I was fascinated to read The Real Dog Yoga by Jo-Rosie Haffenden, in part because I love any original way we can partner up and train our dogs but also due to the idea that in my experience, yoga uses gentle, progressive movements that are powerful in the long term. What better way to work with any animal, both human and non-human?
By breaking the training down into small, easy to observe postures the dogs can achieve, it looks to create a hugely rewarding predictability. After all, I spend my career teaching similar, incremental procedures to owners for their dogs that may otherwise be experiencing difficulty with their reactions.
If something is going to be fun, we will do it again. If something appears to be causing stress, we need to learn to chill out; it doesn’t come automatically to some.
By collecting movements thoughtfully into postures, expressions and actions, with clear photography, there is little room for any frustration both on behalf of owner and dog.
You can just get started, and it can be rewarding for you both. As training progresses, it becomes a way that the dog can refocus and show calmer behaviours for longer periods and in different ways.
Most of all, the dog has choice whether to participate or not. This sound tenet for all training means that learners can indicate freely if they wish to continue, or can offer to end the session. This is the true power.
My hope is that this book teaches us all to take our time, stretch out, stay calm, alongside the crazy confusion of the world all around us.