Thursday, December 28, 2006

Holiday Season

Over the holiday season our family has been really busy and Savvy has done a wonderful job dealing with strangers (to him) stopping by and the interruption of his normal routines. This was his first Christmas with R. and I! We had no Christmas tree, so no worries there about my puppy eating tinsel or anything. From his "grandma" he got a big stocking filled with puppy toys, which he proceeded to scatter gleefully around the house and yard. My present to him may be less appreciated but it's become a necessity. I am ordering a "radio fence" for our yard, which is an transmitter that allows him to run free while being confined to a pre-determined area. It involves an electronic shock collar that will warn him with beeping as he approaches the perimeter, and before he actually gets a "correction". I can no longer assume my pup will always come when he's called, and with the road and the snowmobile trail being so close I've realized that he's got to be better controlled. I now know that I should have done this months ago.
Savvy's foot pads are still sensitive to the ice and snow, but I think they'll toughen up with more brief periods of exposure. He enjoys playing in the snow (what little snow we have) and if I find it necessary to buy him booties I will. It's still not cold enough that we need to limit our walks, and he hasn't needed to wear a coat yet. My friend knitted him a thick, soft neck-warmer that I can pull over his ears, since they are the first part of his body to get cold, and that will help tremendously when we snowmobile up the lake to my parents' place. With the first snowmobilers out and about, and R. and I preparing our three sleds, I can tell Savvy is excited about riding again. He gets startled when the engines start, but then wants to crawl right up on the seat. I hate to think it might be impossible for him to ride this year, but he is getting huge. Next I'll probably be buying him a sled to tow behind the snowmobile!
I continue to apply udder balm to his elbow callouses daily and it seems to be softening them up a little. I'd like to prevent them from getting bigger and becoming cracked, both for his comfort and for looks. His ear tips are still floppy when he runs and I'm sure I should have continued taping a bit longer. In any case, he looks magnificent standing still, so I'm probably going to leave them alone and stop being a perfectionist, at least regarding my dog's ears...
By the way, as you can see in the picture, Savage has finally made peace with the new couch.
Happy Holidays, Dane lovers!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Pictures Of Nala

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Blonde Ambition

This is Savvy's little blonde girlfriend. She is a 6 month old fawn female that Sarah (Ted's mom) is now fostering. She is recovering from HOD (hypertrophic osteodystrophy), and our hope is that she will finally find her home up here on the Trail. In the short time that Sava and I got to meet her, she made a wonderful impression, having a sweet, well-adjusted personality, and of course, she is very beautiful, delicate and feminine. We are both simply in love with this girl.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Trapping Season

I debated back and forth with myself whether I should even post this story in my blog, but something happened this morning that finally made me do it. It began last week, when Savi and I were driving to Grand Marais and I decided to stop and take him hiking along the way. We did a short, steep hike to a view overlooking a lake, and he got to charge up and down the trail, sniff around, and get some exercise. When I made my way back to the truck parked at the trailhead, he detoured into the brush. As I called him to get into the truck, I heard a chain rattle on the ground, and immediately dashed over to save him. Sure enough, he started crying loudly, and when I got to him he had a trap stuck on his muzzle. He was surprised and shocked more than hurt, and I quickly released it's grip on him, and got him into the vehicle, but not before grabbing the trap and tossing it into the truck bed. Luckily, the trap was a small one, a #1 longspring with a jaw spread of about 4", so it didn't do much damage. It actually sprung on the front of his upper lip, and after a little bleeding, his upper lip (right under his nose) has a bare, pink spot.
At this point, let me explain that I am not opposed to fur-trapping. My family (living remotely in the bush) has done it to support themselves for many generations, and I was raised running traplines with my parents. I know there are ways to trap animals as sustainably and humanely as possible. Also, where my family traps there are absolutely no domestic pets, so a dog getting caught in a trap is unheard of. However, my puppy did get trapped, and this set was literally 3 feet off of a state hiking trail! Savage was off-leash that day, only because there were no other cars parked at the trailhead, and I knew there were no hikers he might disturb. But even on leash, he could have found the trap, and so could a child wandering along the edge of the trail. Because I grew up trapping, I automatically knew how to release the trap, but that's not something every hiker knows. Until now, I had the silly idea that trappers in our area might have enough ambition to actually walk even a few yards into the woods to set their traps, but apparently that is not the case. When I called one of our local conservation officers about the incident, he explained that the location of the set was completely legal, and all he could do was try to explain my concern to the trapper (whose trap I had to return, incidentally). The CO was sympathetic to my complaint, but could do little about it, and also told me that my dog was not the first caught in a trap this season. I remain pissed off that the trapper was so lazy and irresponsible to set his trap so close to a trail used by hundreds of tourists, their kids, and their pets each summer. Though it's late in the fall, obviously people (like me) still use that hiking trail. From now until the end of trapping season, I resolved to keep walking Sava on our normal route (Co. Rd 92 and Poplar Lake Access Rd.) because we haven't noticed any vehicle activity there except a couple of people that live along the road, and I assume it's safe.
This morning a friend that lives about 4 miles or so from me came over to show me the trap his dog got caught in. Apparently, one of his basset hounds got loose and was gone all night long. He had stopped by my house last night looking for her. This morning another friend heard a dog whining in the woods, and they found her with her nose stuck in a conibear-style body trap, baited with a chunk of deer meat (presumably Savvy ate the bait from "his" trap). The trap (size 220, designed for catching pine marten or mink) has a jaw spread of 7", making it the perfect size for basset noses. The dog is probably seriously injured, I'm thinking that it probably broke her nose, but I don't yet know the extent. My friend's wife was on her way to the vet with her dog, and I hope everything works out fine. I do know that this trap was set legally, and the dog was indeed running loose, so nothing else can be done about it. It just makes me disappointed that I will have to keep Savvy on a tight leash (no pun intended) when we walk anywhere there might be trapping activity. It also bears mentioning that while beaver, mink, marten, otter, etc. trapping seasons come and go, our coyote trapping season runs year-round.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Tribute To Teddy

