Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tipsy-Sausage got a job!!

Meet Tipsy-Sausage.

Today Tipsy is 7lbs of pure, delightfully stubborn Dachshund joy and we've been together since last July when I adopted her from Underdog Rescue. They are heroes who liberated Tipsy from a puppy mill, where at the age of two and at that point weighing barely 5lbs, she had already given birth to two litters of puppies.

Tipsy-Sausage is a great little dog, she's friendly, outgoing, smart and generally cheerful but she does have some residual puppy mill scars like being terribly afraid of men, having a huge aversion to her crate and barking when she's afraid or when her world is even slightly disrupted. These things aren't huge problems but they are annoying and I've been trying to read as much as I can and learn from others who have successfully got their own rescue dogs through similar issues. So far, not much progress :-(

Until I started reading The Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan's book 'Cesar's Way'
which seems to intuitively make sense to me. He talks about the fact that animals and humans share an important connective tissue - energy. We all have different levels of energy and we sense energy levels in others. Cesar tells me that my job as a responsible dog owner is to ensure that my energy is calm-assertive, which in turn will lead Tipsy's to be calm-responsive.

Cesar also points out that WORK which depletes energy is important especially for young dogs like Tipsy. She & I have always had one or two walks a day, but now I'm learning that walking with me is WORK for Tipsy, it's her JOB to walk beside or behind me and do the right thing - not sniffing around, wriggling in smelly things and chasing every squirrel that crosses our path! Instead she must be singularly focused on her job of walking with me. After that we can play, she can sniff and wriggle to her heart's content. But her job at least three times a day is to walk and walk well.

So we're on day two and a number of interesting things have happened already:
1. She's already adjusted her stride to walk beside me (she used to be waaaaay out in front!)
2. She's started eating immediately upon her return to the house (she has always been indifferent about food)
3. She didn't pee or poop in her crate yesterday (highly unusual)
4. She slept through the night (we didn't have to come downstairs for a pee at 2pm in the morning)
I consider all of this GREAT progress :-)

Cesar also says that dogs love to carry things especially in backpacks as they consider this WORK too! I'm going to check with my vet to see if that's OK for Tipsy's delicate sausage-dog spine but I think it would be great to get her a little working pack that she wears when we do our work-walks!

You just have to look at Tipsy when she's walking to see that she loves it, her ears are back, her tail is up and wagging and often her mouth is a little open in a sausage-smile! They say dogs and their owners are similar and she's obviously a joyous worker who loves what she does!
Now if only we could just get her paid...!

PS. If you want to come and see Tipsy-sausage WALK! We're doing the Humane Society Walk for Animals on 30th April in Golden Valley, and we'd LOVE to see you! Click here for details. our team name is 'Tipsy's Trotters!'

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