Friday, December 12, 2008

My Dane pup’s on calendar!

I just finished putting together a 2009 calendar with the best photos of Princeton -- and some other cute dogs and cats in my life.

I did my first pet-photo calendar last year as a Christmas gift to family and friends. It was a big hit with everyone, so I’m doing it again. This year I'm also making it available for sale online. Check out the ad below.

All dogs and cats in this calendar are real pets, photographed with their real companions, in or near their real homes. See cute puppies and kittens, dogs of all shapes and sizes… Great Danes, Lab, Dachshund, Beagle mix and more. Made with love.

I carried last year's calendar around with me often to show off my pets wherever I went.

make custom gifts at Zazzle

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dane pup’s first rainstorm… and medical update

Princeton looks happy at the park at age 7 months. This is a rare shot of him looking out of his left “ghost eye.”

Our Dane pup Princeton saw rain for the first time this week and went wild. He loved racing around the backyard getting wet and barking at puddles. Then the next morning when it was still raining he watched it from the doorway with a puzzled look, then lay down right next to my feet, not wanting to get wet again.

Princeton was neutered 10 days ago and came through surgery just fine. He’s recovered quickly -- you can’t even see the scar anymore. He weighed in at 94 pounds! And he’s 29 inches at the shoulder. I wonder how that compares to his brothers? He's not 7 months old.

The vet also checked his eyes because he acts like he can’t see as well out of his left (lighter colored) “ghost eye.” The vet turned out the lights and shined a flashlight into each eye. No problem with the right eye, but when she shined it in his left eye he kept squirming to get away, then finally bit her! (Not hard.)That’s not like Princeton! He’s usually very friendly and never bites (except in play). So that side is a lot more sensitive to light, but the vet couldn’t see any differences other than the color of the eye. She said we should see a specialist (ophthalmologist) if we want to pursue it. It seems to be a genetic condition because he's a merle color.

My partner asked the vet how big she thought Princeton would get. She said it was hard for her to estimate because they don’t have any other Great Dane puppies in the practice. Then she added, “There’s probably some other clinic nearby that’s getting all the Great Dane puppies.”

“Every profession has its conspiracy theories,” my partner teased, and we all started laughing.

When I walked Princeton in the weeks leading up the neutering, I kept feeling like he was a stallion prancing and resisting as his handlers try to get him into the starting gate for a race. I wonder if he will still be like that after neutering. Our neighbor’s nickname for him is “Bounce” because he’s so bouncy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Magnificant Dane pup on mountain trail

I captured Princeton in all his glory on our walk in the park today. This photo is sure to become a classic. He's almost seven months old.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Great Dane pup dances with lemon

Here’s a fun video of my Dane pup Princeton dancing with one of his favorite toys -- a lemon!

This was actually taken about a month ago. He’s even bigger now! But he still loves lemons.

His obedience training is going well. But it keeps me busy enforcing rules and practicing “sit” over and over. (He knows the command, but he doesn’t know how to obey it EVERY time, even when HE doesn’t feel like it.)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dane pup is in training

Princeton running with one of his dog friends

Princeton has started a real obedience class -- much tougher (and more effective) than the “puppy kindergarten” that he did before. I don’t have much energy for blogging left after being so strict and vigilant with Princeton all the time, so don’t worry if I don’t post here very often.

Maybe this class seems so much tougher because Princeton is much bigger (29 inches at the shoulder) and stronger. Plus he now has the moody, sometimes defiant attitude of a teenager. He’s 6-1/2 months old.

Yesterday he lost what looks to be his last baby tooth while playing with his friend in this photo.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pup may have vision problem

Princeton likes to grin from his right side

Princeton’s vision may be significantly worse in his left eye. Our Great Dane pup tends to cock his head at look sideways at you. I’ve always thought it was cute how he gives a three-quarter view of his face and gazes slyly out of one eye.

However, some people complained that he seems distracted or even blind. I improvised some vision tests and he always passed, except that he doesn’t have much depth perception.

I kept focusing on how Princeton’s eyes look different. His left eye is blue-green and surrounded by white fur, while his right eye is darker with black and grey fur around it. Finally it hit me. His eyes don’t just look different, they might work differently, too.

Sure enough, when I paid attention, it was obvious that he ALWAYS looks with his head turned with his brown eye forward. Both eyes respond to bright light, but I finally realized that maybe he can’t see as well in his light-colored eye, the one with the white fur around it. Merles are known for such genetic defects. Click here for an excellent summary of merle Dane genetics and related vision problems.