This post is to commemorate my friend's wonderful blue dane, Ted, who died on October 26th, 2006 at 14 months old, as the result of complications from blastomycosis.
Ted was Sarah's first dane, and he arrived at the time when I was desperately searching for my Savvy. Our hope was that they would grow up together as best friends, and best friends they were. I first met Teddy Bear when he was 9 weeks old and immediately fell in love, as most people did when this little gray puppy turned on the charm. We introduced him to Savage about a week after I got him, and since then they had been quite a pair. Their personalities were amazingly similar, even if their coat colors, sizes, and overall "looks" were somewhat different. When a group of us would get together and take all the dogs swimming or walking, everyone else would be playing with eachother and having fun, but the two danes were off together in their own little world, just genuinely enjoying eachother's company.
Ted grew up quickly from the clumsy little baby he was into a tall, sleek, handsome boy. Yet he still retained the goofy puppy characteristics and joie-de-vivre that young dogs have. Before his illness started wearing on him, he weighed in excess of 140lbs and was on his way to being a huge dane, already the biggest pup from his litter. In typical dane fashion, he was truly a gentle giant. At a young age, he was already a therapy dog of sorts, visiting with the elderly residents in the care center weekly. He drew stares and comments wherever he went, being the first blue great dane most people up here have seen, and I can't even begin to count how many times people have called my puppy "Ted". I end up explaining that yes, there are two of them, and one's ears stand up and the other's don't. Watching Savi and Ted play together was fascinating, and it became somewhat of a spectator sport among the customers at Sarah's store down the Trail from our place. We both realized as they grew that no enclosed area is big enough to contain the antics of the two danes, but that didn't stop them, and they left a trail of tipped-over displays and empty shelves in their wake.
When Teddy died, Sarah lost her baby dog, and Savage also lost his best friend. Ted was there from the very beginning of Sava's life with me, and was a constant companion to Sarah, sharing her affection with her beloved rottweiler, Roger, and various foster dogs. He will be missed terribly.
The Story Of Savage contains numerous posts with stories and pictures of Ted, beginning in November of 2005. Any blue dane pictured with natural ears in this blog is Teddy Bear.


As far as we know, Teddy contacted blastomycosis sometime in September or October. In early October, Ted began coughing and his breathing was noticeably more labored. His initial diagnosis was kennel cough, though when his breathing got worse and he started coughing up blood, Sarah immediately rushed him back to the vet for a second opinion.
Understanding the love between danes and their humans, I was worried for both Ted and Sarah, and one of my greatest fears is blastomycosis. A couple of years ago we had a friend on the Gunflint Trail that lost two chocolate labs to the disease, after a lengthy, painful, and expensive treatment. My second cousin's spaniel was successfully treated for blasto, though he still may relapse. I know of two other cases in our immediate area, one being a human infection (successful treatment) and the other being a canine (fatal case). Because of the threat of blasto, Sarah asked her vet if that could be the cause of her dog's illness, but he assured her that it was definately not, and diagnosed Ted with pneumonia.
In that first week, Ted got noticeably weaker and lost quite a bit of weight. His fever was at 105 degrees, and not responding to the antibiotics at all. He refused to eat, and would only drink tiny amounts of water. His breathing was deep and seemed painful, his whole body laboring for each breath. Desperate, Sarah again drove him 150 miles to Duluth. At this point she took him to another vet whom she had dealt with before, and when she got home, sent me an email; "Teddy does have blasto." They began treatment right away, but I think poor Teddy was so weak from the disease and the fever and so dehydrated already that his immune system just couldn't handle the medications. Most blasto treatments involve medicine that is toxic to the liver and/or kidneys, and in the last days of his life, Ted's body was struggling to handle the disease and the medications both. At the end, he was succumbing to complete liver failure.
I went to see Ted maybe a week before he died, after he'd started medication. Weak and shaky, he wagged his tail when I walked in, and struggled off his futon to greet me. I was absolutely shocked at the amount of weight he'd lost, and how this healthy, robust puppy had changed in only a week or so to a dog that looked aged and helpless. He could barely draw breath, and I could hear his lungs rattling even when he was resting. But he wandered outside with Sarah and I and the rottweilers and drank some water, and I started to think that maybe he would make it. He heard Savi whining in my truck and perked up his big floppy ears, and I know he was anticipating playing with his little buddy again. I hugged him and told him he was a good, strong boy, and then I walked back down the driveway to my truck and hugged my own puppy for a very long time. I never saw Teddy again.
Blastomycosis is a horrible, painful disease. It's caused by a fungus in the soil, and dogs contact it by inhaling the mold spores. One of the insidious things about blasto is that it's so often mis-diagnosed (as in Ted's case). If the infection is recognized early on, treatment has a chance of working, but we have to be very alert to behavioral and physical changes in our puppies. We have to be aware of blasto, and know that it exists in our area. We have to force our vets to consider it, even though the diagnosis may be expensive and difficult. There is a great wealth of information on blasto online, and it's possible to find out if there have been reported cases in your geographic region. For example, the Minnesota Department Of Health's blastomycosis page has maps of cases by county of residence AND county of exposure. If you check these out, notice that St. Louis County (including Duluth), has the second highest number of cases on both maps. Savi and I live in Cook County, and Duluth is the closest big city to us. It's scary.
If you are concerned about blasto, simply type in "blastomycosis in dogs" on any search engine. Or visit Canis Major's page on blasto for a easy-to-understand summary. And get to know your dog, body and mind, so you can spot any changes. It may save his/her life.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

One Year Old!!

