Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

Walkies Again!

Jasmine has resumed taking walkies with me. What changed? I did.

I’ve been preparing for some upcoming business trips, and in that preparation, I asked our pet sitter to come over to meet Jasmine (she had been taking care of our bird, Click, during our vacations but had never met Jasmine). She came in and made some progress in getting acquainted with Jasmine. During that time, I explained to her about Jasmine’s life, how she came to us, and how she is today. I also expressed my frustration with Jasmine’s refusal to walk with me.

She chuckled at me and told me exactly what my husband told me: Jasmine was playing me. She knew she could get away with the refusal, so she’s been doing it.

I’ve been reading a lot of conflicting advice from dog experts on how to deal with fear-based behavior. I’ve also been reading about “pack” behavior and the whole “pack leader” debate. The pet sitter told me that I have to calmly but firmly go on a walk with Jasmine and not let her refuse. So I did. The beginning was a bit of a struggle…she tried to pull back and sit. But I kept walking. She quickly acquiesced, and before I knew it, we were off on a healthy and happy walk. I DID NOT try to bribe her, I DID NOT “correct her” with sharp tugs on her collar (I hate seeing that)…I just kept walking like it was the most natural thing to do. And she followed. The next day, she struggled a bit less. The third day, she hesitated for a moment and then came trotting along.

I’m thrilled that she’s once again my walking companion and that she’s moving forward. Now if only we could make the same strides in her acceptance of my husband (we’ve made no forward movement since her first olive branch), I think she’d be a much happier dog. Her “badger dog” burrowing has already turned into a way for her to hide from my husband. I’m hoping that my upcoming absence will help her forge a bond with him. If not, he’ll be using the GIANT bottle of Nature’s Miracle quite often.

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(Non) Barking Dog

Jasmine generally doesn’t bark.  In fact, I’ve heard her bark less than 10 times.  She barked twice at a big old black Lab at her foster home–once when we first met her, then when we took her back to visit (she just didn’t like that sweet old dog).  She barked once at the neighbor.  She barked when we had that magnitude 5 earthquake.  And more recently, she has barked 3 or 4 times when someone has knocked on the front door or rang the doorbell (including 10 minutes ago, which is what prompted this blog entry).

Jasmine does whine a little.  She whines when she is happy (when I come home from someplace) and when she wants something (attention in the morning).  Other than that, she’s silent except for the ear flapping, the tick tick tick of her nails on the linoleum, the “hooves of thunder” sound she makes as she runs down the hallway, and the jingle jangle jingle of her tags as she trots around the house or rolls around the floor.

Dachshunds can be very barky, so I’m glad that she’s fairly quiet.  I wonder if her recent barking is a further step in her acclimation to our home and her new life.  Maybe she’s getting more territorial…accepting that this is HER home.  Or maybe I’m reading too much into this, and she was just startled by the sudden loud noise.  Regardless, it’s another subtle change, another small sign that she’s making some progress.

She does have a cute little bark.  But then again, I think that practically everything does is cute.  🙂

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We Change, She Advances

Last week, my husband resumed taking Jasmine out for her morning business and feeding her in the morning.  He had been dismayed that he wasn’t making more progress with her, and I pointed out that he had reduced the amount of interaction he had with her.  So, he’s been leashing her in the morning, taking her out and fixing her breakfast.

In the past, she would leave the meal he made for her until I got up and joined her.  My husband also used to leave her enclosed in the kitchen.  This past week, he’s left her in the house of her own accord, and she has been running back into the bedroom to wake me up.  Of course, I’ve been ignoring her because I don’t want to encourage her whining.  When she has calmed down and has stopped whining, I then get up and greet her.

During this “alone” time, she has started to run back into the kitchen.  She has finally started to eat without my having to be around for her to feel safe.  Tonight, we went out to dinner, and I left her dinner for her to eat while we were gone.   She did.  BIG progress for her.