I’m going to ask the vet and the breeder about it. He gets around just fine, but it does explain some of his quirks. For example, he’s run into me or my partner a few times when he was galloping at top speed. Maybe he misjudged where we were?

This also explains why he keeps wanting to “heel” on the wrong side -- so he can have his good eye on the outside to watch for danger. He keeps wanting to move from my left side to my right side. It’s not just him being naughty, either. He does it when he’s on his best behavior, and he doesn’t pull or act up when he does it. I think he wants to have his “good eye” on the outside to see what’s happening. I’m going to try modifying his leash training with this in mind.

Princeton has never been able to catch something that’s thrown to him, unless it’s huge. My old Dane mix used to love catching apple peels, but toss one to Princeton and it just hits his snout every time. This may just be a Dane thing. I had another Dane lover test her 5-month-old puppy, and he couldn’t catch treats, either.

Interestingly, my favorite baby photo of Princeton from the breeder is one where he is looking out sideways out of his good eye with a mischievous expression at age two weeks. It’s still my screen saver. I post it below.

That photo is one reason that we chose to adopt Princeton. I thought that any puppy with that cute sideways mischievous look must be a lot of fun and have a special outlook on life. And it’s true.

Princeton already had his classic sideways glance at 2 weeks old
(photo courtesy of Shabrea Great Danes)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Great Dane pup loves to jump

Princeton loves to jump -- not over fences, but straight up in the air. He jumps for joy. I’ve noticed three occasions when he jumped for joy:

1. When a friendly stranger asked for his kiss -- and he knew what to do. It happened when we took Princeton to a street fair. One woman bent down and commanded, “Kiss!” That’s a command that we’ve been teaching Princeton daily for months. He responded by kissing her, to her delight -- and his! Then he leaped high in the air for joy, ecstatic that he could communicate with a stranger. It was like he finally understood why we were saying, “Kiss” over and over and giving him a treat when he licked our hands. It was like that classic moment when Helen Keller figured out that the hand sign for water was a word.

2. When a little boy surprised him with a playful jump of his own. We were at an outdoor concert where we met a six-year-old boy who LOVED playing with Princeton. The boy crouched down on the ground and rolled up in a ball -- then sprang up to his feet, surprising Princeton and making our puppy leap for joy.

3. When he noticed that I was wearing my walking shoes. I changed my shoes in another room, then found Princeton to take him for a walk. My puppy sniffed my shoes and jumped for joy!

Last night Princeton jumped like a frog onto our bed -- no running head start, just leaped straight up in the air with all four legs and landed on our bed. I was amazed. He looked quite proud of himself, but got down as soon as we yelled, “Off!”

An update: His eyes are turning brown, and he has lost almost all his baby teeth. One sharp little fang in front left to go.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Great Dane pup loves to run

Princeton on the go

Our Great Dane pup loves to run now. When we first got him, he was rather uncoordinated. He looked like a rocking horse when he ran. Now at five and a half months old. he’s poetry in motion.

I tried to capture Princeton running in this photo. I love how his ears fly when he gallops at top speed!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pup loves playing with fruit

The Prince likes playing with strings of crabgrass, too

Princeton found something on the ground and brought it in the house to chew on. As I reached into his mouth, I thought it might be another piece of cat poop or some other stinky horror. Then I smelled delightful lemon scent!

He had found a small, unripe baby lemon. He LOVED it. He danced around with it and tossed it in the air many times. He pricked tiny holes in it with his baby teeth, but never bit into it. We had a lot of fun playing hide and seek with it.

Another day our Dane puppy Princeton put his feet on the trunk of our neighbor's apple tree and picked some apples to play with. We laughed to see how happy he was. I knew what he was thinking: "Wow, balls grow on trees!" The danger of letting him play with these ready-made “toys” is---he snatched a peach off the dining room table and ran around with it, thinking it was another doggy toy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Natural cure helps sick Dane

Here’s Princeton looking like a vulture while he waits for me to fix his food

I highly recommend a set of natural supplements that are helping my Great Dane puppy Princeton with his health.

He had three bouts of diarrhea soon after we got him. The vet put him on antibiotics and worming medicine three times, but the problem kept returning -- until we tried the Giardia Program developed by Linda Arndt, fondly known as “the Great Dane Lady.” She’s a canine nutritional consultant who bred Great Danes for about 30 years.

