Tuesday, June 27, 2006
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
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
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
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.