Life with Jasmine, Juliet and Buttercup, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with THREE rescued miniature dachshunds

Breaking Housebreaking

Well, I thought Jasmine was housebroken.  Both on Monday and today, Jasmine pooped in the living room behind my husband’s easy chair.

Until now, Jasmine has been a rock star when it comes to house training.  When we brought her home, she had two or three accidents in the house.  But since then, we’ve been consistent on a daily basis of when she goes out–first thing in the morning, around 10:30 for a walk, around mid-afternoon and in the evening for another walk.  She has been acclimated to this schedule for 2 1/2 months.

All of a sudden on Monday, I found poop behind the chair.  Right after breakfast, I had gone into the living room to check my email.  I sat on the couch, and Jasmine roamed around a little.  She sat behind the easy chair and made a small whimpering noise.  I asked her what was up, she ran over and plopped into her doggie bed.  A few minutes later, I noticed a smell and found the poop.  I cleaned it up, but since I didn’t catch her in the act, I couldn’t try to show her it was wrong.  Today, right after breakfast again, she ran out in the living room for less than five minutes (she has a wild dog/run around the house thing going on after breakfast).  She came back in the kitchen and went into her crate while I sat and read the newspaper.  I went down the hall to the office to work, and a few minutes later, I went towards the kitchen to get a beverage.  As I was passing the living room, I smelled a smell…yes, she had pooped in the exact same spot.

I cleaned it up again, and this time, instead of just using the Nature’s Miracle stuff, I also steam cleaned the carpet with our handy dandy handheld machine.  But again, since I didn’t catch her in the act, I couldn’t correct her.

What puzzles me is the change in her routine.  Why is she doing this now?  The only thing that has changed this week is that we’re doing more training.  She’s getting slightly more food than before (I cut down on her kibble to compensate for the training treats).  Other than that, our schedule has remained the same.

We’re going to try taking her out right after her breakfast.  We continue to praise her and use the “do your business” phrase to signal her going, but I’m not sure what else to do to stop this before it becomes a habit.  She has NEVER pooped in the house before; her prior accidents were just wetting the carpet.


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Jasmine the Working Dog

Yesterday, I discovered that Jasmine loves to work.

We received homework from our obedience class to work several commands (Watch Me, Sit, Stand).  I worked with her three times yesterday, and she was jumping with happiness as we worked.  Her usually sedate tail was wagging away, her ears were perky, and she was unusually peppy.  I was so happy to see her so energetic and playful!

While Jasmine doesn’t quite get the commands yet, I think she’ll catch on soon.  It seems that she doesn’t like to present her skills in the kitchen, but will readily come and sit on the carpet.  Go figure.

Of course, part of it could be the yummy treats she gets for working…hey, we all would think twice about working if WE didn’t get yummy treats too, wouldn’t we? 🙂

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First Obedience Class

Jasmine and I took our first obedience class yesterday. Eight HUGE dogs and itty bitty Jasmine had lessons in getting the dog’s attention, sit and stand. The other dogs were VERY food-focused. Jasmine shook and shivered all the way through the class. She did sit a few times, but I never got her calm enough to really pay attention. Given that the dogs were all about 50 pounds or more heavier than her, well, I’d be shaking too.

I don’t think that this is the class for her. I’m going to write to the trainer and discuss my issues. I’m not pleased with the way that the class went, including the complete lack of individual attention provided.

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Trusting Me to Do What’s Needed

In the last two months, Jasmine has been to the vet for:

  • Initial check up and shots
  • Abscess in her paw, and follow-up visit
  • Abscess in another paw (turned out to be a bee sting)
  • Ear infection, and follow-up visit

I’ve had to do the following:

  • Give liquid antibiotics (she resisted this)
  • Give antibiotic pills (stuffed into cheese, this was easy)
  • Soak and clean her abscess
  • Wrap her paw with a warm compress (hard to have her keep on)
  • Flush her ears with an anti-fungal every two to three days (um, not easy to say the least)
  • Put COLD drops in her ears twice a day (not easy either…who likes cold drops in their ears?)

