Doga? Seriously?

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Over the course of my lifetime, there have been some memorable moments of stupidity.

We watched schools outlaw dodgeball because it was too violent.

We just saw four Somalian pirates think that they can take on the most powerful Navy in the world without even a single eye patch, peg-leg, or parrot in their possession.

We even listened to these enlightened folks talk about leprechauns.

However, none of these poor confused souls can possibly rival the idiocy I saw in an article in the New York Times the other day: doga.  Yes, folks, people are not only bringing their dogs along to yoga; they’re involving them.

While I think there are certainly some benefits to specific movements within the various disciplines of yoga, I’ve written previously about some of my concerns with respect to yoga as it’s practiced in a general sense.  To take this a step further, a few months ago, I was speaking with a brilliant manual therapist who has spent over 15 years treating individuals of all ages and activity levels, and he remarked the of the patients he’d seen, yoga instructors had some of the worst spines he’d ever seen.  Well, apparently, a few of them (certainly not a representative sample of the entire discipline)  also have also had some serious blunt trauma to the head along the way as well, because this is a flat-out stupid idea.

I feel somewhat qualified to comment on this, as Cressey Performance just so happens to be located right next door to a dog-training facility.  Sure, they do regular ol’ behavioral classes, but they also train all-out badass pups that do cool stuff like this:

One thing you’ll notice in our building is the big wall between our business and theirs.  We train people; they train dogs.  Our clients use the restrooms inside; theirs crap outside.  Our clients are rewarded for their hard work with scholarships, state championships, and big-league debuts; theirs are rewarded with rawhide chewies.  Post-workout shakes taste a lot different than Milk Bones.  There is no door in the wall between our businesses, and there certainly isn’t a doggy door.

I can understand wanting to spend time with your dog, but isn’t taking him for a walk/run or to play fetch good enough?  I mean, what’s going to happen when 120-pound rottweilers start demanding to drink $7 Starbucks mocha lattes and watch Desperate Housewives?

And, for every ten schnauzers that go soft, there is going to be one Boston Terrier that refuses to put up with that crap and decides to bit off an ear – or ten.  You saw what happened this past weekend when that crazy German lady tried to “be one” with the polar bears, didn’t you?

Just imagine how pissed they would have been if she’d tried to convince them to do “poga” (polar bear yoga).  If you think crazy cat (and polar bear) ladies are weird, then just wait until this doga propaganda spreads among the whack-job villagers near you.

Seriously, consider the logic behind this.  The picture in the article alone says it all.  If end-range lumbar hyperextension is bad, then the only logical way to make it harder is to load it with a 19-pound shih tzu.  However, the crappy training effect doesn’t just apply to you; it also extends to your dog.

As I outlined in my e-book, The Truth About Unstable Surface Training, there may be some serious long-term ramifications to replacing even as little as 2-3% of total training volume with unstable surface training.  Because canine activities occur almost exclusively in closed-chain motion, having a dog train on top of a human (unstable surface) undermines the crucial concept of specificity.  I’m no veterinarian, but I have to assume that dogs pronate, and this could lead to too much of it.  And, there is nothing more ferocious than a dog with achilles tendinosis.

What would I know, though?  I only train people.