Hide & Seek is a game we dogs have played amongst ourselves since time immemorial. As Puplets, we practice the skills we would once have employed as adults in the wild. When we’re young, we don’t necessarily understand that most of us as adult dogs will no longer require these skills to survive by hiding from larger prey such as lions and tigers and bears and wolves and things. By playing and having fun, we’re practicing those skills in an enjoyable way without necessarily understanding why we’re doing it. If we did, we might not find it so enjoyable and therefore might not practice it so much which in turn might make us easier prey for the salivating, scavenging, savage beasts we’re likely to encounter in our adult lives even though most of us won’t really. Unless of course we live in Africa or somewhere which I don’t and you probably don’t either.
When I was eight weeks old, I got a completely new playmate to practice these skills with – a strange looking humanoid thing called Dad who would try to hide from me in the long grass at my new home in rural Somerset. The fact that he stood out like a stampeding wildebeest in a crowded high street made no difference to him it seemed. I never had the heart to tell him so I just went along with the game because, apart from anything else, I enjoyed it, and still do to this day.
When I was small and Dad was hiding in the long grass I couldn’t see him because the grass was tall and I was little. He thought he was hiding from me but really of course he was hiding from himself. Now I’m bigger I can still see him most of the time but he gets such pleasure out of the game I go along with it for the crack. So I pretend I can’t see him as I stalk him in the long grass, mainly for the look of surprise on his pinched little face when I eventually pounce on him. He knows it’s coming, but why is it that every time without fail he wears the face of a deer mesmerised by the headlights of an oncoming truck?
Sometimes we play this game in the woods as well. It never ceases to amaze me the unbridled pleasure Dad gets out of our Hide & Seek & Not Eat game. I just have to remember the ‘Not Eat’ bit, cos boy is he in for a shock if ever I get confused between ‘Hide & Seek & Eat’ and ‘Hide & Seek & Not Eat’! Okay, I’ve seen more meat on a racing pigeon, but what if I were to suddenly discover that eating Dad was really quite nice after all? Doesn’t bear thinking about!