Puppy, the Dachshund gets a lesson in etiquette . . .

A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of visiting friends in Payson, AZ.  They have a wonderful log cabin with lots of character and history, and they have an amazing dog with very refined manners.  I couldn’t help noticing a contrast with my own beloved (and talking) pet, Puppy.  I decided to take advantage of the occasion and take a few photos which I could show to Puppy as a teaching tool.

When I got home, I showed Puppy the photos:

not looking at the camera

“Puppy, this is you when I try to take your picture.  You always look away.  Here is how you could look.”

looking directly at camera

“I can’t look like that.  My hair isn’t white,” he responded.

cleaning up crumbs

“Here is a picture of a dog cleaning up crumbs, but not begging at the table,” I continued. “And here is a picture of you under the table.”

shredding tamale

“I was cleaning too,” he said.

“That’s debatable,” I said to myself.

“Here is a picture of a dog giving a polite greeting.” I tried again to show Puppy an example of etiquette.

polite greeting

Here is you when I came home yesterday:

ignoring new arrival

“My back was itching,” Puppy countered.

Here is an example of a dog who sleeps on his own bed, and here is you:

on dog bed not human furniture

on human furniture

“Well, this is the first I’ve heard of it,” Puppy said.

I had to stop in my tracks.  What he said was true.  I am  a completely permissive parent and haven’t tried to change Puppy’s behavior.  Why start now?

Instead I will make this blog post into a blatant advertisement for my new book, “My Talking Dachshund”, only 99 cents on kindle!  Puppy is fine the way he is, but my friend’s dog . . . outstanding example of good dog parents!




Question for dog owners . . .

Lucy and Puppy walking

When my beloved rescue dog, Lucy and dachshund Puppy used to go for walks with me, Lucy was the one who was interested in smelling.  She would stop at any mailbox, cable box,  fire hydrant, or light post as well as walls, rocks, or just gravel in general and carefully sniff for who knows what. (My guess is urine, but I’m not really sure).  Puppy would stand by and wait.

Puppy waiting for Lucy to sniff

Lucy was so good at investigating smells, separating them, and sorting them by categories.  Puppy never showed any interest and in fact would impatiently pull on his leash to make us continue on the walk.

Puppy pulling Lucy

Time has passed and sweet Lucy has gone the way of the earth.  Now it’s just Puppy and me on walks and he has completely changed.  He stops constantly to sniff, much more passionately than Lucy did.

Puppy sniffing

My question is, “What gives?”  Can any dog whisperer out there explain this change in behavior?

If you would care to know more about a typical dachshund’s behavior, I invite you to check out my new middle grades children’s book with photograph illustrations, “My Talking Dachshund.”  

Imagination and Real-life Combine to Promote New Book

They say that a web presence can be a real asset when promoting a book.  Anne Milstead (me) has a limited web presence on Facebook and very limited on Instagram, however, triciamanly (also me) has a fairly large presence on such sites as ModtheSims,  SimFansUK, and Cinda’sSimStyle.  For 11 years since my son, NedtheHead  gave me the Sims2 game for my birthday, I’ve been hooked on building houses for imaginary families trying to work their way up to the top of their careers.  You then package these houses to a file and upload to one of the above sites where fellow “Simmers” browse through screenshots of your houses and if they like one, they download it into their own game for their own Sims.  It’s amazing fun!  I don’t say it to boast (well, maybe I do) but I have a combined total of 1,988,912 downloads of my houses.  Just imagine if that were book sales!  Anyway, for my latest effort, My Talking Dachshund, I decided to combine my two lives by building the setting for the book, my own house and a neighbor’s in Peoria, AZ.  I built a Sim facsimile of both houses, put in a lot of effort by creating custom walls, floors, and furniture. I also downloaded other “Simmers” files, namely a custom dachshund by Munchie, realistic palm trees by Alex Stanton, and dining chairs by LadyAngel  to make my lot better and then uploaded the final result with explanation of the setting and links to my book. Hoping to get at least a lot of views!  Mod the Sims has more than 2,000 on line at any given time!

Everyday Arizona resized

By the way, my book is available in Spanish, Mi Perro Salchicha Hablador, (translation help from the neighbor who lives in the white brick house and from another dear friend) and it is available in Kindle for only $0.99!

Sims2 forever!

New attempt at self-publishing with “My Talking Dachshund”

For a while now I’ve been blogging about supposed conversations with my dachshund, Puppy.  We spend considerable time together on the sofa and taking walks, so I’m the most qualified to convey what must surely be his thoughts and opinions to you in my next book, “My Talking Dachshund.” .  My niece, whose name I will shamelessly drop, Sarah Fine, recommended I look into Createspace for self-publishing which I did.  Lo and behold, they have templates to download to provide just the right margins for the size book you choose, and they have cover templates to let you design your cover for yourself on line.  This is perfect for me since my first book, “Puppy, the Navy Seal Dachshund” cost me an arm and a leg and has since sold 39 copies (with grateful thanks to the 39!)  CreateSpace is completely free although they will help you design your book if you wish.  I wanted to learn how to use this site, not only to publish my book, but  because some students I’m working with will need to publish their work.  CreateSpace will be perfect for that.   The book is now in the proofing stage.  Then comes marketing and distribution, my favorite! new book cover

Dachshund volunteers to lead exercise program . . .

