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.
We spent the past week camping in Chincoteage Virginia. Paul and I along with the two pups piled into my dads F250 pickup with both of my parents and my 2yr old nephew, Rylee. The journey there was around 6 hrs with plenty of excitement and noise! The pups naturally took their preferences in traveling spots. Eve, took the soft dog bed we wedged between the two front seats while Link chose the floor below our feet. Numerous times when Rylee had his fits, the dogs would back up and stare at him trying to figure out what exactly was making that screaming noise.
Once we arrived at the campsite, the dogs again picked their spots in the camper. The first night Eve took the dog bed and Link sprawled out across the floor. However, it only took one night for them to realize Paul and I were on the blow-up mattress above them. From then on every night after we brushed our teeth we would find Eve already in position on the bed while Link would start on the floor below. I mentioned before Link always sleeps on the floor until about 5am when he puts his front paws on the bed and licks my face to be lifted onto the bed. This trip was no different in his nightly schedule. The pics are cute.
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.
Its probably obvious that we treat Eve and Link as if they were actual children. I’m assuming many people out there also consider their dogs to be just like real kids…needing care, close supervision, and patient loving.
I have no idea if I will ever have children of my own, but I’m sure that raising these two devils is a great way to ease into the challenges of caring for someone other than yourself. That obviously means sacrifcing some sleep (Link needed to get up at 3am and 4am last night to go to the bathroom), some blood (Eve has left both of us with a few gashes), and some cash (veterinary bills are not cheap).
But besides sacrifices, the dogs are like kids in that they allow us to share some our favorite memories. Our pups are becoming a part of our new memories as well as our old ones. For example, last week we took the pups to Kyle’s undergraduate alma mater in rural Virginia, James Madison University. Kyle had not been back in the three years since he graduated. The visit for the puppies was nothing more than another adventure with new sites and smells. But it still had the feeling of sharing something special from the past with the young babies. I’m sure it is a small fraction of what a father feels like when visiting a favorite baseball stadium for the first time with a son.
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.
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.