduce your dog into the water. Carry your dog calmly down the steps and then stand about 4 feet from the lowest step. After about 10 seconds of placing your dog in the water, have them swim back to the step, and exit the pool. Repeat this exercise daily, about 5 times in a row for a week.

3. Visual marker for pool exit. Once your dog is acclimated to entering and exiting the pool, it’s important to have a visual marker just in case they fall in from a different entry point, and need to exit. I often suggest placing a flower pot or a pool chair next to the exit step, so your dog becomes familiar with where the exit is. After only a few weeks of exiting at that visual marker, your dog will now be confident of where to exit the pool if they fall in.

4. Finally – Safety first! Be sure your dog is familiar with your pool and how to enter/exit safely. If you have a doggie door, be aware that you dog will have FULL access to the pool area so water safety is crucial!

Dogs and water are like ice cream and chocolate. They just go together. A swimming pool can offer your dog hours of challenging exercise and mental stimuli. With summertime here, be sure you’re aware of pool safety to ensure your dog will have as much fun in the pool as you do.

Mark Siebel has trained over 400 Arizona Valley dogs, has dog training tips published monthly in various AZ magazines, appears on Channel 12 Arizona Midday, speaks regularly with local schools youth groups about the importance of dog safety and ownership, and donates time to kids who want to learn more about dogs. He is a member of APPSA (Arizona Professional Pet Sitters Association) and ASC of Arizona (Australian Shepherd Club of Arizona). Mark owns (2) Australian Shepherds named Leinie and Kugel. For more information or general dog questions, go to: or call Mark @602.318.0122.

Dog Food Analysis & Grading

To grade any dog food using this dog food comparisons technique, you need to start with the list of ingredients (it’s fairly easy to find an ingredient list for any particular food on the manufacturers website, or use the one on your dog food bag etc.)

Start with a grade of 100 points, then …

For every listing of “by-product”, subtract 10 points

For every non-specific animal source (“meat” or “poultry”, meat, meal or fat) reference, subtract 10 points

If the food contains BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin, subtract 10 points

For every grain “mill run” or non-specific grain source subtract 5 points. If the same grain ingredient is used 2 or more times in the first five ingredients (i.e. “ground brown rice”, “brewer’s rice”, “rice flour” are all the same grain), subtract 5 points

If the protein sources are not meat meal and there are less than 2 meats in the top 3 ingredients, subtract 3 points

If it contains any artificial colorants, subtract 3 points

If it contains ground corn or whole grain corn, subtract 3 points

If corn is listed in the top 5 ingredients, subtract 2 more points

If the food contains any animal fat other than fish oil, subtract 2 points

If lamb is the only animal protein source (unless your dog is allergic to other protein sources), subtract 2 points

If it contains soy or soybeans, subtract 2 points

If it contains wheat (unless you know that your dog isn’t allergic to wheat), subtract 2 points

If it contains beef (unless you know that your dog isn’t allergic to beef), subtract 1 point

If it contains salt, subtract 1 point

Extra Credit:

If any of the meat sources are organic, add 5 points

If the food is endorsed by any major breed group or nutritionist, add 5 points

If the food is baked not extruded, add 5 points

If the food contains probiotics, add 3 points

If the food contains fruit, add 3 points

If the food contains vegetables (NOT corn or other grains), add 3 points

If the animal sources are hormone-free and antibiotic-free, add 2 points

If the food contains barley, add 2 points

If the food contains flax seed oil (not just the seeds), add 2 points

If the food contains oats or oatmeal, add 1 point

If the food contains sunflower oil, add 1 point

For every different specific animal protein source (other than the first one; count “chicken” and “chicken meal” as only one protein source, but “chicken” and “fish” as 2 different sources), add 1 point

If it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, add 1 point

If the vegetables have been tested for pesticides and are pesticide-free, add 1 point


94-100+ = A
86-93 = B
78-85 = C
70-77 = D
69 = F