Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

Reverse Sneezing

We were out for our daily walk yesterday evening when we encountered a little cock-a-poo-ish dog and its owner.  The dog was doing this wheezing gulping thing that was SO familiar–Jasmine does this every so often.  It’s almost like she has the dry heaves but she also gulps for air.  I thought it was something serious, but as I described it to the vet, he didn’t think it was anything to concerned about.

The owner just said, “Don’t worry, it’s just reverse sneezing.”  The owner did something I didn’t think of–he took a video tape of the incidents and took it into the vet (symptoms mysteriously disappear when you take a dog into the vet).  The vet took a look and told him that it was nothing to be concerned about–reverse sneezing.

I looked it up on the Internet.  While it sounds like the dog is going to pass out and die, it’s relatively harmless–and mostly untreatable.  It could be an allergy, an irritant, a result of eating or drinking, driven by overexcitement…anything.  So Jasmine’s wheezing and gulping, while loud and disconcerting especially in the middle of the night, isn’t dangerous.

Strangely, she often stops this if I take notice and pet her on the head.  Attention ploy?  Probably not.  Distraction cure?  Maybe!

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Morning is Broken

Jasmine is showing signs of greater confidence–and defiance.

Our morning routine has been pretty consistent.  Hubby gets up early early early in the morning to get ready for work.  He takes a shower and gets dressed.  He grabs Jasmine’s leash and comes to her bed and snaps the leash on her.  He then takes her outside for her morning business, feeds her and leaves.  She eats her food after he leaves, then comes thundering down the hallway to wake me up with a wag and a lick.

While Jasmine has been somewhat resistant to his taking her out in the morning (she plants her butt in the bed, her front paws embed in her blanket and she pulls back on the leash with her head), she does get moving with him and follows him after her short act of defiance.  However, Jasmine has recently broken her morning routine–she has reverted back to slipping under the bed so he can’t take her out.  Given that we have a king-size bed, she has found the “sweet” spot where hubby can’t reach her.  She sneaks under while he’s taking a shower, and she doesn’t come out until he’s left.

Or, at least, she tries to.  I haven’t let her get away with it.  He leaves the room, I get her out from under the bed, snap on her leash and take her out to the kitchen.  He then takes her outside and continues with the routine.  He wanted to not go through the hassle of getting her out from under the bed, but I believe that if she will continue to defy him if we allow her to get away with it.  She’s testing her “pack” status and is trying to be above him.  By allowing her to defy him, he’s supporting her stance.

I still don’t understand why she’s so suspicious and scared of him.  It has been 14 months.  The only time she comes near him is when I’m near him.  By touching him, it’s almost like I’ve given my “blessing” for her to approach him.  If I move away, she won’t go near him.  When she finally does come close, she always gets the attention that she wants and the loving she craves, but we can’t seem to get her to stop being scared of him.  If he moves, she jumps and stares at him suspiciously.  She even barked at him (yes, one of less than a dozen times she’s barked) the other morning because he broke his morning routine and didn’t leave after fixing her breakfast.  He came back into the bedroom and we both heard a little bark.  He went back into the living room to check on her.  Nothing was wrong except for her obvious displeasure with him still in the house.

It’s also interesting that if we’re together in some way–sitting together in a chair, on the floor, etc.–she will always want to be with us.  She jumps and sniffs to get our attention.  I don’t know if it’s a pack thing or if she just wants to get my attention away from him and onto her.  Is she jealous of my giving attention to someone else?  What happens when we get another dog?

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Doing What’s Best for Jasmine

I stumbled across a post on Craigslist for a dachshund that needed rehoming, and after talking with my husband, I answered the ad.  The cute little black-and-tan boy needed a new place to live because of a family health situation.  The owner responded to my inquiry, and I called her to talk to her about the dog.

The dog, a 4-month-old puppy, is a happy, healthy little guy that just needs more than the family can give him in the coming year.  I understood their decision to find him a new home, and I asked the owner a bunch of questions.  The original ad didn’t state that the dog was still so young, and I was a little concerned that a puppy would be a bit too much for Jasmine.  However, Jasmine is great with puppies (albeit, much younger than this dog).  We talked a bit about our situation, and then scheduled a time to meet that afternoon.

