It’s Food Channel meets Animal Planet in a daily culinary adventure

I don’t how it is with your dachshunds, but cooking with mine is a life challenging event. After years of doing it, I’m pretty sure I could do that scene in Indiana Jones where he has to escape the Temple of Doom without being crushed, flayed, skewered or incinerated while juggling chainsaw with my eyes closed.

Cooking with Dachshunds

My kitchen is fairly small and all three of my dachshunds — as well as my two German shepherds — insist on stationing themselves in it at meal preparation time. Given that the space is maybe 5 feet wide and 10 feet long, movement from refrigerator to counter to stove without stumbling over one of the five, each of whom is in a constant state of jockeying for a position directly under my feet, is an accomplishment in itself. This nightly competition for potential fallen morsels (made more likely by tripping me) begins with the refrigerator opening.

Now, if you’ve ever read anything about Dachshunds, you know that they’re usually described as stubborn and extremely difficult to train. This should not be confused with the breed being slow-witted or in any way un-intelligent. Because I can tell you that for a fact that a dachshund can be at the opposite end of the house in a room with blaring TV, burrowed under three layers of blankets and sound asleep, and the moment the fridge door is cracked open, that dachshund will launch from that bed and head full-tilt for the kitchen like a meat-seeking cruise missile.

A refrigerator door opening followed by paper or plastic rustling is enough to set off a full scale ground invasion of the kitchen by the entire platoon, complete with baying, barking and energetic leaping (but always well short) assaults on the kitchen counter.

Welcome to cooking in my house.

Interestingly, each of the dogs has developed a different tactic for obtaining fallen food. Franzi is always first on the scene, usually arriving just as the fridge is opening. Her method is to come in low and fast, dive into the fridge and see what she can grab. I wised up to this a while ago and moved the meat, cheese, and leftovers to higher shelves, but the occasional casserole pan is still within target range. If that doesn’t yield results, she’ll switch to sitting between my feet and starting upward while I work, waiting for food to drop.

Montgomery, usually the second to arrive, prefers a frontal assault. He spends most of his time leaping at my leg and dancing on my feet. This is a surprisingly effective tactic, especially if he trots across my bare foot or he lands a well-place leap against the back of my leg. Either move can throw me off balance and result in food spillage which he will then be in range to intercept ahead of Franzi (because she is sitting).

Rommel, on the other hand, takes a much less aggressive approach. He tends to arrive last and hang back, standing two or three feet from the main assault occurring under my feet. Being Mr. Ball Chaser, he’s quite fast, maneuverable and, unlike Franzi and Monty, can grab things out of the air. Since he’s standing a couple of feet back, he can often see food heading toward the floor before the other two directly underfoot, allowing him to dart in and snag a falling scrap before the others even realize it’s on its way down to dachshund level.

My two German Shepherds, Sunna and Noet, have altogether different tactics that mostly involve sprawling across the floor and waiting for me to trip over them. This is not as effective as the dachshund’s various methods (it’s hard to miss a 60 lb dog splayed across the kitchen floor), but it does yield impressive results now and then.

For example, I was making lasagna the other day and was going to place a big bag of Costco cheese on the counter. Distracted by trying to avoid stepping on the doxies I didn’t see Sunna laying across the length of the kitchen between the stove and counter. As I turned from the fridge, I stumbled into her and proceeded to dump three pounds of shredded cheese across her body.

Startled by my foot followed by a heavy rain of cheese, Sunna tried to get to her feet. But before she could, the dachshunds were on her like hyenas on a zebra carcass, forcing her back down while they clambered over her cleaning up the cheese.

The doxies made quick work of the spilled cheese and Sunna was even able to get some that had scattered over her head and on to the tile, so it ended well for the dogs. Not so much for my husband though. I had to call and made him stop at the store on his way home from work to buy more cheese. He grumbled a bit, but at least he got a good lasagna without having to battle five dogs for it.

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