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Posts Tagged ‘Great Danes’

And of course The Boy just HAD to go see it… so we reluctantly took him to see it this weekend.  You see, we usually don’t prefer any sort of movie that appeals to the general public.  I’m not really sure why, but we almost always hate any movie that is “the big thing” for that week or month.  The Vampire Wife and I usually go for something more offbeat, dark, or quirky.

For instance, we finally got around to seeing Avatar a month or so ago.  I guess we’re the only two people on the face of the earth that didn’t enjoy it.  Seemed to us like it was an overblown 3 hour cartoon with blue people and glowy stuff.  However, the next night we watched a great little indie movie called Sunshine Cleaning that we felt was a 100 times better than Avatar.  We’re weird I guess.

So you can imagine when The Boy wanted to go see the latest talking dog movie, we were less than thrilled, but we smiled, sucked it up, and went to the superubermegaplex to watch the latest brain rotter to come out.  There we were with every other Bubba in the 6 county area with their kids (none of which understand you shouldn’t kick the seat in front of you – or sound like a cow chewing their cud when you eat your popcorn).

We watched the movie – and it was as bad as we expected – complete with cheesy group choreography at the end *sigh*.  However, The Boy loved it and that’s all that really matters.  He got quite a kick out of it; I think because he could see a little bit of Duchess in Marmaduke’s actions.

The part at the beginning where Marmaduke escapes the bath tub to go on a zoomie episode was pretty funny actually.  Not because of the zoomies, but the reaction of the rest of the family.  Everyone just picked up their drinks and kept reading the paper or doing what they were doing because they knew the zoomies would fly through there and knock things around.

So anyway, I really hope this movie flops and flops hard.  Not because I have any ill-will towards the movie studio, but because I really don’t want another “101 Dalmatians” epidemic on our hands where the shelters and pounds were full of Dalmatians.  People saw the movie, thought to themselves “Awww how cute!” then ran out and bought a puppy or two.  6 months later they had one incredibly hyper and difficult to manage dog on their hands and they wound up giving it up or letting it go.

I’d hate to see this happen with Great Danes.  I think they’re a magnificent breed (and my personal favorite obviously) but they’re not for everyone.  There are already too many that wind up in shelters and rescues as it is.  Hopefully this movie will be bad enough that we won’t see much of an influx… but I have a feeling the puppy mills have been cranking out puppies in anticipation of the movie.  Hopefully I’m wrong.

On a much, much lighter note… we found something special for the dogs today.  Will have to blog about it soon!

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We finally got a chance to film the winner of Duchess’ Spring Cleaning Contest the other night.  We put the 5 finalists’ names down on plates, lined them up, put treats on them, then swapped them around and let Duchess choose one.

Here’s the Vampire Wife just finishing putting down the treats…

And then here’s the video of Duchess picking the winner!

And a picture of Duchess with the winning entry’s plate…

She doesn’t look very happy – I think maybe she has a crush on Mango.

So congratulations Tucker!  Since you were picked the winner, I’m so glad we decided to re-do the first plate before heading outside.  The Vampire Wife tried to get artsy and the first plate looked like Yucker…

And here’s the winning entry again…

Aaaaaand as a special treat, Duchess wanted to do her bye bye trick for everyone that entered…

But we hope it isn’t bye bye for all you contestants – we hope you stick around and become our blog pals.  Have a great weekend everyone!

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I think it’s week 4.  Maybe it’s week 5, but it’s technically just week 4 because we skipped a week due to snow.  I’m not really certain.  Regardless – we had class and it was this week.  That’s really all the information that we need for this blog now isn’t it?

It was mostly a review of what we’d done the previous week (which was quite a lot), so I won’t bore you with more pictures of doing the same thing as the last update.  However, we did make a new friend this week.  Meet Gus.

Gus is the doberman.  Not my boy on the right.  Gus is an absolutely beautiful doberman owned by our class instructors.  He’s got a long line of titles and initials behind his name and is a therapy dog as well.  Doesn’t he look striking and macho?

Well, that changed a little while later when he got a manicure in front of the whole class.

Hahaha just look at his poor face!  He just hung his head as if to say, “Awww mom!  Don’t do my nails in front of all these other doggies!”  Dana was showing us how to use a Dremel tool to work on your dog’s nails as opposed to clipping them. (Ugh – that just reminds me that I was going to look at Dremels yesterday and I forgot.)

This was the point where Duchess said, “I give you big kisses if you never do that to me.”

