My Great Dane Princeton got into some big Christmas mischief this year. He thought the Christmas lights were really cool -- so he started pulling them off the tree and dragging them across the room!
Fortunately there was no damage done. I took a photo of the scene right after the dog unraveled the Christmas tree.
Actually I think he got the lights wrapped around his head when he was scratching his face on the Christmas tree. We caught him trying to use the tree as a scratching post to itch his face both before and after this incident. He was alone in the room with the tree when it happened, so we don’t know for sure.
My Great Dane Princeton celebrated his 4th birthday on April 24 with a new Nylabone and new photos posted here.
He’s still playful, but Princeton finally seems grown up -- like he doesn’t bark at everything that moves anymore. He figures out if it’s a friend or a stranger and acts accordingly. Yay! He likes to spend more time in the house close to his humans now, although he still prefers to spend a few hours a day alone in the backyard sunning himself, ready to bark at dogs and deliverymen who pass our home.
Birthday boy looking cute for the camera
A year ago our Dane was still recovering from his river accident, but you can see from the photos that he is looking stronger and happier now. His paws are all healed and he can walk and run perfectly, although some toenails never grew back. (It makes clipping his nails easier!)
Princeton has been a lot healthier this year because we stopped walking him off-leash at dog parks, rivers or anywhere else. He only gets super-durable toys. Life is probably more boring from Princeton’s perspective, but at least he is alive and safe. We still have a lot of fun around the house, in the backyard and on the leash.
Princeton looks back to say, “You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains”
When I say something that Princeton really likes, he stares intensely in my eyes as if to say, “Yes, yes, YES!” Usually he does it when I say words like “walk,” “go to,” or “park.”
But the other day we were listening to Josh Groban singing “You Raise Me Up,” and Princeton keyed in to the lyrics. (Yes, my dog is that smart!) It was the word “walk” that first caught Princeton’s attention. But he stared deep into my eyes through the whole song. I like to think that it expresses his feelings toward me:
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to WALK on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.
Often I’ve been frustrated by Princeton’s strength pulling against me on the leash. But this song helped me see that my dog and I are strong together.
Until recently Princeton has been a giant dog who gave tiny, stingy little kisses. Usually he wouldn’t kiss at all. I trained him to kiss on command for a treat, but he would almost never kiss to show affection. Once in a great while he let the very tip of his tongue touch my skin for a split second.
For three years we kept trying to show him that we LIKE kisses. This week it was like he finally got it. One day I got seven kisses from Princeton! Every time he gives a kiss, he has a proud, happy look on his face, as if to say, “I finally figured out how to express love to humans!”
Princeton stands on another "mountain" with a much smaller friend
Princeton struck a pose on his birthday. A real 3-year-old charmer!
Our Great Dane Princeton celebrated his third birthday recently. He is doing great!
He still LOVES to play, but he is more mature about it. He stopped pulling pillows off the couch and hardly ever gets mouthy anymore. He seems to understand almost every word that we say!
This was a tough year for Princeton. There were times when we didn’t think he would make it to his third birthday. He slipped and fell in a cement-lined creek, and severely injured his toenails by clawing his way out. They got badly infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It took 3-1/2 months to nurse him back to health. I learned more than I ever thought I would about canine nail infections and osteomyletis. Now he’s finally healthy and frisky again, but it looks like some of his claws will never grow back.
Now that he’s all grown up, Princeton has an almost human look in his eyes sometimes. As one of our friends said, “I can see that there’s a beautiful spirit inside.”
I’m grateful to have Princeton in my life!
Princeton’s paw with missing toenail
Princeton’s beautiful spirit shows in his eyes on his 3rd birthday
When people see my Great Dane Princeton, they often say, “He’s as big as a horse!”
Well, a real live horse came to our local dog park recently, and guess what? The horse was a LOT bigger!
Princeton is used to being the biggest creature around, so at first he was scared to meet the horse. But both the horse and rider were very friendly.
They stopped right by the fence and the horse lowered her head to sniff the crowd of dogs that came to sniff at her. Later I took Princeton out on the leash so he could get "socialized" and learn to stay calm around a horse.
Everything that the horse owner said about training his horse was the same as how I trained Princeton. We both showed off how we can say the command "back" to make them step back, and “turn” to make them turn around.
A nice dog owner snapped a photo. As you can see, a Princeton is not really as big as a horse!
My Great Dane Princeton turned two years old today!
We got him **FOUR** of his favorite squeaker toys -- shaped like a spiney pacifier. Yes, he’s still a big baby who loves his pacifier, aka his “binky squeaker.” He doesn’t like any other toys as much, so we just got him lots of his favorite.
We also got him a kit for making an impression of his big old pawprint, now that he’s full grown (I hope). People often come up and tell me, “Wow, he’s big even for a Dane!” And it’s true -- at least 36 inches at the shoulder, with a super-long neck. Reminds me of a giraffe. The pawprint gift is really more for me. I’ll let you know how it goes when we try to press Princeton’s paw in the clay.
(Update: The putty was so stiff that it barely made an impression when 125-pound Princeton stood on it. Kind of a rip-off. I wouldn't recommend it. We're going to try making a plaster cast of his paw print on the beach someday.)
I can hardly believe it, but people at the dog park are starting to compliment me for having a dog that is "respectful" and "gentle"! The ones who know Princeton better just laugh when they hear that.
You can see Princeton in action in these new videos at the Arroyo Seco river and bike path in Los Angeles.
His favorite game is running in the river while carrying a big stick in his mouth…
Here he races on the bike path at top speed, stick in mouth. He zooms out of sight and back in 23 seconds What a racer!
You can get a better look at Princeton during one of those rare moments when he slows down to walk in the river…
Princeton (born April 24, 2008) is a happy, fun-loving Great Dane. He came to us from a breeder when he was 8 weeks old. He was born through a love match (unplanned breeding) of two Harlequins. His beautiful coloring is called “merle mantle” or Merlequin. He is a purebred AKC-registered Dane with champion European lines.