Under the Great Dane Lady’s program, Princeton has gone for more than a month without diarrhea -- a record for our puppy. The supplements include probiotics, digestive enzymes and anti-parasitic herbs.

Check out for lots of valuable info about all things Dane. Even though she’s called “the Great Dane Lady,” I expect that these supplements would work for other dog breeds, too. Some are even suitable for human consumption!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dane inherits unusual spot

Here’s my Princeton at 4 months with his amazing spot...

And here’s the EXACT SAME spot on his great-grandma Penny Moloseum of Moloseum Great Dane Kennel in Poland

My Dane pup Princeton has an unusual spot like a big, long bar on his left side. Because of this unique spot, we nicknamed him “one-banded armadillo” when he was still a small puppy.

I had never seen anything like his single stripe -- until I came across a photo of his great-grandmother Penny on the Moloseum Great Dane Kennel website. My puppy and Penny have the EXACT SAME SPOT on the left side! They both even have the same secondary spot near their spines. Of course, Penny is a Harlequin (black and white only), while Princeton is merle (black, white and grey). Still, the resemblance is uncanny.

See for yourself in the photo, used by permission from Moloseum Great Dane Kennel in Poland. Click here for more photos of Penny. My Princeton is one-quarter Polish through Penny’s son Xander Moloseum.

Princeton was the only pup in his litter with the unusual spot. It does not show up on his mother or grandsire. Princeton is the lucky one who inherited this handsome spot three generations later through the magic of merle and harlequin genetics.

It’s fun to visit the Moloseum website and see lots of cute Dane pups and champions.

Princeton is getting so big that he’s almost like a one-banded dinosaur now.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Puppy follows kibble to gingerbread house

Every night we tell our puppy Princeton a bedtime story as we lure him into the crate. A good way to get Princeton to move is to drop a trail of kibble for him. If you hold it in your hand, he knows that he may not get it right away. The trail of kibble reminds me of the trail of bread crumbs followed by Hansel and Gretel.

As he nibbles his way along the kibble trail to the crate, we tell him a bedtime story about a Great Dane puppy who follows a trail of gingerbread crumbs into the gingerbread house. Here’s the basic version:

Once upon a time there was a Great Dane puppy named Princeton. He found a trail of gingerbread crumbs and followed it through the forest. It lead him to a yummmmy gingerbread house. He went inside the gingerbread house and lived happily ever after.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dane pup digs a BIG mess in mud

My 4-month-old merle Great Dane puppy made a BIG mess digging in the mud. His favorite hole was full of water and he was trying to dig out the water. His paws, which are pure white, were black with mud. I managed to capture it on video. After I recorded this, he ran in the house and got mud everywhere!

It all began when I made the mistake of watering the lawn a few feet away from my puppy’s favorite hole. I was careful NOT to get the hole itself wet at all… but I forgot that water travels underground to the lowest place. I heard a strange splashing sound and turned around to see Princeton digging frantically in a muddy hole full of water.

For a moment I was frozen in shock. All four of his white paws were knee-deep in dark mud. I thought: “I’ll never water like that again!” And: “I wish my family could see this!” Suddenly I remembered my video camera. I ran for it and recorded this (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime mess.

I got some great video shots. And then suddenly Princeton took off and ran toward the house. I was so busy with the video camera that I had forgotten to shut the door! He ran inside and left muddy pawprints everywhere!

Click here for another video of my mud-puppy.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Shark attack by Dane pup

Princeton, aka “Sharkey,” loves to bite the hand that feeds him. Here he is greeting my dear friend from Texas that I hadn’t seen in years. Within minutes of her arrival, she got a shark attack from Princeton. Fortunately she is has two Danes herself, although a grown Dane is not quite the same animal as a Dane pup. I heard her tell Princeton, “You’re the first hyper Dane I’ve met.”

Too late for our friend’s visit, we FINALLY found an effective antidote for the shark attacks: mint breath spray. Our puppy kindergarten teacher recommended it, and it transformed Princeton’s behavior instantly.

The first few times we sprayed him, he had a totally shocked look as if to say, “You mean you don’t LIKE being bitten?!!” It made me realize that all our seemingly nonstop efforts to say “no,” ignore him, rattle coins, distract him, etc etc had made zero impression on him. The shark repellent that we bought is called Sweet Breath. Boy, it IS sweet to be able to pet the tamed shark with having him sink his sharp little baby teeth into me.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dane pup quadruples in size

Our Dane pup has quadrupled in size since we got him two months ago. Here he is resting with his Harlequin pillow. He can’t fit on top of it anymore!