Looking back through the time my Savi and I have spent together (about 10 months) so far, what first comes to mind is what a learning experience it has been, both for him and for me. My puppy and I have forged a relationship that is probably the most rewarding one that I've ever had. We've loved each other, fought, played mind games, bonded, shared new experiences. We've hiked, biked, snowmobiled, went driving in the truck, and riding in the motorboat. We've watched Fourth Of July fireworks, swam in Saganaga Lake, bartended together (his job is schmoozing the customers and eating ice cubes), and cuddled on the futon. He was there when my boyfriend R. and I poured the cement for the foundation of our new house, and when I shot my first grouse ever. I was there when he fell off the dock at my parents' boathouse, and when he first met his best dane friend, Ted.
He's helped me through trying to quit smoking, and arguments with my boyfriend, and he has a way of laying his big head in my lap and looking up at me with his big amber eyes that always makes me feel like everything is going to be all right. In some ways I know he has changed me into a better person. My priorities have changed from me, me, me a lot of the time, to taking care of him and his needs. For example, working at a bar, I naturally do my fair(?!) share of drinking. When I started having to get up early in the morning to take Savage walking, I drastically cut back on partying. Not only is it difficult to drink all night and then go out for a brisk two-mile walk at 7am, it's downright vomit-inducing preparing his hearty breakfast of raw chicken necks with a hangover. I actually quit drinking alcohol altogether for about 3 months, though now I drink a few whiskeys maybe once a month. Having my puppy also forces me to get out and exercise, rain or shine. I've lost ten pounds since I've reduced the alcohol in my diet, and I'm getting in much better shape from walking at least an hour every day. Thanks to Savi.
I've started to view R., me, and Savage as a little family, and I think it makes the humans' relationship more solid. For someone who distrusted all dogs (after being viciously attacked by a St. Bernard when he was a child) and viewed pet ownership as completely uneccessary and generally a big pain in the butt, R. has changed his mind after getting to know our baby dane. Now when I get home from work it's very normal to see them both cuddling up on the couch watching TV. He brags to his buddies about how smart our puppy is, and readily jumps into discussions about gastric torsion, training methods, and the price per pound of chicken quarters. After 3 years of R. and I being together, I see more of the tenderness in him since we got Savvy.
It hasn't been all fun and games, though. Ear-taping and nail-clipping and ear-cleaning and exercising and food-preparing and training gets exhausting. R. and I took the stitches out of Sava's ears after his crop and hearing him cry in pain broke my heart. Like most puppies, he got roundworms, which had me forcing medicine down his throat and shivering outside waiting for him to take a dump so I could collect a stool sample for inspection. I did his vaccinations myself. In January he ripped his toenail halfway off, and in March he bled all over my friend's store after impaling his nose on a metal display peg. Though his potty-training was a breeze, I still clean up a pile of dog puke every now and then. He's destoyed the futon, chewed up the trim on the doorways, and made the backseat of my truck a complete mess. He's eaten plastic bread bags, paper plates, shoes, and ripped up a few perfectly fine comforters.
I've spent a ton of money to make him happy, healthy, and entertained. The main reason I chose to buy a four-door truck is so he had a large, comfortable place to ride. I just spent $500 on a treadmill hoping he'll eventually maybe someday walk on it. I've bought him a $300 crate, a $100 dog bed, a $200 chest freezer, and countless stuffed animals and toys. I stay at crappy hotels when I travel because they allow big dogs. I buy chicken backs by the 50lb case and cook things I myself would never eat (liver, sweet potatos, mushy oatmeal) so he can get his vitamins and variety in his diet. Next up I will be spending $300+ on a radio fence to surround our house and keep him in the yard. I take him to the vet next week for bloodwork and x-rays (because I'm concerned about blastomycosis in our area) and expect a $270 bill. And then he'll need to be neutered in the future. I haven't even mentioned the cost of actually buying him and the flight from Indiana. A puppy should not be an impulse purchase, for sure.
In conclusion, I think getting my Great Dane was the best thing I've done for myself. He makes me happy simply by being. If I'm the source of his health and happiness that makes me feel awesome. Because of him I've learned so much about danes and puppies in general. I've met a lot of people who share my interest in big dogs, both on the street and on the internet. And I get this huge, goofy, furry boy to spend my days with, hopefully for a very long time.
Savage turned 1 year old on November 17th, 2006. He is now 131lbs and 34" high at the shoulder. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY DOG!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Backseat Driver

Even in my huge four-door truck, my Savi, in true Great Dane fashion, feels the need to be practically on top of me even when I'm driving. This is accomplished by sitting on the backseat with just his front feet on the floor and his big head resting (heavily) on my shoulder. Obviously, my visibility is compromised quite a bit with Savage lumbering around inside the cab, which probably makes my driving not quite as safe.In any case, driving safety completely flew out the window briefly when I was taking these pictures, cruising down the Gunflint Trail with one hand petting my puppy and one clicking away on the camera. Who says you can't steer a truck with one knee?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Futon Retires

When 8-week-old Savage arrived at our house (soon to be HIS house) he spent his nights crated, and on his own bed. But he spent most of his indoor day time on our huge, green futon in the middle of the living room. Eventually he began sleeping all night on it. Needless to say, said futon has taken lots of abuse from our growing puppy. Notice in the picture above, the fabric is un-marred by puppy prints, and the big throw pillow still has a cover. A week or so ago, the futon finally gave in, meaning a few of the metal supports completely broke off, causing the middle to sag nearly to the floor. Not that I would blame anything on my little "angel", but I remember clearly hearing them break after all 130lbs of dane leaped onto them. I know Sava would have been happy to keep the ugly, broken-down thing in the house forever, but none-the-less, today I picked up our new sofa, and the futon went right out the door.
So now my puppy is pouting. He climbed onto the new sofa and tried to rearrange himself to lay down on it, but he just didn't fit as well as he did on his dear futon. Then his daddy laid down on it and (shocker!) there was barely any room for a puppy. So he left and crawled into his crate to sulk. I'm hoping he will get used to the sofa, but nothing will ever replace the legendary futon, which gave him room to stretch out, sprawl on his back, and generally bounce around on whenever things got exciting around the house. It's like the end of an era!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Treadmill 101

Savvy's first introduction to the new treadmill was quite entertaining. Though he's not frightened of it, he's still wary, and even more so when his Mama is on it walking absolutely nowhere. The way he acts when I'm on it is not unlike his excitement when I'm on the bicycle. I think he just wants to go with me, wherever I'm going, but the treadmill probably confuses him quite a bit. He'll step onto it, sniff around it, and even sit on it when the motor isn't running, but I think it will take a very long time to get him to walk contentedly on it. For now we're taking it verrrry slow, and I'm not going to push him into something he's not happy about doing. In the meantime, the warm spell of weather allows us to do our daily walks in comfort, so we're not in a hurry.
However, the first morning with the treadmill, I turned it on for a few minutes to let him get used to the sound of the motor, and then hopped on to try it myself. Savage seemed to be terribly concerned with where I was going, excited, tail-wagging, but also a bit worried. Then he began howling! I've never heard him howl, and even though I should have been sympathetic toward him, it was so hilarious that I had to start egging him on. I even took a short video of him howling to share with R., since he's never heard him howl either.
I ended up uploading the video to the internet because it's so funny. It requires MacroMedia Flash Player 8 to view, but it's worth it, in my opinion. I'd like to add that the video quality is not so great, considering it was taken with my digital camera, and the house was quite dark. Also, the place we're living in is an absolute mess after moving everything around to accommodate the treadmill (it's huge!). But the sound really comes through, and the cuteness of my baby dane is very apparent. If you'd like to see the video CLICK HERE!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

