Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

Barky Barky

Life has a way of finding time for personal blogging difficult. Which would I rather do–sleep or blog? Play with the dog or write about playing with the dog? 🙂

Jasmine is wonderful. She is healthy, bouncy and happy. In fact, she has been increasingly…um…insistent about her routines.

Her evening routine is centered around food. I come home. I feed her. She scarfs up dinner. I sit and eat with Hubby. She stares at me. And stares. Not for my food. Nope. She stares because it’s “Have you been a good girl?” time…complete with treat. If I ignore her, a small ‘wooft’ is in order. If I ignore her long enough, a ‘wooft + sit-hop’ ensues. And if that doesn’t work, an all-out bark is in order.

Aside: Have you ever seen a sit-hop? It’s so darn cute. Jasmine hops with her butt still solid on the ground. She uses her front legs to lift her front-side off the ground, complete with cute floppy ears. It seems to make the ‘wooft’ go further. It’s not sitting up. She pops up and down. Oh, it’s hard to ignore, but I try.

If we get down to bark mode, I continue to ignore her until she’s calm and quiet. Then I ask her to lie down. THEN she gets her “Have you been a good girl?” treat. I DO have SOME discipline. Ahem. (Yeah, and if you believe that one…)

Then there’s PB time. After dinner, it’s Jasmine’s time to sit on Hubby’s lap and get a small bit of peanut butter. She gets up on my lap and starts wagging madly at Hubby. She’s a total flirt until she gets what she wants! She stares longingly at him, wags her tail, looks her cutest and entices him to invite her onto his lap. She then waits patiently for her prize, licking her lips. If she’s not on my lap, she sits on the floor with the Vulcan Mind Meld look on her face…”He will understand what I want…” and sometimes goes into wooft-bark mode.

It’s great that she’s communicating, but I think I’ve created a bark monster. 🙂

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Simon & Hueys Sold

Simon & Hueys, the makers of Soft Training Treats (Jasmine’s favorite treats), have sold their company.  I was going to replenish my supply–I was dangerously low.  The local doggie boutique was sold out, so I went to the company’s website to make a bulk purchase.  The website was gone.

I tried calling their phone, and their voice mail was full.    Uh oh.

I did a Google search for the little morsels, and I found a couple of online stores selling them.  But better yet, I found an ad on Craigslist selling “overstock” of these treats.  I contacted the seller, and it just happens to be one of the owners.  She said that they sold the business to Paws Gourmet, Inc. Paws Gourmet was in the process of learning and perfecting the manufacturing process.  They were clearing out their excess inventory.

I ordered a bunch to stock up.  Unfortunately, they got my order wrong (not surprising since they’re probably in shut-down mode), but I got MOST of what I ordered.  So Jasmine is assured that her favorite training treat is on hand for some time.  I did find some substitutes (I particularly like Cloudstar’s Soft & Chewy Buddy Biscuits, but they are a bit pricey) but I still love the Simon and Huey’s product.  They are tiny, made with only a few ingredients and Jasmine loves them.  That’s good enough for me.

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Foodie Dog

When Jasmine first arrived, she was not food motivated at all. In fact, getting her to eat was difficult, and the only treats she liked were the Simon & Huey’s treats.

Today, Jasmine is a real “foodie.” She sits at attention when we’re eating certain foods–especially apples and popcorn. I accidentally found out her propensity for these foods–my bad. I left an apple core on the coffee table.  I dropped a piece of popcorn when I was transferring the contents of the bag into a bowl. I really didn’t want to let Jasmine eat human food, but these days when I eat either popcorn or apples, Jasmine goes nuts. She jumps up and down, wags her tail, gives me the “happy” face…aren’t dogs great at manipulation? And I’m a total sucker. TOTAL sucker. One look at those shining eyes and perky ears…I’m mush.

Jasmine’s food obsessions are quirky. Her apple-lust stops at the peel. She won’t eat the peel. But doesn’t she know that the peel is good for you? All that fiber!  When she eats popcorn, she gingerly picks it up and carries it to the far side of the coffee table. THEN she eats it. It’s pretty darn cute to see that little piece of popcorn sticking out of her mouth as she runs on by.

The good news is that her favorite treat is a good old dog bone. When I ask her whether she wants a bone, she goes ballistic. She jumps for joy and runs into the kitchen and faces the bone jar. She does a little doggie dance until I give her the bone. I have a feeling that giving her treats is more fun for me than for her. Well, maybe just a LITTLE more fun…she seems to be truly happy when I do.

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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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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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My Little Scavenger

We went to visit my father in the care facility on Saturday (as we do every weekend). We get together every week to have a meal and visit, and my Mom enjoys getting out and about as well. We’ve been taking Jasmine with us to both socialize her (she now is less hesitant about wheelchair ramps and elevators) and to cheer up my dad.

I cooked a nice meal this weekend, including a Taiwanese chicken dish we all like. Dad dropped a couple of pieces on the floor when he was eating, and all of a sudden the “no table food” rule kind of flew out of the window. Jasmine greatly enjoyed the chicken pieces, and dad had a scavenger dog sniffing around his wheelchair. I guess Jasmine is over her wheelchair fear! 🙂 Now I know what to use as a high-value treat for training. But I wonder if she’ll eat the chicken without the garlic/ginger/sesame oil/soy sauce infusion? She is SUCH a picky eater!

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Love That String Cheese

So, after another expensive trip to the vet ($162), Jasmine is now on a month’s course of antibiotics. Instead of the liquid, the vet recommended we try pills (Jasmine was, um, unreliable with the liquid due to the “spit” factor). I tried the “put it in the back of the tongue and rub the throat” trick that used to work with some of the dogs I had in the past. Nope. Cough. Cough. Spit. Out came the pill. *sigh*

Next up was cheese. Since Jasmine’s favorite cheese (no, she is not a gourmet dog and likes plain old Kraft American cheese) only comes in sheets, I decided to try some string cheese. Bingo! I cut a small hunk off the end, opened a hole in it with my knife, placed the pill in the pocket and mushed up the cheese to completely encase the pill. Gobble. All gone. It worked again this morning.

This is much better than having to wedge her mouth open and squirt vile-tasting liquid into her mouth.

The problem is that TWO vets went probing into her paw again yesterday (she was sedated), and again, they weren’t able to find the foreign body that’s in her paw. It’s frustrating. There must be something in there to make her paw swollen and puss-filled. For now, I’ll keep the compresses going and hope for the best.

The good news is that Jasmie is finally putting on a little weight. She’s now a little over 10 pounds, and her coat is getting softer every day.

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