I took these photos today for comparison with the shot of him sleeping on top of the same pillow in my last post.

He posed nicely showing off his two-tone eyes and almost-black nose. His nose was pink when he was born, and half-pink when he came to us. The black spots just keep growing bigger as he grows.

Who can resist this cute face?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Princeton curls on pillow

Doesn’t Princeton look cute curled up on his Harlequin-patterned pillow?

It’s a good thing that I took this photo in July. One month later our Great Dane puppy is way bigger than this pillow! He’s also outgrown two collars since then.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dane pup loves rolling in grass

My Great Dane puppy loves to roll in grass. Whenever we come across a lush green lawn (not often in drought-plagued LA), he pulls the leash so he can go roll in it.

He also likes plants and flowers -- sniffing them and chewing them. I was worried because he was eating dandelions and other flowers in our yard, so I took some samples to our vet to make sure they weren’t poisonous.

The vet was amazed by my baggie full of blossoms. “He likes flowers!” the vet marveled. Apparently most puppies are more interested in chewing shoes and stinkier stuff. The good news is that the flowers were non-toxic.

This video shows him rolling on our lawn while California songbirds chirp and twitter. Click here for more videos of Princeton.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Our Princeton is like literature’s Little Prince

Our little Princeton looks like the Little Prince in the famous book

One of our nicknames for our Princeton is the Little Prince. I’ve always loved the book The Little Prince by Antoine de St. Exupery. Our Great Dane pup does have the whimsical, childlike quality of the title character in the book. He even looks a bit like the illustration for the Little Prince.

Famous, favorite lines from the book:

“One can't see well except with the heart, the essential is invisible to the eyes.”

“You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”

Yes, I am taming my Little Prince, and will care for him forever.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Princeton lives near 1,262 tiny Princesses

There are 12 Princetons in LA County, but there’s only one face like this!

The Los Angeles Times has created a fun database of amazing dog trivia. By playing around with it, I discovered fun facts such as this: The most common dog in Los Angeles County is a Chihuahua named Princess. There are 1,262 of them! I thought there were a lot of those little prima donnas running around, but that’s ridiculous!

Great Danes are 46th most common breed in L.A. County, with 1,403. Top names for local Danes: Zeus, Blue, Max and Scooby. In our ZIP code there are 299 dogs per square mile.

Overall, there are 12 registered dogs named Princeton in Los Angeles County. Our puppy makes 13.

Click here to play with the doggy database.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Best age to neuter a Great Dane pup?

Princeton likes to hide under the bed -- while he's still small enough to fit!

Soon we’ll have to decide when to neuter our Great Dane puppy, and we’re getting mixed messages from experts.

Our breeder requires neutering before Princeton is one year old because his coloring is merle, and therefore not “show quality.” We don’t want to add to dog overpopulation anyway. But we don’t want to damage Princeton’s health by neutering him too early.

We had planned to wait as long as possible (one year based on our contract). However our veterinarian said the surgery is less traumatic for the dog if done at 4-1/2 months, before sexual maturity. She says that if it’s done early, he probably won’t even have to wear a surgical Elizabethan collar afterward for protection. That collar was more traumatic than the surgery for our old dog.

The vet said that when the surgery is done later, the sudden dramatic hormone change is hard on the dog. She said that if Princeton is neutered before adulthood, he will grow taller with bones that are not as thick -- and she thought that this might provide an advantage against hip dysplasia.

On the other hand, some Great Dane experts say that Danes are so giant that they mature more slowly than other breeds. They say it’s best to wait until the dog is a year old.

So down the road we will have decisions to make about whether Princeton will ever know what it is to be a sexually intact and mature adult male… or be a little Prince forever.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Puppy makes music with toy

Princeton makes the sunflower sing

Princeton got at a special toy of mine: a plush sunflower that plays “You Are My Sunshine” when you squeeze the leaf. Princeton loved it!

He has lots of plush animal toys that squeak when he bites them, but this is the only one that plays a whole song! Boy, was he surprised the first time he bit down and it started making music! He probably bit down too hard because the song is starting to sound out of tune. Here’s a photo.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Puppy superstar: Princeton works his magic

Princeton and one of his many fans

The magic is already happening with our new Great Dane puppy -- because strangers are falling in love with him, just like they used to do with our previous Dane. When our old Dane died, we thought that maybe those magical days were gone forever.

