An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Further evidence he’s really just a cat

A few nights ago we made pasta and had planned to record the trick where I tie Chuck’s snout shut with a noodle of spaghetti, but before we could get that far we realized that a better video might be one that shows something you can’t really see in a photograph: Chuck doing a half-assed job of obeying a command.

The first trick he ever learned was to sit and then in quick succession he learned most of the other ones, to come and to stay and to lie down. But we waited probably too long to teach him how to roll over because now he routinely gives up in the middle of it and expects us to give him the treat anyway. I guess his thinking is that maybe we missed the part where he didn’t roll all the way over, it could happen, we might have blinked, and he’s much too lazy to not exploit that possibility.

Here I’m tempting him with the pan I used to cook the pasta sauce, and I have to tell him nine times to roll. Four of those times I even give him a visual with my hand to go THAT way. I won’t be surprised if while you’re watching this video your dog rolls over just to get that damn woman to stop yelling ROLL fer chrissake! MAKE HER STOP.

Chuck sort of rolling (flash file)
Chuck sort of rolling (Quicktime movie)

  • HomoGirl

    That’s great! He did it! My golden rolls over to her back on the command, “Over.” Then she waits for a belly rub. I can’t a complete roll out of her. What’s most disturbing is that I can’t get her to catch on to “shake.” Nonetheless, dogs are wonderful entertainment!

  • Ha! Chuck reminds me of my dog…we tell him to sit, and he lowers the front half of his body onto the floor with his ass in the air, tail wagging like crazy.

    At least he’s got it halfway right, I guess.

  • Lauren

    god, i love that dog.

  • Molicious

    Love him. LOVE him!

  • Man. I wish he WAS a Congressman.

    He takes some prodding, but eventually he does the bidding of the people who put him where he is today.

    Admirable, Chuck, very admirable.

  • Dear Heather,

    I will pray for you…and John…and Leta…and now Chuck.


  • It always amazes me how willing dogs are to please while cats just don’t give a damn. All last night my cat acted like she was on crack whilst patrolling the apartment. She ran from room to room jumping all over furniture and finally planted herself, around 5:30 A.M. on top of my computer monitor where she yowled. Then, after finally, FINALLY giving in to my begging her to just “be quiet and come to bed” she squeezed herself into the tiny space between my face, the wall and my pillow. *sigh*

  • Oh, that is too cute. Is he edible? I want to eat him up!

  • Oh, that is too cute. Is he edible? I want to eat him up!

  • Awesome, next on to diaper changing for Chuck.

  • All right, Congressman!!!

  • Teri

    Damn, I am just totally screwed here. Sounds funny as hell, but can’t see anything again. Didn’t get to see the ice cream video and can’t see this one.

    Can someone please help me?

  • 2girlsmama

    This is the first time I’ve commented on your site but I have been reading for quite awhile. I love the video of Chuck and his tricks! I have to admit I not only visit the site to read what you’ve posted, but also to see your daily picture. My hubby and I get a kick out of the pictures of Chuck (he reminds us of our old dog, Orrie). And of course the pictures of your little girl are precious. Now that I can comment, I just might do it again!

  • Awww ~ his desire for food shortcircuits the ability to follow commands. How totally inspiring is that kind of WANTING!

  • monkey

    Dog tricks are fantastic. Even better when the dog tries to trick you into thinking he did the trick. My brother had trained one of our dogs to put herself in the corner if she did something bad via the command “Get in the corner!” We had a designated corner too. Eventually, she would go in the corner without the command, so we’d have to search the house to see what she did “wrong” (usually an accident or tearing something up). A dog with a guilt complex…gotta love it.

  • chuck is awsome. i want a dog like chuck.. he’d be my mascot and I’d call him charles.

  • For some reason, I couldn’t see the video (either one) at home last night. I’m so glad I tried again (at work) this morning. Chuck is SO adorable, even if he does try to fake you out with the half-roll. It’s no wonder he has such a tremendous internet following.

  • Noelle

    Hiya Dooce, and all my other commenting friends. Loved the video, and also the craziness on display yesterday from the kooky emails you receive. I have a Rottie-mix pound pooch who is totally sweet, but has separation anxiety (read: looks like he took a chainsaw to the woodwork when we’ve been away). We have diligently gotten him to be crate trained and although things are MUCH better, his S.A. still makes our ability to train him tough (but we are working on it.) Anyways, any trick a dog can do is pretty dang amazing to me. Good work!

  • LucyArin

    Warning, obscure literary reference to follow.

    In one of the Anne of Green Gables books, I think Anne’s House of Dreams, one of the characters tells Anne and Gilbert that the walls of their house are “soaked with laughter”.

    Bear with me while I try to express what I want to say because it isn’t going to come out right. I know that you have battled fierce depression and I admire your strength in that battle, as well as your bravery in sharing the story with the world. That said, whenever I imagine Casa Armstrong, I imagine the walls soaked with laughter. Thanks for sharing your joy with the world in addition to your pain. I wish more of the world had your honesty.

