The Hand Game

One of Sadie’s favorite games in the world is one that we call “The Hand Game.”

The objective is to use one hand to successfully close Sadie’s mouth while she frantically chomps at the air and huffs and puffs.

citrus salad with goat cheese dressing 025

citrus salad with goat cheese dressing 032

It’s nearly impossible to beat her at The Hand Game. She’s very agile and her reflexes are on point.

One way we try to secure an advantage is to grab at her paws, which she immediately tucks under her chest, forgoing her leverage.

citrus salad with goat cheese dressing 029

And then we die laughing because she bounds forward on her chest, keeping her paws to herself so we can’t grab at them.

Sadie is the smart one though and has a legit trick in her arsenal that is a game-ender.

The Dead Hand.

When she’s mouthing our hands, sometimes one of her teeth will press into a spot in our hand that immediately makes our hand get that horrific fuzzy feeling. We call this the “Dead Hand” and Sadie is awarded instant victory upon dead handing.

We’ve been playing The Hand Game for years and Sadie wins the game 95 percent of the time.

challenge me

So that’s how we spent our night last night. Losing at The Hand Game. Smile 


I have two new workouts to share with you this morning! I did them back-to-back and they left me incredibly sweaty.

First up was a 30-minute incline walking workout with a short burst of five minutes of running thrown in the mix to get my heart rate up a little more:

incline walking workout
Pin It

Once the incline got above 11, I was pumpin’ my arms like crazy to get through it! Incline walking is no joke.

After my time on the treadmill, I hopped off and did a new circuit workout inspired by the 1,000 rep workout I found on Pinterest a few weeks ago.

My circuit focused primarily on leg and abdominal exercises and looked like this:

legs and abs circuit
Pin It

I wasn’t really paying attention to the clock and took a few longer-than-usual rest breaks, but I think this circuit took me right around 20 minutes to complete.


This morning’s breakfast was a nice change of pace, though it included oatmeal and yogurt, two ingredients that seem to find their way into my morning meal an awful lot.


I ate a bowl of Chobani 2 percent mango Greek yogurt (love this flavor!) topped with freshly sliced strawberries and a bunch of my homemade granola that I made last night.



The bowl looks kind of small in the picture (it is very wide), but there was a crap-ton of food in there! Granola overload… in the best possible way.

Now it’s time to type up a freelance article and a corresponding recipe that I worked on yesterday and send it out! There’s a reason no lunch or dinner popped up on the blog yesterday… because I snacked my way through the day, eating my freelance flops as I perfected the recipe and made a mess in the kitchen. Mmm!


  1. Annie says

    The Hand Game reminds me of the game my hubby and I play with our dog, Mila. For some reason she hates when you touch her at her hip joint, so we’ll sit in front of her and go for her right hip, which will make her lung to the left, where we have our left hand waiting to tap her on the left hip. She flops around with her mouth half open, back and forth, side to side, until she catches us in the arm and gives us “dead arm.” Darn dogs really know how to play… haha


  2. says

    I love those pictures of Sadie! She looks so adorable! I love playing games like that with my family dog. I cannot wait for the day that I have my own dog. 🙂

    Mango Chobani is good! Have you tried the new apples and cinnamon flavor? It’s my new favorite!


  3. says

    Sadie is TOO cute!!! She (and your blog) have totally sold me on a vizsla…and in turn I’ve sold the BF. 😉 We’re really hoping to find our own vizsla this spring!

    I have legs on the workout agenda for today- your workout looks like the perfect challenge!


  4. says

    Sadie is so adorable! I play cat and dog with my dog. I pretend that I’m a cat and chase him around. He’s old but so puppy-like when he plays!
    I need to try that inclone workout. I hurt my quad and I’m just supposed to walk for awhile, not run. 11 incline is intense!


  5. J says

    This “hand game” you play with Sadie is a really bad idea. Dogs should learn to never put their mouths around a human body part whether a game or not. If you have children someday I hope she does not try to play this game with them because of what you have taught her. You seem to have a wonderful dog, but i had to say something because this is a very bad choices in games to play with your pooch.


    • says

      thanks for your concern. i hope it eases your mind a bit to know that she is just about the least aggressive creature on the planet (she rolls over at the slightest sign of anyone dominating and literally cowers). she doesn’t bite at us – it’s mouthing which doesn’t hurt in the least and wouldn’t hurt a child. the “dead hand” thing happens when we shove our hands against her, so it’s essentially our own fault b/c we’re playing too aggressively. but rest assured that we are extremely cautious with sadie around children and plan to be that way when we start a family of our own. it’s always good to be extra safe and i definitely appreciate your genuine concern, j!


      • Carolyn says

        J … i second strongly your suggestions.. And Julie i have four dogs now, cavaliers.. gentlest dog in the world.. I would still never do this with them if only because there are so many other non competition ways to bond with your dog..

