We have all seen that adorable clumsy puppy that makes us laugh, as they are not sure which direction their body is going. The fact of the matter is they have no idea which direction their body is heading. This is called proprioception or body awareness. Puppies have no idea they have a front end, or even a hind end. How many times have you seen a puppy chase their tail? They don’t even know it is attached!
We start by making them aware of their bodies around three and a half weeks of age. We systematically teach them their right paw, left paw, chin, head, belly, tail, right foot, left foot, right ear, and left ear. Over the course of ten days the puppies begin to take notice of their own bodies. We are able to ask them to show us their right paw, or put their belly on the ground, or put their chin on the ground and be easy. We teach them how to walk backwards in a straight line, which encourages them to take notice of their hind end. Puppies also have no concept that they can fall off of an “edge”. Low-level balance beams are provided so they easily learn they must be aware of the edge, and what happens if they get to close to that edge.
Dogs communicate with each other by body gestures. The raise of a paw, the daunting look of the evil eye, the play bow, are all items dogs use to let the other know just what is on their mind. But how do they learn those items? They watch each other, they watch us, they learn to imitate. If you watch two dogs meet, one will always offer the other a paw raise. This is a calming gesture that the dog simply is saying, “I mean you no harm”. We often see dogs that will do this to people they are unsure of.
Our puppy yoga teaches the puppies about self-control, how to focus, muscle control, body consciousness, and impulse control. All of these items stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Some puppies get it quickly others take a bit longer, but eventually they all understand what is happening. Puppies need to process the information we give them. They often appear as to not be sure what we are teaching, but then the next time you work on it you quickly see the “light bulb” has turned on. The key to our puppy yoga and balance training is to create thinking dogs. They need time to process or think about what we have done. We teach the dog with movements that come natural to them.
Our empowered puppy program has many interlocking features. By combining all aspects of our training, fitness, and nutritional programs, our puppies are empowered for a lifetime of health and wellness.