Thursday, April 13, 2006

19 - 21 Weeks

About 5 days ago, Savage started throwing up his food. This happened for 3 days and there was no obvious reason. Some of the meals were ground meat, some were raw meaty bones. I have not introduced any new food just lately, so it wasn't a kind of food allergy. The weird part is that at that time, both R. and I were getting over a stomach flu, so is it possible that Sav got sick with the same thing? In any case, now I'm feeding him just ground and mashed food for a couple days, and forcing him to eat it slowly by feeding him by spoonful. And he is just fine, so I'll start giving him bones tomorrow.
As the snow melts and the weather gets sunny, we've been able to take longer walks and explore more. However, maybe he got sick from something he picked up and ate in the woods. This wasn't a problem when we had 3 feet of snow. Anyway, we're walking remote gravel roads and Savage absolutely loves it, off-leash and energetic. A few days ago we started seeing a lot of moose tracks in a certain area, which really kinda woke me up. Before I got Savage, and until this point, I had not even considered moose as something to give much thought about. Which is strange, because I personally know of two people's whose dogs have been kicked by moose, I just didn't think about what I would do if Sav saw one and took off after it.A deer being chased by a dog will run until it's literally dead. A moose is more likely to trot away slowly, but also to turn around and defend itself. When I noticed the tracks along the gravel road (Savage didn't pay any attention to them) I started steering him back to where the car was parked. Right off the road in the woods I started hearing brush moving and sticks snapping. Moose don't normally spook and run off like deer do. I knew if the pair of moose stepped onto the road, Sava would definately see them, and who knows what he would do about two huge animals moving around 15 feet from him. My rational mind says that he's too much of a scared puppy to chase anything threatening. I think he would just bark himself hoarse and run back to me. I've seen him do the same with two honking Canada geese! Still, I worry because though moose don't attack dogs in a normal situation, they will fight back, and the odds are overwhelmingly in their favor. When hiking in the summer I carry a handgun for protection against black bears if I were to need it. I realize this is hardly necessary, but I have a life-long fear of bears. Bears are usually terrified of dogs, so with Savage I won't worry as much, and if he chases a bear, it will probably climb a tree and leave him alone. As far as chasing deer, he should never have the opportunity to do so, since I feel they will be long gone before we even know they are there. During walks I talk to Sava and play with him, so any wildlife certainly knows we're around. When I tell people the raw diet includes venison, some tell me that it will make my puppy run deer, but I don't know of many dogs that wouldn't. No matter what they normally eat, deer are prey animals and dogs are predators, and they know this.
Savage is now 70+ lbs at 5 months and 1 week old. His ears are looking more promising every week, standing erect for hours, with only the upper 2/3s drooping after quite a long time. No taping problems anymore. They look strong and stiff when they are free of tape, and I can hardly wait til they stand on their own, forever! My puppy has gotten most of his adult teeth, while the long canine teeth are still "babies". He's still not an agressive chewer, has not destroyed anything valuable. He does enjoy chewing on R.'s hands, because R. lets him when they are playing. Once in a while he gets really excited playing outdoors and will jump and nip at our clothing. I'm trying to break him of this, but the good news is that he does not do this to other people anymore. He believes jumping and nipping is strictly reserved for R. and Paula. Lucky us!
Every once in a while I look at him and think "holy crap, this dog is gonna be huge!". I see him with other dogs and his size is comparable to some of his full-grown puppy friends. We went to some friends' house for dinner and when I was playing with their two chocolate labs I realized they are shorter than my puppy. He stretches out on the futon and almost pushes Randy off the other side. While I was and am prepared for a giant breed dog, it's still a shock when you realize just how giant that is. While Sav may end up at 36" high at the shoulder, the tallest dane in the world is 42"! Get out a tape measure and just imagine living with a dog that tall. It is shocking. Because of his height, I'm having my dad make him an elevated feeder. I've heard this cuts back on dogs gulping their food and gives them better posture. Which can only be a good thing. The reccomended size for dogs is 6" shorter than their height, but that seems excessive. I told my dad to start at 20" for the feeder. If that's too tall, we'll just shorten the legs.
We visit all the dogs regularly and Sava has a blast chasing them around. He gets along with Ted better than any of the others, maybe because they are both danes and puppies.The pictures in this post are of Ted and Savage, and Sav playing with his "toys", which have been known to include workboots, sleeping bags, and most definately plastic bottles. I will be adding more pictures to Savage's Photo Gallery soon, and hopefully getting the Friends page back online. Also new tape-less ear pics as soon as possible - those are my favorites. Please check back and sign my guestbook with any comments or suggestions.


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