Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

Total Recall–NOT!

One of the side effects of Jasmine’s fascination with the smells in the yard is that she’s no longer reliable for recall. She gets out there, she romps around, and I call her to get her back inside. She is totally taken with the smells in the air and on the ground, and as she runs around sniffing at the chipmunk holes and other such exciting sites, her selective hearing starts.

We speculated that maybe it was her hearing…but the tiny crinkle of a food wrapper from 100 yards away will roust her from a deep sleep into full attention. Nope. Not it. She’s ignoring me. So much for my pride in my ability to recall her and her steadfast focus on me. How silly of me!

What’s really wonderful about all this is that there are signs every day that she’s coming more out of her shell. She’s now focused on mooching food off of me every time I eat. It’s like she thinks she has a nickel of “cute” and I’m her vending machine…plop in that coin, press a button, and out comes the candy! And for the most part, she’s right. I’m such a total sucker for that cute face. I know I have to stop reacting or she’ll become increasingly whiny and difficult. I have to have courage!

She’s also pushing other boundaries (another good sign). The boundaries with the recall, well let’s just say that we’re starting from basics. I’m asserting my control by leashing her when I take her out so she doesn’t have a chance to ignore me. I’m also starting to do our recall exercises as well…I should be just about back in control when the snow flies. Then, she won’t want to go outside at all, and recall will be the least of my worries.

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Muddy Paws

Rainy days + new carpets = a muddy paw nightmare.

No, not really, thanks to a good routine.  When Jasmine goes outside, she loves romping through the yard.  Of course, during all this rain, she has been less rompy, but she has still tracked mud and water into the house.  Our entryways are tiled, so clean-up is easy.  With our newly carpeted house, we had to make sure she didn’t track the outdoors in, so Jasmine has a new routine.

When she comes inside, I immediately call out “paws!”  She stops in her tracks and waits for me.  I take a baby wipe (my favorite all-purpose cleaning tool) and wipe each of her paws.  When I’m done, I happily call “all done” and she goes zooming into the house.

She doesn’t enjoy the cleaning, but she puts up with it.  It’s a good routine to have and will prevent issues in the future.  She doesn’t like her paws handled in general, but the abscesses have allowed me to get close to her and do things that are not necessarily comfortable AND to build her trust.

She’s such a good dog.

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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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Invisible Fence?

We’re in the process of buying a new house.  The house is lovely with almost an acre of land with lush green lawns, wonderful landscaping, and just a magnificent field of green everywhere.  Underneath it all across the property line is an invisible fence.  The previous owners put it in to keep their Australian Shepherds in the yard.  Putting up a barrier fence would be way too costly to cover the entire property, and putting up a partial fence would destroy the lovely landscaping of the house.

Jasmine isn’t particularly an outdoors dog.  She goes out when she has to, and sometimes she likes to lie in the grass in the back yard, but mostly she likes being inside the safe, comfy house with me.  When she goes outside, she is supervised by me.  Now, with this new house, a doggie door and an invisible fence, she has the opportunity for more autonomy and it gives us the opportunity to have her trained to use a doggie door (and hopefully prevent accidents in the future).

However, I am reticent about the invisible fence.  Some say it’s cruel.  I’m starting to do some research on it, but I could use some opinions and advice.  Please speak up (for or against), but please don’t flame.  I want to make an informed decision and I’d appreciate some help!

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Doggie Vocabulary

I love it when Jasmine perks her ears and cocks her head when I talk to her. I really wonder how much she understands…although I know she understands certain words such as:

  • Jasmine
  • Pup-Pup
  • Jazzy
  • Come
  • Sit
  • Down
  • Lap
  • Off
  • Up
  • Stay
  • Crawl
  • Leave It
  • Okay
  • Go outside
  • Go for rides
  • Let’s go
  • Good girl
  • Walkies
  • Bone
  • Din-din/dinner
  • Night-nights
  • Brush
  • Cheese
  • Scratchies
  • Do your business (a most important phrase)

Hm…not bad! I wonder how many words or phrases the “average” dog understands. There is a border collie that knows the names of over 200 objects. Those darn overachievers always blow the curve.

Here’s a link to a site that provides you with a way to test your dog’s IQ. Jasmine and I are going to take the test. How did your dog do? How many words does he/she know?

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Learning to Speak Dog

You would think that after a year, I could read Jasmine’s body language and figure out what she wants.  Nope.  Not really.  I’m still learning.

