Dogs draw my focus in every situation. If I were at a dog park full of famous actors and actresses, my thought process would probably be along the lines of, “What a gorgeous Irish Setter! Look at that Greyhound run—how beautiful! And, ooh, a Havanese! You don’t see those very often. Gee, that guy with the Boxer looks familiar. . .”
So my experience last week when I tried yoga for the first time ever was not surprising. I did not immediately notice the new age music or the smell of incense. My awareness was not on my breathing or the feeling of my body relaxing in the present moment. Instead, what captured my attention was the calendar in the lobby that featured dogs practicing yoga. Honestly, it was so cute I could hardly stand it. It was the 2011 version, but the 2012 Yoga Dogs Calendar is just as charming.
At my next class, my intention will be to focus on yoga rather than on dogs. There’s always room to grow and improve, which is why I love it that people say they “practice yoga.” The dogs already look pretty experienced at it, though.
Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer whose clinical work over the last 17 years has focused on the evaluation and treatment of serious behavioral problems in dogs, especially aggression. Karen has been writing the behavior column for The Bark since 2012 and wrote The Bark’s training column and various other articles for eight years before that. She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, and teaches a tropical field biology course in Costa Rica. Karen writes an animal column, The London Zoo, which appear in The Arizona Daily Sun and is the author of five books on canine training and behavior. She is working on her next book, which she expects to be published in 2017.