The face of displeasure…Kenai’s dreaded bath time.
All posts for the month June, 2011
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 25, 2011
there’s my beautiful…Kenai, 3 yrs
Friday morning started off like most; me and the big guy outside at first light. He simply won’t get used to the sounds of neighbors, though. He barks and I shush him alot more than is peaceful at 6 am if ya know what I mean.
But we were having our gardening time when Mom called out the back door. BB had thrown up first thing in the morning. Hum. It seems I need to back down the total-zymes digestive enzymes. And kibble.
If the boys can’t handle more than 1/2 cup of kibble at a meal, then their meals will be only about 20% kibble, and 80% raw meat.
To add to my concerns…Kenai just doesn’t seem to be doing as well as BB. He’s not gaining weight or muscle like is little bro, his coat is not as shiny and soft either. But why?
But he and I spend our mornings outside when it’s cooler. Ask if he wants to “do gardening” and he’s off like a brown rocket to the back door.
Worries or not, Kenai’s got his summer groove on. Outside in the am, rest in the afternoon, warm up our night time bed in the pm. There’s not been car rides, being so busy in the garden. That’s somethin he’d like changed.
I found a good intro site to puppy development http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/developmentalstages.html
And I’ve learned to play with the photo software. Well, mostly. It’s kinda fun, seeing Kenai in watercolor, or doing a funny distortion of BB (as if he needs it to be funny).
You no doubt noticed I changed the blog’s appearance–K couldn’t care less, but I really liked this new looked. Let me know what you think, if it makes much difference to you either way!
I may possibly be an official facebook addict. I’ve got over 50 “friends”, most of them Danes. It’s cool being able to see how Danes live in other parts of the world. Still, I may be an addict…
We had a down-time Saturday, after all the gardening work during the week. The heat and humidity had spiked, so it was out then back in to lay around and wait to see how the parts were working Sunday. I didn’t even clean the carpet in the living room.
Believe me, it smells again, by virtue of my not cleaning or steaming it in the better part of two weeks. Most likely I’ll go to bed early and get up early Sunday morning so it can be clean and dry before BB gets up. Monday morning the kitchen redo begins–no cleaning it that day!
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 18, 2011
Kangaroo puppy! Haven’t had a Kangaroo Kenai puppy pic in a long time!
There’s no new pics as of when I started this post, thanks to the fecklessness of our local geek squad, but this was taken a few days ago. It’s almost new. What’s that phrase, ‘gently used’? I’d put it up on FB in case you recognize it!
I had to leave Kenai at home when I took the new laptop back so they could make sure photos will upload. And videos too. But as a consolation prize, he got to spend nearly all afternoon outside. The cooler weather was lovely while it lasted.
Also, if you want to share these posts, just click on the post you want and there’s now a share button at the bottom! Imagine that, ‘puter dino me is up to date with techno-stuff.
on the heels of feeling technologically advanced for my usual baseline…I’m gonna try to upload a new pic with new software, so here goes…
oh. grrrr. Resizing these photos is going to become an “adventure”? More like misadventure it would seem. Okay. I’ll get things figured out. This is nuts…Try again?
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 17, 2011
you can see BB is feeling pretty good again. His sanctioned crazy puppy time outside…3 yrs
As I’ve been blogging alot about puppies lately, an online poll about what Dane owners expect from their dogs and a search question about calming a high energy pup got me thinkin. Some pups are naturally calm, some are naturally higher energy. I have one of each.
Considering their size, you don’t want a hyper Dane anymore than you’d want an aggressive Dane; either can hurt you. If 150+ pounds spins in circles like a spazzed out terrier, it’s Marmaduke time! Furniture, people, kids, groceries, clean laundry, all go flying in every direction. It’s only funny in the movies.
All dogs are excited to see you when you come home from work; they’ve been alone or at least without you all day. You and I both are probably just as likely to happy to see them as they are to see us. Even more likely that you’re excited if it’s that adorable puppy you got a couple weeks ago on the other side of the door.
