Gracie had our unbroken attention. I know not what else was going on around us. All I knew was that Gracie had treats in her pocket. Lots of treats. And the dispensing was only according to our attention to the details.
It had been a while since we’d done this. Skipper vaguely remembered at first, but when the treats popped up, all things were recollected. We both sat very still, attentive to every single thing Gracie did and said. There were even hand gestures that needed to be interpreted as well.
But this also had a competitive edge to it as well. Both of us wanted as many treats as possible, so I wanted to do better than Skipper, and I’m sure he felt the same way. So when I was the first to figure out what I was supposed to do, I kept it quiet and just did the trick.
Of course, Skipper being the copycat he is, he totally coppied me and got a treat too. But that’s only because he saw me do it first. He’s such a copycat.
Gracie held her hand out and told us to “roll over.” I waited for a moment until she waved her arm around, making tumbling motions in the air. She looked so funny, it was hard not to laugh.
After I’d rolled over, I waited for the treat…and bam! I got one. Then of course, Skipper did the same but added in his little extra. Skipper rolled over and kept right on going. Showing off got him extra points with Gracie. He was stealing my show.
Then Gracie wanted us to do the dance. This is one of her favorite things to watch us perform, and we’ve used it plenty of times for getting out of minor trouble situations. It doesn’t work well when the sofa cushions get shredded, but then again nothing really does.
The thing about this trick is that the dance is not the same for the both of us. Skipper totally gets away with just prancing around in a tiny little circle, but I have to do the full spin while balancing on two paws. So it’s not easy for the rascal to just copy me directly. He’s gotta get it for himself, and there’s no way he can balance on two paws.
So I did my little dance and hopped around in the circle, chasing the treat Gracie was dangling high above my nose. When I finally got it, I sat down and chomped, waiting for Skipper to do his bit so we could move right along with things.
Several tries later, I figured out it was taking too long. Gracie was too focused on getting Skipper to dance for the treat, and he just wasn’t getting it. Not only that, but we weren’t moving on with things, which meant no treats for me until he got his.
This competition was turning into a cooperative mission. The more tricks Skipper tried to perform, the worse he was getting. Soon after, he started doing the spaz thing where he pretends he has a tail and tries to fight it. It’s funny, but it doesn’t get the treat.
Although I have to admit, some of the confusion might come from Gracie. As Skipper gets flustered, Gracie’s hand motions and speech gets a little odd and frantic, and things just get worse from there.
“Look,” I barked, “just do the dance already.”
“What? Really? Why didn’t she just say that in the first place?” Skipper woofed and did his regular dance.
Then he got the treat. Finally. Skipper chomped down on his treat, still bobbing his hinder quarters around in dance mode. He gets stuck like that sometimes, I don’t know why. I don’t even know if he’s aware of it either.
“Why, munch munch, doesn’t she just tell me what to do instead of making funny noises and shaking her hands all around?” Skipper wondered as he finished his treat.
“I don’t know…” I pondered and looked to Gracie, “Why don’t you just tell us what to do instead of making funny sounds and shaking your paws all around?”
But Gracie didn’t give us a clear answer. She just wanted us to do something else. A new trick. I guess no one ever told her about that one. Old dogs and new tricks just don’t quite mix. And this scene is the perfect reason why.
I guess figuring out what we’re supposed to do is part of the whole game. Oh well, back to winning treats.
Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories. Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky, Nixi and Dante give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts. Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own adventures.