Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cesar Milan we're not.

Grrrrrr. It's hard to find a 'biteable' way to describe the dog yoga that we're practicing. A local television station wants to do a story on dog yoga, and the model for that is 'doga', successfully written about in urban newspapers.

Socks (r.i.p buddy) and Ellie demonstrate good 'yoga off the mat' in this picture. They are working on their relationship, changing their habits, taking some time be fully present. But, exciting television it isn't.

We follow (and teach) a yoga therapeutic model, based on the pancamayas, or five dimensions. Most dogs don't need us humans to tell them or show them how to find their stable and comfortable posture (although, admittedly, some sloppy sits might need a little assistance to keep those hips healthy).

After all, who is the teacher and who is the student for adho mukha svanasana, otherwise known as downward facing dog?

The dog yoga we have been working on tends to address more subtle levels than the physical. While I think that television well knows how to play on those emotions, and distract us from our immediate surroundings, dog yoga on the subtle level does not for good television make.

Cesar Milan we aren't.

But, you know what? Today's session was really helpful for me anyway. A little bit of kriya yoga: Isvhara pranidhana, releasing attachment to outcome.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ellie, the dog who flunked her temperament test...

Ellie's the kind of dog that if you say, "Go get him," she looks at you and runs for a toy.

But, if you say, "Go give him a toy," she's off to share the fun.

And this was a dog who flunked her shelter temperament test.

Monday, January 10, 2011

How do you know if your dog training is working?

From the 'let me at him' to 'teach me more'

You know something is working
  • when your husband, as he pets the dog who used to chase his cat up a tree says, "She's so much calmer than she was."
  • when the cat who used to hide now ignores
  • when your son says, "She's kooky, but, she's such a good dog, doesn't really do anything wrong."
  • when people at the park remark, "Wow, your dog is well-behaved."
  • when the dog who flunked her humane society administered temperament test attends a huge social gathering, (the Muscular Dystrophy Association Christmas party) and socializes with children while refining her dog-assisted pain management technique.
  • when everyone uses the word 'adorable' to describe your dog.
It's helpful to look back a bit, and see how far we've come.

I give Ellie the lion's share of the credit. I've really just tried to stay out of her way and help her learn the ropes of socializing with people and animals. The rest is pure Ellie. Thanks girl, for coming into our lives.

Pet Blogger Challenge

1. When did you begin your blog? October, 2009, after Ellie, our rescue German Shepherd Dog, came to live with us.

2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog? Dhyoga dog is a branched off blog from, which is my more general blog about yoga and how yoga methods are helpful in working and playing with our animal companions. Ellie was teaching me so many different things that I decided to create a separate blog that would appeal to dog people. I wanted to share what I was learning from her as I was 'training' her.

3. Is your current purpose the same? Yes, although I'm rethinking how this blog can better be of service to both dogs and their humans.

4. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you? The spirit works in mysterious ways. I have fallen out of the habit of blogging regularly, and am considering how to find that balance between spirit and schedule.

5. Are you generating income from your blog? Not that I know of. hmmm.

6. What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular? I like how blogs express the personality of the blogger and the personality, where relevant, of their dog/pet companions. I like how blogging about pets and reading blogs about pets connects me into the larger community.

What do I like about my own blog? I like the pictures of Ellie, she's so danged cute.

7. What do you like least? The self-induced guilt when I'm not keeping up with the blog. My perfectionista tendency - wanting the words to be perfect, is a habit I am changing. I am. Really.

8. How do you see your blog changing or growing in 2011? My intention is for the blog to share more about how I learn from Ellie and other dogs that I have the privilege of working with, on a more frequent basis. I would like my blog to be a place that people come to and enjoy with a cup of tea with their pooch by their side.