What Games Do Your Dogs Invent?

by Lisa Lanser-Rose

People are always saying Border Collies are such clever dogs that, left to amuse themselves, they’ll only make trouble. Sometimes they do, but they also invent perfectly harmless games to play alone–or to lure us into playing with them.

GravityWhen he was tiny Mick used to jump on the chair and drop his ball over the back of it. Then he’d leap after it and repeat. When he got bigger, he’d take it to the top of the stairs and let it bounce down–then roar after it.

Now that he’s older, wiser, and wilier, he’ll drop the ball at my feet, then race around to hide behind the armchair. A moment later, my little ambush predator’s head peeks up over the arm to see if the oblivious ball is coming. It’s so cute, I laugh and throw it for him, of course.


What games do your dogs invent? Here’s one of a corgi playing fetch with himself and the help of a stream. There’s nothing more charming than a clever dog at play!

11 responses to “What Games Do Your Dogs Invent?

  1. Gem takes her rollee ball to the top of the steps and lets it go, chasing down and then running back up with it to do it all over again and again and again… ad infinitum… 🙂

  2. Seeker piles toys on my lap until I give in… 😀

  3. Heather Wolverton

    Fancy Watches Animal Planet And Shakes Her Toys At Hawks And Airplanes When She Plays Outside.

  4. Let’s see . . . there my BC came up with stick tag and would regularly make frisbee more complicated and challenging by hiding behind trees, moving at the last moment . . .Then there was the complex geomancy known only to BCs involving where to place the ball or frisbee–’cause they *cannot* give it too you. That’s some Mothership violation or something.

    • They do see to deliberately try to make things more challenging for themselves. Maybe that’s why Mick is hiding behind the chair–it’s an obstacle he has to overcome, and it hides his view of which way I’m throwing. (Increases “surprise.”) I’ve always been fascinated by the different ways they try not to violate the Mothership by giving you the ball. Kierney did the ballerina twirl and some kind of quantum displacement happened. Pip used his nose like a pool cue and rolled it to me.

  5. Fionna also loved to untie knots. In anything you gave her. She would delicately pick apart tied shoelaces and take them out of the shoes. She also once removed her own stitches–thankfully it was time to have them come out, and the vet said she did a good job. Only caveat was that I could NEVER tie her leash to anything for even a minute.

  6. My Sheltie will continually pick up and place his toy in different spots on and around me — the floor, the cushion next to me, on my feet, directly in my lap — until I give in and throw it for him. Even moreso than inventing games, though, Shamrock has picked up on a “chore” that he likes: when my cat jumps on the kitchen table or is doing something else naughty, I make a short hissing noise to tell her “NO,” and then chase her if she didn’t get the idea. Now all I need to do is make her no-no noise, and Shamrock does the chasing for me! Even if we’re lying in bed and I hear her in another room knocking things over, I make the noise, Shamrock gets up to chase her, and he comes right back to bed afterward.

    • Kristen, that’s awesome! Mick likewise does a great job helping me herd the cat through doorways and off the counters. Then again, he’s busy moving the cat through the house pretty much all day long.

Whatcha thinking? Gimme that! Grr! Grr!

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