But here’s a word of warning: if you respond to their excitement with your own, and show lots of affection while they bounce around and twirl…well, you’ve just reinforced an emotional response you may regret when the butt’s three solid feet from the head.
A better response, especially if your pup is quick to excite and hard to chill out? Ignore them. Ooooo, yeah. Hard. Sound cold and uncaring?
Our typical human inclination is first outta the gate with affection, which is not natural in the doggie world. Excitable dogs often find themselves avoided or even snapped at. Not recognizing this greeting ritual in particular is an underlying reason so many dog owners are surprised that their “friendly” dog gets it’s furry rump in a big rumpus at the dog park.
The dog world has rules, you see, certain standards of acceptable same as ours. If you do like a dog would and wait calmly for kisses and cuddles until your cutie pie pups has relaxed, you’ve just taught him or her two of the best doggie-life skills: to relax themselves and self control!
Anytime you reward calmness or calming themselves down, you reinforce the idea that he’s allowed for sure to be happy but not outta control wild. He or she doesn’t get what they want, your affection, until they are calmer about the whole affiar. Not only does your furniture survive their adulthood, they don’t get in trouble with canine buddies later.
Personally I insist on calmness in my big guys. Not that they don’t have opportunities to act like a wild child. It’s just that zoomies and crazies happen outside in the yard when the toddlers aren’t around kinda thing. They can burn off steam and have to really, but not whenever the impulse hits them is all.
If you’ve got a really wired pup, here’s a few tips on teaching them to be calmer:
sufficient exercise–not just brainless pacing along the fence for an hour, though. Some dogs need an energy drain before the exercise, so a treadmill or something along those lines might be a warm up to their real exercise. The exercise you’re after is interactive play with you, like a game of fetch or find the toy, followed by a walk around the neighborhood. The best exercise involves and tires their brains as well as their bodies.
training and games that teach self-control–once getting tired from exercise, use their play time to practice simple wait or stay commands, leave it games, look at me clicker training and the like. Sort of like a cool down period! Gradually increase the time they wait, and increase the frequency you wait for relaxation in their bodies to take hold. A dog that waits long enough (if the wait is gradually lengthened) will begin to lay down, to sit on the side of their rumps and the like rather than just break the stay.
be strict with yourself about NOT reinforcing hyperness–the door greeting already talked about is a good example. Not tossing them a pacifier-bone to chew if they’re running like a banshee up and down the hall with company at the dinner table is another. Refuse to feed them if they are all over the kitchen and underfoot while you get their breakfast ready. Instead, teach them the wait you’ve worked on until the bowl is set down.
ask everyone the dog meets to please ignore them until they are sitting or standing quietly, be they strangers at the pet store or your sister in law. What’s the point of trying to teach them to be calm if your Aunt teaches them that hyper puppy gets more attention?
reward any, ANY, calmness. Reward when they curl up on their bed for a nap, reward if they are laying quietly at your feet, reward if they sit and wait for their new toy, reward even just looking out the window if they don’t bounce up and down barking like a herd of water buffalo is coming.
Thinking to yourself “my pup would burst into flames before he waited quietly?” Don’t think you have to wait until your spazzy darling is half zombie to reward them; any self-imposed reduction in the craziness level they started with needs to be recognized and rewarded. Over the course of a week or two you might wait it out and see if they can ratchet down even more before you reward. Then over another week or two, wait for more calmness.
Another big influence on how hyper or how calm your dog becomes is you. Check your voice–is the pitch higher than if you were talking about personal finance? Check your body–are you tense or have your hands going? Check your emotions–are you as relaxed as you want your pup to be, or are you frustrated?
Is it worth all this effort when you could just put them outside and leave them? YEAH! First you get a companion you wouldn’t have if they were banished to the back yard (never do that to a Dane–they go bonkers from boredom and loneliness). Second, the aforementioned furniture will not perish.