What amazes me is that Jasmine allows me to do what needs to be done (okay, sometimes there’s a struggle, but we’re past that). With a trusting soul and a few shivers and shakes, she gets through each procedure. She then allows me to pet her…all is forgiven. The trust she has for me…well, I’m really amazed. I know she doesn’t like the procedures, but she continues to submit to them and still like me afterwards. Good doggie.

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Dog-Friendly Places, Part 2.

Given our search to find places to take our dog, what have we found? Here are a few places we like.

1. Bill’s Cafe, San Jose (on Willow near Lincoln). Lovely outdoor patio with about a dozen tables. Outrageously good Bread Pudding French Toast. Water bowls for the pups. They’ll also give you some cheese if you forgot your doggie treats. VERY busy on the weekends.

2. Willow Glen Frozen Yogurt, San Jose (corner of Willow & Lincoln). While their name says frozen yogurt, they are best known for an outrageously good French Silk Custard. Nice seating outside. Short on parking, though. I asked the counter guy what he serves dogs, and he gave me a little sample cup of French Silk Custard for Jasmine. This was Jasmine’s first taste of ice cream, and she went nuts for it. I, too, am nuts for the French Silk Custard. However, they have this Wow Cow stuff for those on diets. Lactose-free and sugar free. I don’t know what it’s made of, but it’s a great treat if you’re on a low-carb diet.

3. Cup N Saucer, San Jose (corner of Meridian and Blossom Hill in the Princeton Plaza shopping center). Outdoor dining with heated lanterns during the cold season. While not particularly “dog friendly,” they do allow dogs on the patio. Of course, they also look away from smokers on their patio. Their breakfasts are good. Good omelets, awesome potatoes, great scrambles (my favorite is the Veggie Pesto). Prices are a bit steep.

4. Lenny’s Deli, Carmel (Carmel Plaza, Lower Level). I hear that they even have a doggie lunch menu. Outdoor patio dining. VERY yummy, but a bit pricey.

5. Carmel, California. Carmel is a very pet-friendly town. Their tourist map even shows establishments that allow pets, and there’s a dedicated web page with those listings as well. Water bowls are found all around town, and dogs are welcome in most stores. More importantly, dogs ARE welcome on their beaches. We were in Half Moon Bay later in the week, and we found out that the State beaches in the area did not allow dogs–even on leashes. Bah. Well, I guess irresponsible dog owners who don’t pick up after their animals have spoiled it for all of us.

6. San Jose Dog Parks. San Jose has dog parks! Yay! I like a town that likes dogs. I’m glad I live here! I was on the road the other day, and I drove by the Los Gatos Creek Park. They have a dedicated dog park there. When I arrived, I found out that they have a $6 day use/parking fee. Ridiculous. I think I’ll stick to San Jose.

These are only a few of the places that we’ve been to thus far. I’ll continue to list new places as I find them.

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Dog-Friendly Places

We have been taking Jasmine to different venues with us to further socialize her. However, finding places that are friendly to dogs is difficult. I have been looking at sites like Dog Friendly and recently bought the book Dog Lover’s Companion to California to find places that we can go eat and play with Jasmine. While the Dog Lover’s Companion book gives excellent reviews on dog parks, the hotel and restaurant listings range from detailed to generic (“allows dogs on outdoor patio”) and the number of listings per city leave a lot to be desired. The Dog Friendly site seems to have more listings, but the lack of detail is disappointing; their companion book is more like a AAA book–cursory information about a city and basic listings (at best).

When it comes to finding places that allow dogs, you basically have to go visit and see where people are congregating with their dogs. The books do provide some surprising information (dogs are allowed on Muni and Cable Cars, for instance, and are welcome at Stanford Shopping Center and Santana Row), but in essence, it’s hard to tell until you get there. That becomes problematic when you’re contemplating a free-form day in a particular area. For instance, we were thinking about going up to Marin County for the day. Before we left, I decided to check to see if dogs were allowed in Muir Woods…alas, the answer was NO. Since Muir Woods was to be our primary place to walk and explore, we nixed the idea and decided on other areas instead.

