She’s still alive.

I’ve been doing doggie obedience training for Dorothy Barker because she’s insane, and she’s okay with most of the basics now (Come here.  Stop chewing on the cat.  Don’t shit on that) so now we’re moving on to tricks and she’s pretty good at most of them but there’s one that she can’t do, so yesterday I told the dog trainer that I wanted to work on something specific because “The problem I’m having is that my dog won’t die fast enough.”

And he was like, “Mmm.  So.  Wait-what?”

And I said, “You know?  That thing where you shoot your dog?  And then she dies?  But it takes FOREVER for her die and I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong?”

And then he stared at me and Victor was like, “It’s called ‘PLAYING DEAD’, Jenny.” And I agreed because THAT’S WHAT I JUST SAID, VICTOR.  But then the trainer repeated what I’d actually said without context and then I understood everyone’s concern and now I can’t go back to obedience school again.

PS.  Here’s a video of her doing tricks.  Today she’s a little faster at dying but she doesn’t stay dead long enough, I think.  Also, I don’t know the command for making her stop playing dead when she just lays there.  Yelling “GO FULL ZOMBIE” is getting me weird looks.  I’m really more of a cat person, I think.

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102 thoughts on “She’s still alive.

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  1. The best part about this post is that I knew exactly what you meant as soon as I read, “…my dog won’t die fast enough.” I do believe that means I speak Bloggess now. That’s the best part of my day so far.

  2. I knew what you meant. He’s a dog trainer, for crying out loud. That should have been context enough.

  3. I totally understood what you meant. Clearly, the trainer needs a course in critical thinking and deductive reasoning.

  4. My dog can’t do any of that. She farts, takes up the entire couch, and acts as the sword between Tristan and Isolde (I think I’m Isolde).

  5. The trick is to reward the fastest ones, and ignore the slower attempts. Not “no, too slow!” just ask for something else (sit, say) and reward that, then try again. She’ll pick up what you’re putting down in no time!

  6. My cats won’t do tricks at all, although one of them did fall into the shower with me this morning in a failed attempt at attacking me through the shower curtain. Vivienne: 1, Shower Curtain Monster: 0. Wah hah hah hah! By the way, can’t wait to watch Dorothy Barker’s video.

  7. I knew what you meant, but I’ve never understood why anyone would want their dog to play dead. Is it in case of an attack by a bear or a zombie?

  8. I find that is always a problem when you shoot anyone…they just linger. Not that I have. But in my head? they take FOREVER to die. It’s actually not a problem.

  9. I didn’t even know playing dead was a trick they teach dogs at obedience school. Going to put that on my list next to “Learn how to flush the toilet.”

  10. My Annie dog used to die too fast. When I started the “next time you pull wool on a sheep” litany she’d die. Didn’t even wait for the “bang.”

  11. All those things she’s doing seem pretty good – small dogs aren’t usually known for following directions well. I’m not sure why you’re more of a cat person, though. I mean, you can tell a cat to play dead and feel like you’ve accomplished something, because it’s just laying there like it’s dead…but you and the cat both know that it’s only doing that because it wants to, not because you suggested it.

  12. The dog my family had while I was growing up was super smart. Knew all sorts of tricks. We could even get her to whisper. If you told her speak she would bark, then if you followed it up with “Shh…Daddy’s sleeping” she would do a very quiet bark. Brilliant!

    But playing dead? Nope. Just like Dorothy. Down and up. I kept telling her she was blowing her chance to play Jesus in the church play because she wouldn’t stay dead long enough.

  13. I used to have to tell my golden retriever to “go all the way dead”. Otherwise he would do exactly what she is doing. If I told him “go all the way dead” he would drop back down for about 3 seconds before springing up and mauling me for his ‘Nilla wafer. Miss that dog.

  14. Shadow only does two tricks. The first is to do MAD ballerina spins when she hears anything that is “I’m getting food” related. The second is to alert when my blood sugar drops too low…and she did that on her own. I got her right at the point when I was put on insulin and was having difficulty adjusting.

    But since she can do that trick, it makes no nevermind to me that she doesn’t do any other tricks! Other than manage to make a large tall man sleep on the edge of a king sized bed because she takes her half out of the middle of the bed… (And she’s roughly Dorthy Barker’s size, too!)