But mostly because a calmer pup is a wiser pup. If they aren’t overly excited, they are able to actually notice something besides their own feelings. They notice body language, they pick up on environmental cues. They can actually learn and obey. If they run out in the street for not listening to you…yeah. It’s worth the effort to calm your overgrown lap Dane.
Both of you will be happier, safer, and better off…
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 12, 2011
laundry day can be so stressful…
Matters not how big the Dane, a wittle bitty baby will always be there! Laundry day, the day the house develops piles, seems to get Kenai’s nose out of shape. Maybe the bedcover he worked so hard to make smell like himself being taken off? Perhaps just the alteration of normal?
Whatever the reason, my coddled crumudgeon doesn’t much like laundry day. He fetched his baby there (why won’t he do that for me?) and found the blanket of our bed to lay down with.
To make matters worse, my work outside that morning meant a gate had to be open, so he had to stay inside. Aww. Heartbreak and wimpers. Soon as the gate was closed though, he got to come bark at cars going by and pee on the perimeter.
By then I was beat down bushed, so he came to check me out. “How come you breathin funny there ma?” For all my complaining a couple years ago that he wasn’t an oblivious dumb dunderhead that wouldn’t care about loud noises…
I’m awfully glad to get the tickly whiskers sometimes ’cause he noticed something different about my body’s state.
He’s a sweetie, even if he does bark too much at the neighbors!
And poor Beebers is back to being pesty Bananna Butt, thank goodness. BB seems to have gotten a leg up on his infection. There’s one reddish spot that drains some, is all. There are though some odd looking large protrusions at the end of the suture line.
He needs to go in for a post-surgical check anyway, but that will mean a day with no outside work for me and Kenai. Beebs going to the vet is exhausting. He need help up into the car, and ya don’t let your guard down around him when he’s stressed.
His life ain’t hardly all bad though, mind you! Mr Photogenic gets his own outside time, has his play, even gets a “puppy school” practice now and again which he enjoys immensely.
He’s such an easy pup in most regards. Unlike his brother, there’s never a fuss about not wanting to eat or take his medicine. He will play with you anytime, anywhere, for any reason or none at all.
And he’s a cartoon on three and half legs! If you need a laugh, go hang with BB. He’ll even stretch out under that maple tree with you if ya ain’t in a playin mood.
As I’ve been writing about puppies, I thought I’d move along from the 8-16wk old age to the 16wk old plus. Yeah…16 wks. That’s when a lovely phase I call “the puppy stubborns” hits. That pliant and sweet little tot turns into a willful snot.
Your cutie pie that couldn’t wait to come when you called now gives you puckered lips and a ‘why should I’ face. Oy. As frustrating as it is, this stage is equally important as the previous ones to becoming a well balanced dog.
Independence, self-identity, and understanding the boundaries of life in your “pack” begins to develop at 16 wks. Handled well, this stage can reduce seperation anxiety, and establish you as the one in charge of deciding whats okay and what’s off limits.
The tiny toots that got away with murder with the older dogs now finds themselves being reprimanded in various ways by them. And you will find you have to do the same, when the puppy tries trash can diving or other things not allowed.
In a slight case of bad timing, 16 wks is also when most obedience classes begin. And bad habits are begun by humans to get them to actually sit on command. Cajoling, bribing, ineffective scolding…we’ve all done it.
The best way to deal with a stubborn pup moment is to calm your frustration and remember you are in charge. They are still very young, and the “disobedience” isn’t personal. It’s not because they don’t like you, it’s because the reason for obedience is changing.
When they were 8 wks old they obeyed happily, in a way for want of knowing better. Now they are realizing they can influence their environment, and you, to get what they want. Much like the terrible twos in human kids, tantrums can make you hit the easy button.
Yeah, you still dispense the treats, but can they make YOU give the treat on their ‘command’ is the name of this game! More frustrating still is the sock shredding kind of stuff because they want to, regardless.
