Tuesday, July 18, 2023

She's Always Ready to Play Jenga.

Image by Susan Foster.

I sometimes participate in a monthly six-word photo story challenge on Medium. When I saw that "play" was the prompt for July, the idea for this photo and the following two-sentence "story" came to mind.

The tower falls. We try again.


These six words do tell a story, but they leave out the details of why and how this came about. 

During a long, cold winter when temperatures were well below zero, I tried to think of ways to keep our dog entertained. So I taught her some tricks. 

One of which was how to play Jenga.

She caught on much more quickly than I anticipated. Almost right away, she got the concept of taking just one block from the tower.
Image by Susan Foster.

She doesn't like to take turns, but the "wait" command helps out with that.
Image by Susan Foster.

Most difficult of all was getting the main objective of the game across to her ... that the blocks must be removed gently from the stack so that none of the other blocks fall. Sometimes she does this. But often her enthusiastic approach causes the block tower to fall. 
Image by Susan Foster

We're still working on that. We stack them up and try again.

When we finish playing, she helps me put the blocks back in the bag. This cleanup effort requires lots of prompts, but I've seen toddlers be less cooperative.
Image by Susan Foster.

I was not the first person to teach a dog to play Jenga. I got the idea from this video on Instagram that features a dog named Secret, probably the best canine Jenga player, ever. Secret and Mary, her human, set the bar for the rest of us pretty high! I doubt that we will ever get that good, but it's fun to try.


In addition to the original small blocks, there's even a giant version of the game of Jenga, with jumbo blocks that stack to over five feet high, I wonder what our dog would think of that!


One word of warning: Jenga blocks used with canine players may become riddled with tooth marks. It's pretty tempting for a dog to occasionally chomp right down on them!

This blog post contains affiliate links for products I believe in. This does not affect the price of items purchased, but I may receive some compensation. 

Have you ever seen a dog play Jenga?