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.