As we learn what her needs are and make small adjustments to help her, I see the results in both large ways and small.  She now takes cheese from my husband’s hand in the morning–she never would before and would even refuse to eat her favorite treat where he left it until I came in the room.  Baby steps, but important ones for us all.

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Badger Dog

Dachshunds were originally bred to hunt and flush out badgers from their burrows. Thus, Dachshunds are often comfortable in situations where they can burrow–under the covers, in most households these days.

Jasmine has a favorite burrowing spot–behind my back. When I’m sitting on the floor with my back against a table, chair, wall or cabinet, Jasmine crawls in the space between the surface and the small of my back. Her head sticks out so she can accept some pets, and her butt sticks out because, well, she’s longer than I am wide.  Thank goodness.  🙂

Jasmine just discovered a new place to burrow…under our bed! This morning, after being taken outside by my husband in the wee early hours of the morning, she ran back into the bedroom with a “play with me” attitude. I was still in bed, and I decided to ignore her. After some whining, running around, ear flapping and all around rowdiness, things seemed to calm down. Then, I heard some scratching on the carpet and some strange noises. I let it go for awhile, and when things became calm and quiet I got up to investigate. Jasmine was nowhere to be found. I heard another noise, and I looked under the bed. There she was! I called to her and she crawled out. She was happy to see me (Mom finally got up!) but in a minute or two, she went back under.

I’m glad that she’s getting more confident and is exploring mre. I’m also glad that her natural instincts are kicking in…badger dog indeed!  We recently changed her morning routine–my husband is now taking charge of her morning care and feeding to help him bond with her–and I have already noticed a change in her disposition.  I think the more we can socialize her and have her accept people other than me, the happier she will be in the long run.

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Doggie Pilates

Since Jasmine has been reluctant to go for walks with me, I’ve had to find other fitness activities.  I have a few old fitness tapes that have been gathering dust over the years, and I’ve been cycling through them to see which ones I like.  A couple of days ago, I tried the “8 Minute” series–Abs, Arms, Buns, Legs.  Today, I tried Pilates.

Jasmine thinks that when I’m on the floor, I’m “fair game.”  While I was trying to do the stretches and holds today, she decided that climbing on my stomach was the right thing to do.  When I was doing leg lifts, she decided that licking my face was a fun exercise.  Throughout the 42 minute tape, she was climbing on me, over me, under me and stuffing her little nose in my hand whenever she could.  I could hardly keep my breath from laughing.  It certainly made the exercises harder to do, but it also made exercising so much more fun to do.

Now, all I have to do is to come up with a new exercise regimen–Doggie Pilates.  How to exercise with your dog.  Yup.  I think it would be a best-seller.

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Play Time?

Jasmine’s personality emerges day by day.  She has her “don’t bother me I’m sleeping” times and her “hey pay attention to me” times and her “hey, let’s play” times.  However, I just haven’t figured out how to teach her what it means to play.

We’ve successfully played “tug” once or twice, but she doesn’t seem to really like the game, and she’ll only play with hubby’s “used” socks.  Ew.  When I get up to play with her, she jumps around me, but then I can’t really get her to play.  I try the “chase” game…chase her, have her chase me.  But she seems a little confused when we play this.  She gives me looks like, “um, what are you doing?”  I try giving her some toys to chew, and she just looks at them–she occasionally will chew on one of her soft toys but it doesn’t happen very often, and she sometimes chews on her rope toy but that doesn’t last long either.  If I roll a ball to her, she looks at it with pure disinterest (except to step out of the way if it is rolling towards her).  She does like to tear up stuff that I don’t want to play with–including my hand-knit sweater.  Yipes!  Her favorite game?  Gimme a BONE!  BONE!  BONE!