There will be things you must insist on, and here’s a secret: firm patience can and will outlast persistance.
Dogs are persistant by nature, and because of nature; the wolf that gives up too easy goes hungry. But if your no means no always and calmly and without exception, they’ll quit testing you eventually.
Another trick of the trade; the less you talk the more they listen. Cajoling and repeating the same command over and over without enforcing it is worse than pointless. It weakens your authority with them. Remember, dogs don’t talk. They silently insist.
Take a cue from the older dogs in how they deal with the puppy stubborns. A stare, a pointed and ‘I want/don’t want something” stare is what gets their message across more often than not.
Wordlessly planting your hands on your hips and giving off unhappy momma vibes is remarkably effective. No need to be angry or anything, but the vibes will do the talking for you. Match their intensity and you’re talking their language now. They get that real fast.
If they don’t give up the trash or the sock, a dog won’t say “bad puppy” and take it away. A dog will stand over or between the puppy and the object until the pup gives it up. It’s a huge difference. Taking it away teaches them at best nothing, and at worst posessiveness.
MINE is a new concept in the 16 wk old’s brain. Making them relenquish something they shouldn’t have makes the point that MINE is yours not theirs. A dog stay there and own that object until the puppy backs up and looks away.
This is discipline. Not punishment, but discipline and every puppy both understands it and needs it to live in a social group. It’s not mean! I promise, to a dog it’s normal and healthy.
BTW–If you were smart and taught them to sit and down and stay some before obedience class starts at the same time as the stubborns, they will know what the words mean. So when they give you the attitude, all you need is to silently insist, not worrying about if they understand or not.
One more note about my brothers here: I’ve started using a product called total-zymes to see if it will help them digest kibble. I would like to have them on at least some kibble. Everytime I’ve tried even small amounts, there’s the deadly farts and worse poo.
So they are 3 meals with it into the experiment now, and have noticed only one really good butt stink from Kenai. Waiting to see the achem “results” if ya know what I mean. So far I’m encouraged.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 9, 2011
Guard puppy Kenai, 3 yrs
My golden grizzly is holding up his end of the gardening; making sure no critters take us by surprise. You never know about them bunnies. He like me is tanning as he’s gotten older.
The thinner haired places are darkening with all the sun exposure we get gardening together. Check out the ears, and the sergeant’s stripes on his front legs!
Each morning that the legs and hands are in good enough shape me and Brown head for the veggie patch. Or should I call him Brown-er? Personally, I’ve gone 5 shades darker in make up. He’d have a fit of indignance if I put lipstick on him…
We’ve found another Dane SD on facebook! http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=100001256992349 Splash is a hard workin fella, and a gem of a boy. Handsome too.
BB’s infection is greatly improved, but he’s not quite back to pre-chicken leg nightmare shape. The antibiotics are giving him some unpleasant die in the rears, poor kiddo. And a fungal ear infection has flared up. So it’s “pretty ears” time.
Both boys were left at home in the AC when Mom and I went to buy appliances for the kitchen. I almost felt guilty about the cost, but I’m a serious cooking gal. 10 pounds of chicken legs a day for the oven, pastas to boil, bread to bake, eggs to fry…
The kitchen/living room area can’t seem to stay cool in our new house. The bedrooms are like 5 degrees or more cooler. So I’ve been trying to roast the chicken early or at night, and use the new grill for lunch and supper.
Sunday we had bbq bacon cheeseburgers on that lovely new grill. I’ve really gotten into it, mostly because I haven’t mastered this charcoal thing. The burned potatoes being a recent example. The burgers were killer though!
It’s too hot on the deck when I’m grilling in the afternoons for Brown-er, so he just walks the fence like a four legged sentry. Peeing here and there of course. Boy thing. I put him inside when he starts to pant though. I’ve had all the bloating and belly problems I want for a goodly while, thank you.
One thing I do miss, or at least miss for Kenai, is a nice big patch of tall grass for him plow through and peek at you from. He enjoyed his “ambush puppy” games. I guess the duration of outside time he gets now makes for a fair trade off.