  15. I worked on this trick with a coworkers labradoodle…. only I taught him to “die” when I pointed at him and said “BANG!” because obviously that’s what I chose to do. Then, when working on the “stay dead” portion, I would throw treats around (at his mock funeral – I really got into it) and remind him “dead dogs don’t eat.” His cue that he could leap up and collect his rewards was me raising my arms and shouting “RESURRECTION!” because I wanted to make as many people uncomfortable as humanly possible.

    We put on a good show, but my coworker didn’t ask me to teach her dog any tricks after that.

    (Come to my house. You are my new trainer. ~ Jenny)

  16. Now that I’ve read this, what’s going thru my mind is “Why do we never see animal zombies in movies and COULD my cats become zombies?” Because, as if I didn’t have enough to worry about with wondering if my next door neighbor was going to one day ask me over for a bite, now I worry that my cats will want a meal or maybe that damn squirrel in the back yard will! (I’m voting for the squirrel. That little bastard has been out to get me anyway.)

    (There’s a movie on Netflix right now about animal zombies. It’s called ZOOmbies. No joke. ~ Jenny)

  17. Looked too long and deep into D. B.’s eyes…must…get …cookie…for…nice…doggie…

  18. I used to have a dog that would bark on command. It sounds weird, but it was really useful when strangers came to the door, then I’d tell her to “speak” then say loudly, “No Saxon–don’t attack. Calm down! I probably shouldn’t open the door!” Great for door to door sales people and missionaries. But how do you train a dog to roll over? Every time I try with Titus, I get him lying down on his side, but then he gets distracted by the spinning motion of my arm and the treat in my hand and jumps up to grab it.

  19. I don’t think she understands that she will never make it on The Walking Dead or Gamr of Thrones, unless she learns to be dead.


  20. Dorothy Barker is MILES ahead of my parents’ dog who likes to pretend that if she avoids eye contact, your command doesn’t count.

    “Hi Dee Dee! C’mere, sweetie.”
    “OMIGOD hi yes I love you how are you let me lick you.”
    “Can you sit like a good girl?”
    “My goodness, what’s that on the ceiling? Crown molding? FASCINATING.”
    “Come on, Dee Dee, sit!”
    “Golly the carpet sure is interesting today.”

  21. On the other hand – my cat has MASTERED the art of playing dead. It’s living that we have trouble getting him to embrace!

  22. No, honey, now you HAVE to go back, to prove your dog isn’t dead. If you stop going, they’ll send the sheriff for a puppy welfare check-up!

    Seriously, though, maybe Ms. Barker is better suited to melodramas than action movies. Nothing wrong with a slow, agonizing, confession-filled death scene!

  23. My cat is the actual best at play dead. She can play dead all day. Now if only she’d switch it up and play dead at night, the yeowling because she’s bored is something special…..

  24. when I was teaching my Macy dog (a border collie/aussie mix) to play dead, she got so excited and started barking and I started laughing super hard – so now, every time we say “bang” she’ll half lay down, bark, kind of roll over and pop back up, and I just can’t be mad!

  25. I have that exact problem with The Viking! It takes him forever to die and then he doesn’t stay that way long enough for me to eat an entire Coffee Crisp bar so then I have to share. :o(

  26. I’m training one of my cats to paw at my phone under the right circumstances. This is the same cat who is convinced that there’s SOMETHING inside my printer that he absolutely MUST GET AT. He’s been staring at it suspiciously for most of the morning.

  27. My husband’s cat (not mine, I hate the whiny, allergy-inducing thing) answers me when I ask him questions, but won’t answer my husband. Last night we were both asking him if he wanted food. My husband was like, “Yo bud, you want food?” the way he always asks, and the cat (Bruce) just looked at him. Then I jumped in. “Bruce, you want to eat? You want some food?” He looked at me and immediately meowed. Little bastard knows he better answer me… LOL.

  28. I have to shoot my dog several times. She’ll fall over after the first time but doesn’t die, her head is still raised, looking to see if I really have a treat. So I shoot her again and then she dies. I think it’s called monkey training, not dog training, because she trained me to shoot her twice!

  29. When you think your dog is weird and your dog thinks you’re weird then you know you’re a dog person because you’re being weird together.

