Five Feet And Fifty Feet
I am really here to tell you about Smudge's version of this game, but in order to fully get the impact, you need to hear my version first.
Back a few weeks, when the Fox Room was still under construction and the carpet not yet laid, the floor in there was plywood subfloor. The pantry area was also plywood subfloor. The kitchen had had the old linoleum stripped out and glue-covered wood floor was left. The front room is refinished hardwood floor. The four of them join to make one big loop. (Got the picture?)
Bounty is young (he'll be a year old next month) and energetic, and he's spending most of his days crated for his safety. When I get home from work, he's full of pep and wants nothing more than to play.
I'm not so young, and running tires me out. I did find a game we could both survive. I called it "Five Feet and Fifty Feet," and here's how it was played.
First, the rules:
1) The dog is not allowed in the kitchen when it is occupied by a person (yes, you can teach dogs the difference). This is so, when cooking, a person carrying a pot full of something hot doesn't trip over an unsuspecting dog.
2) The dog must be encouraged to chase you. (Not a problem with a shepherd ancestry.)
3) The dog must know two things: where the kitchen starts and that the rooms all connect.
4) The game ends when I say it ends. (Most of the time.)
I begin by running through the kitchen. Bounty would stop at the kitchen threshold. Realizing he couldn't follow me, he would wait in some confusion until I left the kitchen area into the pantry. Then he'd follow me. I would already be entering the Fox Room. When I got there, I'd duck around the corner, but stop. The dog would come charging out of the pantry into the Fox Room. When he did, I ducked back into the pantry.
Got the picture?
This is where it got easy, because there was no traction in the Fox Room. Bounty could not turn or stop, so he did what any good shepherd does, and went around. All the way around, back into the kitchen where it all started.
When he got back around to running through the kitchen, I would run back out into the Fox Room, duck around the corner, and stop. See the pattern?
The ending result was a game where I ran about five feet each way, and Bounty ran about fifty each time around.
It all worked out wonderfully well . . . until the carpet was installed in the Fox Room. Suddenly he had traction and could make that turn back into the pantry. Ah, well, it was fun while it lasted.
Today, I discovered that Smudge has his own version of Five Feet and Fifty Feet.
The pool table arrived a couple of weeks ago, and the cat discovered it last Tuesday. I thought he was just sitting up there on it, watching out the back door (the pool table sits in the center of the Fox Room now, on that recently-installed carpet). But no!
As I watched tonight, Bounty went into the Fox Room, not realizing Smudge was on the pool table. Being a cat, Smudge couldn't help but stalk the poor canine. Crouch and creep, twitch the tail just . . . so! A half-leap and a sideways half-roll, and the game is on.
Bounty now knew the cat was in the room, and willing to play. He kicked it into high gear and raced circles around the pool table. When he stopped, Smudge stalked him again, above him on top of the table. Creep to the edge, ears flat, and rush the edge! Bounty pretended fear and jumped backward, again racing around the pool table, and this time onto the couch in the front room and back. (Anyone who's ever seen a Sheltie race-tracking knows what I mean.)
The game continued for about fifteen minutes, each time Smudge moving about five feet, and Bounty running about fifty.
I hadn't considered a pool table as either a place of cat camouflage or as a dog exerciser. I guess you just never know.
Copyright 2013 Michelle Hakala