Hubby, Jasmine and I went over to meet the family and the dog.  The dog is a very well-mannered, beautiful boy.  He loves being held, but he’s coming into maturity and has started, um, practicing for the future.  He even tried to “practice” once with Jasmine.  However, he was very friendly, curious and not at all hyper like some dachshunds (especially puppies) can get.

I watched Jasmine carefully, and unfortunately, she didn’t relax at all.  She was stressed the entire time we were there, and she spent most of the 1 1/2 hours we were there huddled in my lap or behind my legs.  I thought that she would be okay after more time and we really liked the dog and wanted to give him a home, so we arranged to take him in.

That night and all day the next day I thought about how this new dog would impact Jasmine.  He’s sweet, happy and very well socialized and would provide Jasmine with some lessons on how to be a dog.  However, he’s also very dominant and given his current hormonal situation, he would definitely be jumping on Jasmine quite a bit.  At 18 weeks, he already outweighs Jasmine by a few pounds and a few inches.  My main fear was that he would undo much of the progress that we’ve made with Jasmine and push her further into her shell.  She’s just starting to come out and show more confidence, and I didn’t want to undermine all that it has taken to get her to where she is today.

I called our pet-sitter (a former dog breeder and trainer) and asked her opinion.  She told me that given what she knows about Jasmine, a puppy with dominant tendencies and one that’s coming into maturity would probably be bad for Jasmine.  She told me that a calm, quiet and older dog (preferably male) would be the best companion for her–not a dominant male puppy. 

While I really wanted this beautiful dog, I needed to take Jasmine’s best interests to heart.  I called the owner and told her our decision to decline to take the dog.  I know my husband wanted a dog that would be more of a companion to him, but I think this dog wasn’t the right one for all of us.  So, we’ll just wait until we’re moved and then look for a suitable friend for Jasmine (and hubby). 

And yes, I think the “do we really want a second dog” question has been settled  ;-D 

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Our Favorite Things

My thoughts on car safety have prompted me to think about the things that I have acquired and now regularly use for Jasmine.  Here are a few of my/her favorite things (I don’t think you can easily fit them into the song, but hey, it doesn’t ALWAYS have to rhyme!).  Sorry if some of these are listed in prior postings…AND note that I have no interest or affiliation with any of these products or companies.  🙂

Food and Treats

Toys

  • Kong Toys – Dental Kong with Rope – Unfortunately, this product doesn’t appear on the Kong site; it has probably been discontinued, so I better hurry and get another one.  Jasmine’s rope has been happily shredded.  She does like the small Classic Kong when it’s filled with cheese (which dog wouldn’t?).
  • Flying Screaming Monkey toy – No, it’s not a dog toy.  But it is Jasmine’s absolute favorite toy.  The first time she heard that monkey scream and saw it fly, it was love at first sight.  She went tearing across the room, picked up the poor little monkey and shook it like crazy.  I’ve been watching her very closely as she plays with this toy, and I removed the button eyes with a pair of pliers.  She will be graduating to her second monkey soon.
  • Any rope toy – Jasmine loves rope toys.  We play a bit of Tug, but she mainly loves to shred the ropes.  This extends to toys that have ropes built into them including the mini-size Chuck-A-Duck from Fat Cat, Inc’s Doggy Hoots line.  If you haven’t checked out their colorful, whimsical toys, you’re missing out!  Boy are they fun!

