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...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

25 - 26 Weeks Old

Savage will be 6 and a half months old tomorrow. I weighed him last week and he was 88lbs and 28 and a half inches high at the shoulder. It's getting hard to weigh him on our home scale because I can't pick him up so easily, and both R. and him together max out the scale!
We went out fishing for the Minnesota opener last weekend and took the puppy with. It was sprinkling when we left and raining quite a lot by the time we packed up and went home, so Savage didn't have the most wonderful time. He got soaked and in about an hour was shivering and miserable. R. put a life-jacket on him to keep in some of his body heat, but the life-jacket bothered him because he couldn't lay down comfortably in it.The cool part came when baby dog decided to help us out by leaning over the side of the boat, pulling up the stringer and methodically putting all the fish back in the boat. Every time we took a trout off the line he started licking it, which was cute. And he got a couple of fresh fillets when we got home. He handled being in the boat (our 12' boat, the smallest one) very well except for not liking the rain, and as expected, he ended up really getting in the way since he prefers being practically on top of his owners at all times. But all in all, it was a learning experience and semi-successful. I think I may need to buy him something waterproof to wear so he doesn't get so chilled.
Every day he gets more comfortable with the lake, fetching sticks from deeper water and splashing around. He is fine with walking out on the docks, though I know many puppies who aren't because the floating docks move around under their feet and make them nervous. Yesterday he was playing with some dogs along the shore and fell down and got completely covered in mud. I really wanted to wash him off before putting him in the new truck so a friend and I tried to rinse him with a garden hose. He has never met a garden hose, and it was fine as long as he was playing, attacking the stream with his mouth, but as soon as I held him to clean him off, he freaked and ran off a few yards. I figure we'll do the whole garden hose bath experience later with warmer water and a more sedate puppy. The truck's going to end up being a mess anyway. Dammit.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

6 Months Old!

I'm thinking that I may not be posting every single week from now on. The summer season is beginning and that means everyone gets crazy busy. I will still update Savage's site very often, and share everything (!) that's going on with my puppy.
The other day someone made a comment about me living so close to the road, and wondered if it was safe for the puppy. Well, this is something I've been really careful about, though I've never tried to expressly teach him not to run onto the road, since I actually don't know how to teach him that. However, every time we begin our walks from here I put him on leash before we cross the road, and while walking along it, I don't let him cross the white fogline on the shoulder. Which is all I can figure out to do. So when my friend made that comment, it made me really think. Somehow, little Savage figured out that he's not allowed onto the road when I'm not next to him holding his leash!Which is amazing to me; that he just picked that up without me actually "telling" him.The reason I know that he won't go onto the road is that when I let him run around the yard he goes as far as about 20 feet from the paved road and stops, doesn't seem to know he could cross it. I try to give him the benefit of the doubt by letting him outside and staying indoors. Of course, I keep an eye on him constantly through the windows and he will not stray across the road, or even near it. I am aware that it would only take seconds for him to get in trouble, so I never let him out of my sight, and he recalls really well lately. We walk on leash a short distance across the road to go play in the lake, and he knows how to get there, but doesn't try it on his own. Maybe that's not a big deal, but to me it's impressive, and makes me feel he's the smartest puppy in the world.
We've been walking a mile in the morning and a mile before I go to work at 5:00. That's his main exercise, and then we have playtime with his friends, and splashing in the lake, and chasing softballs behind our house.Sometimes I worry that he's not getting enough exercise but he seems in excellent shape and the exercise he does get just wears my little doggy out. He is a pretty lazy guy, which is how all the great danes I know are. R. calls him "furniture art" since his main concern seems to be taking up as much space as possible on any available surface.
Sava is growing so fast that I don't think he's really used to his size. He has no idea where his big feet are at any given time, and isn't aware of the importance of putting on the brakes. A few days ago we were playing behind the house and he was tearing around like crazy when I called him over to me. He charged across the yard, ran full-speed into my legs, fell over on the gravel, and started moaning. Turns out he had sprained (?) his front foot, and was limping pretty heavily.Then, after a rest of about 1/2 hour he was good to go again, no limp whatsoever. It's just that he's so damn clumsy right now sometimes I'm scared he's going to really injure himself.
He's getting great at "stay"s, especially in the truck, where he is only allowed in the back seat, and has to wait for the door to be fully open before he piles out. Other situations where I want him to stay, it's like he understands me, but can't help himself. When I'm cooking human food I want him out of the kitchen and he understands "out" when I point, so he moves onto the carpet. But if I don't do that every 20 seconds he starts sneaking back in. Then, since I started it and don't want to give up, I have to keep saying "out" and pointing and backing him out of the kitchen. Ends up being a strange little dance ritual, but I don't want to give in once I tell him something.
I'm seeing more mosquitos now, so I bought him some heartworm preventative. Keeping with the all-natural, I got a dietary supplement that is intended to internally cleanse him of any intestinal worms. The directions say to sprinkle 1 teaspoon on his food and we'll be starting that tomorrow. I'm a little wary of the effectiveness of the powder, which is basically a bunch of ground herbs, including garlic and cayenne pepper. I guess time will tell if this works for Savage.I took his ear-tape off today. I had just the upper half in tape, still with foam supports, but didn't feel the need anymore to actually rest the foam in his ear canal, since the tips are the only problem. I tried taping only the tips without supports, but it just didn't work out. He still needs something semi-rigid to hold up everything but the lower 1/3. They look spectacular and I'm so excited to leave him tape-less forever soon.
The pictures are of Savvy having a blast splashing around after sticks in Poplar Lake and getting crazy on the shore. Still won't actually swim, but is in no way frightened of water. He even took his first boat ride last week. R. said he was a little scared at the beginning but calmed down enough to have fun. I'm sure it was the outboard motor starting that initially made him nervous. I'll be adding more pictures to the Photo Gallery soon so check it out!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Little Savage doesn't really chase other animals (yet!). He stays pretty wary of squirrels, grouse, etc., but he keeps an eye on them. Here he stopped everything to calmly watch a crow fly over. He never goes crazy with new experiences, usually watches and waits until he feels comfortable. You can almost imagine the wheels turning in his little brain in this picture. Cute.