A Canine’s Guide to the Good Life Excerpt

Toys, Tennis Balls and Games

canine If you are a puppy, you will think everything from shoes to socks to toilet paper are toys. But the sad truth is NONE of these are toys, and if you steal them from your owner, you will get into trouble, and what is worse, if you eat them–especially the socks–you might have to make another unscheduled trip to the vet. Yes, that vet is always ready for you!  So what does a dog do for entertainment?

Stuffed Toys: A good toy for us used to be a stuffed object that was shaped like a cat, mailman or bone. In truth, the shape didn’t matter. What was cool about them was that we could tear them to shreds. It was wonderful. We chewed until fluff flew out. The pleasure from this toy reached its height when we found the squeaker in the center and pulled it out with our teeth. It was pure fun.

But in the last few years, the annoying dog experts said that toy stuffing is bad for us. This negative review of our beloved toys was reinforced when a few of our not-so-intelligent canines ate the fun squeaker at the center, which put a crimp in their digestive systems and forced more vet visits. So now the experts have introduced flat toys with no stuffing and no squeakers. From a dog’s point of view, these are not toys; they are just socks with faces. The funny thing about these new toys is we are not supposed to play with socks; so, what is the point of the flat toy?  While we are protesting toys, be aware that dog toy manufacturers have come up with a new idea:  interactive toys that are designed to teach us life skills. Why do we need life skills?  Are we going to school or getting a job?  No, unless you are a service dog or a K-9 cop, you have no job outside the house with the exception of catching and killing a few critters in the yard.

Owners will try and convince you that all activities are play, but you have to be careful not to fall into their trap. Here are some games you can initiate with your owner that might not make them laugh, but they will provide you with hours of merriment.

Faking Fetch: Every dog gets a tennis ball or Frisbee at some point in his or her life. Apparently, everyone from Santa to the Easter Bunny to the Birthday Elf (yes, our mom says there is one), brings these objects. Let’s face it; they are the perfect toys, and if used correctly, they provide entertainment for both dogs and humans.  We can chew on them or chase them or play fetch with them. Some dogs love to play fetch for hours. Others do not want to play fetch at all. If you don’t like to retrieve the tennis ball or Frisbee, you can still enjoy this game by watching your human retrieve it over and over again.

This is what you do: take a tennis ball and drop it in front of your owner’s feet.  Watch your human throw the ball but do not make a move toward the ball. Just sit there and look disinterested and aloof. Your owner will eventually give in and retrieve the ball for you. You will probably get your owner to do this about six or seven times before he or she gets the message you are not chasing that ball. The funny thing about owners is that they will continue to try and teach you the game of fetch. You might never fetch a ball, but your owner will become very obedient and fetch lots of stuff besides tennis balls for you. Once your owner is obedient, you can call the shots on everything from when to eat, sleep and poop or whatever makes your fur fly.

 Hiding the TV Remote: Humans, especially men, think they own the TV remote. If you want any shot at watching your TV shows, you need to learn to hide the remote for ONE TV – the biggest TV in the house.  This is important. If you hide all the remotes, the humans will know, you are to blame, but if you hide only ONE remote, they will think they put it down somewhere and forgot. Eventually, they will just give up and go to another room to watch their shows rather than waste time trying to locate the lost remote.  This is perfect. Once they are comfortable, you get the sofa, the blankets and the big screen all to yourself.

Ghost in the House Game: To start: Growl at the air. This freaks humans out. Why? If you growl at the air for no reason, your owners will think you are seeing ghosts.  Yep, that is the conclusion they will jump to; trust us. Apparently, dogs, cats and kids have the inside track on the paranormal and “experts” say a dog barking at nothing is seeing spirits.  This game can keep your owners preoccupied for months if you master it. This is how the game is played. 1) Pick your head up as if someone walks into the room; 2) Start to emit a low grumble that says, “I am confused and a little scared.” Then, do your best timid look. You can tremble a bit or place your tail between your legs.  3) Turn that low grumble into a fierce growl (the same growl you use on the mailman). 4) Then yelp and run under a bed and refuse to come out.  Your humans will be so freaking scared! It’s a riot. The best part is that not only will you spook your owners into near insanity, but they will feel badly that the spirits are harassing you and give you steak.  Yes, it’s a mean con, but we are talking steak, so all is fair when meat is involved.

A Canine’s Guide to the Good Life is Available on Amazon.com

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6 thoughts on “A Canine’s Guide to the Good Life Excerpt”

  1. When I was a young pup, we enjoyed playing with our socks with faces but it had its drawbacks, Don’t ask me how but I somehow got into bras with faces and well, the rest is history!

  2. My dogs (may they rest in peace until I get there) had their own version of the Fake Fetch game. They would run after the object (whatever it was), grab it, then, instead of bringing it back to me, make me chase them and wrestle it out of their mouths so I could throw it again.

    That version was both cute and annoying, too.

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