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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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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Ring My Bell

Earlier this month, I mentioned that I’m trying to train Jasmine to recognize the sound of a bell as her “go outside” sound.  Each time it’s time to go outside, I call to Jasmine to go outside and ring the bell.  I’m going to do this for a couple of months to equate the sound with the action.  I’m also beginning “touch this” training as well.  After she gets both, I’m then going to try to get her to touch the bell when she wants to go outside.  My husband just chuckles at me when I ring the bell.  🙂

Getting Jasmine to signal when she needs to go has been problematic.  She sometimes stares at me intently, and I have read that to mean “lemme out Mom!”  I look at her and ask her if she needs to go outside, and she jumps to attention and runs towards the back door–tail high and wagging.  Okay, I got that sign.  But at critical times (like when she had the Whipworms), she has “gone” on the slate floor in the foyer.  I’ve even been sitting on the couch not fifteen feet away when she’s done this, and it would have been easy for her to have signaled me to let her out.  The Whipworms made her go many times during the night, and several times, I did not hear her get up to go.  At very least, she did go on the easily cleaned slate floor.

She was never socialized or housetrained until she reached my home, and given that at the puppy mill she was confined to a small cage and HAD to soil her living area, I’m not surprised that there are issues with fully housetraining her.

Have you tried the bell approach?  Has it worked for you?

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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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Was She Mad at Me?

For the last few days, Jasmine has been peeing in the house.  I could have understood a “stealth” pee if I had neglected to take her outside in a timely fashion.  She has been squatting in full view of me at very odd times–mainly when I’ve been busy with household chores and not paying full attention to her.  However, I was sitting on the couch the other day, and she started going on the carpet about 6 feet in front of me.  I tried to stop her and admonished her, but instead of cutting her off, she started moving away, leaving a nice little trail behind her.  I quickly got her to go outside, but by then, she was bone dry.  She did this for three days in a row, but has since ceased.

I wonder if she was showing some of her unhappiness at my recent absences or if she just doesn’t understand that it’s not acceptable to go inside.  When I ask her to go outside, she happily runs outside and does her “business.”  However, she’s never provided us with any cues to her needing to go outside.  She doesn’t bark.  She only whines when she wants me up in the morning or if I’m in the shower and she wants my attention.

I’m not sure what spurred this recent round of broken house-training, but I’m hoping that she’s over whatever caused it and we can continue to have a relatively pee-free house.

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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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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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