Life with a Dachshund - Part 2

by Tania
(Ostend, Belgium)

Wow... suddenly I get an email saying someone responded to my little essay, so I thought it might be time for an update. It's been a while (last February, if I'm not mistaken) and things have moved on and up... so much!

We moved out of town, on the first of June. A city setting (especially a seaside resort) certainly wasn't the ideal place for Archie to be. He was extremely reactive to just about anything in the outside world. This has changed ENORMOUSLY! He still has instant dislikes to certain dogs, but hey... do you like EVERYONE you meet? I most certainly don't!

Archie now has his own garden; we have a huge open field just opposite our house; the dunes and the beach are literally 100 meters from our front door... We have bonded in a most incredible way. I think we truly are kindred spirits. I've realized we have so much more in common than I initially would care to admit. Funny how you latch on to someone without really knowing why and, in time, all becomes clear. I've come to accept Archie "warts and all". He's not the easiest of dogs to deal with, but he's fabulous in his own quirky little way.
I'm learning on a day-to-day basis how to BE with him. I have "calmed down" a lot over the past few months and that has translated into Archie being a lot calmer too. He still hates cats but his reactions to the odd cat in the street have become less hysterical... He seems happier all over...

I am not trying to coerce him into behaving like I want him to, which might sound a little weird to most people. He is always on a tracking line (unfortunately, I can't let him run around off leash as his prey drive is too intense - there are huge numbers of rabbits around here - not to mention cats!)and is allowed to wonder around sniffing to his heart's content... Sniffing is the joy of his life! He isn't at all interested in playing (except at home... he will occasionally grab his squeaky monkey and initiate play but that lasts all of 5 minutes)... certainly not with other dogs! He is a lot more interested in the human accompanying the dog (most of them carry treats!!). He's learning to walk by my side on a "jogging leash" (when we're "going places") and that's working out wonderfully (it's possibly the fact that I'm not holding the line). I do occasionally come across the odd idiot who claims that I should teach him to walk "at heel" and show him who's the boss, but I cannot get my head around it. Why? It's HIS walk after all... He deserves to have enjoyment and relaxation just like anyone else. I'm not training him to be a guide dog, a therapy dog or a "sportsman"... he's my companion. Our life together is meant to be fun and if that means he can't come with me everywhere, then so be it. There are situations he doesn't enjoy AT ALL... so why put him through those? I think he much prefers staying at home in his familiar environment, than having to suffer the fools in this world - feeling penned in on a terrace while I drink coffee and being surrounded by too many triggers... Why should he? It would ultimately only be for my own enjoyment while he would be uncomfortable... Now that the summer is over and all the tourists have left, I might take him into town again for a short jaunt, just for a change of scenery... have a coffee at my friend's coffee bar when it's quiet... I am no longer pushing him over his limits. It's what he can handle... and if he can't handle it, we'll be out of there in a jiffy. I don't care what people think or say about the way I decide to deal with my dog. I know what's best for him... I chose what kind of relationship I create with him...

The one thing I really want to get down pat though is, a reliable recall and I'm having serious issues with that, but as the past year and a half has taught me... we'll get there. There's no hurry... we're still in the process of building our relationship and I'm absolutely convinced that the day will come when Archie will come to me willingly when called. I'm taking my sweet time with all of this.

I was worried about him for a while because he seems to get worn out pretty quickly - which I thought was weird because Dachshunds are known for their "incredible stamina" and Archie has none! - so I had full blood work done... and it seems like he's in perfect health. The vet even said he has the heartbeat of an athlete and a beautiful coat (raw food, people!!)!! So... I guess Archie just doesn't like/want/need long walks, especially not when it's warm outside, and is perfectly content with a short run on the beach, or some mock-hunting in the dunes; digging around in mouse holes in the field and curling up under his duvet on cold, rainy days...

He is my life... I dedicate every spare minute I have to his well-being. Every spare cent I have goes towards him. I don't do holidays... I only buy second-hand stuff... And I don't regret a thing about it...

For now, all is well in our constantly evolving little world. We're learning together...

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