Something new this week was heeling at different paces – slow, normal, and fast.  To get a Great Dane to move “fast” that means the Great Dane’s human has to haul some serious bootay.  Getting me to move that fast meant that half of the contents of the treat pouch went flying all over the training room.  My instructor was nice enough to gather them for me.

And the recall exercise went much better this week as well.

While other people were doing the recall exercise, I noticed that the boy was VERY intent on what was going on and that his ribs were perfectly exposed for a good jabbing.  I slowly moved my hand under my arm and moved in to the perfect position to deliver a good poke right between the ribs.

I let it fly… just at the very moment that the entire room – all 20 something people and 20 something dogs all got silent.  The boy let out a squeal that would rival any 12 year old girl at a Hilary Duff concert.  Also, the frequency of that squeal must have matched the resonant frequency and acoustics of that room to a T because it was amplified by about a bazillion.

People jumped.  People gasped.  People freaked.  Dogs peed themselves.  In other words – It. Was. Hilarious.

The boy was uber embarrassed, but he was laughing too hard to even care.  About ten minutes later when we all got back on the floor for another exercise, he was STILL giggling about it.

So what did we learn this week?  Dobermans have tough exteriors, but in their spare time enjoy pedicures, spa trips, and antiquing.  We learned not to run fast with an open treat pouch.  Most importantly, I learned that there’s a spot between the 3rd and 4th rib on the right side of the boy that can make him squeal like one of those mindless Twilight girls.

However, with great power comes great responsibility, which means that I’m to not use that last bit of knowledge again.  Unless of course it’s going to be wicked hilarious.

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So we loaded up and went to town (we live in the boonies – we’re just a jalopy away from being hillbillies) to take the boy to gamble… I mean… play token games at an arcade as his reward for getting straight A’s.  Don’t judge me.  I can hear the tsk tsk’s from here through the magic of the interwebz.  He enjoys it, and as long as he’s not spending his lunch money on them or gets in trouble for some sort of organized crime at elementary school, I’m fine with it.  Well, he does have a little racket going to “upgrade” lunchroom desserts for a small fee, but I don’t see anything wrong with that – that’s just fostering an entrepreneurial spirit and future life skill I think.

Anyway, we made the trip and I needed to stop by Petsmart (like we always do) just to take a couple of quick pictures for an upcoming blog entry that I’m doing.  Well I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but we made a trip down the toy aisle without Duchess being there.  Ooooh stupid, stupid humans.  If you remember in previous entries, she turns her nose up at the toys, which keeps us moving right along.  That didn’t happen today with her not there.

We came home with new toys and reloaded our training treats… oh, and a cool bathing mitt like we used at the groomer’s once.  That thing worked like a charm and made all kinds of lather.  I’ll test it out and let you know how it works later.

Do you see the big alligator?  Or is it a crocodile?  I’m not certain… but I’m going with alligator because A is before C in the alphabet.  That’s how I settle most debates where I know absolutely nothing about the subject matter, and I don’t know jack about the differences between alligators and crocodiles when it comes to stuffed toys.  Real life crocodiles and alligators?  Now we can talk – but stuffed toy ones?  I ain’t got nothin’ to say to you.

So yes, the alligator in the picture.  One of us (I can’t remember which, you know, from being all overstimulated by the aisle of brightly colored toys and no dog to supervise us), found it in the aisle and I went “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!!!!” and my vampire wife went, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”.  Why?  Read this tag attached to the alligator…

Oliver the Anti-Social Corgi HATES, LOATHES, and DETESTS squeaky toys.  I mean, not in a disinterested, aloof sort of way.  More of a “I’m going to absolutely come unglued and be the Ike to your Tina Turner if you squeak that idiotic thing one more time” kind of way.  Which means of course I just had to buy it.  I like to think of it as – confronting that which you fear or detest the most.  Yeah, that’s it.

Duchess was a little timid with the alligator at first.  Wait a minute.  That thing needs a name.  Something with that level of magnitude can NOT just remain “the alligator” and it can’t be named anything cutesie like her “woobie” (mainly because she already has a woobie).  So if any readers have a good name for it, please leave me a comment with your suggestion!

Where was I?  (Man I am ADD tonight.  I think it’s the fact that I haven’t had food for quite some time and my blood sugar is getting all whack.  Feeling a little tingly and lightheaded at this point.)  Oh yes, she’s timid with the unnamed alligator – I think because we’ve never let her have anything like this before because toys of this sort usually get shredded in a matter of  hours after they cross our threshold.

After a few minutes though she was jumping and flinging it around.  I tried to get a movie of this in progress to share, but when she hears the beep of the camera turn on she always stops whatever it is she’s doing.

