We took a bit of a break from the blog the past week and a half. Our computer time was limited after a long trip back to Chicago from Virginia, 5 days in Southern Illinois, and a lot of reorganizing at the apartment.
Of course that blogging break did not mean that Link and Eve stopped getting bigger and more mischievous. In fact, they’ve gotten a bit too confident with all of their cross-country travels.
Eve in particular has gotten us a bit worried. She’s obviously a big puppy who will grow into an even bigger adult dog. Her size plus the fact that she is pure black (even her eyes are like midnight) makes her a scary looking beast to many creatures–including others dogs and small children. Lately Eve has been getting a bit aggressive with those others. While in Southern Illinois, she barked a little too much and played a little too hard for the 2 and 3 year olds who were meandering about. And she has gotten noticeably more agitated at other dogs, particularly ones smaller than her. During a puppy play date last night with Indy (an adorable duck-tolling retriever pup), she had to be restrained nearly the entire time.
These developments have obviously gotten us concerned. Many possible explanations exist, so it is way too early to make any broad assumptions about her being a naturally aggressive dog. Link is still as easy-going as ever…willing to roll over on his belly for just about anything that moves. So it may be simply a breed difference, with Eve coming across as particularly aggressive only when compared to Link.
She still is getting readjusted to the Chicago apartment after more than a month away. Also, she underwent the most traumatic experience of her life earlier this week–she was spayed (more on that in a later blog post). And in the end she is sill less than 5 months old, so she still has many different puppy cycles to go through. We shall see how she develops these next few weeks.
Regardless, she remains the best cuddle-buddy in the entire apartment.
The switch to the bigger collars got us all sentimental. It’s beyond cliche to say “They grow up so fast.” But God knows it is true.
Spending virtually every second of the past couple months with them makes it hard to notice how much they actually have changed. Day to day, you can’t really appreciate the growth.
It is only when we look at the Then v. Now pictures can we realize how much they have slowly shed their puppy-ness.
The sad day has finally come for Link and Eve to shed their puppy collars. These collars were the ones we brought the pups home in. Eve’s light pink and Link’s blue began so loose we had to poke new holes to stop them sliding over their heads. The extra collar length on each of them hung down from their neck in the anticipation for the growth to come. For the past couple of weeks we have been holding onto them by the very last hole. I feel this puppy collar loss is special to larger dogs that will only fit small collars for a very short time. So quickly they grow!
Now the addition of a new medium collar marks their exciting new journey into adolescence. Sarcastically I welcome it; filled with teething, awkward growth spurts and more energy at a larger size, adolescence will be an experience.
Link and Eve are not wild puppies…for the most part.
TV shows seem to have horror stories about crazy dogs that destroy everything in sight and can only by tamed by the Dog Whisperer. Any time you get a new puppy (let alone two) certain people always look at you strangely, assuming that you are getting yourself in over your head by releasing two growing beasts into your home to destroy things.
But *knock on wood* we have yet to experience widespread destruction. Once their bodies get bigger and their minds stay underdeveloped, they will definitely cause more damage. But, I’m confident that it will all be manageable.
Both pups definitely get into mischief. Link is sneaky about it. He’s earned the nickname “Slinky Link” because he slowly walks out of the room to go chew on something he isn’t suppose to or in an effort to steal leftover food. He always tries to be quiet about it, knowing that noise will get him caught.
Eve is less secretive about her naughtiness. She will try to chew on a shoe right in front you or steal a piece of food while it is directly on your plate. She’ll stop when you call her on it, but she hasn’t yet developed the ability to control all of her puppy urges.
Really, the only time that the pups are difficult to handle is when they are in wrestling mode with one another. About three times a day they get out all of their aggression by fighting each other. The pups are hardest to control in these moments of rough-housing. It is during these fights that they have knocked over the most drinks and bumped into the laptops. To outsiders it looks menacing, but we have definitely gotten used to these twenty minutes bursts of crazy-puppy.
The good thing is that without fail they take an hour nap after each 20 minute fight.
Earlier we mentioned that Eve always gets mistaken for a black lab until people realize she has massive paws. That is getting less true, because she’s slowly getting more classic “Dane” features.
But I was never satisfied with the pictures I posted to show her big paws. I think this new one from a car ride is a beter example of the bear-like qualities of her paw. Basically, her mitt is as big as Link’s face. Poor Link doesn’t know what is about to hit him when Eve’s body catches up to these massive gloves.
For anyone who hasn’t been reading our earlier posts, we are currently at my parents’ home in rural Virginia. My 2.5 year old nephew, Rylee has been spending most of his summer out here as well, swimming in the pool and running the land. One of the biggest decisions on dog breed for me, as well as Paul, was temperment. I have always grown up with Labs and have sometimes taken for granted their love of all people, including children. When purchasing my first “out of school” dog I was interested in trying a new breed but wanted to find something good with children like most labs. Golden Retrievers have always been one of the most popular family dogs because they are so forgiving to a child’s changing moods. When I was researching Great Danes I read they were also good with children but this popular phrase did not flood the searches like it did with the Golden Retriever.
While being at the house, Rylee was the first interaction the pups had with a child. Link loves everyone and everything around him and easily forgives Rylee’s heavy hugs. Eve, on the other hand, has been very interesting to watch interact with a child. As a female and a Dane, Eve likes to tell people “this is her owner” and “this is her blanket.” She would bark at Rylee when she didn’t understand why he would give her such a strong squeeze for a hug. Often she would take off away from him if he came too close to her screaming. However, we have been trying to reassure her Rylee is human and part of the family which she needs to behave around. So far, Eve has progressed a great deal and tolerates him much more often running to give him kisses.
Eve hasn’t grown enough Dane features yet for most people on the street to recognize what type of dog she is. 75% of the time, people still say, “What a cute black lab puppy.” The one thing that gets people to recognize that something is different about her are the monster-size paws that are stuck on the end of her feet. These pictures won’t do them justice, but trust me when I say that it will probably take a year before her body grows into these mammoth paws.
They say that the paws are an indicator of how much the pup will actually grow. A few other Dane owners have mentioned that Eve’s paws seem big even for a Dane, so we will see if she reaches her full female Dane potential. Either way, I’m a bit scared of the damage that those Grizzy Bear hands will do when she is tall enough to reach things that break. I’m guessing that a paw across the face may be enough to knock out some teeth.
So, digging into the recent past, we’ve tried to introduce the pups to other dogs as much as possible. This has been hard since we’ve been told that puppies without certain shots, like Rabies and Distemper, should only be introduced to other puppies on a similar vaccination calendar. There are plenty of dog beaches and opportunities for the pups to interact with other dogs, but we decided to listen to the vet and keep them away from the adult dogs. In doing so, we’ve scheduled puppy play dates with two different sets of friends that have also just gotten pups. The adorable Indy and the cute adolescent Zsu Zsu have both come over to meet Link and Eve.
Like a typical Golden, Link loved everyone of the pups and ran around playing and sharing his toys as kid in daycare might do. Eve, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with the other dogs. She was constantly in between my legs, looking out and begrudgingly allowing these pups to touch her toys. She did however, have no problem steeling Indie’s toys and dragging them back to her crate.