Sniff Walk

April 18, 2015 at 2:38 pm (Uncategorized)

A few years ago I went to Belgium in March. The day I left, there was a blizzard here. When I arrived in Brussels, the flowers were blooming. I mention this here because this winter seem to never be coming to an end. There’s actually a warning of snow for this coming Thursday, but it doesn’t mean my neighbours should still have their Christmas lights up.

I digress.

In some or other book on or by the Situationist International I read about the idea of exploring a city using the map of another, thus opening the explorer up to new, erm, avenues. Which brings me round to the point at the start. During the winter months, walking the dog can be a grim chore. It’s cold and the dog gets filthy every time (my dog is white so…), but when the weather warms, it becomes a joy.

I read somewhere about a “sniff walk.” Basically, instead of walking the usual route, you allow the dog to set the pace and the direction, stopping to sniff whatever and for how long he wants. (I should state too that my dog walks are pretty relaxed anyway, and the dog usually gets to sniff whatever he wants)

So for the most part, you get a much longer, but still familiar route. However, about three-quarters of the way through one of our usual routes, Lester opted to go straight instead of left. As a result we made a much wider swing and ended up going  along paths he had seldom travelled. He became much more excited, going along new routes and getting to pee in new places.

And as you walk, you notice new things too. Not least with people. When you walk a dog, people are more willing to be friendly. I usually smile, nod hello or say good morning, but still a significant number of people ignore you. My dog never ignores another dog. Sure, there’s sometimes snarls or alpha dog moves, but never indifference. (I wonder too about the people engaged in animated cell phone conversations when walking the dog – just enjoy the moment; don’t wish you were elsewhere)

Lastly, I read something once about Ivan Pavlov and his dogs. Apparently here was a flood in one of his labs. A pipe burst or something and many of his dogs drowned. Some were able to kick open their cages and escape. The ones that escaped, forgot their training. The liberating effect of freedom. We can learn a lot from dogs.

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1 Comment

  1. G said,

    Rrrrrruufff! (from Edmonton, hope all is well).

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