I’ve submitted a short article about a training technique called ‘capturing’ to http://danetrainer.wordpress.com/. I’ve written about it on the training pages to the right over there, but it seems to me that it’s the best technique out there.
Capturing is both very simple and supremely natural. The short definition is recognizing and rewarding a behavior you want from the dog that they do on their own. No commands, no deliberate cues, just seeing something the dog does naturally and reinforcing it with a reward.
Anything from as basic as rewarding a dog for laying down on their bed when you’re busy, to as important as setting the habit of tugging in a puppy that will someday open doors for the disabled can be created with capturing.
One of the two things that makes this a fantastic training skill is how little the affair requires of you–all you do is reward what the dog already does. Puppies play tug and follow you, dogs lay down and carry their toys. You simply notice and give a treat or “good boy”.
The other great thing about capturing is it lets the dog know when they do something right. Rather than watching for an uh-oh to correct, you are looking for a good to reward. Most every dog wants to please, and all creatures need positive affirmation.
There are other important things a pup learns indirectly this way, like you are the dispenser of goodies, doing what you want gets them what they want, and establishing you as the person to look to for what to do. I like most of all how simple and a natural way to learn it is.
Now if that little pup has a big job in his future, capturing will definitely create a life long willingness to work for you. The younger you start the better. But have both an idea of what you want the dog to do, and what foundations they must have to accomplish it.
Working dogs need a work drive, obviously. So you want to encourage any, ANY, attentiveness they pay you. The more often and more consistantly you reward them for looking at you, following you, coming to you the better.
If you want a pup to become a service dog, you gear towards other actions in addition, like the tug to open something. Pawing things is good if your dog will need to turn on a light switch, or hit the button to open a door. Or noticing a sound if you want a hearing dog.
Perhaps tunneling through your laundry would be the thing to reward for a future in agility. Sniffing out their favorite bone for a search and rescue career. A little thought about what they will do can give you endless opportunities for capturing.
If all you want is a well behaved companion, pretty much all you need to raise one is capturing. Getting them used to their feet or ears messed with at the vet is as simple as frequently touching their parts and rewarding for their puppy tolerance.
All puppies, exhuberant energy or not, will eventually lay down for a snooze. Reward the laying down, and later you can put a down command to what they’ve already learned is good to do. Most all puppies will follow you around, which is what you want when later working on a leashed walk.
For lack of a better word, capturing is “training” but really it’s not. It’s nothing more than the natural way pups learn. You’re becoming friends, figuring out how to have a happy relationship with each other. Just being buddies.
Dogs are masterful figure-outers of what you want, without any formal commands or practice times! Believe me, however much you pay attention to them, they pay more attention to you.
They use their nose, their eyes, their sense of touch, just everything all the time to learn what you do and want and feel. Their capacity for awareness is absolutely astonishing. They can pick up on your mental and emotional intentions before you actually do anything.
On the same principle of frowning displeasure alone can make a pup back off from the trash (who hasn’t felt the unhappy mom vibe?), you can almost create opportunities to capture good behavior with mere emotion. How? It’s easier than you might think.
Dogs can tell you’re going to get up from the firing of your nerves in preparation before your muscles actually move. So if you are going to have an SD to help you get up without falling, reward that pup for popping up before you.
Dogs notice the change in our emotions right away from smelling brain chemicals like adrenaline or the tensing of our muscles. So the pup that comes up and nudges you when you get tense would make a great anxiety alert dog or seizure alert dog if you reward them.
When you relax, the dog will sense the change and relax. Reward that, and later you can put a word to it and get them to do it on command. That way the postman will become a reason to chill rather than go off.
This all may seem like getting lost in the weeds, but the subtleness of a human-dog relationship is a beautiful interactive reality. The more you pay attention to your dog, the more of that amazing you see. And the more aware of yourself you become.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 6, 2011