First the carpenter who was building our new fence brought his family over especially to meet Princeton! It was a family affair with his wife, their daughter and three grandchildren ages 6 and under. They loved Princeton and he loved them back, being much gentler with them than he is with adults.

The magic happened again the next day when we took Princeton to the vet for his 2nd vaccinations. As soon as we walked into the vet’s office, the three young women behind the counter practically swooned. “Princeton!”

“Have you met Princeton yet?” one asked another.

“Not yet!” she said as he hurried up to him and announced, “We’re going to be best friends forever!”

Then two of the women knelt down in unison and cried out in high-pitched unison, “Come here, Princeton!”

Our pup was rather overwhelmed, as were we. Then vet emerged and hugged me. “You’re braver than I am, taking on a puppy,” she said with a smile.

A woman with a sick Cocker Spaniel interrupted. “Excuse me, may I have the sign-in sheet?!” In all the excitement, I had forgotten to finish signing in and was still holding it. I quickly finished signing in and handed it to her.

It’s like Princeton is famous. When we’re out walking, strangers stop their cars to meet him and photographers beg to take pictures of him. Strangers even come to our house asking to see him -- so much so that I can’t even sleep sometimes. Recently day Princeton and I had finally settled down for an afternoon nap when the carpenter again arrived with another set of grandchildren eager to play with Princeton! It’s like we’re living with a superstar. The magic is definitely back.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Do my puppy’s eyes match?

My 3-month-old merle Great Dane puppy's eyes look like they're different colors sometimes, but it's hard to tell for sure. One side of his face is white and the other is merle grey, so it may be an optical illusion. I try to get a good look into his eyes on this video.

Mismatched eyes are a fault under the U.S. Great Dane Breed Standard, which states: “In harlequins… eyes of different colors … are permitted but not desirable.”

However, lots of people who meet Princeton seem happy and excited at the thought that his eyes may be different colors.

I’ve heard that a dog’s eye color is not set until it is four months old, so Princeton’s eyes are still changing. Hey, we think he looks handsome, no matter what!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Puppy teaches compassion

Well, I'm learning compassion these days from a new teacher -- a Great Dane puppy! Princeton is testing my compassion A LOT by biting me when he wants to play. He just wants to play and is too young to know better, but it hurts! Dog trainers say the best response is to remain calm and withdraw briefly or offer another toy. Easier said than done when it goes on and on and on.

When I told one of my spiritual friends about this, he replied, “Pet animals are great teachers. Maybe that's why we don't have any !!”

I love the Dog Buddha from My own puppy-teacher can’t maintain this peaceful expression for long.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dane’s ears are flopped, but not cropped

Here's how Princeton likes to put his ears when it's hot. He does this all on his own! Maybe he feels a connection to his show-dog brothers with cropped ears.

Great Danes have natural floppy ears, but traditionally they have been cropped to make them stand up. Today many consider ear cropping to be cruel, and the American Kennel Club no longer requires cropped ears. Princeton’s breeder says that ear cropping requires weekly or bi-weekly re-wraps up to a year of age.

We plan to leave Princeton's ears natural. Then he can flip them and flop them whenever he likes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Puppy attacks sprinkler -- and wins!

My Great Dane puppy gets wild and “sharkey” in this video as he attacks the sprinkler -- and wins! He has a thing about lawn implements. He’s graduated from battling the trowel to ambushing the sprinkler.

Click here to see him lunging and barking at the trowel and other videos.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Perils of puppy-proofing the house

Sometimes Princeton looks so sweet and innocent

We’re struggling with how to manage our Great Dane puppy in the house. We tried to puppy-proof before Princeton arrived, but we had a lack of imagination. He gets into EVERYTHING whenever he is awake. For example:

We’ve had to fold our floor-length curtains over the curtain rod -- after he ripped a chunk out of them. This tactic includes the shower curtains.

Shoes must ALWAYS be kept up high or in a closet.

The same goes for throw pillows from the couch. These are a favorite target.

All books, coasters, etc. had to be removed from the coffee table. In fact, we had to move the coffee table because the puppy was chewing on that, too.

NEVER allow a table cloth to hang off the table, or a sheet to hang off the bed.

NEVER hang laundry on the clothes line, unless you want to wash it again.

