This is the Reason Your Dog Goes Crazy When You do Yoga at Home
Remember those glorious things called yoga studios? Pre-pandemic, so many of us relished the experience of slipping away from our desks, our obligations, our lives for a while and practicing yoga in a white-walled, plant-filled, candle-bedecked space.
Now, a sliver of real estate between our TVs and coffee table or a spare bedroom with our kids’ traveling soccer league trophies have been transformed into makeshift yoga spaces. Blocks and bolsters have been replaced with books and couch pillows. The calming chirr of our instructor’s voice has morphed into tinny echoes on Zoom.
But, amidst all these unsettling changes, one perk sticks out: Feeling liberated from judgment and that green-eyed monster. Even though we know (and our instructors often remind us) that nobody in the class cares what we’re doing, it’s hard not to look around and compare your wobbly tree pose to the unwavering perfection of the 74-year-old male yogi in the front left-hand corner.
Well, we thought we weren’t being judged, that is. But about a week in we realized our four-legged friends were watching, and they were not on board. What’s up with that? In a popular article that’s bubbled up from The Cut, titled “Why Does My Dog Act So Rude When I do Yoga?” writer Maggie Lange does a deep dive into this phenomenon. Why do pups growl, bark, and jump on us like crazy the moment we start flowing?
As it turns out, your dog may not be acting derisively so much as looking for an opportunity to be included in your fun. “The barking suggests the dog’s willingness to find out more about your unfamiliar activities,” says Dr. Paul McGreevy, a professor of animal behavior and animal welfare science at the University of Sydney, noting that this moment is a chance for your dog to see if there’s an “enjoyable role” for them to participate.“Dogs are opportunists. The first response to novelty in well-socialized dogs is: What’s in this for me? Or, for Labradors: Can I eat it?”
Another theory, as Dr. Nathan Lents, a biology professor at John Jay College, relays in Lange’s piece, is that you sporting yoga clothes may symbolize to your dog that you’re about to take him or her on a fun outing, like a hike or walk in the park. Seeing as we're all in yoga clothes now virtually, oh, 23/7, that’s a lot of missed strolls to Peekamoose Mountain.
Perhaps, the best strategy for yoga-ing at home is channeling the warm energy of yoga teacher to the YouTube masses, Adriene Mishler. In her Yoga with Adriene videos, she makes it clear that her dog Benji always has a place in her at-home sanctuary.
Just don’t go giving Fido too many treats pre-class—you don’t want your pooch to out downward dog you. There go those green eyes again...