Life with Jasmine, Juliet and Buttercup, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with THREE rescued miniature dachshunds

New Tricks

Jasmine has been picking up new tricks so easily. She almost seems bored with the old ones! I’ve been trying to mark behaviors I’ve seen from her and assigning commands to them–it works so much better than trying to shape her behavior (i.e. pushing her rear down in a sit).

So far, Jasmine has learned how to crawl and how to sit up. Both behaviors were taught in less than a day. For the crawl, she started crawling across the rug to get a bone. I got down on my hands and knees, made a few scratching motions on the carpet and said “crawl!” She crawled, and I marked the behavior with “YES!” and praised her and gave her a treat. After just a few repetitions, she learned the behavior and could repeat it on command.

Today, she was trying to jump up to get a treat from my hand, and I marked the behavior with an “up” command. A couple of treats and praises later, and Jasmine was hooked.

“Training” is one of her favorite games. When I ask her whether she wants to do some training, she jumps for joy. Okay, so maybe she’s excited about treats. But I like to think the tricks are fun too… 😀

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Obedience School Graduate

Jasmine graduated on Saturday from the beginning obedience class at A Dog’s Life.  We are so proud of her!  There was a little contest to see how many behaviors/tricks the dogs had learned.  Jasmine could sit, stand, lay down, get up on my lap, get off my lap, spin and point with her paw!  WOW!  We were so proud of her!  She also found out that some of her inhibitions about the class were because of the hard surface on the floor.  She doesn’t like laying down on hard/cold surfaces.  We put a towel down for her, and she miraculously performed her tricks without a hitch!  Good doggie!

After class, we went and visited Jasmine’s foster mom.  Jasmine had a ball.  She romped with the current foster dachshund (Roxanne) and some terrier puppies.  I haven’t seen her run and play like that before…such a lively little girl!  Jasmine’s foster mom told us about her playing with her own pups as well.  Jasmine even got Roxanne, the foster dog, to play!

I’ve been thinking about giving Jasmine some other safe opportunities to be socialized with other dogs.  We have neighbors across the street with two Dachshunds, so I took Jasmine over today.  In the past, Jasmine has been very afraid of the other Dachshunds…they charged at her a couple of times.  Today, she was not happy with being sniffed, but she tolerated it well, and the other dogs gave her space when they saw her not being too friendly.  I think with time, Jasmine will have some friends in the neighborhood!

We continue to work on her training and socialization.  In fact, I’m about to leave to go run errands…a perfect opportunity for a car trip for my Jazzy girl!

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Training Treats

Jasmine is getting more into treats these days.  When we first got her, she wouldn’t eat anything but soft treats.  These days, she enjoys biscuits, freeze-dried liver, rawhide chewies, etc.  However, Jasmine has taken to Simon & Huey’s Soft Training Treats as well as poached chicken as her favorite staple training treats.  I like the Simon & Huey’s treats due to their size, their “tossability”–they bounce when tossed on the carpet–and their simple ingredients (Oat flour, honey, canola oil, garlic, plus whatever ingredient is used for the flavor, including chicken stock, cheddar cheese, etc.).  It doesn’t hurt that Jasmine loves them (one of the very first treats she really loved) they are easy to carry and use and easy to store (freezer).  We have tried both the White Cheddar and the Chicken flavors.  However, real meat is always a high-value treat, and we use the poached chicken in obedience class.

We originally found the soft training treats at our local doggie boutique–Gussied Up Dog Boutique.  Yes, it’s a shameless store full of foo-foo doggie items (clothing, cute leashes and collars, treats, bowls, toys and, these days, Halloween costumes).  However, it’s also one of the few stores around here that Jasmine is more then welcome to enter.  She was terrified the last time we went, though.  I think the sensory overload from too many scary costumes had her reeling.  Even chicken jerky didn’t calm her fears, so we had to leave the store.

Jasmine still loves “training time.”  She gets all bouncy, her ears perk up, and her eyes shine with the glow of treats to come.  🙂  Now, don’t you wish all your kids would be so eager to do their homework?

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The Inner Dog

Jasmine’s real “inner dog” is starting to come out. When we first adopted her, we were told that the dog we were taking home was not the dog we would eventually get. Well, that’s starting to really be true. Jasmine is starting to let her personality show…including that cute little doxie spirit.

