Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

It Has Only Taken Eight Years

Okay, maybe 7.75 years. Jasmine has finally started bonding with Tom.

Jasmine

Jasmine hangin’ out with Dad

It has been a long time coming. I started a new business last year. That left both Jasmine and Juliet to spend all day every day with Tom. And slowly…ever so slowly…he has been winning her over.

Jasmine enjoying "Tom Time"

Jasmine enjoying “Tom Time”

Just of late, she has been going to him every morning for some love and scratchies. She politely takes her bits of apple from me and then moves on over to snuggle with him.

While I’m a tad bit jealous–she has always been MY dog–I’m so happy that she’s finally overcome her fear and has bonded with Tom. And, happily, Juliet has bonded more fully with me.

We’re finally one big, happy family. It has only taken eight years. That’s 56 years to you and me! 🙂

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Nervous Nellie

I thought Jasmine was adjusting well to the new realities of my mobility, but I’m not so sure.

Instead of letting Jasmine run down the stairs, Hubby has been sitting at the top and picking her up to take her down. I did such a good job of training her to wait at the top of the stairs to be carried down that she has continued that behavior even though I have been unable to pick her up. However, while she’s tolerating Hubby’s picking her up for various reasons, it’s clear that she’s not liking it.

Jasmine is more nervous around Hubby these days. In fact, it has spilled over to her meals. She’s really happy when it’s meal time, but when it comes to eating, she eats a little bit, then paces around the kitchen. She peeks around the corner to look into the family room to see where he is, and then goes and hides. She doesn’t eat. I have tried moving the bowl, standing over the bowl (that worked once) and even “breaking” the mental state by dropping a couple of treats into her bowl to get her to eat. Once that mental state has been broken, she tends to eat, but it’s getting harder and harder each time to do it.

Jasmine, I wish you weren’t such a Nervous Nellie.

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Will She Ever Get Over Her Fear?

Jasmine is still having fear issues with my husband (and men in general).  He feeds her breakfast and dinner, he takes her out every morning, he gives her treats (he’s the Treat Man), and he’d pet her forever if she’d let him.  He takes her for walks.  He does nothing to scare her except exist.

It’s so sad it’s sometimes funny.  Every night when we get ready for bed, she sits by my closet door and waits.  After we both are in bed, she runs over to his side of the bed, checks to make sure he’s there and not lurking in some shadowy doorway waiting to pounce on her, and then (and only then) she runs back to my side and hops into her little bed.  If he makes noise, she sits up to determine if there’s a threat.  She then finally settles down and goes to sleep.

We have been trying different ways to get her acclimated to my husband, but thus far, she’s still terribly skittish around him and will only approach him if I’m sitting right next to him or if he has a treat that’s too good to pass up (frozen yogurt, Simon & Huey’s soft training treats).  If he has a treat, she creeps up to him, then runs away, making a “lap” around the coffee table before approaching again.  Eventually, the lure of the treat gets to be too great, and she approaches gingerly, stretching her wiener-dog self oh so far to take the treat.  If it’s fro-yo, she’ll lap some up, do a lap, stretch again and repeat her ritual.  If it’s the Simon & Huey’s, she’ll snap up the tidbit and do a lap.  If I’m sitting next to him, she’ll sit as far from him as possible while still being within my reach.  She sometimes allows him to pet her, but she never climbs on him and she often runs away if he moves too quickly.

I’m so glad that my husband is a patient man.  It would have broken my heart to have this little dog be so afraid of me.

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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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A Breakthrough!!!

This weekend, we had a breakthrough.

Jasmine has been afraid of my husband since we brought her home.  She is always watching him out of the corner of her eye…and when he gets up out of his chair in the living room, she gets up and scurries to a “safe” zone.  She doesn’t approach him unless he has treats, and she rarely lets him pet her unless we are out of the house (he’s a safe harbor when she’s afraid).  This weekend, Jasmine approached him for pets for the first time.

We’ve been trying to get Jasmine comfortable with my husband, but up until now, she has only come close to him if I have been sitting next to him.  This goes for treats/tricks as well as for petting.  She would usually run away if he put his hand out to pet her, and she would carefully but reluctantly take food from his hand (she would run at any movement from him).  On Saturday, hubby was giving me a back rub and Jasmine walked up to him and accepted pets from him.  She also climbed on his lap to accept those pets…a small breakthrough.  But later, she approached him while I was sitting away from him–a first.  He gave her thorough scratches and rubs–which she cautiously accepted.   On Sunday, she once again shyly approached him and accepted his pets.

