Doga: Workouts for dogs and owner

Written by Neal F. Litherland. Posted in Pennies Saved & Pennies Earned

Published on November 23, 2011 with No Comments

Yoga is a practical form of exercise that can keep the body flexible, the muscles smooth and your mind relaxed.

In fact there’s at least one, special yoga class in Valparaiso where participants come to do yoga as part of a pair, bonding and relaxing with their partners throughout the lesson.

During the opening session there was hardly a single bark out of any of the class partners.

Doga, a combination of the words dog and yoga, is a yoga class for owners to bring their dogs to.

Just as yoga can provide benefits for humans, the same can be said for dogs.

Even more so, any time that an owner can bond with a pet is time well spent. Hosted at the Canine Country Club, doga classes are taught by Lori Estadt, a certified yoga instructor at the Asana Yoga Center in Valparaiso.

These classes include activities such as massage, as well as physical and meditation practices for the human and the canine that attend the class.

“I heard about doga years ago, and I wanted to try it out,” Teri Gray, who owns the Canine Country Club with her husband, Bob Gray, said.

“We like to try different things at the Canine Country Club, see what people like.”

For members of the Canine Country Club, doga classes are just one in a long string of activities that they and their dogs can participate in.

Classes in obedience training for all ages have also been offered, along with agility training courses and “trick” courses were dogs can be taught to complete all sorts of maneuvers.

All of that, in addition to the construction of the park itself and the several buildings that make it up, got started back in the Fall of 2001.

“I inherited the land,” Teri Gray said. “And I’d seen dog parks before. But it wasn’t as simple as just opening up a business.”

The land Gray inherited was, at the time at least, in a rural area that was out of sight of the suburban sprawl and the town proper of Valparaiso.

But the land was also farmland and it was zoned for residential construction which meant that paperwork had to be filed. A temporary exception was filed, and then became permanent once it was renewed.

So between all the forms and making sure that fencing was put up, buildings were constructed or remodeled and everything was in order, it wasn’t till September of 2002, that the Canine Country Club officially opened its doors.

“There were a lot of people who didn’t know what we were doing,” Bob Gray said. “But everyone recognized our gazebo. It’s sort of our symbol now.”

A lot of work went into putting the park together, too. The main tracks, one for big dogs and one for little dogs, are roughly six acres of land for all of the running around and exercise that any puppy that’s spent all day in the house could want.

There’s also the agility yard, a separate enclosure with all of the slides, platforms and other devices necessary for putting a dog through its paces for an agility training session.

The most recent addition is the indoor classroom, which feels like a small auditorium and which is floored with material made of recycled tires specifically meant for dogs. That’s the building where doga, or any other class, will take place.

“It’s been educational,” Teri Gray said, commenting on her experiences in the past nine years. “More goes into dog interaction than I’d thought.”

For those interested in doga classes, the cost for the full session is $75.

If you’d like to drop-in on a single class to see whether or not it is right for you and your dog, the cost is $20. Either way you need to bring a leash and a yoga mat, and make sure not to bring food or treats.

Canine Country Club is offering several events and classes. Class duration and cost varies. Members always get a discount.

Fun Runs started again, on Thursday night though the end of the year. Indoors in in the heated clubhouse, on the recycled rubber dog agility flooring.

Valparaiso Kennel Club classes continue.

Canine Good Citizens is the “finishing” class for pet dog obedience.

Basic Obedience is a six-week session for adult and adolescent dogs.

Foundations for Agility is for dogs from five months to three years. 

Tricky Tricks Class coming in May. Tricks range from basic obedience commands to more-challenging tricks and obstacle course fun.

Puppy Obedience Class: Focus on teaching bite inhibition (gentle jaws), socialization with other dogs and people (especially children, men and strangers), calming and handling, attention, off-leash household manners/obedience, and the prevention of behavior and temperament problems.

For more information about the Canine Country Club call 219-548-3604 or visit The Canine Country Club is located at 3354 Sturdy Road in Valparaiso.

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About Neal F. Litherland

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Neal Litherland is a Valparaiso resident who has been a freelance writer for several years. A graduate of Indiana University, he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. He offers advice on money-saving tips using common-sense tactics. He welcomes suggestions and comments. Contact Neal:

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