NEVER leave the TV remote control on a chair or table, or you’ll end up chasing the dog instead of changing the channels.

Charge your cell phone at your own risk. Best to do it behind closed doors.

Putting a roll of toilet paper in the usual place is asking for trouble. Safer to put it way, way up high on a towel rack.

Electric cords? I was worried about that, but that’s one item that doesn’t interest our puppy, thank goodness.

Even the carpet isn’t safe! But what can we do?! I put a cookie sheet over the places where he has gnawed holes in the carpet. But mostly we say “no” and put him into a carpet-free zone until he settles down.

He’s getting taller every day, which gives him access to more places! Fortunately, as he grows, he’s also getting too big to get under the bed, under the gate, or into other small spaces where we will soon be able to hide our shoes, books, remote controls, cell phones, and other puppy magnets.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Is my pup a celebrity lookalike?

Is it just me, or does my puppy Princeton look a lot like Joel Grey in Cabaret?

My Great Dane puppy Princeton has a clown-white face with black spots that give him natural eyeliner and black lipstick like Grey’s character, the mischievous Master of Ceremonies at a cabaret in pre-war Germany. But I think it’s that devilish gleam in the eye that really makes them look alike. The resemblance is strongest when Princeton is about to bite.

BTW, Cabaret is one of my favorite movies and Joel Grey is one of my favorite characters in it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Top 10 ways to stop puppy biting

Princeton gets a mischievous, sharkey look in his eyes right before he bites

Our biggest challenge with our Great Dane pup Princeton is that he lunges and bites when he wants to play.

He just wants to play and is too young to know better, but it HURTS! He’s also ripping holes in our pants and sleeves with his sharp little puppy teeth. And he’s getting bigger every day! Trying to escape his jaws or block him just seems like a game to him.

Here are some tactics that we’ve tried and the results:

1. Distract him with a toy. (Doesn’t work. A human target is much more interesting.)

2. Shake a jar full of coins to distract him. (Doesn’t work. This gets him more excited and makes him bark at me between bites.)

3.Gently hold his little mouth shut and say “No bite.” (Works sometimes. But this also resulted in me getting the worst bite on my wrist. His “little” mouth is already as big as the mouths of many full-grown dogs.)

4. Carry a cane to block (not hit) him and assert your authority. (Surprisingly effective. He’s more respectful as soon as I pick up the cane. But he still thinks it’s a fun game when I try to block him.)

5. Ignore him. (Doesn’t work. Ouch! He just keeps biting my skin or tearing my clothes.)

6. Remain calm. (Ha! Stay calm while a shark draws blood biting and circling you? Easier said than done!)

7. Yelp like a puppy to let him know that it hurts. (Satisfying to me, but doesn’t stop him at all.)

8. Spray mint mouthwash into his mouth when he opens it to bite. I carried a pocket-size mouthwash spray with me at all times for weeks. (This worked, but he gradually got used to the flavor.)

9. Nip it in the bud as soon as he starts to act up by removing sources of excitement, such as food or the cat. (Works sometimes.)

10. As soon as he starts biting, give him a “time-out” by putting him in his crate or other isolated space. (This really works!!! When I tried this, Princeton spent most of the first day alone in time-out, but the next day he started biting us a lot less!)

What really worked:  Watch “The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan” to learn how to be a calm, assertive pack leader. This turned out to be the key to solving our dog's mouthiness!

The new book “Chewing, Tugging, Nipping and Biting: Detailed Step-by-Step Training for Puppies” and Dogs” by Faye Dunningham looks helpful too.

Another idea: Poke your finger in his cheek so he bites his own mouth and he knows how it feels. (Haven’t tried this yet. He already has sores that won’t heal from biting his own lips.)

Update on May 17, 2009 --
Princeton is one year old now, and several people have asked me if he ever stopped biting. Yes, it’s about 95 percent gone. He still occasionally gets mouthy when he’s excited, but even then he doesn’t bite down hard. It never hurts, but it can scare foolish strangers who sometimes TRY to get him excited at the dog park.

We have a new technique for disciplining him when he gets mouthy, and it seems to be working well. We stand our ground and quietly face him with both hands open, sending him “calm, assertive energy” (based on the ideas of the “Dog Whisperer”).