The funny thing – Oliver the Anti Social Corgi didn’t seem to mind the squeakers at all.  Go figure.  Jake didn’t want much to do with it either.  We then moved on to the new Kong Wubba thingymajig that’s a fun toss around toy that looks pretty indestructible.

She loves to play catch… but in this case she missed.

And this is a blurry picture of what she looks like when she leaps into the air to catch it and almost hits the ceiling fan (she can get some serious air when she jumps straight up).

That’s all well and good, but there’s really only one way to see if she really approves of the new additions – and that’s if she tries to look really cute to get your attention while she’s playing.  These passed the test.

I thought I took one of her doing this with the alligator too, but it’s magically disappeared… or dustappeared as my boy likes to say.  Hmmm.

Something else happened at Petsmart yesterday.  As we were strolling the aisles, my vampire wife stopped dead in her tracks, her eyes got huge and she did one of her heart-stopping gasps that she’s so famous for.  Of course, I stopped, clutched my heart, felt my stomach go in knots for a second… thinking we left the garage door open, she left a candle going, the curling iron is on and lying right underneath a pile of kleenex soaked in gasoline… you know, the usual things that go through your mind when someone gasps as if a ghost has passed right through their soul.

But no, it wasn’t anything like that.  She was just barely able to utter something (at about 48920592 words per minute I might add).  It sounded something like “gahrfenladle”.  I don’t know what a “gahrfenladle” is so I asked again and she said, “GOLDENDOODLE!  SOMEONE JUST SAID GOLDENDOODLE!”  I don’t know if you remember… but she’s obsessed with Goldendoodles.  Somehow in a giant department store full of people, barking dogs, etc. my wife was able to hear someone say the word Goldendoodle.  It’s the vampire in her I think.

We took off and we hunted down this very nice mom and daughter that had this goldendoodle with them.  My vampire wife asked to pet him and I could see the wheels turning in her head – “now how do I incapacitate these two ladies so that I can bolt out of here with this dog?”

See that look on her face?  That’s usually the look most women get when they meet someone’s new baby.  In our house it’s a little different.  We get those looks when we see a dog we reeeeeeeeally want.  I think there may be trouble on the horizon… according to the sounds from her laptop, she’s playing Farmville and CafeWorld, but I’m just wondering if those are up and running as a front, and there’s really a browser window open with a google search for nearby Goldendoodles going on.

When will we ever learn to stay away from Petsmart?

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Another Class Update…

I apologize profusely if you find these obedience class updates to be about as entertaining as watching Real Housewives of Any Rural Midwest Town, ( on this week’s episode – Sarah goes to Wal-Mart to find that they moved her favorite snack food… AGAIN) but please keep in mind that this blog is not just about you readers (*gasp*) but is also meant to be a journal that we can look back on as the years progress.  Obedience is a daily routine with us and the commitment to going to a weekly obedience class an hour away is a pretty big chunk of time for a time-stretched family such as ours… so of course it’s going to have its fair share in this blog.

Now with my obligatory apology out of the way, let’s get on to Duchess’ last class.

She never has been one to get excited in the truck when she travels.  Unlike Dottie who would stand at attention the entire time, staring out the window as if she had just opened her eyes to a whole new world – Duchess prefers the much more laid back approach… like laying down and resting her head on the console.

Once we got to class, we began working on a distance recall where you get your dog to come to you, front and center, then sit.

In this first picture, I think if you put a priest’s robe on me and put a crucifix where the leash is, it would appear as if I’m performing an exorcism on Duchess.

She didn’t do so well at that.  Like I’ve said before, she’s a huge chicken… so working with a new long-line on her and the trainer holding her collar sent her into a near panic.

I think the whole obedience school thing is way less fun than playing Wii or Legos, as demonstrated here by my boy in between taking turns on the floor.

Then we walked the perimeter of the room taking various instructions from the trainers about heeling, turns, sitting automatically when we stop, etc.  Duchess has this part down pat.

Followed by some various stay exercises… again, this part she’s got solid.

This next one got a little squirrely… having to stay while the trainer walked around her.  She did great on the first round, but got a bit wiggly on the second one.  Still did okay, but not perfect.

And this next part was a complete failure… getting her to stand on command.  I’ve spent her whole life teaching her to sit, demanding she do it automatically when I stop walking etc. and now I’m asking her to stand.  This is going to take some work because the whole time she kept looking at me like I was whipping her – or making her watch something horrid like “Julie & Julia”.