The only time I’ve seen her really play is when we visited her foster home.  Her foster mom had some puppies in tow, and Jasmine romped around with abandon with those cuties.  She even tried to get another foster dog, a slightly plump dachshund, to join the game.  Given her poor prior socialization, it warmed my heart to see her run, jump and just enjoy the day…like any other dog.
So, I’m still searching for a game to play with her that she’ll understand and love.  She deserves to have hours and hours of pure joy.

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Bath Time!

I had been taking Jasmine to Petco for grooming since I didn’t want her to imprint another negative experience (ala “Mom makes me walk near those evil dachshunds across the street so I won’t walk with Mom anymore”).  I had given her a bath at home once before, and she shivered all through it.  However, she’s been smelling quite “doggy” recently, so I decided to give her a nice warm bath today.

I filled the utility sink with a few inches of water and then picked my little bundle of joy up, removed her collar and gently placed her in.  To my surprise, she didn’t shiver and shake, and she didn’t look like I was about to murder her.  I took my cup and poured the warm water over her, then lathered her up with sweet smelling doggie shampoo.  She seemed to like the doggie massage.  I then used the moisturizing cream rinse on her and gave her a final rinse off.  I drained the water and picked her up in a warm fluffy towel and gently dried her off.  No struggle, no pitiful looks.  I dried her off the best I could and she wagged her tail.  Yes, she wagged her tail!

It’s been cold around here lately.  Maybe she liked the warmth of the water.  Maybe she just liked the attention (not that she is ever in want of attention).  I rewarded her after I dried her off with a nice brushing of her coat (she loves that) and a lovely bone to chew.

I don’t think I’ll go to Petco for any grooming but nail clippings (I still have yet to master that).  I really enjoyed giving her a bath and she seemed to enjoy the process.   Maybe it’s because her trust in me has grown.  Maybe she didn’t like smelling doggy.  Nah, that wasn’t it.  She likes to roll in poop.  “Sweet” smelling is all relative, isn’t it?  🙂

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Out Of The Crate, In To Her Bed

Since we returned home from the holidays, Jasmine has been reluctant to get into her crate at night.  Apparently, the people she vacationed with took the door off the crate and she could come and go as she pleased.  We were a bit reluctant to do that (okay, I was) because we weren’t sure of her housebreaking.  Well, I got a little doggie bed and placed it next to my side of the bed and she jumped right into it lickety split.  She slept through the night without getting up, and she patiently waited for me to get up in the morning without wandering.

The crate is still in the room if she wants it, but I think she likes being close to me–the crate is on the other side of the bedroom.  I do have to watch it…if my hand hangs down over the side of the bed, I sometimes am awakened by a cold, wet nose. 🙂

Jasmine also has the run of the house when I’m out.  She hasn’t had one accident since we returned, and she seems much less anxious and much more comfortable.  There is a fluffy pillow in the crate in the kitchen, but she never seemed to enjoy being there.   And it’s so wonderful having that little face greet me at the door.

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Rain Rain Go Away

It’s raining cats and dogs here.  We’re expecting several inches over this weekend and winds up to 70 MPH.

Jasmine doesn’t like sprinklers, let alone rain.  This morning, we went outside for her early morning “business.”  She wouldn’t stay with me under the large golf umbrella and was getting soaked, so I took her over to the side of the house under the covered walkway.  She reluctantly peed but didn’t poop, and she whined the entire time.  I don’t blame her.  I wouldn’t want to have to “go” in these conditions.

Now I have to watch her like a hawk so she doesn’t have an accident inside.  I would have to scold her if she did, but I really hate to blame her…it’s pretty terrible out there today and will be through Sunday.

I wonder what it’s like for people in the snow belt?  How do dachshunds go during a heavy snow storm?  Hm…anyone???

NOON UPDATE: Well, I took Jasmine back to the covered spot (which is pretty wet but still sheltered a bit from the rain), and she pooped.  I praised her and praised her and immediately let her go inside.  She was happy to oblige.  Good doggie!  She has also become a “natural” foot warmer.  Jasmine has taken to sitting on my feet today.  GOOOOOD doggie!!!

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