Until recently, Jasmine has not communicated (that I could discern) that she needs to go outside.  The Whipworm situation made that very difficult, especially when she was getting up in the middle of the night to go.  More often than not, I heard her tags go jingle jangle jingle and woke up as she was leaving the room.  If I slept through the sound, Jasmine went in a spot that was easy to clean (on the slate floor in the front hallway).  I’m trying the “ring the bell” method of getting her to signal, but I don’t think she’s equating the bell to going out yet.  She may never.  My husband snickers at me every time I ring the bell.  However, I have noticed in the last couple of days that Jasmine has begun staring intently at me at the oddest times.  I have equated this to “Mom, lemme out!” and have immediately stood up, asked if she wants to go outside, rang the bell and taken her outside.

She knows what “Do you want to go outside?” means, but I’m trying to get her to overtly signal her need to me.  I also have to figure out what the difference in her signals…what does she do when she wants to go out?  When she wants to play?  When she wants dinner?

Last night, I was sitting on the couch working, and she started to jump up on the couch to get my attention, tail wagging and happy face on.  I was puzzled…I didn’t know what she wanted.  I tried to pet her, but after a pet or two, she darted around the coffee table and jumped on the other side of me.  After several “pet and run” sessions, I asked her if she was hungry and she went nuts.  Hm…a clue!  So maybe she’ll equate this pet-and-run game to “Mom, I’m hungry!”  And the staring intently and ringing the bell to “I want to go out!”

I’ve read a few blogs and websites for doggie bells…we’ll see how it goes!

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Buggin’ Me

Jasmine is on her way back to a normal tummy.  She didn’t soil the house last night and she is getting more stable.  She seems to be very peppy and happy–well, she’s not happy with the bland diet.  Rice and cottage cheese just doesn’t appeal to her.

Last night, I took Jasmine out into the front yard to do her business before bed.  Unfortunately, I thought she’d be okay off leash just to go (yeah, what an idiot I am).  Boy, was I wrong.  There were a few beetles running around on the driveway, and Jasmine was entranced.  She scooted around, nose to the ground, chasing those little buggers (no pun intended).  She jumped around chasing the bugs including jumping into the street.  I called her, and she just didn’t hear me or listen to me.  I called and called and she continued to follow the bugs.  I finally chased her and got her attention and called her in.

She has never paid attention to critters in the past, and she always seems to be wary of her surroundings.   Last night, all that mattered were the bugs.  She didn’t seem to mind that there were people in the driveway.  What I learned is that I don’t have as much verbal control over her as I thought.  I need to be much more diligent on her whereabouts and know that she’s not 100% reliable in recall.  That was a good wake-up for me.  At least it happened when it wasn’t a dangerous situation.  There were no cars…thank goodness.

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Apple Core Thief

I’ve been responsible for making Jasmine an apple core thief.

Jasmine loves apples.  I share my morning apple with her every day.  Of course, the pieces I give her must be peeled.  😉  Unfortunately, I sometimes forget to throw away the core and leave it, wrapped in a napkin, on a plate on the coffee table.  I then go run errands, and when I return, the apple core and napkin are on her doggie bed, what flesh remained now gingerly shaved off of the core.  And of course, since I didn’t catch her in the act, there’s nothing I can do about correcting her.  Besides, she’s not the one that needs correcting.  *I* need to stop leaving the apple cores where she can reach them.

Other than her penchant for apples, Jasmine seems not to take notice of the myriad of “chewable” items around her house.  She’s happy to chew on a bone (only when I’m around, through–she leaves it if she’s alone), and the only things laying around that seem to have any attraction to her are my husband’s socks and anything with a rope tied to it.  Otherwise, she’s a perfect little pup.

So, I’m guilty for making Jasmine into an apple core thief.  I’ll have to learn to quickly put away those cores…lest I make more of a problem for myself–and her!

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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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Leave It!

One of the behaviors/tricks we taught Jasmine during obedience school is the Leave It command.  When given the command, Jasmine is supposed to ignore the item in question.

Yesterday, I let Jasmine out in the back yard to do her business before bedtime.  She ran outside (oooh…so cold!) and immediately honed in on a pile of cat poop.  I don’t know what is so appealing about cat poop, but visions of her rolling in it were looming in my head.  Instead, she picked up a piece in her mouth.  EWWWW!  ICK!  I hadn’t taught her “Drop It” so all I had in my arsenal of commands was “Leave It.”  I gave her the command, and lo and behold, she dropped the poop!  I praised her.  However, I praised her too soon.  The alluring stench of the cat poop was way too much for her to ignore.  She picked it up again and brought it closer to me.  Again, I told her to “Leave It,” and she again dropped the poop.  I called her over to me, and she reluctantly walked away from her prize.  After doing her business, I told her “let’s go inside” and she bounded to the door.

I’m so glad I had that command to use.  Otherwise, Jasmine would probably had a late-night snack.  Ew.

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