        Sadie is a good girl..

        i thought of you recently with the Viz rescued off Siesta Key … horrible story but wonderful miracle rescue for the dog by the kayak. I know your family is in that area at times and for a moment thought of you..


        • mel says

          I play a similar game with my choc lab and she loves it…also she is the least agressive, scared of anything, wouldn’t harm a flea, dog in the world. I also play tug o war with my pups and they arent agressive at all! Each dog is different!


  6. says

    Why is it that silly games like that are our dogs favorites? My Golden loves when my hand chases her around the room. They have so much life and personality in them, it’s fun.


  7. says

    So adorable! We always play “The Crazy Game” where we chase Zekey around the bed over and over. He loves it! We’ve alao atarted slapping him on either side of his mouth (gently of course), until he opens it and it starts making a funny noise. They he thinks its funny and starts acting like a cat on catnip. Dogs are so weird!


  8. alyssa - fashion fitness foodie says

    You just reminded me that I wanted to make a batch of granola for this weekend. I’m just afraid to make it on a Wednesday because it might be gone by Thursday…


  9. says

    The circuit workout looks great! I try and find exercises on pinterest , but sometimes get overwhelmed with all the options and links! I got an elliptical for Christmas and was wondering if you have any suggestions/exercises for that machine? I know you have a lot of awesome treadmill workouts, but I would love to see some for the elliptical too! 🙂


  10. Lauren says

    My old dog, Otis, used to love the hand game!! It would eventually end when he would jump on me and lick my face and then roll over on his back in my lap (note: he was a 100lb golden retriever and not a traditional “lap dog”). Now when I try to play with my Irish Setter, Clancy, he just sits there and looks at me like I’m crazy.

    Some dogs just get it, and some don’t.


  11. says

    Those workouts do look pretty serious! I really need to work on running and walking on an incline! I have such a hard time not holding onto the treadmill (I keep thinking about the Biggest Loser and how they can’t hold on! haha)


  12. says

    Awesome workout girl!! I love reading all about the different workouts you use! I am a runner who has recently found the importance of cross-training and weight lifting to balance out my workout. I will have to give these a try! Oh, and Sadie, how adorable is she?!?!!?


  13. says

    This is really funny because I just posted a video today of our nightly routine with Ginger which involves my husband on the floor poking her or just putting his hand up and Ginger jumping back and forth like an idiot while growling, and snapping at that air.
    They really do make for some good entertainment 🙂


  14. says

    Playing games with your pet is so fun. It makes me miss my parents cat and playing with her with what I like to call the cat charmer (a piece of string). It’s like you read my mind… I was looking for a good lower body workout to do today and this fits the bill!


  15. Julie says

    I play the “dead hand” game too! That is too funny! I usually wrap my hand in a sock or in pull my arm into the sleeve of a sweatshirt and this is my dog’s cue to have at it. It’s hilarious trying to get their mouths shut ! I also grab for her paws but she is normally standing and thus doesn’t tuck them away … perhaps she’ll catch on to that eventually! Glad I’m not the only silly dog owner!


  16. says

    AAH! We play a similar game with our golden, except we call it “top of nose game”. We try to keep our hand on the top of his nose, and he grunts and growls and tries to get our hand. If we let him get our hands, then he doesn’t know what to do with them!!


  17. says

    The Hand Game makes me think of The Spider Game we play with our dog. Basically we pretend that our hand is a spider and go after him with it. He freaks out every time. It’s the best when both my husband and I do it at the same time. There is just no way Remington can battle two spider hands at once! Aren’t dogs the BEST!


  18. says

    Your workouts look intense and your breakfast looks awesome! Sounds like you had a great morning 🙂 I was wondering, would you ever consider doing a post on how you got into freelance writing and how you like it now that you are doing it full time from home? (If you have already done a post on this, I apologize, but I can’t remember you doing one before) Thanks!!


  19. Angela @ Health, Happiness & Harmony says

    Trying out your peanut butter granola this weekend! I’m so excited! 🙂


  20. says

    sadie cracks me up! we play with our pups with our hands too, but we sweep them across the carpet and try to knock their legs out form under them and they end up jumping all over the place, it’s pretty funny!


  21. Ruth says

    We play “The Claw” game with our dogs, you hold your hand up like it’s suddenly a dog head itself move it around like it’s looking at them, and start to growl at them and have your fingers go into the claw, they go nuts, it’s soo funny, then we wrestle around, but if they get out of hand, I just go ‘OUCH” really loud and they stop and look all sorry. I won’t be having children, but I always make them sit and greet children at the parks, and they are always polite and sweet.
    I love the workout, I will have to give it a try!


