Beanie the Dachshund
PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
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When I first moved to the Phoenix area, one of my first customers was Linda, who hired me to train her 3 year old Dachshund, Rosie, a “red” smooth coated miniature.
I like Dachshunds a lot. I have trained a good number of them, and I feel I have a good rapport with the breed. They are lively, affectionate, smart, sensitive, tough and sometimes too courageous for their own good, a bit headstrong, have a good nose and are usually food motivated, and almost all are very trainable. Some also are a bit shy. And they are all barkers.
Linda’s situation was a bit unique in that she has Multiple Sclerosis. I have worked with a people with a variety of disabilities. Multiple sclerosis has harmed a number of people close to me. I want to see a cure. Its effects can go from mild to fatal. In Linda’s case, with respect to the training, it primarily affects her ability to walk and maintain her balance. That factors in as a serious matter when the dog involved is untrained, and only about 4 to 5 inches off the ground when standing. There is a significant risk of falling.
We got to task on the training of Rosie.We did the daily lessons and Rosie trained well. Rosie’s biggest downside is that she’s a bit defiant in the training, which isn’t unusual for the breed. Rosie is smart, she just decides sometimes she’s not going to do what you ask of her. I’m an expert at dealing with defiance, so we have worked on this with her since the beginning.
Linda and I hit it off right at the start. I consider Linda a good friend, and we’ve gotten to know one another over the years. She has also become a very good dog handler, and does her homework. Everything I’ve asked, she’s done. And she goes to the limit for her dogs, which is why she gets results and enjoys the training process. Linda has come to enjoy the training as a hobby, so she is one of my “lifers”. We have gone way past the normal on the lessons just for the enjoyment of it.
Three years later, Linda decided she wanted a second Dachshund. Rosie’s breeder had an adult female available.
I always caution people about buying or adopting any dog it’s important to do your homework, and there are some things you can do to help ensure you have the fewest hassles as possible. In Linda’s case, I was most concerned that the next dog was properly socialized because the breeder was located in, what seemed to me, a remote area of the country. Also, former breeding females often aren’t very well trained or socialized, so they come into the new home either shy or downright fearful. On the other hand, Linda had done business with this breeder before, and her first dog, Rosie was a great dog. So, that had to be taken into account as well.
It had been 3 years since I first met Linda and Rosie, so Rosie was now about 6 years old. Beanie was a 3 year old, female, black and tan smooth coated miniature Dachshund. She had recently been “fixed” (spayed) after her last litter. She had lost one of the puppies in the delivery, so a dead puppy had to be extracted from her womb.
The first and most obvious training issue I noticed was that Beanie was absolutely terrified of everything. I could see that was going to be Job One. Without getting that fixed, then nothing else was going to work out.
Now things got serious.
Beanie was terrified of everything around her. She would run away if you turned on the dishwasher or disposal. She’d run away at any new sight or sound. I also couldn’t reach and touch her. She was terrified and would run away. That made training a challenge. She wouldn’t take a treat from me, and I couldn’t even touch her or put a leash on her. Beanie liked Rosie, but Rosie didn’t much want to have anything to do with Beanie. Beanie wasn’t house trained, and wasn’t socialized with new places or strangers. And over time, Beanie became a danger to Linda, bolting in front of her and causing her to fall, seriously hurting her hip, and causing Linda to be bedridden in the hospital for weeks. But, Linda didn’t give up. We did a lot of work, and everyone is happy with how things are today. The lack of early socialization, however played a major part in hampering our early efforts.
Along the way, I noticed that something wasn’t quite right about how Beanie’s breath smelled. And she seemed to be peeing abnormally. I told Linda to take Beanie into the vet for a checkup. Something was wrong. I’ve been around too long to not usually notice small details like this. It turned out to be pyometra, and she was seriously infected inside, infected and full of pus. So, she was spayed a second time. I had never known a dog could be spayed more than once, but that’s what happened… remnant pieces that weren’t removed during the first spaying were involved and had to be removed. Then the behavior improved some, but then returned, and so did the bad breath. The pyometra had come back again some months later, and further tests revealed that parts of the dead puppy were lodged inside her abdomen. [Research “metaplastic bone” tissue and you’ll see what was happening.] So, she went in for another surgery and the foreign tissue was scraped out. Funny thing after the surgery, almost all of the remaining fearfulness went away. This underlying, undiagnosed medical condition had contributed to the behavioral problems we were experiencing. It was not only making her sick, it had caused a hormone imbalance, and affected her behavior.
Today, Beanie is an almost completely transformed dog. She loves men, especially Linda’s husband and me. Her training is taking off to new levels, the running away has stopped, and her and Rosie have become better and better friends. She has done very well in the training and is impressive in what she is capable of doing. We’ve even done some off leash work in public, and it is pretty cool to see others compliment Linda on how well her dog is doing.
This wasn’t just a simple dog training assignment. It has been a long labor of love, the making of a new friendship along the way, a lot of detective work, and required implementation of a lot of innovative and patient training techniques. Beanie is a favorite friend of mine, and she’s still learning new things
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Sam Basso is a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale metropolitan area. He’s known for being fun, kind, intelligent, and humane. Sam Basso has a unique personal touch. He has appeared on his own TV show, been a guest radio expert, gives seminars, publishes a dog related blog, does rescue volunteering, and is active in promoting animal welfare and fair dog laws.