Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

A Little More Social

on September 14, 2008

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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