But she's never very happy when I play that game because she hasn't figured out a way to win it yet.
Dogs have a finely developed sense of justice, they don't mind losing, but they resent having the deck stacked against them. I learned that with my border collie Morgan, who was happy to play fighty-bitey, but not if i knocked her feet from under her, which i could do repeatedly with a swipe of my forearm from behind, she'd get this look that said: "Hey . . . no fair" and wouldn't play any longer. I recognized the justice of her complaint, and we had a lot of fun playing that and other games thereafter.
Dogs have a well-developed sense of fun, too. When she was a puppy, i would take her to a large field in the neighborhood which all the dog owners resorted to. In the 1890s, it had been the site of the football field and the baseball diamond of the university at which i worked. There was a fat black lab bitch there who thought she was queen. She would run at the other dogs until they went on their backs and showed their bellies in submission. The first time she did that to Morgan, the poor little puppy, she immediately went on her back, and was truly frightened. I was having none of that, so i ran over, and kept walking at the lab bitch, until she backed away, turned around and left. In dog language, i was telling her: "I own this space, all of it, you ain't ****." The lab bitch hated me, but she kept out of my way--like all bullies, she was also a coward. When Morgan i were there and the lab bitch was not, i would play a chasing game, but if she went on her back i would scold her and refuse to play any longer. It didn't take long for the nickel to drop for Morgan. She was the runt of her litter, but she was built like a whippet, and was the fastest border collied i've ever seen. Not long after, we went to the field, and the black lab bitch was there. When Morgan got far enough away that the lab bitch thought it was safe, she ran up to her. Morgan danced away, laughing. So the bitch went for her again, faster, and Morgan just danced away again, laughing at her. So the bitch got really pissed, and went after her full tilt. It wasn't a fair match, even if that bitch hadn't been overweight and out of shape. Morgan stayed ahead of her, and of course, few dogs can cut and dodge like a border collie. Finally, Miss Bitch was exhausted and went plodding back to her master (who also hated me, and also seemed afraid to challenge me). Morgan followed her, literally running circles around her. That old bitch never tried that with Morgan again, and Morgan would often run up to her, and run around her, as though to say: "Come on, that's a fun game, let's play it again!"