And after seeing that last pic, I’ve decided that I’ll go back to wearing my boots to class.  I almost bit it hardcore while trying to run backwards last week with her while wearing my boots, so I thought I’d wear my old tennis shoes this time so I didn’t wind up demonstrating how to perform a reverse somersault to the class.  However, these Nikes apparently have reflective stripes on them that I was unaware of which makes the flash go KAPOW.

Either that, or they’re radioactive.  I’m hoping for radioactivity.  Radioactive shoes could really drive my readership up instead of these “oh look what my baby did at school” posts.

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Dear Daddy…

This is Duchess, your puppy.  I really appreciate the attention that you’re giving me on the interwebz, but this blogging thing is really getting in the way of snuggle time.  If you are going to insist on keeping this up – I demand compensation for acting as your work desk.  Have your people call my people (I have an agent now ya know, since I’m famous now, having my own website and whatnot) and let’s see if we can come to an agreement.

For starters, let’s talk about cheese.  You know when mommy gets out all those wonderful, stinky, smelly cheeses and arranges them on that pretty tray and you won’t let me eat them?  Why don’t we begin by letting me om nom nom all the cheese I want and then we can discuss the further details.

If possible, please leave the cheese out in the sun for a day so it’s good and extra smelly.

Slobbers and kisses,

Duchess

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Puppy Food?

I know you readers hate it when I get serious (the hate mails, the letters to Congressmen, the old ladies standing on their curb shaking their fists at me) but feeding a Great Dane is a serious undertaking so I’ll be visiting this topic from time to time.  I especially find it important because thanks to the great marketing engine of corporate America, we’re to believe that you can go pick up a bag of puppy food at the grocery store, slap it down in front of any puppy, and he’ll grow up to be a show dog.

I know this will come to a shock, but that’s not always true.  In fact in some cases like a Great Dane, it can be debilitating.  There are several bone diseases that are prevalent in giant breeds.  Of course the genetics of your puppy play a factor in this, but diet has a very large role.

Puppy foods are very high in protein for growth (around 30% if I’m not mistaken) and have supplements in them such as calcium.  Feeding a high-proten, calcium supplemented diet to your giant breed dog can cause them to grow TOO fast.

Now wait a minute – isn’t that what we want?  Don’t we want our puppies to grow up to be big, giant, strong, healthy dogs?  Well… yes we do.  However, we want them to do so in their own time.  A puppy food can accelerate their growth rate too fast and the result is a long laundry list of horrible bone diseases.

There’s a great (and short) article to read here about the various diseases that feeding a puppy food can contribute to here. I wouldn’t have known anything about regulating Duchess’ protein or calcium intake if I hadn’t researched this before we got her (remember, we pretty much rescued her from white trash ghetto-land where she was most likely being raised on a diet of pork skins and Pabst Blue Ribbon).

Oh, and don’t be fooled by “Large Breed” puppy foods either… the protein is still too high in those.  We’re looking for a protein percentage of 21% or so to promote a slow and steady growth.  So I know what you’re thinking right now.  It’s probably along the lines of “I don’t care.  I seriously don’t care.  I can’t believe I’ve even read this dribble this far.”  Am I right?

The rest of you that do care are probably freaking out because you’re either a) realizing that you have a dog that you probably shouldn’t have fed puppy food to, or b) wondering just what it is that you’re supposed to feed to a giant breed dog.  I mean, really… what are we supposed to do – strap on our loincloths, fashion primitive weapons out of things laying around the house, and go all caveman on some poor unsuspecting cattle just so our big doggies can get back to nature?

I guess you could go that route.  If you had your own cattle.  And lived really, really, really far away from other people.  And was certifiably batpoop crazy… but for the rest of us, there’s a simpler option.  But we’ll have to get to that another time because I have a big puppy that’s dying to eat and then crawl in my lap to go to sleep.

P.S. – please keep in mind that these opinions of mine included in this blog are my opinions about feeding GIANT BREED dogs.  So don’t go all crazy and throw your bag of puppy food out in the street, set it on fire, and put your dog on an intestinal cleansing product because you fed it to your Lhasa Apso.  It’s all cool.  Your little Swiffer dog will be just fine.  So just put the bag down and step away from the torch.

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I have to break away from the surgery saga for a bit (the final installment will be soon to come) due to yet another doggie medical visit today.  Actually, the problems started last night, but we didn’t get to the vet until today.   We sat down last night to dinner and about halfway through, Duchess decided to let us all see what she had eaten for lunch. Oh, and I need to mention that she decided to start this little escapade at 6:01 – one minute after the vet clinic closes.  She has impeccable timing.