  30. *Dorothy Barker seems to have a lot of scope for improvement, unlike my dog, who follows commands only when he’s hungry! Way to go Dorothy Barker!!

  31. My dog is named Cedric Doggery because I refuse to accept that not only is Cedric Diggory dead, but he is also fictional. ANYWAY, I want to teach Cedric to play dead so I can say Avada Kedavra and have him play dead…

  32. That’s not so weird. I tell my dog to “play zombie” when I want her to stop playing dead. 🙂

  33. We had only lived in California maybe a year and a half when we got my childhood Golden Retriever and the novelty had not quite worn off for my mom. Ginger’s best trick was rolling onto her back and kicking her feet around in the air when you said “earthquake.” There was an annual Golden Retriever public event here, with contests & such, and Mom discovered that the crowds freaked the dog out so bad she could not respond to any commands. The second year they went, I am pretty sure she won an award for “playing deaf.” You guys would have liked my mom.

  34. Well, now I want to teach my dog to be shot! The problem is, since he learned to roll over, that’s all he does now no matter what command I give. He’s just so excited that he knows how to do that one trick, it erased his capacity for anything else.

  35. Ponyo does this really neat thing where if I put on a specific video game (Legend of Dragoon) and turn the volume up, she absolutely loses her shit and bolts around the room. She really doesn’t like the button selection sounds for some reason. It’s nothing she was TAUGHT per-say, but it’s still a neat party trick.

    No one appreciates it like I do though. It’s a shame.

  36. I don’t see what the big problem was. I understood it! C’mon. Obviously you didn’t REALLY shoot your dog. Silly trainer, and silly Victor! You’d think everyone would speak Bloggess by now.

  37. I want my Theo to wipe his feet when he comes in. Since he certainly knows how to take all the towels off the towel racks, he should be able to wipe his feet with the towels he has confiscated.

  38. Good to know you’re okay. Hopefully you can train DB to round up the live and stuffed animals to do a show for you and Victor and Hayley everyday.

  39. Dorothy Barker is seriously one of the cutest little dogs I have ever seen. And I am an expert on cute little dogs.

  40. One of my dogs is really good at making jazz hands, but only at mealtimes.

  41. I think I’ve identified your problem, she’s swatting the bullets away. You might need to use a bigger caliber.

  42. We used to say we had to empty a whole clip into our dog to get her to die, so I know what you’re saying.

  43. I totally have to train my dog to ‘go full zombie” now!!! but, then I cannot let her clean herself or bite at itchy spots, right?

  44. If you’re uncomfortable with Go Full Zombie to get Dorothy to rise from the dead try Jesus Christ. Although that might mean she plays dead for 3 days but you win some you lose some.

  45. I once taught my cat how to turn on and off the light switch on the wall. Totally backfired on me she only did it when she was mad. If I was trying to sleep she’d turn it on or if I was reading she’d turn it off lol. Btw most of us knew what you ment but I can see were less awesome people would be confused and mortified that you were upset that your dog didn’t die fast enough.

  46. She is adorable! I didn’t know what you meant, either, and actually this dog-loving blood in me was starting to boil just a little bit.

  47. I’mm pretty sure my dog (shelter dog) and I, failed obedience training. and only got a Dog Obedience Academy Certificate because dog was so cute. Being a shihztu in a class a dogs the size of elephants. Doggie and I, each time we tried to do the drop/sit trrick were just continually laughed at. At least dog know how to sit and so do I.

  48. I knew exactly what you meant! I taught our dog to do that also except my husband does gunshot sound effects and our wolf dog drops right away but if he does’t die quickly enough I have to remind him that dead dogs put their heads on the ground. It is also a bit morbid because of the whole wolf hunting thing but he doesn’t know that part. Then he puts his head I also taught him, “what do you do when you are on fire? that’s right, stop, drop and roll!” I miss my kids a little I guess but he does that one like he is really on fire!

  49. Not to be creepy, but you have a sweet voice, even while saying ” bang bang”

  50. My dogs know none of this so I’m pretty impressed. Also, I think the problem with her not staying dead long enough is the same problem I have with my dogs, she just wants the treat.

  51. I,’m reading this on the night before my wedding and I send you a million thanks because it’s really helping to cheer me up (that and booze). Not because I don’t want to get married, but because weddings seem to bring out the asshole side of my family.

