Captain Midnight here with news of an exciting game I’ve just invented.
I call it Sticks and Stones and it goes like this.
Obviously, nothing beats the fun of making your human throw a ball over and over again. It must be some deep instinct, a hangover from hunter-gatherer days that triggers the reflex action of throwing a ball as soon as you lay it at their feet. It’s so sweet to see them in the wild behaving naturally, isn’t it?
But, I digress.
Here’s how to play Sticks and Stones.
Stage One: Assuming that there’s no ball, look for a good-sized stone when you are out walking with your human, preferably somewhere it’s safe to let them off the lead. Pick up the stone and run away with it until you hear a cry of “Oi, mutt (or something similar). You’ll ruin your teeth with that, give it here and I’ll get you a stick instead.” Easy peasy.
They’re like putty in our paws, aren’t they?
Stage Two: Look pitiful and reluctantly give up the stone (which would actually ruin your teeth by the way) but only when Himself has produced a decent stick and thrown it. Insist on one with a bit of heft, not some ancient twig that will disintegrate in seconds. Sometimes they try to fool you into giving up the stone without swapping it for a stick. That’s not a problem as there are always plenty of stones to go around and you just begin the game again.
Stage Three: And here’s the twist… when he throws the stick, don’t bring it back. I’ll say that again. Don’t bring it back. I know. It’s devilish isn’t it? Your human will probably just stand there not knowing what to do while you find somewhere to lie down and chew the bejesus out of it. Chances are this will unsettle your human whose chucking instinct you have just thwarted. Don’t feel bad about this; it’s good for them to learn new tricks.
Stage Four: At this point Himself will almost certainly pretend that he didn’t want you to bring it back to him and that what he really wants is for you to carry it home. At which point you pretend to lose it in the long grass and he’ll tell you to find it and you can run round sniffing the ground, pretending you’re as blind as bat. Of course, you do know where it is, but the object of the game is to make him look for it himself. There’s hours of fun to be had from watching your human walk up and down a field cursing until he gives up.
Stage Five: You now have two options, either casually locate the stick and pick it up with a superior air and continue the game as before for a further round or, if you are fairly close to home, you can go for broke and pretend you can’t find it either. That way you arrive home without the stick for an outright win.
Note: The endgame requires careful timing otherwise there’s the humiliating prospect of walking through the gate with the blasted thing clamped between your jaws and Himself patting you on the head and declaring that you are a ‘good boy.’
I’ve been playing Himself at Sticks and Stones for a few weeks now.
He’s got a lot to learn about Game Theory.