Thursday, October 27

A Lesson from Snickers

Snickers playing dress-up with Janelle

My third-grader Janelle is studying animal behaviors in school. Quizzing her yesterday I asked, “What’s instinctual mean?”

“It’s like the Loggerhead sea turtle,” she said. “They’re born and they just know the right thing to do. They’re like, Aaaah, I got to get in the water! Get me to the ocean!”

Perhaps due to our daily drills on the peculiarities of animals I’ve starting paying attention to my dog Snickers’ behavior. And here’s something I noticed.

Every morning, after she jumps down from our bed (yes, we’re those kind of people), she immediately goes into full on yoga-dog mode. Her front legs straight, she pushes them forward while simultaneously dropping her chest to the floor and hiking her butt in the air. A perfect “down dog” posture. Now the name makes sense. (This reminds me of the time I realized why a ponytail was called a ponytail. Staring at a horse’s butt, it hit me, Hey, that’s exactly how my hair looks when I put it in a ponytail. Duh. Sometimes my stupidity surprises even me. But I digress.)

After her "down-dog" stretch, she goes into this one.
I call it "The Superman."
Snickers stretches instinctually. Every morning. I certainly didn’t teach her that. If I was going to train her to do something in the morning it’d be how to make a pot of coffee. She stretches on her own.

Observing her throughout the day I see that she stretches every time she’s been in the same position for a while. How about that. 

My lovely personal trainer from the In8 program, Will, is constantly reminding me to stretch. I leave every session with him calling after me, “Drink plenty of water and stretch, stretch, STRETCH!”

“Okay,” I call back knowing full well I’ll do none of it.

I don’t know why, but stretching just isn’t part of my day. But now, I’m thinking, Snickers might be on to something!

As we age our range of motion decreases and our muscles tighten, making every day activities more difficult. Stretching helps lengthen the muscles and improve flexibility and range of motion. Plus, it reduces the risk of injury to joints muscles and tendons and reduces muscle soreness and tension. And best of all, it feels good!

So this morning I stretched with Snickers and she rewarded my efforts with an energetic face-licking. And, taking another cue from my brilliant canine, I've been stetching after sitting at my desk for a decent length of time.

Snickers has succeeded in breaking through to me where my trainer has failed. What can I say? If Will had big brown eyes, velvety ears and looked at me as if I hung the moon, maybe I’d listen to him too.

Will—you reading this? That whole, worship-your-client look could be a new training technique for you. Just sayin’.

Here are a couple of Web sites that list some good stretches and have photos to guide you.

Basic Stretches

More Advanced Stretches

Happy Stretching! Love, Snickers


  1. What an adorable dog!

  2. Thank you! Snickers is fabulous. People often ask me what kind of dog she is and I say simply, "She's a brown dog." We don't know what she is as we adopted her from BARK ( a rescue organization near Richmond. They found her and her siblings wandering in the woods. What we do know is she's absolutely perfect for our family. I love her so much I would seriously consider giving her a kidney if she needed one. I'm crazy, I know. But I can't help myself. It's those big eyes and velvety ears. They make me weak.

  3. I agree with you, and my dog does the same thing.

  4. Hey it's good to see the pictures of Snickers. She's really nice and it seems that it's well mannered and trained by you, from all the above story i think Snickers is very fond of outing.
    I like you pet.

  5. These pictures shows you really love love pet snickers i like her name and i think your pet love outing and that's great you trying to understand her and it helps you to understand her moves meanings.

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