Sand between your toes
Sand between your toes; the wind in your hair and your tongue hanging out the side of your mouth. What could be better? The other day I had Luke at the park; for some reason there was sand put down in random areas which looked like maybe the low spots in the field. For the life of me I could not figure out why they would fill these crevices with sand. Anyhow; we walked by several mounds when Luke decided to check out one of the sand piles. I didn't take much notice until he walked onto the second one. He very purposely stepped onto the sand and sort of stomped around; hmmmm. The next pile we came to; he made a b-line to it, threw his head back, his ears flat back and he did some serious stomping. Of course this made me smile; he was enjoying the feel of the sand between his toes. We left that pile and went onto the next one where he did the exact same thing again.
Did this trigger a positive association for him? After all we go to the beach often; and he loves it. Miles before we get there he starts the whining and the closer we get to the beach the louder the whining becomes. So was it the feel of the soft sand squishing through his toes or did it cause a happy reaction due to an association? Many dogs are very aware when the surface under foot changes; Luke definitely is. Watching a canine take their first steps onto grass, snow, sand or mud is very interesting. There is a fleeting recognition; adjustment for a few seconds and they are good to go. Seeing a dog who does not have the luxury of grass in their own yard; his the grass with their feet is a wonderful thing. Many tear around like maniacs; the extra traction makes running glorious although many opt for the dive and flip. They bolt head first onto the grass and wriggle around enjoying every bit of the grass that they can.
Snow was always a biggy for my pooches; an inch of snow changes everything. It makes your toes spread; but just enough to trigger an exciting change of surface underfoot and more than likely a zoom around. Bounding through really deep snow is also a favorite of many; with the added benefit of supercharged exercise dogs can bound around endlessly enjoying the new snow. Shallow water has it's own particular stimulus as a dog feels the sand, the surf and the cool all at once. Even dogs that are not into swimming typically enjoy a good surf run and the cooling effects are not lost either. Our dogs know only too well that running in the water keeps you cool.
As your dog takes note of surface change; are you noticing them notice? Being a huge fan of "watching"; you must be constantly aware of the subtle changes or they may be missed. It truly is the little things in life that bring the most joy; like sand between your toes.