Category Archives: Advice from Chloë

Chloë Decries Being Cute

Harry Bliss comic 2017.

Beyond “what kind of dog is that?” the most common comment I heard from strangers on our trip across the country last summer was, “Your dog is soooo cute!”

I am flattered, but I don’t want to be labeled one-dimensional, known only for my looks. There’s so much more to me than that, don’t you think? My exemplary behavior, for example. And my athletic abilities, of course. Not to mention my humility and my many years of service to humanity and the canine world.

Cutest of them all?

All this praise leaves me tired, however. Who needs the aggravation? The people have spoken. We’ll just stick with cute for now.

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Chloë Lists Everything She Knows

Down and stay.

This started out as some instructions to my sitters and walkers, but as Heather gears up for training intended to turn me into a service animal, she asked Mike to update this list to more fully acknowledge the tremendous breadth of my understanding of human talk after a mere seven years of practice. It does not include this various barks, whines, whimpers and howls that I use in response. That’s a longer story for another day.

So here’s what Mike wrote down:

What Chloë Knows

First and foremost, what any dachshund knows is how to be stubborn, so make sure she knows you’re the boss! When you want her to do something, don’t yell, it won’t do any good. Just use your best command tone and hope for the best.

All commands work best when you say her name first, to get her attention, as in “Chloë, sit.”

Chloe’s Vocabulary

No!  This one word delivered sternly will make her cease all kinds of bad behavior.

Sit.  She will sit at the spot she is. Make a fist, hold at your shoulder height, say “Chloë, sit.”

Down. Raise your hand above your head and say, “Chloë, down!”. She will lie down on that spot. Make sure she has her butt on the ground.

Wait. She will stop and stand in place and wait for instructions. (Always make her wait before crossing the street.)

Stay. Raise hand to shoulder level in a Stop! pose; she will stay…at least until distracted.

Come. If she does not come, move a few feet, turn perpendicular to her, lean forward slightly and rotate your hands in a circular motion. When she comes, praise her and give her a treat.

Touch. She will come and touch your outstretched hand. Make her come all the way and touch your hand with her nose.

Treat Party! Chloë’s ultimate bribe. Use sparingly, and only when she is highly distracted or on the loose. Yell it repeatedly, and pay off with at least three treats when she arrives.

Find. As in find the ball or find Wiffie. When said with enthusiasm, she will start looking in earnest for the ball. When she first makes visual contact, her tail with wag vigorously.

Bring it!

Bring It (the ball). She will carry the ball in her mouth to the thrower, drop it and want another throw.

Go to (Mike, Heather, Charlie, Claire, Lynn). These are people she knows by name and will run to when prompted.

With Me!!!!!. She will follow your lead on her leash, sometimes even without one. She knows how to walk on a short leash.

This way!!! When arriving at a fork in the path, to tell her which way you want her to go.

WHOA! Slow down if she’s getting too far ahead or pulling too hard on her leash. Useful on hills.

OK! Her release word, meaning it’s all right to cross the street, go through the door, run after a ball, etc. Make her stop and ask if it’s OK, and tell her OK! if it is.

Leave It!!! This will make her stop what she’s doing and focus on you, not whatever is distracting her. That can be a plant, an object, a jogger, another dog gum or a cigarette butt on the ground.

Drop It!!! In conjunction with offering her a high-grade treat, this might make her drop what’s already in her mouth, depending on how big a treasure it is. Don’t try to pry her jaw open, she’s tough.

Up! The signal it’s OK to jump up on a platform, table or into the car.

Chair! Her word for being directed to a permanent or folding chair.

Bed. Will go to the closest dog bed or crate available, sometimes reluctantly.

Steps. Will bound up or down stairways or a step stool to a bed.

Back-back-back-back. Will make her slide herself backwards on the floor in a sitting position.

Hurry up! The command to pee or poop if she needs to.

