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 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.
The swimming pool means two different things to Eve and Link.
Link, the golden retriever, believes that the pool is perhaps mankind’s greatest invention. He was introduced to big bodies of water at the Foster Dog Beach at Lake Michigan. He loved it, but the swimming pool is definitely an upgrade over the lake. The pool water is much warmer than the lake and there are no intimidating waves to slow him down. On top of that, the pool has a ledge that makes it possible to dive head first into water without having to walk into it. Link’s heaven is going to be filled with swimming pools.
Eve, the great dane, thinks swimming pools are scary death traps. Eve is pretty logical, she realizes that she does not have gills, cannot breather underwater, and therefore does not need to be completely surrounded by water at any time. To her, the only good liquid is the stuff that is in her dish bowl to lap up when she is thirsty. Other than that, she prefers to sit on the beach chairs and snuggle with the closest person. One time Eve actually jumped into the pool right after Kyle. We think it was either an accident or she thought Kyle was drowning and needed rescue.
After a couple of months in our Chicago apartment, Link and Eve definitely have their prime nap spots all picked out. It is pretty predictable. Link picks typical “dog” spots, and Eve insists on sleeping where humans sleep.
Link = under the coffee table, under the futon, under the bed, on the tile in front of the fake fireplace
Eve= on the futon, on the bed, on her dog bed in front of the coffee table
Of course those options are gone in Virginia, so each pup has been forced to find new spots to rest. We’ve been here for a week now, and they’ve already picked out their regular haunts. Their traits haven’t changed either. Eve still insists on sleeping only on soft pillow-like things, and Link always snoozes on hard, cool surfaces.
Their choices definitely reflect their personality. Link gets along splendidly with all people, but enjoys his alone time. He gives you a kiss and then leaves to curl up in a spot only fit for a dog. On the other hand, Eve clings to humans and assumes that she must be one as well. She gives you a kiss, and then another kiss, and then another, and then insists on sleeping right on top of you.
P.S. Link finally learned to swan dive into the pool while fetching his tennis ball. Adorable. I am sure we will post a video of his new skill soon.
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.
Sometimes when we mention that we are raising a Great Dane and Golden Retriever, people immediately assume, “Oh, so you’ve got one smart dog and one not-so-smart dog.” But really, it is much more complicated than that. They both know basically the same commands: sit, down, stay, etc. There is not really any “tricks” difference between them so far. But, the pups definitely have personality differences.
For example, take their sense of curiosity. Sometimes Link definitely stays interested in things longer than Eve. New toys/people/dogs typically interest Eve for a few seconds and then she moves on. Link, however, lingers with new things for awhile, soaking them up.
On the other hand, Eve is much bolder than Link. She is the first to race to something, the first to bark at a strange noise, the first to poke her head somewhere new to see what is inside. Eve just follows her instincts immediately…Link slowly catches up, then stays a little longer.
Here’s the thing we’ve learned about having two pups spend every second with one another: they don’t know what to do when they are alone. They sleep in the same room together, the go potty together, they walk together, they play together, they nap together, they eat together. Basically, they are twins.
Today we conducted a little experiment to see how they would react if we went on a long walk, but each went in opposite directions. They’d basically never gone anywhere with just one dog and one person. I took Link and Kyle took Eve. Kyle took Eve on the south side of the street, Link and I stayed on the north side.
The reaction was almost instantaneous. Link immediately began wimpering and looking around, clearly agitated and knowing that the pack was way too small. Eve nearly refused to walk. Instead she kept looking behind her and across the street trying to find her brother. Kyle damn near had to drag her to get through the first block. Once they got a block or two under their belts, they seemed to calm down though. Both gained confidence and didn’t cause too much of a fuss until they reunited about 25 minutes later in the living room.
It is especially cute to see that they already remember the one store that we walk near that puts out water for passerby pets. Its a cute little framing place in Andersonville on Clark & Argyle called Foursided. Today was a Sunday, so they were closed and no water was around. But that didn’t stop both pups from running to the door and sniffing around expecting a mid-walk refreshment.
Overall, it was kind of heartbreaking/adorable to hear and see Link so concerned about not having Eve around him. I already feel nostalgic knowing that we’ve created a little family that the pups like having all together. I’ve only been a dog owner for a couple of months and I’m already sounding like a Father.
Considering this is all about two puppies growing up together, it is only fitting to share a video of the first time Eve & Link met each other.
Link arrived from Kentucky about a week and a half early. He had the run of the apartment and all of the attention. But Eve finally drove in from Alabama in the middle of May and changed everything.