As we move into November, both Savvy and I are feeling the chill of winter. And neither of us are liking it. Our last trip up to the lake was windy and cold, and my puppy refused to stay under the sleeping bag we brought him. The red hoodie I bought is cute and helps warm him a little, but is going to be absolutely useless this winter. My cousin made her doberman a coat out of her old down parka and she says it works wonderfully, so I'm going to be combing the thrift stores for a down jacket. His thin, cropped ears have been completely bare and unprotected in the cold weather and that issue needs to be resolved. Last winter he was small enough to wrap in my jacket, and this year it's a different story altogether. In any case, soon you may be seeing pictures of him all dressed up. For danes in warm climates, I know this sounds silly, but frostbite and hypothermia are a real concern here, and I can't possibly lock my dog inside all winter.
As it gets cooler, I try to take advantage of our time outdoors, by letting Savage run free on our walks and hikes and bike rides. Therefore, he's not getting any on-leash training. Which means as soon as he gets on a leash, he pulls and pulls and completely forgets what "heel" meant. Needless to say, this makes walks less fun for both of us, with him wildly lunging ahead and me stumbling after him on the other end of the leash. So I finally caved and got a prong collar.
Today was our first experience with the "instrument of torture". And it worked. The pull of the collar when he lunged ahead was just enough to calm him down so he would walk a short ways ahead of me at MY pace. And he didn't seem to resent the prong collar as much as I anticipated. It didn't actually hurt him, but acted as a "reminder" that he needed to stay close to me without dragging me all over the trail. When we got back to the house we had a great game of fetch to let him know that it's not all discipline, that his mama wants to have fun with him, too.
We'll begin training with the prong collar, keeping his comfort in mind, but also my sanity. And in looking for a way to maximize our exercise program this winter, I came across some articles about treadmill training for dogs. As I understand, this exercise option is generally used for canine athletes, but I think it could be a great way to keep him in shape on the -20F days I know are approaching. That is, if he'll even get near the thing. In any case, this evening I will be going to pick up our new electric treadmill. At 55" of walking surface, I hope it will accomodate the stride of a growing great dane. And I hope he will slowly learn to walk on it confidently. (My Savage can be a bit stubborn.) If not, I guess I'll have to actually get on it myself, so as not to make it a total waste of money. This should be interesting, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Pool Shark

Savage and R. discussing pool-playing strategy at the bar.
Carefully lining up his shot...
Completely abandoning sportsmanship in favor of a new technique.
Deciding that the game itself isn't half as fun as eating the cue chalk.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

First Snow

A couple days ago we got our first snowstorm of the year. It's already melting, but Savvy got to go out and play around in it for two days. And he's absolutely in love with snow. Even though last winter his feet got cold and he didn't want to stay outside too long he still took advantage of every minute. Yesterday I (reluctantly) got up in the morning and took him out walking in the cold and windy weather and he had a blast pouncing and darting around in it, though there was only about 5" on the ground. R. started one of the snowmobiles to move it, and Savvy got all excited. I'm not looking forward to getting him to fit on one this winter.I promised to post pictures of Savage's new hooded sweatshirt. He should only need a coat in the coldest weather, and hopefully I'll find him warmer clothes for that. This hoodie I bought online, and this was the largest size it came in. Keep in mind that my 120lb puppy isn't even a year old yet and still has lots of growing to do. You can see how the hoodie is much shorter lengthwise than it should be, and too tight around the shoulder/chest area, which is why the collar isn't buttoned. The hood itself can't fit comfortably over his ears, even if I took out the elastic. Still, if he does get cold this fall, it will be useful just to preserve some of his body heat. Doesn't seem to restrict his movement at all, though when I first put it on him he wasn't too pleased. And it only cost $18 or so. Compared to most of my purchases for him that's nothing.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Evil Bicycle

I don't ride a bicycle much (at all) but I thought biking with Savi would be an excellent way for both of us to get more exercise than our normal walks. A couple of problems presented themselves right away. To my surprise, Savage was quite a bit startled by the whole concept, having never seen his mama on wheels. I think he was worried I was going to take off and leave him alone. I was envisioning a leisurely ride with my dog trotting contentedly by my side. But it was not to be. He spends the entire time bouncing back and forth directly in the path of the tires, growling occassionally and pretty much wearing himself out. I'm worried he's a little obsessed, and I stopped riding and walked witht the bike when I started thinking he might overheat. (I'm not completely paranoid. It was really warm, even though it's October!) Once I got off the bike he stopped freaking out and allowed himself to sniff around off the gravel road and run ahead a ways.
Well, he did get a lot of exercise, so in that respect the biking episode was successful. My hope is that he will calm down a bit after we do a few more rides together.
Having my puppy to exercise and entertain does cause me to find new activities for us to do. Living and working in a tourist area, I find I don't do many of the things that the tourists come here specifically to do. Savage actually gives me a great excuse to explore the area. Yesterday we went on a hike through the forest, one that I've never done before. The trail leads to a huge magnetite rock sticking up out of the earth. It was really cool to be able to take time out of my day to just go hiking, because I would never have if I didn't have my puppy. In his own little way, he really opens me up to new experiences.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Groovy Savi

Since Savage wears the choke chain only for occassional training sessions now, and his blaze orange bandanna while hunting, we needed a comfortable everyday collar that also gave me a little control at the other end of the leash.The martingale-style collars work pretty well for that, but finding a cool-looking one was quite a search. I bought Sava his new collar from Shore Dog, which has a huge selection of wild fabric choices! (This fabric color is called "Groovy"). As you may know, I don't normally link to commercial sites, but I was so impressed with the product, selection of colors and sizes, and service I received from Shore Dog that I had to give them props on my site. Check 'em out!


Finally got my camera charger, and went crazy taking dane pictures today! So this is my baby Savage at almost 11 months old! It's hard to believe his first birthday is fast approaching. The picture below illustrates how far he's come. The difference between the two is 9 months, 20 inches of height, and 94 pounds of weight. Look at his little baby face! I am still absolutely in love with this dog!!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bird Dog!