    Also, I may have taken Rory Racoon on my bachelorette, and taken pictures. I even met some people who recognized him. Which was SO awesome!

  52. She’s doing this right! Bang bang, I shot you down, slow settle to crouch lay down. Then bang bang I shot you dead and then she’ll roll slowly limp on her side. The finale is ” oops forgot the bullets” but I do like the Resurrection shoutout better. Will use that with next dog. The slow death trick is funnier really,

    It is sad though when it’s not a game any more.

  53. In case you are unaware, that’s an amazing dog you have there! Pretty & knows tricks?!? I’m lucky mine know sit & lay down.

  54. Dorothy Barker needs some plush road kill animals. My dog has a dead squirrel and a dead rabbit. They are her favorite toys! (Sorry, don’t know if they have any dead raccoons but she already has one.)

  55. Our dog’s name was Lola. She was not a showgirl.

    But she could sit and give you her paw, and she occasionally succeeded at “leave it.” She died (for real, not the tricky kind) less than three weeks ago, and although we miss that girl, we like to think that she can now merengue. And do the cha-cha. Probably ate the feather in her hair on the first day, though.

  56. I’m a dog trainer and I knew exactly what you meant by “my dog won’t die fast enough”! I watched the video and you’re doing great! Your cues are clear and concise and Dorothy Barker obviously loves working for you!

  57. Hey. Even us crazy bitches can be rolled and revived 😉
    Dorothy Barker? I’m learning new tricks, too…. I can’t get anybody to shoot me, tho. I’m AWESOME at playing dead!

  58. I totally knew what you were saying. My first thought was that maybe Dorothy Barker doesn’t need obedience school. What she really needs is acting lessons. Sounds like maybe she’s chewing scenery…

  59. When I taught my dog bang, bang I put him in the down position first. Maybe that would help her learn it faster. With him, one bang and he was down, then second bang and he would flop over. You are right, it is morbid.

  60. My dog also dies too slowly. We either say she is tough to kill or that she dies in super slo-mo. She also lifts her head to check if we still want her dead.

  61. Dude. You totally were fine. I taught my cat to die and it’s great fun to do when the kids aren’t paying attention. Most of the time, he won’t get up until I ask him to “come to bed” which means I’m going to give him treats and brush him like a pretty baby. This means the kids are trying to get him to get out of the way, or behave in an “appropriate manner” and he’s just laying there, totally “dead”. It’s great.

  62. That pretty impressive but my old cat foxy use to be a boss at not coming when I called her …now that was real talent…sigh I wish cats weren’t such assholes sometimes.

  63. When it’s time for my dog to stop playing dead I yell “liiiiiive!” and cackle. He gets right up.

  64. That is one cute and smart dog. I have a demon cat who I’ve trained to jump on a stool and sit for treats. Mind you, I still can’t get her to stay off the counter. Sigh.

  65. I 💜 Dorothy Barker Sooo Much! Love that you ‘share her’ with us, Jenny. Boop your nose is my fave DB trick of All Time! Thank you for this video, the Funny pet pics, which really made me 😆. Love Your cats, too. Pet-people Rock!! 🌷Love to you from CA 🐶 🐈

  66. I think “BRAAIIINNSSS” should be the cue to un-die for “Play Dead”!

  67. HI…………shld or have to alwys greet… well maybe… guess it’s the thing to do…polite and all……some people expect their name with the ‘HI” but hey….not now……I so get you Jenny Larson….. I too have depression and chronic fatigue & fibro & other auto-immune stuff …..just makes me tired…. tho I buldoze thru it all…cuz I refuse to let it bulldoze me…Oh I do love your book.FURIOUSLY HAPPY…. ON page 43.. so far have laughed and cried…… hits home power brain thoughts that (I thiink) most people w/ depression only get!!! Will read: LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED ALSO; as I already can IDENTIFY with the title already…..Hang in there w/ the depression……. one question tho…what’s with your ‘hands thing” goin on…. are you frightened of your hands??? please clarify……….Hang around for the BEST days of your llife’s journey…. depression is how you are…….not who yu are…….play yourself on your own stage……….YOU ARE LOVED…………ALL FOR NOW………..RUTHIE

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