    One final thing:

    I’m worried now that I committed some sort of internet faux pas by adding a link in one of my comments the other day about music because of some of today’s comments complaining about links in comments. Is that a no-no? I did check your comment policy and it doesn’t forbid it…


  • momma 2 angels

    Heather your page is such a treat. I just returned from vacation, and was reading you and admiring your flower shots in Denmark. I’m so totally hooked, love the heat, the doggy roll, all. Would dig a pic of Chuck’s snout restrained by a strand of spaghetti. Maybe Leta can create a ziti-weiner necklace?

  • That was truly beautiful! I love the way Chuck kept one eye on you at all times to see if you’d bought it and would put the pan down now please……

  • thejoyof

    I see your Chuck and I raise you a Wilbur. Wilbur is my 12 week old english sheepdog. I think teaching him to roll over would be the equivilant of me becoming a math scholar. I love the fact that Chuck has this laissez-faire attitude of being cool. He doesn’t have to work at it – it’s just there.

  • I forgot about your haircut and was all “who the hell was that?!”

    Also: Chuck is awesome.

  • Chuck is such a cutie! I love my cats, but they are completely untrainable when it comes to doing tricks. Too undignified…unliking liking their butts clean every day.

  • kidsmom

    Maybe it’s your accent? Who knew “Roll” sounded funny in southern?

    My dog will spin, thinking I don’t notice the plane of travel difference.

    And, I caught Chuck’s version of the middle finger flash, did yoU? Nice teeth,Chuck.

    My dog’s name is Charley.

  • LOL Thanks for sharing that. And damn woman! Your voice is sexy!

  • I’m at work right now where my computer has no sound, so I couldn’t hear any of the “ROLL” commands. I could, however, see the look on Chuck’s face that said “There, I kinda twitched into something resembling a roll, that should be good enough, now where’s my treat?”

    Wonderful. I’m still laughing. Thanks, Heather.

  • That was flippin adorable. thanks.

  • Further evidence that the former Congressman ROCKS!

    Hope the Easter Bunny is good to all of you!

  • MissusB

    Someone in the comments said that Chuck is “da bomb.” Untrue, because, of course, Chuck is the shit.

  • Heather

    Now we all know who really is in charge at your house. The kid and the dog. Just like at mine :). You have the coolest dog EVER! All ours does is bark at leaves and little German ladies on their way to the bakery.

  • chuck makes the world a kinder, gentler place. all my dog does is lay around and try to steal food off the table.

    also, i have tagged you for a meme which i realize is so blech but there you have it.

  • Well then perhaps my cat is part dog because I can get her to sit for treats. Never a dull moment with Chuck around, eh?

  • Martin

    I love Chuck.

  • I’m truly amazed. My dog can play dead. That’s about all the cool animal tricks I have.

    Now, I’m going out on a limb here and tagging you with a meme. I know, ridiculous. But, it can never hurt to ask.

  • All three of my kids ran in the room to see what all the commotion was about – then proceeded to laugh their asses off! How freakin’ cute is your dog? Love it!

  • dananico

    You guys are too darn cute.

  • Me

    What a cutie! Our dog would always roll over when he was little, but as he got older, he quit doing it. Instead, he’ll stand up, turn around and lay back down real quick. We’ve come to the conclusion that it hurts his back, so now we just say turn around and don’t make him roll over. In Chuck’s case, it looks like he just can’t stand to take his eye off the prize for even a second. 🙂

  • EJW

    The two parts of the video are Chuck’s tail, just going nutso, and Jon’s laugh, which is totally infectious. I love it!

  • kawaface


    when i taught my dog to roll over, we practiced so many times that every time i tell him to lie down, he rolls over. now i have to work on just staying put when he’s down…

    anyway, that was hilarious!

  • Hilarious!

  • I don’t have a dog, but my six month old rolled over a few times while I was watching.

  • Oh, man. That video made me miss the hell out of my dog.

  • rootietoot

    My dachshund was sitting next to me while I watched the video. She looked at me as if to say “oh no, don’t even think about it.” Then she walked off to shred a piece of paper.

  • Mark

    My dog knows loads of tricks, but always gives up on roll over. I think they find it quite hard to do unless there’s badger poo lying around somewhere.

    Maybe you should get some badger poo?

  • Tuning in for the newest Armstrong family adventure and getting Chuck is an added bonus! However, I’m getting a faint idea that Chuck may have been a con artist in a previous life.

    p.s. For all the bad mail or comments that you may read please know that there MANY MANY more readers out here in Internet-land that wish you and your family well and like what you have to say! Greetings from Greece.

  • when i played that josh the dog jumped and stared at the laptop. he doesn’t even know how to roll over and was ready to go.

    true story by the way.

  • Ha, that totally rocks. Chuck needs his own Podcast – just don’t include any of Jon’s farts.

  • That was hilarious! Chuck’s a smiler, isn’t he. Great floors, and love the new cut, Heather.

  • He is just adorable. I LOVE when you do videos on here.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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