The (half-hearted) effort is underway to make Savage into a bird-dog! I originally planned to hunt grouse this season as an excuse to spend time out in the woods with my puppy. So bright and early this morning we all headed out to begin Sava's first hunting adventure. Now, my little dane is not much of a hunter, anyway, preferring to harass sticks in the trail as opposed to unneccessarily wasting energy chasing live prey. But he has shown a great interest in grouse ever since we came upon a mother and her covey of babies a month or so ago.
I believe his excitement today was mainly because of R.'s and my excitement over shooting birds, but he had a great time anyway. We walked for miles along old logging roads near the Gunflint Trail, and though Savvy didn't spot any birds on his own, once he heard one of us loading the shotgun he went absolutely wild. It was necessary for R. to hold onto Sava when I was shooting, and vice versa, because when the puppy spots a grouse he doesn't hesitate to go for it. This might be a problem when it's just me and him, but I'm assumming I'll end up shooting more birds in trees after Savage has flushed them up, and him getting in the way won't be an issue.
We allowed him to retrieve the first two or three grouse just for fun, but if given a chance he will chew up the meat. He eats turkey backs every day, after all! I would never expect him to be a retriever, or a pointer, or anything like that, but having him along with me on the hunt is so much more fun. Watching him pounce into the brush going after a shot bird is fun to watch. Once the grouse were killed and I was carrying them back to the truck, Sava lost interest in them and went in search of live ones. Altogether, R. and I bagged 7 birds this morning, and my baby dane enjoyed every minute of his first hunt.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Excuses *sigh*

First of all, somehow the charger for my digital camera disappeared and it's been a hassle finding a replacement. Therefore, I haven't got any updated pictures of my beautiful puppy. The above picture is from when he was around 17 weeks old. Yes, he still sleeps on top of my boyfriend even now, at 10 months old!
Work on the new house has been progressing, but that means I work there from 8am to 3pm, and then go to my "real" job at the bar from 6pm to 1am. Savage goes to the property with R. and I, and though he gets to run around there and chew on wood scraps and such, he was missing out on one-on-one training for the past few weeks. In addition to not getting scheduled walks and training sessions, he has also been off-leash for that time. The reason for that is when he was wearing the choke chain for help with heeling, it seems to have worn off some of the thin fur on the underside of his neck. Then that got irritated and Savage began to scratch at it, further irritating the injury. So I decided to leave his collar off until the hair grew back. We ditched the choke chain and bought him a fabric-covered nylon martingale-style collar, but his skin is only now returning to normal. No collar means no leashed walks, no heel training, etc.
Well, yesterday we went for a long "heeled" walk and Savvy seems to get right back into the groove, so that's promising. The great news is that with the help of treats (tiny bits of cheese) Savage is now coming when called quite consistently. If I had to estimate, I'd say he responds to recall about 88% of the time, which is fabulous.
Our main problem is that he still becomes uncontrollable around other dogs. Not to say that he fights or even barks, but he's so excited to play that he will not respond to "come" or "heel" or "no" or anything. He absolutely craves contact with other puppies all the time. My dog is so incredibly social and his best times are when my friends and I take all the dogs (2 to 7 at a time) out running off-leash. Savvy is growing up to be a very friendly guy, with no sign of aggression at all. Even with Baron and Duke, my employer's two shepherds, Savage is very polite and submissive. Baron is a classic alpha dog with somewhat of a temper, and insists on keeping Savvy in line while playing, with short barks and occassional nips. I believe if Sav ever growled or otherwise stood up to him, there would be a fight. But I'm comfortable with them together because my baby is so passive. However, like some other danes I've met, he has never been "spooky", shying away, or putting his head down and his tail between his legs when he's startled or corrected. He seems to take everything in stride.
We often go to the lakeshore and play, where he fetches stick in the shallow water and splashes around. About a week ago, my friend S. and I went out and paddled a canoe around the bay while the pack followed us. Little Savage couldn't stand to be left behind, and spent a half hour or so swimming, getting out and shaking off, and then jumping back in. My hope is that he will gradually understand that swimming is not difficult or scary and start to really enjoy it. Two days ago I spent an evening at my parent's resort. While my sister and I cruised around in the paddle-boat, Savvy followed us and seemed to be having at least a little fun. He's so funny looking when he swims, with his legs going every which way and his big ears sticking straight up. At the end of the dock he obviously was conflicted. While he desperately wanted to swim out to us, he couldn't quite make the leap off the dock. R. lowered him off the dock into the water twice, and though I was wary of that approach, Savage didn't seem to mind much, and was not scared of the dock at all after that. I'm so proud of him.
I continue to feed him his regular diet, and he seems to be requiring more of it lately to keep him at a good weight. I try to add some variety, even if it's only a different brand once in a while. He got to try green sunfish, which I caught fresh, and earlier this week he was given three backs/necks from freshly killed grouse. Before feeding him the grouse, I made sure there was no bird shot in the meat, and the sunfish needed to be filleted to check for hooks. People are simultaneously shocked, fascinated, and very interested when they hear what I'm feeding my boy, and it's given me the opportunity to open up some minds about the raw diet, which is working out very well for my happy, healthy dane baby.
As the leaves start to turn orange and yellow and the weather gets chillier at night, I'm looking forward to winter, but know I need to take some precautions with Beautiful. Last winter when he rode with me on the snowmobile I remember being obsessed with keeping his ears warm. They seem to get cold so much faster than the rest of his body, and I'm (maybe irrationally) afraid that they could actually freeze. Of course, who knows if his size will make it possible for him to snowmobile this year, but he does need protection even just out walking on very cold days. I just bought him a hooded sweatshirt online (finally found a dane-sized one) and am hoping it will help keep him warm, while the hood can be pulled up to warm his ears. I used to scoff at people that dressed up their dogs, but even the other night in the boat returning from the resort, Savage was obviously uncomfortable with the weather. The hoodie I ordered is bright red, so maybe we'll use that on walks during deer season instead of an orange safety vest.
So, for everyone that made it this far through this loooonnnng post, thank you so much for your interest in Savvy, the most wonderful puppy in the world. I'm always surprised by the number of people that actually read the site, and I promise to post lots of new pictures when I get the new charger.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tiger Lily

This is Savage and Tigerlily (or just Lily), a wonderful 3 year old brindle female. We spotted her downtown and had to go say hi. I spent a good half-hour talking danes with her owner (whose name I don't remember. LOL), and her and Savvy got to know eachother. It was great to be able listen to the owner's views on training and know that he's gone through pretty much everything I have with Savage. I could spend hours just talking about my amazing puppy.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

