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Pet Happenings May 2012

Training a Dachshund and Other Seemingly Impossible Tasks
Part 4: Bubble aka Princess Bubble & Squeak

by Kaye Davis of the Moab BARKery

This is a continuation of the series about our own pets and what we have learned about them, living with them. The cats have had their turn so now it is the dog’s turn. When we were ready to have dogs we thought that it would be easier to have smaller dogs. We got two female Dachshund puppies from the same litter and brought them home with us, their names are Saffron and Bubble.

Moab BarkeryThis article is about Bubble, also known as Princess Bubble and Squeak (her AKC name) and Bubby. Bubble is a four year old female Dachshund with a dapple coat. She is a sweet dog who wants to be with you all the time, can not hold her licker and is a chow hound with some issues when it comes to food, both from an intolerance and aggression standpoint. Bubble is the typical shaped Dachshund, she is long and lean with very short legs and therefore is very prone to back issues and has issues getting up on or down from furniture.

The Dachshund may look funny, like a barking sausage on legs, but they are a very proud and clever dog that needs special training to become an obedient one. Many owners say that their Dachshunds are impossible to train as they are fiercely independent dogs – and they are somewhat right. Training a Dachshund is not about making them learn commands but rather about convincing them that cooperating with you may be beneficial. Bubble will almost always make sure that she gets a “fair price” for her work or attention if she is doing something that is undesirable and we need it to stop.

Bubble took eight months to potty train, and even then we can still have relapses. We started out using potty pads and I truly believe that in this case, with this dog, it was the worst method we could have chosen. She used the potty pads well for a while but when we would take her outside to go, she wouldn’t. When the potty pads were taken away she would go back to the spot they were in and go on the carpet. The solution that worked best was crate training. For her it was a matter of every time she was let out of the crate she would be taken outside, regardless of whether she was in there for one hour or longer. She also was taken out after each meal and big drink of water. Staying consistent with this taught her that the only appropriate place to potty was outside and it was always compensated with a high reward treat.

Many dogs have allergies or intolerances to certain ingredients in dog food, even the really good dog food. Bubble is intolerant to beef; she has been fed a fresh frozen diet since she was a puppy but whenever beef has been put on the menu she vomits it back up almost immediately. Stella and Chewys frozen diets have many options outside of beef for her to eat so she gets to eat a range of proteins and have variety in her diet. Because she is a fed raw diet she only has to eat 3 ounces of raw meat once a day. When you feed your dog a raw diet they only eat up to 2% of their ideal body weight in raw food a day and as it takes their stomach up to 24 hours to properly process a meal we only feed her in the morning. Keep in mind that the portion size of the meal only applies when you are feeding a pre-prepared and balanced raw diet that contains the correct balance of muscle meat, organ meat, bone, fat and vegetables not if you are feeding meat from the grocery store.

Bubble has other issues with food, mainly possessiveness that turns into aggression. Buster (cat) cannot be around when she is being fed or she will try and get in his face and growl. Unfortunately he is not the brightest and neither gets the message or learns from his mistakes and often gets chased away or sometimes snapped at. Dachshunds are notoriously possessive and jealous creatures and it was easiest for all involved to set up meal time procedures to avoid this happening, rather than trying to manage the behavior when it happens. What we did was make sure that Buster and Chicken (other cat) get fed first and then the dog’s get fed while he is in another room eating so he does not get in the way, if he does one person manages him while the other feeds the dogs.

Bubby also likes to eat gross things; unfortunately this is the reality of living with a Dachshund, as they are like the toddler that puts everything in their mouth. It is important to pay attention to them whilst outside as they are quite likely to get into something that is highly inappropriate. Sometimes it works in my favor as she will quite often accept vegetables as a treat, she especially loves the stalks of asparagus and so I can always give her a low calorie and healthy treat as a reward without making her fat, which is also common problem with Dachshunds.

The reason you want a lean wiener is because they have a strong propensity towards a condition called IVDD, in fact 1 in 5 Dachshunds can be affected by the disease. The dog’s spine consists of vertebrae, which are connected by flexible cartilage discs. These discs called “intervertebral discs” are cushions between each vertebra (bone) and allow for movement of the neck, spine, and tail. These discs may become weak and can rupture or herniate. This can cause the disc to protrude, a very painful condition for the dog. In keeping Bubble lean and not allowing her to jump up or down off of things we can try and ensure that she will not injure her back.

Living with a Dachshund is a really unique experience. They are can be entertaining and irritating all at the same time, but at the end of a long day their favorite place to be is right next to you on the couch or if allowed under the covers of your bed. If you regard them as the fierce warrior they are rather than a clownish sausage on legs, life will be much easier and more rewarding than you can imagine.


May 2012 Humane Society of Moab Valley Adoption Days

Moab BARKery website

To see past articles about animals, pets and their care check our archives.

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