“Man, I’ve gained 7 pounds over the last few months,” I moaned to my dachshund who is a good listener.

“My question is, why do you gain weight,” he asked, trying to help me analyze the situation.

“Too many sweets and not enough exercise,” was my sad reply.

“I can run that off of you if you take me for a walk.”

There was sense in what he said, so I got the new harness and struggled to get it on him.  He cried, whined, and turned in circles as I admonished him, “Puppy, be still!  Do you want to go for a walk or not?”

Another new thing in our lives beside the harness, (which by the way, I have to thank my friend praw27 for suggesting it as Puppy pulls a lot on his leash unless I run at his pace and now he doesn’t strangle himself) is a new iphone which takes videos.  Puppy recommended that I film him running and then use the video to motivate myself.  He said I could watch it over and over on the treadmill or run in place while watching it.  The video is 3 minutes long with short sections of smelling in which to catch your breath.

Puppy, the Dachshund Workout Video

If you need motivating, perhaps this will be just the thing!  Puppy also invites you to read the book chronicling his own workouts, “Puppy, the Navy Seal Dachshund.”

Demanding dachshund makes a good personal trainer . . .

 The other morning my dachshund said to me, “Running for as little as five minutes a day could significantly lower a person’s risk of dying prematurely,” 

“Really, where did you hear that?” I asked.

The New York Times,” he answered.

Since I didn’t want to die prematurely, I got the leash.  We went through the usual, “Puppy, wait for Mama” routine while I locked the front door, and he pulled on the leash, eager to be on his way.

We took off at a good pace, probably 5.5 miles an hour as my heart was pounding after running around the corner and down a short block to the next street.


Just when I thought I couldn’t run anymore, he stopped to smell a light post.



I stood and panted for a minute, glad to let Puppy find what he seemed to be looking for.

Then, suddenly, he took off again, ears flying and toe nails clicking on the sidewalk.


I didn’t want to let a creature with six inch long legs outdo me, so I ran along behind, feeling my breathing starting to regulate.  Without warning he stopped again to smell the sidewalk.


I was able to pant and catch my breath, remembering something I had heard about sprinting.  Oh yes, my dad, who is 99 and still interested in health is the one who told me about it.  “This must qualify as sprints,”  I thought.

Puppy was off again, though he had slowed his pace to 4 miles per hour, a comfortable brisk walk for me.  We continued down to the end of the block where he stopped to smell a rock.


“This is great exercise,” I thought, feeling good about my scientific workout, and enjoying the brief pause before the next sprint.  Three seconds later, we’re running again, around the corner and heading for home.


As we approach the house, Puppy stops one last time to smell the gravel.


“So what are you sniffing for exactly?” I asked.

“Urine,” he replied.

We get home and resume our favorite position on the sofa, but I could feel good about it since I had just done at least 5 minutes of sprints.  It’s hard to tell how Puppy felt since he doesn’t like to talk about his feelings, but his body language denoted some satisfaction.


How wonderful to have a dachshund who insists on taking walks.  

P.S. Puppy wishes many happy returns to his Aunt Karen, a well-known supporter of dachshunds.


Ode to my Inspiration, Dav Pilkey

In 2005, I left teaching 6th grade after 13 years and began teaching 3rd.  I had gotten a reading endorsement, so when an opening in 3rd came up, I went for it.  We had a Reading First grant and our text was Scott Foresman.  At that time, administration wanted us to follow a very structured schedule and almost say verbatim what our teacher’s guide said.  This is pretty stifling for a teacher, but there was always a bright spot in the year, and that was when the story “Dogzilla” came up.  The kids couldn’t wait to read it!  It’s an incredibly clever story with Dav Pilkey’s own pet dog and mice as characters.  He uses actual photographs of the pets embedded in his illustrations. Here is an example:

The story is amusing for adults as well as for the kids.  You can’t help but chuckle at names like “Scarlett O’Hairy or “The Big Cheese” for mouse characters.  The dog character, Dogzilla, is monstrous in the mouse town, but they get rid of her in a hilarious way that all dog lovers will relate to.

Naturally, when thinking about writing a children’s book, I remembered the reaction my students always had to this story.  I knew that my pet dachshund, Puppy, would be a wonderful character too.  My biggest problem is that Puppy is camera shy and I can’t draw, but

puppy on a leash

thank you Dav Pilkey, for the inspiration..

Dachshund over promises and under delivers . . .

This morning Puppy said to me, “If you take me for a walk, I’ll use my superior powers of smell and hearing to tell you things about the neighborhood.”