New Solutions

Keeping up with training, I just bought a 20 foot long leash for Savage, so we can work on recall more. I'm also considering buying a gentle leader, or Halti-type head collar for him. I've heard it works well for teaching "heel", which is what we've been mainly working on. The theory is that when the dog pulls on the leash, the head collar naturally pulls his nose down, which trains the dog to slacken up the leash to get into a more comfortable position. The choke chain I'm using is awkward and probably super-uncomfortable for Savvy. It doesn't move around his neck well and the leash ends up wrapped around tight, causing me to adjust it constantly. Plus, if he really wants to pull, the choke chain doesn't stop him. It just lets him pull anyway, while gagging and choking. Not a solution to the problem. So we need to find a different system, maybe even a martingale, or "limited choke" collar , which tightens up, but will not actually choke him all the way. I'm always nervous about him getting the choke chain caught on something and panicking and passing out, or something. There's got to be a better way.
Still, he understands "heel" and will walk contently beside me along the road, but if we are downtown he still usually pulls and tries to get ahead. I know there is a ton of new and interesting things to see and sniff, but eventually I would like him to heel when I ask, no matter what is going on. Coming on command is still a challenge. Most times he will, but there are situations when he won't, so for his safety and for training's sake, he is now mostly on leash everywhere we go. Except for running on the Old Gunflint Trail, which is where we generally take our off-leash walks. That's where he gets to range around freely and run off energy. If I'm "borrowing" another puppy friend that's where they get to cruise around together, because there is so little traffic on the gravel road that it's hardly an issue. Even so, ever since he was a baby, Savage won't run out of my sight, so I know where he is and what he's up to at all times.
I've been having a problem with one of his ears for the longest time. When un-taped his right ear still flops over, when he's relaxed or after a few days. The left one is probably as good as it's going to get, with only the very tip still flexible but erect. Well, I figured out that when I began taping the right I wasn't keeping the natural fold at the front of his ear folded over far enough up. So his ear wasn't supported enough. Last week I finally corrected this and sure enough, this week his ear is looking much stronger and straighter since I took the tape off. Yay! I hope that this is indeed the case, and if so, maybe we only have a few more weeks of taping left!! Very exciting news. It would be absolutely awesome not to have to worry about ear-taping issues anymore.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Yesterday Savage, R., and I went up to Sag Lake to visit my family on my birthday. During the afternoon there was a crazy rainstorm and on the way home R. took this picture of me and my baby dane with a rainbow in the background. I was thinking about last year at this time, when I was going absolutely wild trying to make arrangements for new puppy, and hoping the day would finally arrive when little Savage and I would meet for the first time! Now I can barely remember when he wasn't around. Did I ever leave half-full glasses on the coffee table? Did I ever not have an entire chest freezer full of turkey backs? It seems to me that somewhere in my past I used to drive a compact car and have conversations about topics other than dogs. It's like my life has been turned upside down, but in a good way!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Pretty Boy Savage

For the last few days I have been really working with Savvy again on his training. I'm reading another book on training which concentrates on the concept that he needs to see me as the "alpha dog". While I have always practiced some "dominance" training (for lack of a better word) with him, I'm implementing other ways of showing him that I'm the boss. For example, I'm now walking him next to me instead of pulling in front of me, and he's understanding the "heel" command, which we had never tried before. In addition, we're walking at least a half-hour every morning and another before I go to work in the evenings.
I made it clear to R. that we can't tolerate any nipping or chewing our arms and hands, and absolutely no jumping up on people, which only started recently. We're using a choke chain instead of his normal collar to give me a little more control regarding pulling on his leash. Things seem to be working out slowly but surely.
It's so important that Savage (as a big, exuberant puppy) learns good manners, especially around our resort guests and bar customers. He is now 108lbs and over 32" at the shoulder and is not going to be able to get away with behaviors that people wouldn't even bat an eyelash at if he was a smaller dog.
On a side note: The other day I was playing with a friend's dog (healthy, kibble-fed) and noticed the dog had very "doggy" breath (I can't think of a better term to describe it), though not really offensive. I realized that Savvy has never had bad smelling breath, in fact you can't smell his breath at all. Maybe this is a result of feeding him a raw diet. I've heard other raw feeding dane owners mention this, but I never gave it much thought before. Just an observation.
Regarding the picture in this post: Yes, I did paint his nails. Took me 8 months before I did it, but I think he knew it was inevitable. I could almost see him rolling his eyes!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

8 Months Old!

I have never taken Savage to any obedience or puppy kindergarten because we live so far from any town that offers those. Now, however, I'm starting to think that it might be necessary. Better late than never. I do realize that he still is a puppy and wants to push all his boundaries, but sometimes I need him to obey, for his own safety and my sanity. Summer gets pretty busy up here, and I haven't got a lot of time for intense training with him, but it's going to have to happen if I want a mutually trusting relationship with my puppy.
I left the ear-tape off for a few weeks and since they were pretty good looking I've been allowing myself to get lazy about that, too. Finally started taping again a week or so ago because though they look almost finished, the little tips still get floppy. So back to weekly taping, which both Savvy and I get tired of. But this is one of those things that you can't just give up on because it's time-consuming. And when his ears are erect and alert I know I would go through it all again. All danes are beautiful, but in my humble opinion cropped ears add so much to the regal appearance.
Savvy and I just spent a couple of days at the lake earlier this week. (The pics are of Savage licking a walleye I caught, and giving my grandma a kiss.) He's been an absolute nightmare around the resort guests, disrupting picnics, begging food, and generally running wild. But since he's a big lovable puppy people (yes, even me at times) unintentionally reinforce his behavior by petting him and giving him treats when he does stuff like that. So it's hard for me to not accidentally reward him, anyway, and I have to stop myself from constantly correcting well-meaning dog lovers when they're giving him all sorts of attention during dinnertime, etc. It's exhausting, and makes me sound absolutely obsessive. However, you know what they say; it takes a village to raise a child. Why should a puppy be any different? Or maybe that's too much to ask...?

Friday, July 21, 2006


At 8 months old, Savage is a beautiful, affectionate, wonderful puppy. Yet he must be going through a phase (at least I hope it's a phase) where he doesn't listen to anything anyone says to him. Apparently a few of my friends have gone through this with their dogs at this age, so I know in their cases, it passed. In the meantime, I'm still plodding away at training him and going over and over the things he should already know. He's super intelligent, but only when he wants to be. LOL.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Suddenly I'm working days instead of evenings, to fill in for another employee, and finding that I miss spending the whole day with my puppy. Even though sometimes he frustrates me with his little attitudes I'm looking forward to working nights again. The main thing is that he's happy and taken care of, so thank God R. is laid off from his construction company right now. Most days they spend working on our new house near Grand Marais. I pack Savage a lunch in a small cooler and I bought him a collapsable canvas(?) water bowl to carry in the truck. He's getting exercise romping around at the property, though we still walk together in the mornings. Other times while I'm at work R. and Savvy work on outboard motors together, which was R.'s job before he started in construction. I'm glad my boy is getting care and love while I'm at work, but I do feel guilty sometimes when I can't be with him. On my days off we make it a point to do really fun stuff, like visiting with all his buddies on the Trail, and going to see my parents (the picture is of my dad and his grandpuppy on Lake Saganaga), who absolutely adore him. I can't wait for all of our schedules to get back to normal.My little dog is 104lbs of craziness. Without refresher sessions concerning his "tricks" he's been just going through all the ones he remembers whenever I give him a command. Which is hilarious, but I'll have to actually make time for a short training session every day. He did just learn to "high five" on command, and while it's very cute, I have to be careful that little kids don't ask him to do it because he has quite a reach and is very enthusiastic. He's shedding quite a bit as the weather gets warmer, and the backseat of my truck is growing fur. His ears are drooping a little at the tips still, so we'll go back to taping again for awhile. He's still at an awkward looking stage in his growth, with his little gray butt up in the air, and tripping over his big feet. He is in much better shape, as I have cut out all the treats I'd been spoiling him with. My Savvy baby is so handsome.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Dane And Doxie