The most important thing is not giving up before he surrenders. Just keep standing there until the dog lies down and looks away in surrender. It’s really about mental power, not physical strength. At first it took 10 minutes as Princeton barked in protest and lunged to mouth our arms. Now he gives up much more quickly -- although he’s still testing us. It’s really surprising how well this works. The best part is that I don’t feel stressed out, injured or exhausted by the process. In fact, we all end up feeling better and calmer.

I must have seen the Dog Whisperer do this technique on TV more than 100 times before I understood it and got it to work. I’m not sure how well this would have worked on Princeton when he still had his baby teeth -- because it was impossible for me to remain calm when those needle-sharp teeth sank into my flesh. But it works great now.

This has been my most popular post ever, and I still get emails and comments about it. For all you new puppy owners out there, don't give up. Even the pups who are most like sharks will someday grow up, learn to stop biting and become love bugs.

Update in Dec 2016: Princeton doesn't get mouthy with people anymore, but he did chew up another dog bed! Now that he is 8 years old, he is getting stiff and needs a firmer bed. We just bought him the Big Barker 7" Pillow Top Orthopedic Dog Bed for Large and Extra Large Breed Dogs (Sleek Edition).

I wish I bought it for him when he was younger because the foam has a 10-year guarantee. They even have a bigger "giant size" Big Barker Orthopedic Dog Bed -- with a headrest.

Princeton opens wide to bite

Check out Princeton's sharp little baby teeth in profile

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sharkey Dane pup bites his own lips

Princeton inherited his lips from his grandpa Xander Moloseum, (courtesy of Great Plans Danes and Shabrea Great Danes)

Our puppy Princeton has gotten sores from biting his classic Dane lips. Great Danes have handsome overhanging upper lips that hang down to make their muzzle look square.

Princeton’s grandsire, the Polish champion Xander Moloseum, has truly amazing lips as you can see in his photo. It looks like our puppy has inherited these impressive lips.

Princeton had cuts on both sides of his upper lips when he came to us. At first we thought his littermates bit him, but at his first check-up, the vet figured out that Princeton bites his own lips! We're treating the sores with ointments and trying to keep them clean, but they still haven't healed. Even if he isn't biting at his lip, it gets irritated when he chews things, which is whenever he is awake.

The vet says that this problem solves itself when the adult teeth come in because they're not so sharp -- or he said we might want to pull his puppy teeth! (Seems too drastic -- we don't want to!)

The breeder and her circle of expert were all dumbfounded. They figured it must be Princeton’s Euro lips. And I couldn’t find any info on the Internet about this problem -- zero! -- so it must be rare. The breeder’s vet said tooth removal would be an absolute last resort, and it will all change as he gets older, outgrows the teething stage, and his lips grow.

Princeton’s breeder added, “He must be a aggressive chewer when he chews.”

Ha! We laughed at that comment. That’s an understatement! Trying to get him to stop chewing is like trying to get him to stop breathing. He loves to bite so much that we started calling him Sharkey.

Request to readers: Let me know if you have any good ideas about how to handle the lip issue!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Puppy learns to squeak his toy

At 9 weeks old, my Great Dane puppy Princeton learned how to bite down on his toys and make them squeak. Now he can't stop squeaking them!

Watch him squeak his green lizard.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dog toys -- and owners -- get frazzled

Princeton loves all of his many toys

My Great Dane puppy Princeton has many toys that came with him from the breeder, and he loves them all. I have to carry one around with me at all times to stuff in his mouth when he tries to bite me or chew on something he’s not supposed to. I try to keep at least one toy in every room, just in case.

Trying to keep the stuffed-animal toys nice, clean and organized is hopeless. I read advice that says to rotate the puppy’s toys so he doesn’t get bored. But these toys rotate themselves! They’re always disappearing, and then I find them a few days later hiding under some furniture.

All the dog toys quickly get frayed, dragged through the dirt outside, and/or peed on. I am reminded of the class children’s story The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. It has wisdom about how a toy becomes Real when it has been loved to the point of being worn out. A favorite quote, spoken by a wise old toy to the Velveteen Rabbit:

“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." Click here for more of the story.

Princeton is definitely making his toys Real. I also feel frazzled as I chase him around the house in clothes that are muddy from playing in the yard with him, with little rips from where he’s bitten my sleeves and pant legs. My pants bulge because my pockets are full of dog treats and toys. I think that Princeton is making me Real, too.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Princeton relaxes with our kitty

The biggest surprise is that our new Great Dane pup Princeton and our cat are already getting along well! They just relax together about 6 feet apart. I thought that it would take a month to get to this point -- based on past experience with adult dogs. Princeton doesn't even seem very interested in the cat. Our cat is happy to have a friendly dog around again.

