Song Spotlight: “How Much is that Doggie in the Window?”

My husband wants one of these!

  • Mood: Silly
  • Themes: Pets, Relationships
  • Tempo: Relaxed
  • Genre/style: 1950s novelty song

My sweet husband has been lobbying hard over the last several months for our family to get a dog. I have never really been a dog person, but since one day soon we will probably be adding a pooch to our family, I have been paying extra attention to the variety of dogs around me, especially those that live with and are loved by my older adult clients. There are many beloved dogs around, and they are sure to draw attention from even some of the most quiet and passive people. Visits from these canine companions almost always call for one of my favorite songs for music therapy: “(How Much Is) That Doggie In The Window.” Here are the lyrics for the chorus:

How much is that doggie in the window?

The one with the waggly tail

How much is that doggie in the window?

I sure hope that doggie’s for sale

This song was written in 1952, with the iconic recording by Patti Page released in December of that year. The song was one of a string of successful novelty songs in the 1950s and 1960s, which also included one of our previously spotlighted songs, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.” These songs are lighthearted and goofy, so they’re great for drawing out smiles, winks, and nods.

One of my favorite ways to adapt this song is to change the words slightly to match a description of the client’s pet. For example:

How much is that doggie in the window?

The one with the black and white fur?

How much is that doggie in the window?

I think that I will call him Buster.

Of course, you could change the words to be about any kind of pet. Here are a few good questions/prompts for getting the information to fill out the verses:

  • What kind of pet did you have? Tell me about it.
  • What was its name?
  • What color was it?
  • What did it like to do?
  • Did it do any tricks?

Creating a verse for each person’s special pet is an especially good way to get a discussion going in any size group. (P.S. Animals and pets are always great topics for discussion in intergenerational groups as well!)

What do you think? Could you use this song with seniors in your life? Let me know in the comments section!

This post is part of an occasional series on special songs to share with your loved ones. For more song spotlights, click here.



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