Charlie’s Nose

I have been reading Cesar Millan’s book “Be the Pack Leader” and have found it to be fascinating. We adopted our first dog 6 months ago. We rescued him from street life as a 6-month-old puppy. He is a mixture of dachshund and miniature pinscher from what we can tell. I didn’t realize how much of that dachshund was in him until observing him more and following some of the suggestions in the book.

One of the main ingredients to a healthy dog is exercise. If you exercise your dog regularly Cesar believes it will help many of the problems you might be facing with your dog. He also believes that you can tell problems with the owner based on the actions of the dog. I have always been a sucker for psychology-type books and linking the psychology of humans with the nature of dogs is intriguing. So anyway, back to the dachshund side of Charlie, our dog.

Dachshunds were bred to hunt. They have tremendous noses; they are part of the hound group of dogs. They are also low to the ground and they love to dig out small animals. Our Charlie has been quite the digger in our backyard. When it was just dirt it wasn’t a problem. Now we are trying to plant vegetables and fruit and plants that we want to live and his digging has caused some tension. So, we have been focusing on the exercise part of Charlie’s training so we have a more balanced dog—or a dog that is tired and not trying to work off excess energy digging out ferrets in our yard.

I have been giving him a good workout (and one I need too) and then I give him some sniff time for reward. Isn’t that what we all want for a reward? Yesterday I took him to the dog park to play with other dogs after his walking time. (By the way, that is another suggestion of Cesar’s – to give a dog a walk before dog park time. They need to work off their excess energy to help them be in the right mind to socialize. That is probably my need too.) I was expecting my Charlie to be playing with the other dogs. Charlie was sniffing the majority of the time. He played with some of the dogs for maybe 5 minutes and then he was all nose. He was so focused.

Cesar Millan also says that dogs mirror you. I felt like that yesterday. He entered the gate, gave the doggy sniff to the other dogs (the “handshake” for dogs) and then after being polite it was like – okay, I have work to do guys, you carry on and play, I’ll catch up with you later. That is so me – yes, I am polite and love to socialize, but I tend to be all business too—like every function has a purpose and it is my job to fulfill the purpose. Either I am thinking about my jewelry business or observing people to improve my writing. I guess I am sniffing them out too. I wonder what kind of books I could write if I could find out half of the stuff Charlie does with his nose?

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