There's an Activity for Every Dog—and Every Activity Level—in Sarasota-Manatee

From dog yoga to flyball, keep your pet active with these local classes.

By Megan McDonald and Emma Burke September 27, 2017 Published in the October 2017 issue of Sarasota Magazine

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Image: Shutterstock


Yep, that’s dog yoga. Yoga from the Heart owner Lynn Burgess has created a practice for dogs and their humans to “enhance the feeling of connectedness between the dog and his or her owner” and experience increased relaxation and mobility. In addition to the yoga class, Burgess also teaches canine massage. Individual classes range from $85-$100 per session. Visit or call (941) 929-9878.

Schutzhund Training

Sarasota’s Toni Brezel, a former real estate executive who now breeds German shepherds at her Haus Brezel, offers Schutzhund training for dog owners from all over the state. She explains that there are three training components: tracking, where they have to show they have a strong nose; obedience, with a lot of focus; and bite work—the protection work. It’s about building courage more than aggressiveness, she says. Find out more at, or call (941) 388-7791.


Ever watch the National Dog Show after the Macy’s parade on Thanksgiving? Then you’ve seen an agility event, in which dogs complete an obstacle course—think jumping, crawling and climbing—with their handlers. The Humane Society of Sarasota offers outdoor agility classes in the fall/winter and indoor rally training—a similar sport—at various times throughout the year. “Rally is a cross between competition[-level] obedience and agility,” explains Humane Society of Sarasota County canine behavior therapist John Pfohler. During training, handlers use guided signs to tell their dog what to do, be it turning, jumping or following other commands. “It’s fun for the handler and fun for the dog,” Pfohler says.

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Image: Shutterstock


The Sarasota Obedience Training Club in Manatee County offers flyball classes, in which a team of four dogs race against each other to complete a course. The course includes jumps and a spring-loaded flyball box that ejects a tennis ball; each dog must complete the jumps, trigger the flyball box and race back to his handler before the next dog can start. The first team to have all four dogs complete the course wins. Scott Earl, a BIM technician with Fawley Bryant Architecture, has been competing for years with his three dogs. “We practice every Sunday morning and they know what that day is,” Earl noted in a story in our sister publication, 941CEO. “When we’re loading the car to go to a tournament, they get excited.” Go to or call (941) 377-5984.

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