Accessories

  • Puppia Dog Harness – Nicely made harness.  Apparently, I stumbled upon a doggie fashion empire.  The Bobsleigh coat with the faux fur trimmed hood might be appropriate for winters in New Hampshire and Jasmine will be fashionable as well as warm.  Um, maybe NOT.
  • Pet Hair Eliminator brush – With rubber bristles, this brush is great for short-haired dogs and also doubles as a lint/hair removal brush.  I also have a standard bristle brush, but Jasmine prefers this one.  It’s gentle on her, and she loves the way it feels when I brush her neck and chest.  She stretches her neck like a howling coyote and just melts when I brush her…
  • Custom leashes and collars – Check out my “What I Made” blog for instructions on how to make your own.  It’s easy and you can make them from any cool fabric you find.
  • Fluffy pillows – When I first got Jasmine, a local Freecycle participant gave me a doggie bed.  Her dachsund had passed away, and she was happy that another dachshund would have use of it.  She also gave me a dog carrier.  One of the first pictures I took of Jasmine is her on the bed…and I sent the Freecylcler the picture.  I have also made Jasmine a series of pillows.  Given the unbelieveable cost of dog beds at the pet store ($60 for a pillow???), I went to the fabric store, bought some fabric (muslin for the pillow, fleece and baby terry cloth for the cover) and some fiber fill and created some simple pillows.  I made the pillows out of the muslin and then made covers with the fabric for easy laundering.  Total cost to make a $60-sized pillow:  About $10.  The extra fabric was used to make a small winter jacket and some blankets as well.
  • Drs. Foster and Smith Deluxe Quilted Rear Seat Hammock – Yes, this is the “sling” that I wrote about in the last post (and forgot the link).  I got two of the single hammocks and used giant snaps from the fabric store to attatch them together (if you don’t there’s a gap in the middle).  This way, I can take out just half of the hammock when there’s a 3rd person in the car (usually my Mom) and still have the safety hammock in place for Jasmine.

Sorry for the long post.  I’m sure I’ll have more to say about products later!

Disclaimer:  All discussion about products on this blog are made independently and are solely stories and/or opinions based upon personal experiences with the products.  I am not affiliated with any company producing or selling these products.

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Car Safety

As I’ve written before, one of Jasmine’s favorite things to do is to go for rides.  It’s right up there with the “B” word–“BONE!”  She wags her tail and leaps around the room, eyes bright and happy.  We go outside, she does her business and runs to the car door.  I approach, open the door and she runs around in anticipation.  In order to get her into the back seat, I call to her, point to a spot near me that I want her to come to and speak the command “here.”  She comes to the spot, I pick her up and put her in the back seat.

I was concerned with her safety in the back seat after I had to make a short stop one day and she fell into the foot well.  She wasn’t injured, but she could have been.  I went online and found a sling bed for the back seat.  One set of straps fits around the front seat headrests and the other fit around the headrests in the back.  The sling has a nice fleecy pad on the bottom and velvety material on the sides.  Jasmine no longer has to worry about falling down in the back, and the sling also prevents her from trying to climb into the front seat.

I’m also thinking about more ways to keep her safe.  I haven’t been using a harness on her, but she has taken to standing on her hind legs, putting her front paws on the arm rest and sticking her nose out the window as the sights and smells whiz by.  I don’t THINK she could, but there is a very remote possibility that she could propel herself out the window of the car.  So, I’m thinking about tethering her using a harness and a short leash that is secured by the rear seatbelt.

I thought about using the kinds of harnesses that have seatbelt loops on the back, but that would weld her to one spot in the back seat.  Nope.  I want her to be able to explore and move around–she acts more like a regular dog in the car than at any other time…no fear and a happy face–and given her new propensity to play “turtle” with her pillow, I don’t want to cut down on her fun.  This is one of her favorite things, and I’m going to make sure it stays that way, all the while, keeping her safe and secure.

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A Little More Social

We love our Sundays.

We get up late, have breakfast and head to Starbucks for coffee and people-watching.  As with many of the stores, there are a bunch of neighborhood regulars that gravitate on both weekdays and weekends.  We’re a weekend fixture these days, and many people are starting to recognize us–especially because of Jasmine.

Jasmine’s small stature draws small children to her in droves.  Small children are generally loud and fast–things that scare Jasmine.  The parents do their best to educate their children on how to approach a dog, but more often than not, the children are running wild and free as the parents get their morning jolt of Java.  Thus, it’s up to us to slow the kids down and teach them how to approach a dog.