Oh, I was so thrilled!  Up until now, she would only accept him if she was afraid and needed some comfort or if he had a treat bribe in his hand!  This was the first time she sought his attention without having an outside influence scaring her.  It was a big step for her and so rewarding–after months of dealing with her skittish behavior–to have her begin to show trust and acceptance towards my husband.

Way to go, Jasmine!!!!

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Still No Walkies

Jasmine still refuses to go for walks with me.  It’s so sad.  We go outside, and she immediately gets into the “oh no, you’re not making me go” posture.  She sits her little butt down, and actually pulls BACK on the leash with her neck.  I’ve coaxed her out of the position with her little training treats (she’s not so frightened that she turns down treats), and she readily walks to the treat to eat it.  However, any forward movement by me and she’s back to the “oh no” posture.  If it wasn’t so sad it would be funny.

The times she HAS gone for walks with me in the past few weeks have been due to the “lesser of two evils” circumstances.  She’s still afraid of my husband, so if he appears to be approaching us, she’ll go on the walk.  If something scares her, say a branch touching her from a bush she’s walking under, she’ll shoot out and go for a walk.  Once she’s walking, she doesn’t seem to mind it.  But there’s some sort of mental block right now that keeps her from getting started on a walk with me.  I’m not scarier than the walk?  The walk and I are forever connected to the trauma of meeting the neighbor’s doxies?

My husband and I now take her for evening walks together.  She’s fine once she gets going.  We’ve taught her to sit at every curb and wait until we release her from the sit.  She seems to enjoy the walks somewhat, but I sense her unease and fear of the unknown–cocked ears, kind of hunched shoulders (sometimes slinking).  I know she loves our house and feels safe and comfortable in it, and I’m glad I have been able to give her that sense of comfort and well-being.  I just hope that in time, she’ll be able to move beyond these fears and be as happy out in the world as she is at home.

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A New Neurosis

Okay, I don’t get this one.

Jasmine loves Walkies.  At least, she used to.  She has refused to go for a walk for two days in a row.  She cowers at the end of the driveway, sits her little butt down, and won’t go.  I coax her along with a little Pupperoni, but she stops and sits again.  Shiver shiver, droopy eyes, totally freaked.  She turns around and RUNS to the house.

Is it that she’s now afraid of the dachshunds down the street?  Whenever they are out, she wants to go inside.  Is it due to the two earthquakes we had recently?  She barked during the 5.6, but didn’t even notice the 3.6.

I don’t get this at all.  I’m totally puzzled.

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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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Dog Attack!

When we were out for our evening walk yesterday, Jasmine was attacked by a Welsh Corgi that had escaped from its home. It ran across the street, and since it didn’t have a collar, I couldn’t grab it to stop the attack. It jumped on Jasmine and tried to bite her…oh man did it scare us!

Tom snatched up Jasmine, which scared her even more. She doesn’t like people grabbing her quickly or making fast moves, and Tom just snatched her up to save her. She was a nervous wreck (complete with a bit of incontinence). The owner of the Corgi was across the street, and her only comment was, “Oh sorry, I didn’t know she got out.” I was really pissed off. Her dog almost took a chunk out of my dog’s butt…and all she could think of to say or do is to make some lame excuse? Grrrrrrr…

We put little Jazzy down and finished our walk. I think I was more upset than she was! 😦

Another goal for obedience school (for me, that is) is learning what to do in these situations. Yipes!

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Shiver Shiver

Jasmine sometimes shivers and shakes. I don’t know if it’s because she’s cold, afraid, happy or wants attention.

Our routine is that we get up in the morning and we go outside. She relieves herself, I praise her, and then she gets brushed. She loves to be brushed. She sits right in front of me and enjoys the contact and the feel of the brush. However, she also sits there and shakes and shivers. It’s a little chilly in the morning these days, but it’s not cold. She also shivers when she’s afraid of my husband, as well as sitting in the yard after a long, pleasant walk.

Maybe it’s like goosebumps? A seizure? A prelude to a doggy full-body shake? Or is she just nervous for some reason that I can’t fathom?

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