At a dinner for our family and friends Savage got introduced to Boots, an 8 week old Dachshund. It's hard to believe these two even belong to the same species! They weren't allowed to play together at all, Savage being so big and excited, and the little puppy being shy and small. Savage was a complete pain in the neck at the cook-out, trying to get his big nose onto people's plates and later insisting on playing horseshoes with the guys, which was not only annoying, but dangerous for the puppy. He spent a lot of time leashed next to me and I spent the whole get-together concerned about him. We are quite a pair!
I'm now trying not to cut him any slack on training, even through this teenager phase, but it's still difficult. Puppy training has now evolved into puppy/boyfriend training, since I want R. and I to be consistent with what we're teaching Sav. A few of the rules I keep stressing are: No feeding from human's plates nor when humans are eating (hopefully will minimize begging); Playing with, tugging, or chewing on leashes is not allowed; Puppy must wait for the command to get out when the truck door is opened instead of charging out the door immediately; Absolutely no jumping up on people EVER; No nipping or chewing on hands, arms or legs, even when excited (this proves to be the most challenging, considering this is how R. and Savage have play-fought since he was young, and yes, it did and does drive me crazy!); No nosing into the garbage can or picking anything out of it; and pretty much anything else a puppy could do that would be fun. LOL. I think R. is understanding the consequences of not training consistently and is beginning to follow my training instructions, even if he isn't seeing the immediate payoff.
I'm also having a hard time getting people to understand that Sava's on a specific diet. While he is carrying a little extra weight I have been giving him smaller portions and no treats from anyone but me, so I can count them as part of his daily food ration. Apparently the general public's view on puppies is that they grow so fast that you should feed them anything they want and their weight will even out. If I took feeding directions from family and friends I would end up with a perfectly round great dane! I also think that people here are not used to seeing great danes, and the dane's slender look is viewed as "skinny" to most. A person that has only owned labs would think even the most fit greyhound is starving because they are not used to seeing a dog with that sort of build. Arrgh!! People with endless opinions absolutely exhaust me!

Friday, June 23, 2006

This picture of Savage inside a monster truck tire became a poster for the truck owner's auto body shop. The caption says "Run With The Big Dogs".

Oh, Behave!

Having never owned a dog of my own before, I am therefore not prepared for some of the experiences I'm finding myself going through. In the last week my baby dog has decided that he no longer needs to obey me and rules suddenly don't apply! Although people have told me that their dogs went through similar phases when they we around his age, I'm still so frustrated. I've always been so proud of Savvy for being such a clever and quick learner, and now he's doing all sorts of "childish" things. The other day we were playing in the yard and he took off into the road with a toy. This has NEVER happened before, and is unnacceptable to me. This morning he jumped up on the counter to knock off a pizza box and eat the cheese. He has NEVER taken anything off the counter (coffee table, yes, but that's really easily accessible). Last night R. had him at a friend's house and after playing with their two chocolate labs, Smith and Wesson, he got all wild and ran up to a woman carrying a baby and tried to grab the blanket from her arms! Not good. It is so tough to try to be patient with him when he's not listening to us. I'm sure it's just a phase, but I hope he grows out of this soon. In the meantime, I just keep stressing the lessons (I thought) he had learned completely in the first 6 months.
I'm also at the point where I don't know if I should keep taping his ears or not. Both of them now stand, as of yesterday afternoon, but are still floppy at the tips. They don't hang down at all, but when he moves it's obvious they are not as rigid as the lower part of the ear, which would be difficult to bend. As I said before, having never taped dane ears, I'm not sure how rigid or flexible they should be as an end result. I did e-mail my breeder a little while ago, so she'll have some advice. His ears look spectacular and it would be so nice not to worry about taping anymore. It's not a fun experience for him, R., or me. Another thing about taping; the tick population is way up this year in our area, and while wood ticks don't carry Lyme's Disease or anything, they are still disgusting little parasites. We've gotten two ticks off Savage this year, and when his tape came off, there were two more hidden underneath. Not having part of his ears covered with tape would make it a lot easier to spot ticks. I'm not very excited about having them on me, either.
We all went to R.'s cabin on McFarland Lake this week to do some clean-up and mow the lawn. Afterwards we went swimming at the sand beach, and I vowed that I would get little Savage to voluntarily swim. Well, with both his "parents" standing out in the lake, he HAD to follow us. He did very well, though I could tell he wasn't really enjoying it. Anyway, he now knows he is able to swim without anything terrible happening and my hope is that he gets comfortable enough to really love it. He does love being in boats now, and fishing with him is a collosal pain in the butt, with him bouncing around and crawling in everyone's lap and eating minnows. But he loves being with his family and I can't leave him at home while I go out "playing" or I feel guilty.
Still unable to upload more than one picture for each post, which is extremely inconvenient. Which explains the posts that are only pictures and captions!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Sleeping Puppy

Finally got my computer to upload pictures. I don't have a lot of time to update the site, but here is an amazingly cute picture of baby dog. More news soon.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

