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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.

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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.

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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.

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All luck is inconstant, though, and all natural 20s come with a price.

My chair rolled a zero.

So did both dogs.

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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.

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You know that thing in movies where everything’s flying in slo-mo? Like that.

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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.

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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.

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Technically there were TWO problems.

He was still moving.

And Miss B, sitting and chewing her prize…was in the way.

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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.

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Boxnoggin, of course heard this. And he went…let me find a technical term…

Ah, yes. The dog went positively apeshit.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?”

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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.

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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.

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It’s a good thing to make a habit of having your dog sit before a treat or a toy or anything pleasant is handed over.

Boxnoggin, however, thinks he’s found a loophole.

Instead of shoving at a book-boulder that didn’t want to move, I went for a walk in the very early dusk.

It was the right decision, and now I get to go to bed.

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