Easy, Chloë, easy. Said gently when giving her a biscuit or some other treat, so she takes it softly from the giver rather than biting at it.

Chloë, Let’s Go to Bed! Her goodnight command. From a down/stay, she will sprint to her crate.

Chloë’s Tricks

Beg. From a sit or down, she will rise up on her back legs and put her front paws up.

Dance! From a sit or down, she will rise up on her back legs and twirl around once in a circle.

Roll! From down stay will turn around on her back and stomach, sometimes not very straight. Sometimes she will do it twice in a row, back and forth.

Shake. From a sit, she will extend her paw to you if you extend a hand to her and say it.

Frankly, I’ve got a lot more tricks up my fur, but I don’t want to reveal everything at once and tip my hand.

Chloë Counts Her Blessings

Even though my UPS-delivered bickies were down this holiday season, the results in other areas were very favorable overall.

Aunts Susie and Debby from Syracuse came through again, this time with a whole selection of delectable treats. And my good friend Charlie came over for Christmas dinner, bringing me even more presents. If only Mike weren’t rationing them out so slowly, I would be able to really enjoy all my holiday loot. But around here, they always make me work for treats, dammit.

Like this: Before letting me enjoy the treats from my stocking, they buried all the good stuff deep inside and made me find it!  I had to worm my way all the way to the toes to get anything.

Putting herself into it.

Putting herself into it.

Don’t worry, I found them, and my Syracuse aunts sent me a fine selection of jerky logs, snausages and steak-shaped  items. Thank you, aunts, you know I love meat products of all kinds and descriptions.

Holiday treats from the Cuse.

Holiday charcuterie from the Cuse.

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potato fries

But I appreciate balance, too, which is why I’m thankful that Mike includes some raw vegetables in every one of my meals, and my vegetarian pal Charlie always finds the healthiest veggie treats for me.This time he gave me dried sweet potatoes cut like crinkly french fries. I love eating vegetables, too. In fact, I love pretty much anything that’s edible when I really think about it. Those sweet potatoes go down about as quickly as anything that’s meat-flavored. Or cheese, for that matter. Dairy products? Of course! And sweets, sweets are good.

Aunt Susie also sent some of her famous holiday cookies, but these were for Heather and Mike. Mostly Mike, based on what I’ve observed. I’ve seen him sneak into the kitchen at night and sneak a couple of Susie’s cookies into the bedroom after Heather is snoring sleeping. I couldn’t test any of these cookies, I was told, because they all had chocolate in them, and chocolate is not good for dogs. (By the way, I’d like to see some documented proof of this. This could be urban legend, for all I know, and I would have missed out on a lot of potential good stuff. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about hot fudge sundaes.)

Dachshund Cookie

Broken dachshund cookie mostly pieced together

Aunt Susie wanted us to know that some of the cookies were shaped like dachshunds instead of the traditional Christmas tree. It was hard to tell at first, because every dachshund cookie broke into pieces during shipping — via USPS, of course. I’d be remiss if I did not point out to Aunt Susie that had she chosen UPS as her carrier, the dachshund cookies would have arrived intact and the real dachshund on the premises might have had the lagniappe of having a large brown bickie delivered to the front door along with her aunts’s gracious holiday gifts. On the other hand, most of the people who saw the dachshund cookie thought it looked like  a Springer spaniel.

Chloe Under Ass

Chloe under ass

As it was, I managed to make do with the treats that I got. Even more than the food, I enjoyed having  lots of time over the holidays at home with Heather. When she’s around the house every day like she is on weekends, there is always more walking, more ball-throwing, more treating, more degrees on the thermostat and more stuff to do all day. Sometimes I am having so much fun that Mike has to literally sit on me to rein me in. I’m losing so much daytime napping that I’m spent, and I’m looking forward to going to bed early on New Year’s Eve. What the heck? See you next year.