Jasmine is generally uneasy with anyone who approaches her.  However, in the comfort and safety of my lap, we are beginning to socialize her to all types of people.  She’s pretty much mastered the hustle and bustle of people going in and out of Starbucks.  Now, she’s starting to learn about people coming up to pet her.  It’s a really great venue for her to learn to accept the approach of other people.

When kids come around (with the permission and under the watchful eyes of their parents), I immediately tell them that Jasmine is a “Fraidy Dog” and that they need to approach very slowly.  They generally do.  If they don’t, I block their access to Jasmine until they get it.  Then I tell them to reach out very slowly to pet her–generally to give her a scratch under the ears (which she really likes).  They gently pet her, and while Jasmine is usually very stiff, the safety of my lap and my assurances helps her cope.  The more this happens, the better she will be with the situation, so we keep at this every weekend.

Jasmine has also learned to tolerate the presence of other dogs in close proximity.  There are always dogs at the outdoor tables at our neighborhood Starbucks, and if those dogs leave her alone, she tolerates their presence and doesn’t go ballistic.  The more gentle dogs have even been great for her to start getting to understand doggie manners, but I think we’re going to need more than just random Starbucks encounters for her to understand how to “talk dog.”

So Sundays provide us with a relaxing retreat and a way for Jasmine to learn more about the outside world.  It doesn’t hurt that we walk a couple of miles to get there and back as well.  🙂

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A Second Dachshund?

I have been giving a lot of thought to getting a second rescued dachshund after we move to the new house.  Here’s what I’ve been thinking.

Pros

  • A properly socialized dog could help socialize Jasmine.  I’d love her to learn how to greet other dogs and not be so afraid when one approaches.
  • Jasmine would have a playmate and a companion.  Jasmine plays, but not very often (maybe once a day).  Another dog would engage her to play more often.  I saw her play with puppies, and it was so gratifying to see her romp around with them.  I don’t see that in her very often, and I worry that she isn’t having as full of a life as I can give her.
  • Hubby would have a dog that would be a companion to him.  Okay, there’s no guarantee that the second dog would like my husband any more than Jasmine does.  However, I’m hoping to adopt a dog that has lost its loving home rather than a dog that has never been socialized or has no known background (stray).  It will give my husband the chance to enjoy a sweet, snuggly dog in his lap that’s not scared of him.  And maybe–just maybe–that will help Jasmine get over her fear of him as well.
  • Another dog is just more to love.  Two little faces looking up at me…oh, heaven!

Cons

  • Two dogs = 2x the expense.  Jasmine’s expenses have been high.  A lot of that stems from the fact that she is a rescue.  We expected that her medical bills would be higher than the average dog.  A second dog would double that expense, and we’ll have very different economics after we move (hubby is retiring).  Can we afford the second dog?
  • 2 dogs = 2x the work.  Baths.  Poop patrol.  Flea and tick treatments.  Nails.  Boarding.  Brushing.  Food.  Play.  Noise.  Dirt.  Doggie beds.  Training.  Treats.  Walks (well, okay, that doesn’t count).  Doggies require time and attention, and two dogs…well…
  • I don’t want to take away attention from Jasmine.  It may sound silly, but I don’t want to make Jasmine feel that she’s not the heart of my heart.  I don’t want the second dog to detract from the relationship she has with me.
  • We may not get a mellow, quiet dog like Jasmine.  We like Jasmine because she’s so mellow–and somewhat UN-Dachshund-like.  She doesn’t bark.  While she’s stubborn, she follows commands well.  She doesn’t dig or run after “prey.”  She doesn’t chew anything we haven’t given her to chew.

We have a lot of time to think about it, so I’m not really going to worry about “having” to make a decision soon.  But this has been on my mind…

Multiple dachshund owners, I’d love to hear your experiences of having more than one of these lovable creatures.  Or are you too tired to type?  😉

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Weighty Thoughts

Jasmine lost some weight when we were away.  She’s now about 10.5 pounds–just right for her.  She was over 11 pounds when we last took her to the vet.  Even with the long walks, she was getting a little pudgy.  It’s hard to regulate food and treats for a low-energy dog.  Since we’ve been back, I’ve been cutting back a little on her meals to compensate for the treats she’s been getting during the day.

