Tag Archives: wirehair dachshund

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 Redecorates

New layout in living room

So far, not much has changed since Heather retired. Except that now I hang out with her all day, usually downstairs with the fireplace on. After Mike gives me my breakfast and my morning treats, I pretty much abandon Mike for the rest of the day. What good is he until dinner time? Heather’s surroundings are much warmer.

Heather has also done a lot of rearranging of furniture in the living room. It’s almost like checkers with heavier pieces. I’m not so sure I like the current arrangement, with the couch in front of the window. Somehow it’s not as easy for me to jump up on the couch, for one thing. Must be the angle. And all those little scatter rugs on the hardwood floor make it slippery. Even worse, for a couple of days, Heather removed my huge round bed, filled with my toys,from the living room. Out! Entirely! Thankfully, Mike and my best pal Charlie intervened on my behalf,  pointing out I need it as a place to rub my back. and they seem to have talked her out of it, at least for now.

Bed remains, for now.

My biggest complaint remains: This layout is not at all conducive to playing Wiffie. With the entry bench he used for tossing now facing away from the kitchen, Mike no longer has a straight shot across the room, and he has not yet found a comfortable spot for a launching pad. Since I want Mike to be remain engaged in playing Wiffie with me, I will be pushing Heather to follow through on her announced plan to get some different rugs and furniture in the living room that will address these shortcomings as well as improving comfort.  If the changes come to pass, I would even be willing to renegotiate this whole bed thing. Let’s see what any new rugs look like first. In the meantime, as long as thoughts of Asian rugs and swivel recliners keep her mind off ramping up my boot camp, I’ll be on board with any plan that keeps Wiffie in play.

Chloë Confronts Change

Chloë with her new sky blue ball.

After a couple of weeks of leisure out at my Getaway, I returned to my Seattle digs ready to work. With Heather slowly settling into her new at-home routine, I see a lot more intense training in my immediate future. While I’m pretty sure I can be disciplined enough to get the job done, frankly, it’s Mike I’m worried about. He can be a bit too laissez-faire about my obedience for Heather, who stresses consistency in tone and command verbiage. Unless he tightens up his act, Mike’s going to be in for even more lectures than I will get.

As I suspected, a brand new whistling ball appeared to replace the one I lost out at my Getaway. I like it a lot, once I get past the color, this one being a shade of Carolina blue instead of my favorite orange. Beyond that, it has good bounce and a nice feel in my mouth. Even better, after a couple of weeks of carrying it around practically non-stop, it still has that “new ball” smell.

Chloë’s Lane resurfaced

While a new ball was expected, quite the opposite upon our return was that Chloë’s Lane, my favorite field of fetch, had been carpeted with a thick layer of bark mulch. Quality stuff, too. This mulching makes the course much softer and eliminates many of the embedded rocks and roots that lead to bad hops and ricochets (or wild pitches, as Heather calls them). Chloë’s Lane looks like a more formal trail, too, so I continue to be wary about any long-term development plans park management may have for my seldom-used pathway.

Chloë with Jan and Brooke, 2015

There was also a bit of sad news for me. A few days after our return, Mike and I bumped into my favorite park walkers, Jan and Brooke. After Brooke gave me several treats, as he usually does, I laid down in the grass where the couple sat on a log bench, and I listened attentively as they told us they would soon be leaving Magnolia to live on Bainbridge Island, on the other side of Puget Sound from the park. While we will still be able to wave at them across the water, our frequent meetings on these park trails will be no more. However, that won’t stop me from charging toward any people with walking sticks that I happen to see. Maybe one of those surprised strollers will get the message and hand over a treat or two. I remain ever hopeful.

 

 

Chloe Faces Fuzz

Mike, Heather and I spent another week out at my foothills Getaway, but I never did find the orange ball I lost the first week. No big deal, I reasoned. That ball was starting to get a little soft and squishy, anyway, not bouncing as high or far as it used to, and much easier to gnaw. I was sure Mike and Heather will just get me a new one when we got home, so I wasn’t too worried about it.