There wasn’t much warning either.  One minute she’s laying at my feet at the table, and the next minute – BLOOOOOOORRRRRCHHHH!!!  Luckily, her head was positioned in the kitchen where there’s no carpet.  As I got up, she decided to take a little barf-o-riffic tour around the kitchen making sure to cover the entire floor with it. It was quite impressive – the Old Masters would’ve been jealous of her painting technique.

I threw away what was left of my bbq sandwich (just didn’t seem that appetizing anymore) and started the cleanup process.  The rest of the night was pretty uneventful until she went outside before bed.  That’s when she was stricken with the dreaded explodabutt as we like to call it.

She seemed to sleep pretty well until EARLY this morning when I was awakened by her getting sick again.  Gotta love mornings – the smell of dew on the grass, the birds chirping outside the window, and a giant dog beside your bed sounding like an ox giving birth.  Beautiful stuff… the things eloquent poetry is made of methinks.

I got up to let her out and the explodabutt was now about a zillion times worse, so we got ready to hit the clinic the moment they opened.  The doc checked her out and gave her a shot, some pills, and some special food to eat through the weekend.  Yet more things to go in our doggie pharmacy…

Whatever is in that shot makes her DRUNK obviously.  Once we got home, she began to act all goofy, get in the way more than usual, and try to hug me every time I turned around.  Hey, at least she’s a lovey dovey drunk I guess.

Cleaning out her crate was quite a chore with all this lovey dovey-ness going on.  There I am, halfway in the crate, scrubbing away with her hugging me, sticking her big shnoz in my face as if to say in an inebriated manner, “Joooo know how mush I nuuuv you!  Joooor da mossht beshtet owner I’ve eber had.”

Once the crate was clean it was off to wash her bed and the 40952835 towels she has in her crate.  Here’s the completely smashed Duchess helping me with the laundry in the utility room.  I think she’s ashamed and feeling no pain all at the same time.

After the drama had subsided and the lush finally had enough partying and passed out, I got to thinking – I haven’t seen Oliver in a long, long time.  Where in the world was that dog?  Jake was sticking around to monitor the situation, but the anti-social Corgi hadn’t been seen for quite some time.

I went searching for him and finally found him at the back of the house.  He was completely horrified by all of the barfiness and unladylike behavior of his younger sister.  He was under the bed, trying his hardest to block out the recent events – I can’t really blame him.

So now here I am, blogging about vomit and poop – listening to the dryer toil away at the plethora of wet towels and Duchess sleepily groaning on her bed.  Oliver the anti-social has rejoined us in the living room finally, and we’re all keeping our fingers crossed that the worst of this is behind us.  If not, maybe the vet could give me and the vampire wife some of those happy shots as well?

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Again, we had another sleepless night since Duchess absolutely refused to leave her dew claw bandages alone (both the professionally done and the Bubba-fied ghetto triage method one that Dad and I had done).  However, my lovely vampire wife got up early as always on Christmas morning to fix brunch for the family… another tradition we have.

I got up a little later, and let the dogs out for their morning potty break.  That’s when I noticed something was terribly, terribly wrong with Duchess.  The paw just below my electrical tape/Ace bandage job was GIGANTOMUNGOUS!  At the end of her long, gangly leg was what seemed to be a 1 lb burger roughly in the shape of my dog’s paw.  It was like looking at a three legged dog that had a tennis racket bolted on where the fourth leg should be.

Dad arrived a few minutes later and we assessed the situation about as well as two bleary eyed men can do who didn’t sleep much the night before.  It was decided that her butt explosion got the paw infected due to her swollen paw being hot to the touch.  She was already on antibiotics, so I didn’t know what to do.  My future obedience star was going to be severely disfigured because I had to go all Larry the Cable Guy on her leg.  Bleh.

I spent most of Christmas day right by her side, monitoring her every breath.  About mid-afternoon I felt like this couldn’t wait any longer and that I needed to call the emergency vet line… again.  I called and apologized profusely for having to call on the holiday, but that I couldn’t help it – Duchess’ paw was in bad, bad shape.

They advised me to cut off the bandage and put a band-aid over the wound and to bring her in first thing in the morning.  I cut off my southern engineered bandage and did as they said.  Nothing happened.

I waited, and waited, and waited, and waited for hours.  Nothing.  Then all of a sudden it was like a switch flipped and her paw started to recede back to normal.  We had obviously just wrapped her bandage too tight.  Like, way too tight.  She didn’t have some wicked poop infection in her paw and gangrene wasn’t setting in (have I mentioned I tend to overreact when there’s a sick dog?).

We went to the vet the next morning and they re-wrapped both of her legs just for good measure.  This time we left with a special post-Christmas present though – the Cone of Shame!

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