Category Archives: Advice from Chloë

Chloë Survives a Tough 10 Days

Chloë went thataway.

The wet weather has continued, curtailing many of our afternoon walks, which makes everyone a little cranky. One recent walk on a moderately rainy day, however, turned longer than anticipated when I split from my pack (Heather, Mike and my pal Charlie) for a little jaunt on my own. The problem was that we were at an unfamiliar location, Paradise Valley Conservation Area in Maltby (Snohomish County), and it was almost dark. We went there in the late afternoon after a basketball game, and we were almost back to the parking lot when I picked up a scent and took off, broadcasting my shrill “I’m gonna git you!!” bark all over the forest at the top of my lungs. Ignoring Heather’s calls, I barked for a long time before finally giving it up and returning. Heather was none too pleased. No Treat Party for me. But despite that and my supposed pal Charlie’s repeated interrogation, I have still not divulged who or what I was after. Nor will I! My lips are sealed.

Being interrogated after recapture.

Luckily, Heather’s ire was tempered by two uncharacteristic (for me) doggie illnesses, one right after the other, so she was also taking close care of me. I didn’t first consider the two related, but come to as I think of it, I am turning 8 next week, and perhaps this taut, lithe body is starting to break down. It’s something to consider, I suppose, although neither one of these short discomforts seemed to deter me from running full tilt when playing fetch and chasing squirrels, nor did either curb my appetite. In fact, since the cure for my gastrointestinal situation was a diet of ground beef and rice for several days, my appetite was more voracious than ever, if that’s possible.

Anyhow, I’m fine now. Although I gradually moved back to my regular diet with no ground beef, I’m glad my stomach ‘s not making those gurgling sounds anymore. And Heather’s diligent care of the skin rash on the inside of my thighs with ointment and shampoo appears to have ended that problem, at least for now.

Still spry at 8.

I really wouldn’t have bothered mentioning either of these ailments except for Mike’s research into a cure for my G.I. distress. Since my previous health in this area has been stellar (Mike attributes this to the pinch of yogurt he adds to each of my meals), it had been a long time since Mike had been forced to confront this particular canine dilemma. His quest for details on ingredients and proportions for my special diet led him to the American Kennel Club’s helpful web page on this topic. I’ve got my AKC papers , so I know the AKC‘s word is the gospel on all things canine. But lo and behold, besides the sought-after recipe for ground beef and rice, Mike also stumbled upon this infographic from Purina that he now feels compelled to share with my loyal readers. He said he longed to be in the agency creative meetings that developed this concept, with special praise for the expressive eyes on each pile.

Infographic from Purina

 

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Chloë Sends Holiday Greetings

A wirehair wiener dog plows through with gifts..

 

Dachshund through the snow

Demanding that we play,

O’er the fields we throw

Laughing all the way.

Treats below my tree

Make my spirits bright

What fun to be home in my bed

With a PBB tonight!

Well, that’s about as creative as I get this week. Mike and Heather have settled into a long winter’s nap, and I am left, snug in my crate, to ruminate about everything.

While I’m doing that, I wish happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous new year to all.

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.

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?