Mr. Fuzz

Still, I didn’t get to play a lot of fetch on the lawn the second week. Too many distractions. For the most part, I was on a leash or tied to something for the remainder of our stay. I had run away and ignored her commands so frequently that Heather’s coyote-anxiety was at all-time high while her tolerance of me was at an all-time low. Even inside the house she tethered me to a chair or a table, fearful that I would break loose and eat Pumpkin’s food or, worse yet, chase the cat Mr. Fuzz under a bed and start screeching at him. Does Heather forget I’m a dachshund? Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do? Besides, Mr. Fuzz tricked me. He deliberately left some of his cat food upstairs on the bathroom floor just where I could find it if I sneaked upstairs, which I did. His food tasted pretty good at the time, but it gave me diarrhea for days afterward, each time further reminding Heather that I had been a bad, bad dog. Oh well, live and learn.

Chloë and Pumpkin vie for position.

By the end of our second week at the Getaway, Mr. Fuzz got bolder and started coming downstairs for visits, even during the day. I only got to chase him once, though, when I was briefly left unattended while Mike was exercising and Heather was doing laundry, or maybe the other way around. Anyway, besides that brief encounter on the second floor, Fuzz and I kept our distance. And the next time I got upstairs, Fuzz had already eaten most of his food. Smarter guy than I gave him credit for.

Chloe and Pumpkin April 2017

Pumpkin tried again to be my pal, which was OK, as long as she understands her place in my pack. It was not OK, for instance, for her to instigate playful chasing with me out on the forest trails. I’m the one in charge of that, and everything else, for that matter. I did let her sit in the back seat of Heather’s car with me, but I made her get in first, so she can check it for danger and then stay out of my way. Most importantly, I made it clear to Pumpkin that her place was definitely NOT on the couch or bed spread out on top of or tightly beside Heather. That’s MY place. Pumpkin got the message.

Portage survivors.

One more thing: While Pumpkin was always happy to go hiking with us, on more than one occasion she showed what a wuss she is. Sometimes Heather had to carry Pumpkin through the swampy sections of the trail when Pumpkin refused to wade through on her own. To Pumpkin’s credit, she was getting much better about being comfortable outside after she two weeks of walking with us to toughen her up. I hope Pumpkin ventures out more in the real world when I’m not around to lead her.

Meanwhile, All Clear, Mr. Fuzz! You can come downstairs now. I’m leaving Pumpkin in charge until I come back.

Mr. Fuzz spies from landing

 

Chloë Screws Up Her Training

Snoqualmie Valley Trail

Boot Camp with Heather had been going so well. When we arrived for a two-week stay at my Cascade foothills Getaway, she voiced her amazement at how well I was complying with all of her increasingly difficult commands. On more than one occasion, I heard her tell Mike that I was doing “fantastic.” That was her word, not mine.

And then things got a bit out of hand.  I got out there in the country with my pal Pumpkin and the sweet spring grass and lots of wild smells, and I just lost control. On four straight days, Heather let me off my leash and I ran away from her, at four different locations for four different reasons. She would call me back, and sometimes I would even stop and look at her.  And run.

Shooting range

The first time I was chasing the orange ball that Mike had tossed along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, and it took a bad hop and flew over the embankment right into the local gun club’s shooting range.  When I skidded down after it, I caught my leash on a bush, and both I and the ball needed assistance. But as Heather slid down to get me, I extricated myself and ran back uphill to Mike, who was trying to keep Pumpkin from following Heather down. I dropped the ball in the process, but Heather was able to get it. No harm, no foul, right? I might have gotten away with it if it only happened once. Unfortunately, no.

Heather shows the dogs where the ball flew over embankment.

Charlie was with us for the next incident. He drove out to visit on a Sunday, and we took him for a walk on a different branch of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. I was leading the pack on the way back to the car when I caught a fresh scent of fox or weasel and took off on a small game trail that ran under some barbed-wire fencing and Posted signs. This sliver of a trail led to a much wider one some 20 feet below, which then wound further into farmers’ fields and ultimately toward the busy highway beyond them. Heather and Charlie kept calling me to return, but I ignored them, put my nose down to the ground and scurried another few yards in the opposite direction. At one point I bounded toward the highway, but soon reversed course and headed steadily back to the main trail, where Mike stood waiting at my original point of egress. This time Heather ordered Mike to keep me leashed up for the rest of our walk.