Most restaurants with outdoor patios with separate entrances generally allow dogs, but again, you need to check beforehand. Dog travel takes advanced planning, whether it’s just out to the store for errands, to a nice breakfast on the weekends, or a weekend or week-long trip. That’s kind of a shame…we’re really into roaming and exploring for the heck of it.

Regardless, we’ve been happy taking Jasmine with us. She’s getting better at dealing with new situations and commotion…although it takes a few minutes and treats to calm her down.

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Training Me

We attended our first doggie obedience school class at A Dog’s Life on Saturday. A friend of mine, Cecilia, is the Director of Training there and is the instructor of the class. The class is called “Canine Middle School”–a beginner’s class for adult dogs.

The first class didn’t include Jasmine. We talked about training theory, how a dog’s brain works, issues and challenges for each of us, etc. It was actually quite useful information, rather than just jumping into “sit…good doggie” lessons.

We have some homework to do. The first step is to get the dog’s attention. We give her her cue (call her name). When she responds (turns her head, looks at me), we “mark” the behavior. Many people use a “clicker” to mark, but I like Cecilia’s approach of using a word instead; you always have your voice with you, but don’t always have a clicker. We then reward (treat, praise, etc.) and release the dog from the behavior. Seems easy enough, eh? In theory, yes. But I’ve read that it can take 1000 impressions for a dog to understand a command. In the last few days, she’s had quite a few. But, she only looks when SHE feels like it. 🙂

One of the things we’re supposed to do as well is to test the value of treats. Put two different treats, one in each hand, in front of the dog and let her show you which one she prefers. What did I learn? She prefers my right hand. And cheese. Other than that, food is food. Except for kibble. She doesn’t like plain kibble.

Oh, the inner princess in her is coming out!! Gotta love it!

What did I learn in class? Training the dog is all about training US. We need to be consistent. She picks up cues from our behavior and acts accordingly. Makes sense.

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New Experiences

We took a much needed day off on Tuesday to celebrate my birthday, to decompress from the past week’s challenges, and to just enjoy the day with the dog.

We went down the coast to Monterey and Carmel. It was a beautiful day…the fog burned off just as we arrived in Monterey. We parked near the Aquarium and walked down Ocean View Boulevard into Pacific Grove, all the way down to Lover’s Point Park. There is a lovely walking/biking trail parallel to the street. However, only the bike trail is paved. The walking trail is sandy–yet another lovely new experience for Jasmine. It was a great day for a walk–sunny but cool. We stopped at various benches along the walking trail to give Jasmine a little water and a little break. We didn’t know how far she could go without tiring, so we let her soak up the views and the experience.

And oh, what an experience! Sea gulls! Seals! Other dogs! Joggers! Bicyclists! People! While Jasmine cowered at a lot of the people who passed by, she did well. She enjoyed the walk…ears back, mouth open, tongue lolling in a doggie smile. Her healthy coat shined in the sun. It was a beautiful day.

When we reached Lover’s Point Park, we were disappointed to see that it was yet another “no dogs allowed” park. I guess I understand. Many people do not clean up after their dogs. Us…we depend on that roll of blue plastic bags every day.

After walking back to the car, we headed for Carmel–a VERY dog-friendly town. People were stopping us on the street, asking about our little cutie. Dog bowls with water were out on every block. By the time we made it to Carmel, we were very hungry. We ended up at a deli in the upscale “mall” on Ocean Avenue. Jasmine was the proud recipient of some very yummy pastrami that just happened to “fall out” of Tom’s sandwich. *Ahem* We walked around town, which was a bit tough on Jasmine. She was very intimidated by all the people around, and she skitted around a bit.

After a long walk around the center of town, we headed down to the beach. The beautiful water and white white sand were really another eye-opening experience for Jasmine. She was a bit hesitant about the loss of footing in the sand, but we coaxed her down the hill and to the water’s edge. Of course, she looked exceedingly cute with sand on her nose.

We decided to head on home. We had walked quite a bit throughout the day, and all three of us were quite tired. Jasmine fell asleep as soon as she settled into her fluffy pink pillow in the back seat of the car.

It was a beautiful day…a great way to relieve the stress of the week and to reconnect. Another step to socializing Jasmine and showing her the world.

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