While I was out buying her California Natural pet food, I found that the manufacturer (Natura) makes a treat called Health Bars.  Made from a similar formula as their Innova dog food, it’s a balance of good, healthy ingredients and crunchy texture.  I like the fact that it’s focused on providing balanced nutrition rather than just acting as a method to reward and/or clean teeth.  So, we’ve been using these treats as part of her daily nutrition as well as a reward.  However, that means that her meal volume has to be reduced.

The best way to figure out how much food a dog needs every day is based upon a simple calorie calculation.  Just like humans, dogs need a certain amount of calories to maintain, lose or gain weight.  This number is based upon factors such as life stage, age, activity and environment.  I found a decent Metabolic Energy Requirement calculator on the My Cocker Spaniel site.  Natura Pet (the dog food manufacturer) also has calculators for feeding as well.  But remember that the amount of food is based upon the total caloric requirements (Metabolic Engery Requirements).  Using that base figure, calculate how much food you need to feed after factoring in the treats you feed your dog every day.

At 10.5 pounds and sedentary, Jasmine needs about 341 calories a day. Jasmine gets 1 Tablespoon of California Natural Chicken and Rice canned food and 1/4 cup of  California Natural Chicken and Rice Adult Dry food plus 1/4 cup of water.  While the canned food has about 13.5 ounces of food by weight, by volume, we get about 18 servings, which is equivalent to about 30 calories per serving. The dry kibble has about 511 calories per cup. Given these figures, Jasmine gets about 158 calories per meal.  She’s getting two meals per day so she’s getting about 316 calories a day in meals–just about what she needs.

However, treats need to be factored in.  The small Health Bars have about 50 calories each.  Milk-Bone biscuits have 20 to 30 calories each (depending on size and flavor).  Dingo Mini Bones are less than 1/2 ounce each and probably have about the same amount of calories as other typical treats (they don’t include caloric information, so I’m just assuming 50 calories each).  So, one Dingo bone and a Health Bar could mean up to an extra 100 calories a day–almost 1/3 more than her metabolic needs!  No wonder Jasmine has been gaining weight!

Given what I’ve learned about Jasmine’s caloric needs, if we cut down her kibble to 1/8 cup in the evening and still give her treats, we’ll be just right.  It may seem hard to gauge, but until I started doing the math, it was just a “guess.”  By calculating her energy requirements and figuring out how much I’m feeding her, I have a precise method to determine how much to adjust her food on a day-to-day basis to ensure her health.

Jasmine has become much more food-oriented and is always up for a treat–unlike when she first came to us and didn’t like anything but soft food and treats.  Treats are a way to train and reward, but let’s face it–it’s just plain fun to give her treats.  These tools will help me keep her slim, trim and healthy.  I guess my good habits have rubbed off on how I treat her.  I’ve gone from a size 10 or 12 to a size 2 or 4 over the last year in a similar matter.   Jasmine has had everything to do with that–the daily walks have done both of us good!

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Another Happy Reunion

We flew back in town this morning, and 15 minutes after we put our bags into the house, Jasmine was back in our arms and romping in the yard.  She’s thinner, hungry and a bit tired, but she’s happy to be with us.  She’s laying on her bed at my feet, looking at me with sleepy eyes and a full tummy.

The new house is awesome, and I can already envision Jasmine running around the back yard in full rompy dog mode.  I’m not sure how happy the chipmunks are going to be, but she’s going to be thrilled!

I spoke to my brother-in-law about the invisible fence.  He has one for his dog, a beagle.  He told me that there are no adjustments he knows of for different sized dogs (at least his system doesn’t have them) and he isn’t sure how appropriate and harmful it would be for a dachshund.  I’ve been giving the fence a lot of thought, and I think we’re going to forgo using it.  Jasmine is never outside alone as it is, and I’d rather train her to obey my commands than have an electronic leash.  So, we’ll be working on control and recall.  I just don’t feel right about traumatizing her in any way…she’s already been through enough, and I believe in a more positive method of training and control.  It’s a personal choice…

Thanks for all the input on the fence!  It’s good to make an informed decision.

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