Peace was restored. I could finally put the plate down. The dogs were separated and suitably chastened. I got my chair back up and found, to my relief, I didn’t have to cast a Major Heal.
It took a good ten minutes to sort everything out. Ever ranted at dogs while uncaffeinated with a crumbling bit of toast in one hand and a dirty plate in the other?
It’s an Experience.
Miss B ended up under my desk. Boxnoggin tangled himself up with my chair, still trying to sit. The entire office rocked on its foundations.
I started cursing.
All luck is inconstant, though, and all natural 20s come with a price.
My chair rolled a zero.
So did both dogs.
(Vegas, eat your heart out.)
I want to report that I rolled a natural 20 on gaining my feet with a fish-straining lunge, another in catching the toast-morsel, and a third in catching the plate in my opposite hand.
You know that thing in movies where everything’s flying in slo-mo? Like that.
So. Boxnoggin attempted to sit while still moving at high speed, crashed into Miss B, and both of them tumbled into my chair. My plate went flying. The remaining crust-morsel was tossed ceiling-ward.
Because of the way my office is set up, my desk is kitty-corner from the door, which put my chair—you guessed it—right in the path of a two-dog cyclone.
Technically there were TWO problems.
He was still moving.
And Miss B, sitting and chewing her prize…was in the way.
He tore down the hall like he was on fire, skidded into my office, and attempted to sit to claim his prize.
There was only one problem.
He was still moving.
Boxnoggin, of course heard this. And he went…let me find a technical term…
Ah, yes. The dog went positively apeshit.
This morning the dogs got morsels of crust from my breakfast, as usual. But Boxnoggin was in the other room when I told Miss B to sit for her treat.
So we have a dog who is dead certain he’ll get a treat, any treat, at any moment, if he just sits enough—and the guilt of knowing we’re basically using a Las Vegas casino strategy of dopamine addiction.
We would, of course, be running the risk of breaking the connection between “you sit before you get” except for one simple neurological fact.
Inconsistent rewards are more addicting than consistent ones.
In other words, he’s engaged upon a course of sitting in order to make it clear he DESIRES a treat, and of course DESERVES one because “look, I’m SITTING, that’s the MAGIC KEY, right?”
But Boxnoggin has thought, long and furiously, about the connection between sitting and treats, and he is CONVINCED that magical things will happen…
…if he just sits ENOUGH.
Not to the sitting—he LOVES to sit. Any time there’s a chance of a treat, a pat, or a toy flung down the hall to chase, his ass thumps to the floor like an angry rabbit’s stamp.
Black sheep of the von Schtupp clan. I write books. A crow for a fetch, I'm your huckleberry.
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