  22. Mary says

    Love Chobani!! So many favors! We can’t find it in Canada but when we go to the U. S. we buy a lot of it. I find it more filling than other yogurt. Love Sadie and all her pictures. Keep them coming.


  23. says

    We play a similar game with jasper but we make it look like the hand is talking….so he talks back to it and then we pounce him. He immediately rolls onto his back and wiggles around the floor. Vizslas are hilarious!!


  24. Geraldine says

    Awh you make me want a dog sooo bad!! My boyfriend was considering buy me a vizla at Christmas but he decided against it as we’re just not 100% settled and may emigrate or move sometime in the near future and it wouldn’t be fair on a dog. He wants to call our first dog Roland …not so sure about that one 😀 How did you choose Sadie’s name?


  25. Amanda says

    HAHA love the hand game! My fiancee and I have a game where we try to get our finger in our dogs mouths when they yawn. Gotta be quick!


  26. says

    I love the hand game! We play a game with Charlie when he has a ball in his mouth. Because he doesn’t want to give the ball up, we push his front two feet out from under him and he flops all over the place. Okay, now that I’m typing it out, it’s more mean than it is a game. But I swear he LOVES it! ha!


  27. says

    I play a similar game with my dog Maggie, except that it’s with sitting as close to her face as I can and sticking my tongue out like a lizard. It drives her nuts and she tries so hard to lick my face so that I’ll stop, so the longer I move my face the more she licks! So funny!


  28. says

    What a fun game! This is going to sound really strange but we have a game with one of my cockapoos that he’s loved playing since he was a puppy. I put my hand in his mouth behind his front teeth and he gums my hand. He thinks it is the funnest thing. I saw the comments people made about dog aggression and I think you can’t make blanket statements about dogs. Andy has never once went to bite me or hurt me or shown any kind of aggression towards me. My boyfriend’s parents won’t play tug of war with their dog because they heard it teaches aggression but I play it with mine all the time and they have never ever once exhibited bad behavior from it. I think you have to know your dog and know what it is capable of, and use smart judgment from there.


  29. says

    Hah I play the hand game with my vizsla mix too! He loves it, but definitely knows how to work the system because any time we actually catch his mouth he cries like he’s being tortured…even though he’s juuussttt fiiinnnne. He knows how to pull at my heart strings. Smart puppy.


  30. says

    We do something similar w/ our big dog, Wyatt – but i’ve noticed that he won’t let us pet his head, instead he wants to gnaw on our hands..which is fine when it’s just us – but when someone comes over and wants to pet his head he won’t let them..and that’s not good.

    I don’t think I can make him understand it’s okay to chew on our hands and not other I try not to do that with him to much.


  31. says

    I used to play a game with my dog where my hand was literally his toy and I would hide my hand from him and he would go sniffing for it. It was adorable. Like Sadie, he was super gentle and not aggressive, so I knew it was all in fun!


  32. says

    Hahahaha, I want to play the hand game! We play a similar one with our dog where we just grab at his paws, but he’s not smart enough to tuck them in. He just gets all crazy and runs around his circles and then barks at us.


  33. Carla in Sydney says

    My dog just loves to steal our underwear from the bathroom floor every morning when we jump in the shower…….the “game” is us chasing him around the house trying to get them off him. He loves it!! We could just stop leaving the underwear on the floor but he gets a real kick out of it. Dogs are the best!


  34. says

    Sadie’s a thinker! Every now and again my dog wants to play tug with his blankets (he has FOUR because we keep buying them for him…and he thinks mine is his as well…lameo), but now that he’s gotten older (he’ll be 11 in March! Eek!) he only plays for a few minutes at a time before he gets bored and/or tired. He’s not as smart as Sadie, but he is pretty hard to trick!


  35. says

    Thanks for putting a name to Charlie’s [our new pup] fave game! Given the option of toy vs. hand, hand seems to win out… If only I could be so easily amused 😛


  36. Ross says

    I got a good laugh at work reading about the Dead Hand Game. I will have to step up to challenge her next time I see you guys. I’ll do a similar game with Kona except I try to *attempt* (for all those who think i’m a dog abuser) to smack her on one side of her mouth or chest and watch her snap her head around to try to nip me. While not as daring as the mouth game, I get less injured lol.


  37. Anne Marie says

    Hey there Julie – Love your blog so much!!!! I have been meaning to try out some of your workouts since I started reading and I finally got around to doing this circuit workout tonight. IT WAS AWESOME! Thank you 🙂 I have a feeling your workouts are going to be the #1 motivator to get me in wedding dress shape 😉


  38. says

    I did this treadmill workout today and it was really intense!! Phew. Initially I didn’t realize that some of the intervals would be 2 minutes near the end – that was really tough! Definitely made me work up a sweat – thanks for sharing!!


  39. says

    Currently it seems like Expression Engine is the best blogging platform out there right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you are using on your blog?



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *