No, it’s not Flash Back Friday, but humor me for a moment…
When I was in high school, one of my favorite albums was Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits. One of my favorite songs was The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy). Here’s a sampling of the lyrics:
“Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy
Ba da-da da-da da-da, feeling groovy”
These lyrics not only make me smile because they’re associated with fond memories, but they’re also extremely relevant when taking our dogs for a walk.
I believe that part of people’s motivation for getting a dog is to have a reason to take regular, relaxing walks around the neighborhood. But life gets complicated and rushed, and walking the dog becomes something we HAVE to do instead of something we WANT to do. While we’d like to take a leisurely walk, we may end up with only 20 minutes. And since we’re limited on time, we aim to get the most out of these 20 minutes, which is often measured by how far we walk instead of how much fun we have.
If we take another look at the lyrics, the song tells us to look for fun to feel groovy.
Dogs are masters at looking for fun, but often their vision of fun does not match ours. If we start to shift our expectations for “maximizing” our 20 minutes, we’ll find that feeling groovy will be that much easier to achieve. Take some time to research your dog’s breed(s), or watch their behavior when off leash in a safe and comfortable environment. The intelligence of dogs is extraordinary, and a dog’s mind needs to be exercised as much as their body.
Furthermore, you don’t have to walk on a typical sidewalk. In fact, for many dogs, this is not fun at all.
Dogs want to sniff, move at different paces, run and chase other dogs, a ball, Frisbee or stick, and meander in any which way but straight. Sometimes it’s best to go for a car ride to a different neighborhood, or seek out a new patch of green grass to explore. Take your dog for a sniff walk where they determine the direction you travel, or stay at home and have them play hide and seek for their food, a ball, or person. There are endless ways in which we can quickly challenge our dog’s mind and body, ensuring a better outcome for everyone involved.
If you are having challenges determining how to match your dog’s vision with yours so you can both feel groovy, please reach out to a certified professional dog trainer for assistance. I’m here to help.