That sounded intriguing, so I got his leash, and we took off heading west at his usual 4.5 miles per hour.  I was wondering how he would smell or hear things at that speed, but finally he paused to smell a rock.  He was quite thorough, and then he said knowledgeably, “A man sat on this rock last night.”


I think he expected me to ask how he knew that, but the empty cigarette carton next to the rock was sort of a tip off.  I didn’t want to hurt Puppy’s feelings by being sarcastic and saying something like, “Really, dog?” so I just said, “Hmmm. . .”

We continued on around the corner.  Puppy always follows the sidewalk, so we tend to go around the block a lot.  He paused to sniff some beautiful golden African daisies that bloom this time of year.  His observation was, “Bees.”Image

A few more houses down, he paused again, straining slightly toward a huge patch of prickly pear cactus and then announced, “There are rabbits under there..”


At Puppy’s next stop he told me that a kid had taken a fall in this spot.


At this point I was thinking to myself (not saying it out loud for fear of hurting Puppy’s feelings) that he really hadn’t given me anything new about the neighborhood.  But then I heard a rooster crowing.  I’ve heard this rooster numerous times and always wondered which neighbor owned it.  Now I could find out!

“Puppy,” I said, “Which yard did that rooster crow come from?”

He replied (a little disdainfully I thought), “From the yard where the sound came from.”

“Yes, which yard was that?”  I pressed him for an answer.

“You’d have to look over the fences and see,” he said.

Around the corner we encountered a rather homely sight which was an old mattress in someone’s front yard.  The big trash truck comes around in January so I’m not sure who they think will pick the mattress up.  Puppy seemed to think I would because he said, “Bedbugs.  I wouldn’t sleep on that if I were you.”Image

Now we’ve been walking 20 minutes and I’m pretty sure I haven’t heard anything new about the neighborhood from my dachshund.  We’re almost home, and Puppy is getting a bit tired.  He sits down on the sidewalk to pant for a minute.  Then he said, “The person in this house was gardening.”


After his last pronouncement, Puppy got up and we continued on home.  As we went in he looked at me proudly.  “Bet that was an eye opening experience for you.”  I was able to answer truthfully, “Yes, it was.”

If you’re interested in more of Puppy’s thoughts and dreams, you may enjoy my children’s book, Puppy, the Navy Seal Dachshund.

Dachshund Makes New Years Resolutions

I never have before, but it seems that now some people think I need self-improvement.  A new year resolution is something you think up to let the people know you are going to improve.  I’m assuming they are also making improvements such as taking me for a walk every day.  Anyway I’m thinking on it.



Here are my thoughts . . . How many resolutions do I need?  How do I know what needs improvement? Will I get any kind of reward for making resolutions?   


What if I don’t make the right resolution?  What if I make the resolution and then I forget to keep it?  What if I don’t get a reward for it?


Okay.  I think i’ve got it.  I have 4 legs, so I’ll make 4 resolutions.  Here they are:

1. Don’t dive into Lucy’s bowl when she lifts her head.

2. Don’t wake Bob up at 5:30.  Wait until 6:00.

3. Be more considerate about passing gas. (I think I figured out what “Ewwww, Puppy, Puppy!” means.)

4. Look at the camera every fourth picture.


Did I do good?  About that reward . . .

Dachshund is reluctant to play Santa . . .

“Puppy, will you pose for a Christmas picture in the Santa suit?” I ask politely.

“What’s in it for me?” is his reply.


“Hmm, eh, nnno . . . ”

“Canned dog food?”

“You’re getting warmer. . .”

“What then? What will it take to get a Christmas picture of you in this Santa suit?”

“A walk.”

“You’ll do it for a walk, really?”

“Yep, a walk.”

“OK, great.  Here, let me put it on you.”

Slight struggle yields dachshund in Santa Suit.


“Wait, Puppy, let me get the leash.”

Fumbling at the door, and then we’re out side.  He takes off running with me flopping behind.  He runs 4.5 to 5 miles an hour, pretty fast for a dachshund with 6″ long legs.  He turns the corner, runs past barking neighbor dogs, ignoring their snarky comments.  He finally stops around the corner to sniff a cable box.  I try to get a picture.

“Puppy, look at Mama.”


An odor from the flower bed attracts his attention.  I try again, “Puppy, look at Mama!”


He has moved on one house and looks like he’s preparing to start running again.  It’s next to impossible to get him to stand still.  As I thought, he takes off, ignoring my question, “Wait, what about the Christmas picture?”

We continue down the block to the west.  He briefly pauses at the corner house with the beautiful green winter grass and tinkling fountain.  I pause too, listening to the fountain and the bird apartment  shade tree in their yard. Suddenly he takes off.  I realize that I’m about to lose out on my opportunity to photograph him..

The second he stops, in front of our house, I say, “Puppy, be a good boy!  Look at Mama!”


I give up.  “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!”  From Puppy, the Dachshund.

Oh and by the way, Puppy the Dachshund reminds you about his book:

“Puppy, the Navy Seal Dachshund”, a good Christmas present for kids who love dogs!