Doing Yoga with the Dog

I’m thinking of teaching my dog some yoga breathing.

After he gets the hang of “down” and “sit” and “leave it.” Once he finally understands “If you destroy that stuffed tiger you’re toast” and “Cabbages belong on the counter, not in your mouth.”

Onyx is a smart dog. I’m sure he can handle it. We can do to that trick where I place a treat on his paw and tell him to “leave it” till I say he can have the treat. Granted, that doesn’t always transfer to the real world, and if he passes his favorite shrub without peeing on it, he rebels. But how hard can it be to teach a dog to breathe?

Picture us preparing for a walk. I step into the mudroom and reach for his leash. Instead of hyperventilating and spinning in circles when I say “sit,” he calmly sits down, inhales through his nose, exhales through his mouth … inhales through his nose, exhales through his mouth. I attach the leash and we’re on our way.

The command would be “Onyx, breathe,” with a gentle flourish of the right hand and a deep intake of breath from me. Once he becomes more centered and calm, I will naturally become more focused myself.

That way, when we return from the walk and notice that a giant limb has broken off the maple tree in the backyard, neither of us will panic. And when we realize that the deck will be far less shaded this summer, we will just take it in and accept that all is right with the world.

We will not worry about the cost of limb removal. We will not wonder if our neighbors still have phone service. We will be glad that the tree cracked in the middle of the night. No one was hurt; no one woke up. No serious damage beyond the tree itself.

Deep breaths would help. And a long walk with the dog.

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One thought on “Doing Yoga with the Dog

  1. Just don’t teach him the breathing exercises I taught Joshy: in one, you hiss like a snake; in another you stick your tongue out like a lion; and in another, you breathe out through clenched teeth!
    (the semi-colons don’t really work here,do they?!)

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