Niko, my late Shepherd, was a dog of many talents. Rocky wasn’t far behind – as long as a treat was involved. One of the “fan favorites” was a trick we called “bang! you’re dead.” Given the name of the trick, I’m sure you can guess what it entails, but just in case… I’ll describe it to you. I would point my finger at the boys and yell “bang! you’re dead!” Niko would respond with theatrics – groaning, dropping to the ground and flopping over on his side. Rocky’s version was more “bang, you’re mortally wounded” which involved him throwing his head down and slightly turning his shoulders while keeping an eye on the treat in my hand. I’m not sure if his response was because he was too big to flop over on his side or didn’t quite get the concept. Or maybe both. Either way, that trick was always amusing – especially for younger kids.
Since this has always been a favorite, I decided I would try it with Jacques. Why not – it only took a year to teach him to shake and to speak on command?!
The first attempt was sadly funny. I had a treat in my hand and was able to get him to lay down. After that, it went downhill and fast. Jacques went through his tiny repertoire of tricks as quickly as possible, throwing himself at me in the process. Sit. Lay down. Roll over. Lay down. Speak. High five. Lay down. At one point he was moving so erratically that I wondered if he was going into some sort of doggie trick induced seizure.
I was finally able to get him stop flailing long enough to start the process over. We went through the spazzing out routine a couple of times. He was so excited by and focused on the treat – it was like I was dangling filet mignon in front of him after starving him for a week. (Just by the way, this dog does not starve. And if he says he does, he’s full of it. Just look at his belly!) Finally… after trying to nibble on the finger I was pointing at him… he flopped on his side. I was so excited I screeched and starting chanting “Good boy! Good boy!” went sent him into Doggie NASCAR laps in the living room.
Once everybody calmed down, I tried it again to see if he could do it – and he did! Sort of. It was good enough for me. Anyway, we kept working on it and over the course of two days – yes, TWO days – he was able to get it down. I was so excited I videoed it because I knew no one would believe me. I sent it to my husband and Jacques’s Auntie Gina. Auntie Gina was shocked and couldn’t stop laughing. My husband’s response was “Great! Does he know the difference between ‘bang’ and ‘roll over’?” I said, “Well, he did on that take!”
So, I want everyone to see for themselves… The first video is the first take. The second video is Jacques’s showing the difference between “bang!” and “roll over” with an unintentional homage to Rocky.
I’m so proud of how far he’s come!! We’re definitely making progress!!