Bow Wow Wow

I have only used this once with a particularly rowdy group of 3rd grade students. Their minds were absolutely blown when we played the circle game and they ended up with their original partner. Then, at the very end before they left music, a light bulb went off for one boy. The end of Bow Wow Wow is mi-re-do! While I do recommend this for younger students, it is beneficial to bring it back for older students. It helps them build connections between music and their learning.

Suggested Grade Levels: Prekindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st grade


*Note: This could also be analyzed to have an AB form.

As with many other old children’s songs, the origins of Bow Wow Wow are not clear. The most information I could find came from The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes edited by Peter and Iona Opie, which honestly was not a lot. In a book titled Mother Goose’s Melody, the song was titled Caesar’s Song and had the facetious note, “Tom Tinker’s Dog is a very good Dog, and an honester Dog than his Master” (p. 177).

The Opies also mentioned that the Pope wrote this message on a dog collar for the king: “I am his Highness’s dog at Kew; Pray, tell me, sir, whose dog are you?” They believed that the Pope had Bow Wow Wow in mind as he engraved the collar.

I will update this page with more information as I find it.

Children begin in a circle, facing one partner.

“Bow, wow, wow.” — Stomp feet 3 times.
“Whose dog art thou?” — Join hands with partner.
“Little Tommy Tucker’s dog.” — Turn in a half circle, ending in their partner’s spot.
“Bow, wow, wow.” — Stomp 2 times, jump and face person behind them. This will be their new partner

Repeat this process until the children return to their original partner.

Classroom Applications:
–Wonderfully simple, elemental rhythm
–Great for introducing quarter rests
–Good for identifying mi-re-do patterns
–The magic that happens when students go all the way around the circle and end up with their first partner


–Holy Names University. (n.d.). Bow-wow-wow. Kodály Center: The American Folk Song Collection.

–Opie, I., & Opie, P. (Ed.). (1951). The Oxford dictionary of nursery rhymes. Oxford University Press.

–Sweet, L. (2015, September 15). Bow wow wow – a song with many uses. Sweet Sounds from the Music Room.

–Yannucci, L. (n.d.). Bow-wow-wow, whose dog art thou? Mama Lisa’s World.

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