Wanted: Chloë’s missing ball

But did anybody learn anything from this? Apparently not, because on the following day, in between the heavy rains and hailstones I endured, I split again on yet another section of the Sno Valley Trail. (Heather likes this former railroad bed trail because it’s flat, and I like because it has lots of small critters lurking about.) This time I ran circles around a muddy field before returning to Mike and his waiting leash, again the prescribed punishment from Staff Sergeant Heather, who was amused by my recent performances. She was even less pleased the following day, when she and I were playing fetch on the back lawn, for both of us by far the most favorite activity on the Getaway agenda. She threw the ball, I retrieved it, and then I ran right past her and all the way down to the landscapers’ garage down the hill, ball in mouth – until a big dog named Coconut who lives there intercepted me and chased me back towards the Getaway house. Heather was made when she came to get me, and she was even more so when she saw the ball was no longer in my grip.

At least I’ve got another week out here at my Getaway to find that ball. Meanwhile, I figure I am on a leash for the duration of our time here, even when I’m inside the house. It’s like house arrest! And who knows how long it will last with Heather in charge? Might be forever, come to think of it.

Chloë Slims Down for Boot Camp

Exam room: The weighting is the hardest part.

With Heather officially retired and  boot camp looming, I approached my annual physical with some trepidation. After all, my most recent weigh-in last December hadn’t gone so well: an all-time high of 19.5 pounds. That explains why on our February staycation,my best friend Lynn was much stricter with portion control. But the diligence paid off: At last week’s weigh-in I has dropped a whole pound to 18.5, which Heather says is my “ideal” weight, and she should know. The vet’s assistant weighed me twice just to make sure I wasn’t cheating.

Don’t touch me there!

My regular physician, Dr. Aimee Kimmel, was back from maternity leave, and even though I had no new concerns to report, Dr. Aimee made sure to poke her instruments (or fingers) through every orifice in my body. While she, as usual, praised my dental work (“Beautiful!” she exclaimed), she did chip a big hunk of tartar from my upper right molars, which are understandably hard for Mike to get with a toothbrush. “Please keep brushing her teeth daily,” the doc told Mike. “It is really helping.”

Bonding with Dr. Aimee post-exam.

On the down side, literally, was that the rash on my underside has returned (or never really left), meaning another course of little antibiotic pills that Mike sneaks into my dinner when he thinks I’m not looking. I also get weekly shampoos from my personal trainer, Heather, in which the lather has to stay on my sensitive skin for 10 minutes. Trust me, it’s a long 1o minutes for everyone.

If the treatment for this skin rash doesn’t do the job, Dr. Kimmel said, “We should discuss possible allergic causes and allergy medication.” That didn’t sound good. My brothers Frank and Stanley have been down that road, and I would rather not go anywhere that might involve giving up such favorites as chicken broth on my food or, worse yet, Frozen Peanut Butter Boneys.

That’s why I put up with this shampoo for now. The things you do for love.

 

Chloë Gets Some Balls

Toy relocation plan unfolds.

I spent the rest of my most recent staycation with Lynn resting up for my highly anticipated Heather Boot Camp and doing some minor interior decorating, moving my toys around the house and just leaving them there. No Mike around to pick them up for me. In fact, when Lynn was downstairs doing laundry one night, I brought almost all my toys down there one at a time, playing for a while with each new one, then maybe going back to the first or third one for a few minutes before taking a well deserved nap on a pile of soft toys. When I awoke and Lynn was preoccupied with something, I discovered the laundry room waste can was vulnerable, so I tipped it over and pulled out a big ball of dryer lint and some tissues, something the super-vigilant Heather would have headed off at the pass. What fun I have when Lynn’s around, and she lets me sleep with her, too. I’m a good bed warmer.

With my pal Charlie

I also had a couple of great walks with my good pal Charlie. He cleaned out his racquetball bag and brought some old balls over for me. I love these balls, because they are softer than my usual ones and small enough for gnawing, Mike likes them not so much, since I am loath to relinquish them. So Charlie and I decided not to tell Mike about the balls. Charlie let me parade around the park with one in my mouth, and when we hit my lane he pulled a few more out of his pocket and we had a great game of fetch, with me bringing the balls back every time and dropping them at Charlie’s feet on command. When we left, I insisted on carrying one of the balls all the way home, but Charlie left a couple at the top of the lane for next time, or perhaps for another dog who wandered down Chloë’s Lane in need of a racquetball. What a guy.

First Heather came home, and I was still a like antsy and off my routine until Mike finally showed up several days later. It was fun as usual with him gone, but I am definitely happiest when the whole pack is back together.