Sunday morning, Jasmine crawled into my lap for the first time. I was sitting on the rug on the kitchen floor giving her some pets and a bit of cheese, and she just up and crawled on. In the past, I’ve placed her onto my lap so she could get treatment for her ears (placing in ear drops), but on Sunday, she just wanted to snuggle. It made me so happy that she loves and trusts me enough to do that. This morning, she did the same thing, but only after doing a happy dance for me after I came into the kitchen. Wagging tail, smiling face, perky ears. Oh what a way to start the day!

Part of her coming out of her shell is the fact that the things we counted on (housebreaking, for one) are not assured. She was on her “best behavior” before, and we now have to start some training and socializing over. We are now vigilant about house training…no unsupervised moments for her. But since we’ve started watching her like a hawk, we haven’t had an accident. We need to figure out how to teach her to signal us when she needs to go, but we’ll give it time.

This week has been full of activity. We went to the vet one more time on Thursday. Jasmine’s ears are clear of infection, and the vet now thinks that Jasmine’s recurring abscesses are due to a cyst in her paw. The abscesses are not harmful unless they don’t clear up on her own or her paw becomes tender/infected. So, we’ll just have to put up with the paw and monitor if the swelling becomes painful or doesn’t heal. The good news is that the abscesses don’t seem to slow our little girl down. She’s now starting to run with us during our daily walks. There’s nothing cuter than seeing a dachshund run!  After the vet, I took Jasmine to the Five Paw Bakery in Los Altos.  We got some yummy dog cookies (complements of the owner) and a dog harness.

Saturday afternoon, we took Jasmine to her second obedience class. The regular instructor was there this time, and we voiced our concerns to her about the first class. She was MUCH better than the substitute instructor, so I had a better feeling about the whole thing. We also had a lot more personal attention–everyone did. Jasmine is now great at “sit,” but still needs work on “watch me” and “stand.” This week’s commands are hard ones–“stay” and “down.” “Down” is particularly hard to teach dachshunds since they’re so low to the ground as it is…we’ll see.

After class, we took Jasmine to a cocktail party! I was a bit reluctant to take her, but I thought it would be a good socialization experience for her. I had made some poached chicken as a “high value” treat for training, and we took that with us. Well, the chicken was her “ice breaker.” Everyone she came into contact with gave her chicken, and she did SO well. She took food from everyone. What a long way she has come since our first day home. I’m so proud of her!

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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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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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Housebroken?

I’m not sure how to tell if Jasmine is truly housebroken, but I’m happy to find that she’s in the groove right now. Every morning, I take her out and she “does her business.” She also goes reliably during our morning and evening walks, and I’ve been trying to “imprint” her go command every time she does. If she hasn’t gone during the walk, when return, I take her to the lawn and give her her go command. She has reliably done so for the past few days. I also repeat the command over and over as she’s going and then praise her when she’s done (as the books I’ve been reading have instructed).

I had a meeting to attend today, and I was away from the house for four hours. No accidents, but a little mischief (she knocked down a baby gate in the kitchen). She likes to move her water and food bowls around while I’m gone. She hasn’t learned to play with toys, but she loves messing with those bowls! I’m giving her the run of the kitchen while I’m gone. However, I will be gone all day on Friday. Tom is going to come home during lunch to let her out, and I’m hoping that this test will tell us if she’s really housebroken. Regardless, we’ll continue to look for her signs to ensure her ongoing reliability. Go, Jasmine, Go! Or at least, when we tell you to! 🙂

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Routine

Routine is a dog’s best friend.

Get up. Go outside. Do your business. Get a nice brushing. Go inside. Lay in the crate next to Mom while she reads the paper and eats breakfast. Hang out while Mom takes a shower. Flop into comfy doggie bed next to Mom while she works. Go for walkies. Hang out in the crate while Mom runs errands. Back in the comfy bed. Dinner time. Walkies. Comfy doggie bed. Comfy bed in crate to sleep in.

Jasmine is getting into her routine–and liking it. After only two weeks, she’s getting quite acclimated.

Now we have to think about training. She needs to come when called. She needs to be able to sit and stay.

All with time.

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