February 19, 2010 03:00 PM

Ever wish your dog could join in the fun of family game night? Well, he can. Enter Funagle, the board game that let’s Fido join in the friendly (or fierce!) competition.

Skeptical? I was too since I couldn’t quite visualize how Zoey, my intelligent but not exceptionally talented Wheaten terrier, would roll the dice. But the genius of Funagle is that while the human participants maneuver the board, the family dog (no show dogs needed here! Any old pooch will do) becomes the center of everyone’s attention – and isn’t that how it should be?

The object of the game is to collect chips by landing on them and then successfully getting your dog to perform the stated task within the one-minute time limit. As long as the participating dogs know the basics–like sit, lay down, stay, paw–you have a fighting chance. Commands like “Funagle your dog to lie down & stay while you rub her belly” are cake for both you and Fido. Then there’s the moonwalk chip: “Funagle your dog to stand on his back legs & walk backwards 4 steps.” Let’s just say Zoey and I didn’t earn that one. Sigh.

Funagle ($34.95) can be played with one dog, having the human players compete to see who can get him to do more; or it can be played with up to four dogs. Both dogs in our game were easily “Funagled” into giving kisses, dancing and even doing push-ups (sit, lay down – sit, lay down). And while the game says it’s okay to use treats as an aid, they shouldn’t be used for every turn or your dog will quickly end up with a bellyache. The game is best suited for people aged 12 and over and players should be mindful not to get too competitive in the name of keeping the canine competitors calm and enjoying the fun. A few shouts and fist pumps and a nervous dog might just say, ‘to heck with you guys, I’m Funagling my way outta here.’

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