Despite being an absolute sweetheart, Sab was notoriously aggressive towards other dogs. As a result, he didn’t know how to play like a normal dog (since he had never played with one before). Thus, I had to create games for him to keep in occupied and stimulated. This may be one of many installments on this subject.

One game we played (let’s call it “Run & Chase”), was a 3-player game (i.e. 2 people; 1 dog). We usually only played this game when K was around. Basically, I would get him all riled up and ready to play; getting him riled up usually consisted of me smacking him in the face and goading him on.

Sab and Heather - smack

Once he figured out what was happening, he’d get excited and start playing (i.e. biting); at which point, “Run & Chase” would start. K would hold him down while I started running (and goading him all the while).

Heather - running away from Sab

I would run clear across the field. When K decided that I’d run far enough, she would let him go and he’d run after me. She’d give me an ominous warning of “He’s coming!!!”. At which point, I’d start looking over my shoulder for the impending doom; once he got close, I’d turn around and stop; bracing myself for impact.

The game always played out the same way; he would barrel towards me and at the last minute he would deke out of the way, slow down and then attack me.

Heather - Sab please don't hit me

Sabastian deek

We’d play and then I would hold him and K would run across the field calling to him; when she’d get far enough away, I’d let him go. He’d run, chase her, attack her. Then she’d hold him; I’d run, call for him, he’d chase. You get the idea.

The first few times we played this game, while I watched him run directly at me, I would consider the possibility that he wouldn’t deke. I would lose confidence and would side-step him. On more than one occasion, I side-stepped and he deked in the same direction; one of us ended up hurt. Eventually, I learned, and began to trust, that he would deke and wouldn’t hit me.

This one time, we were playing and, as per usual, Sab was barreling towards me.

Sabastian running1

Sabastian running2

Sabastian running3

Sabastian running4

Sabastian running5

Sabastian running6

I mentally coached myself not to sidestep him, as I did every time we played the game. At one point I realized that he wasn’t going to stop or deke out of the way. Unfortunately, it was milliseconds before impact.

Sab’s head/chest height was roughly mid-thigh level, so when he hit me (and ran right through me) he literally swept me off my feet.

Sabastian run over

After that I had to contend with a 100lb dog licking my face and jumping all over me while I tried desperately to regain my breath after having the wind knocked out of me. Meanwhile, K was on the other side of the field laughing her ass off.

Big thanks to EliseArt for providing the illustrations!

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