7 Months Old!

My beautiful little boy is now over 103lbs and I'm constantly getting bombarded with questions about him. Everyone wants to know what kind of dog he is, how big he's going to get, how much he eats, etc. Since I see him every day, I forget how huge he really is compared to other pups. I weighed him at a vet's office and the woman that works there (who owns two danes, I believe) agreed with me that he is already a little overweight. So now we're cutting back on treats and eating smaller portions. I'm also making a point to walk him farther, though each walk ends up being about 1 1/2 miles. He seems healthy other than a little extra fat, and as energetic as before. Of course, he's always been pretty lazy, preferring a nap in the sun to exercise. But we're working on it, and hopefully he trims down a little to avoid stressing out his joints with extra weight.
The summer is brand new to Savage, and he's finding lots of exciting things to do. He goes fishing with R. and I often, though I have yet to introduce him to canoeing, and may not do that at all. He's well-behaved enough to be still and calm, but only if he's practically on top of me, on my lap, and that just will not work in a canoe! So we may just stick to motorboats when we go fishing. My puppy discovered that the yellow swallow-tail butterflies are fun to chase, and I figured he would never catch one. But he did, and promptly ate it. For a while, chasing butterflies was almost an obsession. I could not get him to fetch sticks because everytime he spotted a butterfly he'd completely ignore me. It's amazingly cute.
He's meeting new friends all the time. He treats all dogs the same, pressuring them to play with him to the point of annoying them. He still plays with his buddies Roger, Ted, Gabby, Gretel, and August. R.'s daughter has a pitbull named Mason who has endless energy and it's funny to watch them chase eachother.Mason is just streaking by, and here comes my little dane galloping at full-speed, all legs and flapping lips! People get a kick out of his clownish appearance and clumsiness, and I'm marvelling at how beautiful and athletic he looks.
We discovered his first tick on his ear a week or so ago, and R. picked it off. We have wood ticks up here, more than usual this year, but in our area deer ticks are scarce, so I'm not worried about Lyme's disease. The few dogs (and people) I know who have it have all contracted it from another location.
Last Saturday my sister came by and "borrowed" my puppy. I knew I would be busy at work until 1 or 2 pm, and wouldn't have a lot of time to hang out with Sav, so she took him to her house in town for an overnight stay. I realized this was the first night Savvy has spent without me, and I missed him terribly. She got to experience dane ownership, if only temporary, and reported that he kept trying to push her off the bed in the middle of the night. I called her the next morning on her cell while she was walking him, and during the conversation strangers were interrupting her to ask about the tape on his ears! She said she couldn't get anything done downtown because of having to introduce him to someone at every turn. Of course, he was an absolute angel (?!), and I was ecstatic to have him back with me.
R. and I have been doing some excavating work at our property in preparation for building the new house. I'm really excited about it, and Savage will have a new, large fenced-in yard as soon as we can determine the best location.
As I may have explained before I'm having all sorts of problems uploading pictures, so until I get this figured out, you will have to use your imagination to view Sava. Think cute, gray, soft, huge, with a sad look on his big face. The lone pic in this post is from when he was about 10 weeks old, if I remember correctly.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

First Swim!

Today Savage finally decided to try swimming! Yesterday on the way back from R.'s cabin on McFarland Lake I waded across a river and Sava followed me, and I think that gave him confidence. The water is getting warmer and the weather is positively hot. So this morning we went down to the shore and while fetching sticks my puppy actually was swimming, all four feet off the bottom, even though that only lasted for moments. But I'm so proud of him because now he understands that he is indeed able to swim and I'm sure he'll be doing it constantly this summer.
The only terrible thing about this time of year is the blackflies which are really hard on my little pup. His belly is covered with bites where the fur is so thin, and though it doesn't seem to bother him at all it still looks really irritated. My friend is having the same problem with her dane and is trying some bug spray that is made to be safe for dogs, so I'll see how it works for her.
By the way, an error occured with my website host and wiped out most of the pictures in the photo gallery. I will be working to get them back online, but it will take awhile. I hate computers!:)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Puppy At The Lake

Last weekend Savage and I went to my family's fishing resort on Lake Saganaga for Canada fishing opener. It was fun for me to visit with all the guests that have known me since I was a little girl and spend time with my sister and parents. But Savage was a nightmare for the first evening. I needed to keep him on a leash initially so he didn't jump up on the guests because he was so excited. Jumping up is not something he does often and I try to make sure he doesn't, but I didn't want to risk it with people who were actually paying to be there and relaxed. We also had a shepard, two brittanys, and my parents' mixed breed husky/springer running around and Sava wanted to join them. So most of the evening was spent desperately clinging to my puppy's leash while he pulled me all over the property. Lately he's been walking really well on a leash, but we normally don't deal with the distractions of other dogs, new locations, and a lot of people. After my parents' dog, Brisco, left, and my sister's shepard Bayshek was put inside (Bayshek is very un-friendly toward the puppy) Sav got to run around with the high-energy Brittanys, Petey and Bailey, who wore him out.That night some guests, friends, and family gathered on the deck of the lodge to tell stories and drink beer. I could hardly carry on an interrupted conversation with anyone because all they wanted to talk about was my great dane!! As he gets bigger people are constantly asking questions and commenting about him. Of course, I am always happy to talk about him, in fact I could do it for hours, but I'm finding that part of the responsibility of owning a great dane involves always being ready to talk about the breed, ear-cropping, color questions (you'll find that people know fawns and harlequins but most have never seen a blue), diet, and about every other question under the sun. Because it really is impossible to tell exactly how big Savage will be I have a hard time with "how big will he get?". I tell them that some danes get to be over 160lbs, and that Sav may grow to 37" tall at the shoulder (He is 31" right now). Even at his "puppy" size, most people we meet are impressed. And that night on the deck he was the main attraction when he crawled up onto my lap when I was sitting on a deck chair and took a nap. All the fishermen were clapping and taking pictures and telling their own dog stories! It was really an eye-opener.It's like now I am only another human and the puppy is a celebrity! Of course I am extremely proud of him. He was so friendly and open with everyone, even people he's never met. The only guy that startled him was a big man in a raincoat, and they made friends with eachother after he took off the offending garment.
He's very comfortable with riding in a boat now, though he does have to move all over and inspect everything the occupants are doing. My family has always trained their dogs to wait patiently before getting in or especially out of boats, because dogs can fall in the lake or hurt themselves landing on the edge of the dock when the boat gets near. Sava did very, very well with this, probably because he thinks things through so long before he does them. My dad took me fishing early the next morning and Savage got to lick the lake trout I caught before I released it. Probably not so healthy for the fish, but puppy had a good time. Dogs practically run my sister and brother-in-law's lives, so Savage got to play and wade in the lake and generally have a blast with the other pups. While we had lunch before we left, my brother-in-law allowed my puppy to crawl up onto the picnic table!
In ear-taping news, the tips of his ears are still being very stubborn, but we are plodding along still, and praying that the end of floppy ears is near...