 

 

Chloë Gets Seasonably Wet

In my last post I groused about how early darkness threw off my routine, and I didn’t like it. This time I’ll add the other thing I hate most about fall: The weather. True, this fall has been unseasonably warm so far, but I knew that sooner or later that El Niño effect was going to kick in. Over the past couple of weeks it rained sideways a few times, and those strong winds make walking harder and the trails and sidewalks messier with fallen leaves. Even so,  once I get out in the rain, I just try to tolerate it as best I can and then dry off afterwards with vigor. At least I don’t wimp out with weird costumes like the poor dogs in this picture that one of Heather’s co-workers sent her.

2-Dachshunds in the Rain

 

Pathetic. They look silly, and what difference will these rain coats make? Unless these dachshunds were completely and tightly wrapped in plastic like sausage from Costco, there is no way the moisture and dirt from the ground isn’t clinging to their wet little bellies that hang exposed mere inches above the ground.

No clothes for me. I embrace the rain.

Rainy day hike

Rainy day hike

Fording Big Creek

Fording Big Creek

in the rain forest.

In the Quinault Rain Forest.

Mike's Tingley rubbers ad rain pants

Mike does the old soft shoe in his Tingley rubbers and rain pants

Of course, getting me dry and clean afterwards is the necessary epilogue to every rainy day walk. As I said, I don’t suit up in rain gear from head to toe like Mike does, so even after I’ve shaken myself off outside the front door, when I get inside the house I can be soaked.

Messy Mutts Mitt

Messy Mutts Mitt

For this extensive yet still delicate drying job, we have been auditioning the Messy Mutts Mitt so graciously donated by my Uncle Bill, a.k.a. Mr. Pickle (maybe there’s some kind of cross-marketing deal going on?). Unfortunately, unlike my longstanding endorsement of Visi-Ball and my own line of autographed Whiffies, this product and simply I haven’t clicked. The “twin-sided chenille grooming mitt” might be OK for some lap-dog or a chihuahua, but a soaking, squirming dachshund needs the old-fashioned,  two-handed, oversize-terrycloth-beach-towel approach — still the most effective drying method for the first pass, BY FAR. And since I use the front of Heather’s mother’s living-room chairs or the Oriental rugs for my self-service secondary and tertiary drying, by the time I circle back around to Mike to apply the Messy Mutts Mitt, it has been rendered totally non-essential. And the MMM is simply not large or absorbent enough to ever become my go-to equipment. Not even a Messy Mutts Mitt on each hand could top the towel.

Sorry,  Messy Mutts Mitt, no endorsement deal for me. The tried-and-true terrycloth towel prevails again.

At least the forecast for Thanksgiving weekend is dry. That will keep the carpet cleaner so it will be easier to see any random food that might fall on the floor.

 

Chloë Hails the Umlaut

Umlaut 2I always demand that Mike (who does my typing) put the umlaut over the e (ë) every time he types my name.  I consider it a part of me, something to distinguish myself from all the run-of-the-mill Chloes and Chloés out there. It’s my trademark, like Colonel Sanders’ goatee or LeBron’s headband.

That’s why I was gratified to hear about Lindström, Minn., a small city (4,442) 35 miles northeast of the Twin Cities that calls itself America’s Little Sweden.  In 2012, a state highway project replaced the city’s welcome signs, removing its umlaut, and the state DOT later denied the city’s request that it be restored, citing a rule stating road signs use only a standard alphabet.  Local Swedish-Americans were incensed. This spring, however, the governor ordered the umlaut back.

“Nonsensical rules like this are exactly why people get frustrated with government,” Democrat Mark Dayton said in a press release. “Even if I have to drive to Lindström and paint the umlauts on the city limit signs myself, I’ll do it.”

In a segment on Public Radio International, local  historian Sally Barott said umlauts affect pronunciation and, more importantly, express the region’s cultural history and link to Swedish immigrants. “It’s important,” she said. “We have the old and the new. The blend is happening all over America, but I believe being able to retain our history and cultural ways, and to recognize and be traditional, honors the way we were taught and the way it was meant to be.”

