The intended but failed joke was that in Elbonia their pets are pigs. Thus the pig was practicing his fetching. You see, fetching doesn't come naturally to pigs. They need to practice on their own. But that's not the joke. The joke was that in good times the pig is a pet and in bad times he's dinner.
This wasn't my best work, according to the comments online, and I am forced to agree. Some readers were confused. Others imagined a cleverer joke than I actually wrote, based on a strip years earlier where the pig was minister of finance for Elbonia. That theory held that his bad job performance was catching up with him.
My second failed strip of late involved Dogbert trying out the flash feature on the company's new cell phone. This one didn't work but it's only half my fault this time.
The problem this time is that the outside service that adds color to daily strips (mine and others) decided the dead guy should be Dilbert, and they colored his necktie to conform to that theory. The dead guy is supposed to be Ted. I never color anyone's tie with Dilbert's distinctive style for exactly this reason. (I only color the Sunday strips myself.) Correct coloring wouldn't have been enough to save this comic, but it didn't help either.
You might wonder why I go through patches where Dilbert comics mostly suck for a few weeks, such as this one, and patches where I seem to be on top of my game. Some of it is probably just a matter of diet, exercise and sleep. But the bigger part is that I try different ways to go at the comics for a few weeks at a time. Notice that both of the comics that failed are missing an action scene that is implied. In the pig strip you don't see the future dinner preparations, and in the camera flash scene you don't see the flash itself happening. In both cases someone expires, and in both cases the topic is more fantastical than the usual office happenings.
The comics I am drawing now, that will run in late June, are back to standard office material. If I did too much of either the fantastic or the mundane it would cause a sort of snow blindness for the material. And I've found that the best way to draw young males into reading the strip is to kill some characters now and then. So while the quality of the strip has been down for the past few weeks, young readership probably went up.
I might be crazy, but I'm crazy like a pig.