My name is Ruby, and I’m a seven-year-old golden retriever. I live in the countryside with two and a half humans, a poodle and a cat. I’m an agility dog by trade, and my hobbies are eating, swimming, chasing squirrels, swimming, digging holes, swimming and baiting the neighbour’s dogs. However, I’ve also been observing human behaviour for several years and consider myself to be something of an expert. In my blog, I’ll be exploring a few of the more bizarre problems dogs are likely to encounter with their humans, and proposing some solutions. Please feel free to contact me if you need advice.
A New Game
We did some agility last weekend. Normally the human is pretty laid back about it, but this time she was definitely stressed (it was "Nationals", whatever that means). So I thought it might be fun to torture her a bit. She’s such an easy victim.
She’s spent the last seven years trying to teach me to sit and stay at the start of our runs. Apparently this improves the way “we” perform, although I’ve never really understood the logic and refused to do it for the longest time. She can’t run the course without me, so why am I the one who has to stay put on the start line? It doesn’t make sense. However, she always seems pleased when I wait a few seconds, so I usually do it now, even though I don’t agree with it. It puts her in a good mood, and the better her mood, the more treats I get afterwards.
This weekend, when we went into the ring for our first race, she made me lie down at the start as usual, and limped off to take up her position. I normally just stay there and bark at her to get a move on, but this time I decided to switch things up a bit. So as soon as her back was turned, I jumped the first obstacle and ran over to stand beside her. You should have seen her expression of panic! It was to die for! She sort of froze, then started waving her arms around like some kind of demented windmill. She looked like she’d forgotten where we had to go, so I jumped the second obstacle to give her a clue. It prodded her into action and we got round the rest of the course without incident, but those few seconds at the start were the most fun I’d had in weeks, except for the cat in the bushes during our vacation, but that’s another story.
She’s so easy to wind up that I thought it would be a shame not to do it again, so I tried a variation of the same thing for our last race of the weekend. Again, she made me lie down at the start, but this time, as she was walking away, I jumped the first obstacle and ran towards the A-frame (obstacle number 5), as though I was going to take it. I wasn’t, of course, but she didn’t know that. Well, everyone on that field must have heard the cry of sheer desperation. Her face was a picture – eyes bulging, white as a sheet. I turned around just before I touched the frame, then made a fake lunge back towards the first obstacle before veering back onto the proper course. I’m surprised she didn’t have a heart attack. It was by far the highlight of the entire event for me. She was still trembling when we finished the run – fault-free, I might add, although no thanks to her. And she was so relieved that she gave me her sandwich at lunchtime.
I can see infinite possibilities for this game in the future. I wonder how many sandwiches I can get at our next trial …
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