In an article in The New York Times, University of Minnesota lecturer Lena Norrman added: “These are not just two dots. It’s a a significant letter with its own sound. You can’t just take them away.”

All of which is fine, but begs the question: Should umlaut have an umlaüt?

Chloë Makes Sense of Investing

Chloë soaks up advice from her broker

Chloë soaks up advice from her broker.

When we drive to Magnolia Village on a Saturday morning, it’s usually to walk through the farmers’ market,  which is not my favorite thing to do (too crowded for my taste). But last week Mike and Heather had a different market to deal with, something they called the stock market. They had an appointment with my friend Caroline, who has two dachshunds of her own. She was going to give them information about retirement, which as I understand is something that happens in the distant future that allows Heather to stay home every day. This sounds good to me; I hate to see Heather spending time on weekends pouring over patient report forms when the two of us should be napping or throwing my ball around.

At the Edward Jones office, Caroline’s dog Ida greeted me with a bark and a growl, so we retreated to separate corners while Caroline explained things to Heather and got her feedback. Mike just nodded once in a while. As best as I could decode their conversation, Caroline told them they will definitely be able to afford to buy me gourmet-level biscuits exclusively for the rest of my life and then some. (Apparently it’s the calories, not the price, that keep Mike from giving me gourmet treats already. Yeah, right.)

Rewards of financial planning

Reaping the early rewards of financial planning.

When the meeting ended, Caroline gave treats to Ida and me, and Ida didn’t growl at me once.  That made everything fall into place in my mind: This investing business has its ups and downs, but if you stay calm and patient, you’ll be rewarded at the end. Makes perfect sense to me.

Chloë Develops a Plan to End Gridlock

My relationship with Mike is clear: I am the alpha dog. When I’m alone with Mike, he does what I tell him, most of the time. If I give him the slip to chase cats or rabbits, as I did to him again just the other day, when I finally come back he’s relieved, and I never get into serious trouble.

Chloë flops on the trail

Chloë does the Dachshund Plant

With Heather, it’s another matter entirely. Heather makes me work. Last week when I ran away from her to chase a rabbit, she got so mad at me that she wouldn’t even look at me for a day and a half. I got worried. She finally relented, and we are on good terms again. A few days ago I took off on her again at the top of the parade ground and headed for Bunny Central, but when Heather let loose a commanding “Treat Party!!” yell, I stopped in my tracks, pirouetted and sped back to her at full throttle. Even passersby were impressed.

Reaching detente

Reaching detente

Heather still  tries to keep me on a short leash, but sometimes I  am obliged to play the stubborn dachshund. I sometimes do what she calls the Dachshund Plant, flopping down right in the middle of a trail, and pausing to survey the landscape for as long as I damn well please. When I feel a tug on my leash, Heather and I stare at each other. I want to go in one direction, she wants me to go in another. We negotiate. Or sometimes when I want 20 throws of my purple-and-white ball, and Heather only wants to do 10. We compromise on doing 15. Or I want two Charlee Bears and a salmon heart cracker every time I come, and no matter how long it takes. Heather wants to cut spending after two whistles. We work it out. Sometimes she wins. Sometimes I win. Sometimes we walk in my direction, sometimes in hers. One day I may get as many treats as I want. Keep hope alive.

End of the line

End of the line

Heather said our relationship should be a model for ending the gridlock in “the other Washington.” (Having never left this state, it’s hard for me to fathom any other Washington than this one.) Cooperate. Compromise. Work together. Take turns.  Get somewhere. Whatever Heather said, I’m on board. I’m just glad she’s not mad at me anymore, so I’ll agree with anything.

Thanks for understanding. In our next episode, Heather and I solve the perpetual puzzle of peace in the Middle East.

Waiting to play catch

On a peacekeeping mission