The cat seems very contented. She has a kind, motherly expression on her face all the time, as if she keeps marveling, “Why, he’s just a baby!” (That’s what I myself keep thinking, too.) She seems very happy to have another four-legged to share our home again.

The cat waits until he has played for a while and is tired. Then she walks slowly where he can see her. But she’s had to speed up, because he doesn’t notice her at all when she walks super slow. Then he starts to follow her. Then she jumps on a couch or chair -- higher than Princeton, but not too high. Then she turns around and stares at him. The first time she did it (last night) he instantly collapsed to the floor in utter submission to that stare.

They did it a few more times today, with the cat allowing him to sit up. He looks intently at her in fascination, then looks away in submission, then she looks away and lets him look at her, then he falls asleep.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This Dane pup will play with ANYTHING!

Princeton was so cute -- barking at a trowel on our patio and pouncing on it as if it was alive! I managed to catch it on video.

Then I caught him attacking the trowel again about a week later on the video below. He’s already gotten bigger -- now he can carry the trowel in his mouth for a few second. Don't miss his fearsome growl. When he was still with his breeder, she warned us, “Whenever we hear a particularly vicious sound -- it’s Princeton!”

You can visit Princeton’s YouTube channel to see more videos of him.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How Princeton got his spots

Princeton and his Harlequin and Merle littermates (courtesy of Shabrea Great Danes)

I wondered how my Great Dane puppy Princeton got his beautiful markings, so I did some research on the genetics of breeding Harlequin Great Danes.

Both of Princeton’s parents are Harlequin (white with black patches), but Princeton and two of this littermates are Merle (grey with black patches). Princeton is also Mantle because he has a white face, neck, chest, belly, legs and tail tip.

Princeton’s breeder said she did not intend for his parents to mate because they are both lightly marked Harlequins, so some of their puppies were likely to be deaf. But love found a way and Lilly and Retro got together anyway. Fortunately all of their puppies were born hearing. In a litter of nine, there were six Harlequins and three Merles. (Seven boys and two girls.)

I was curious about why a breeding of two Harlequins created some Merle puppies, mine included. I discovered that Harlequins come from a combination of two different genes, Merle (spotting) and Harl (removing the grey background). Therefore Merles are a necessary part of Harlequin breeding.

Merles are considered “mismarks” and “pet-quality.” The American Kennel Club does not allow Merles to show or breed in an effort to prevent genetic defects.

Our previous dog was a Harlequin who was adored by strangers. I thought that maybe our new Merle might not get as much adoration from the public because of his “mismark” coloring. Boy, was I wrong! People are fascinated by Princeton’s markings, and he gets tons of compliments on his striking mix of grey, black and white.

For those who are interested in all the complexities of Harlequin Great Dane genetics and coat color, here are two excellent articles:

The Harlequin Family of Dogs: Harls, Merles, Blacks, Whites and More

Inheritance of Great Dane Coat Color by Jane Chopson

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This Dane has great genes

Lilly when she was pregnant with Princeton (courtesy of Shabrea Great Danes)

Our pup Princeton comes has a champion Great Dane pedigree, including one-quarter European lines on his mother’s side. Many of his ancestors are champions.

The breeder is actually looking for a new home for his father, Retro, while she keeps two of Princeton’s Harlequin brothers for the show ring. Click here for more info on Retro, or just enjoy his handsome photo below.

I’m impressed by the picture pedigrees that are online now for dogs. Click here to view a picture pedigree with part of Princeton’s lineage. (Princeton’s mother, Lilly, has the same parents as Bubba on this picture pedigree from Great Plains Danes.)

Princeton’s dad Retro (courtesy of Shabrea Great Danes)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Watch out, world, here I come!

Great Dane Princeton at birth (courtesy of Shabrea Great Danes)

Our Great Dane puppy Princeton has been amazing from the moment he was born. Our breeder, Shabrea Great Danes, gave permission to post the photos they took of him, including this picture of our puppy as a newborn. He weighed 1 pound 6 ounces.

We picked Princeton out of the litter by asking the breeder to choose the boy who was most calm, gentle, friendly and submissive. But I must admit that I was won over by the spirit and pizzazz displayed in this photo of him as a newborn. I was also charmed by the sweet picture (below) of Princeton at two weeks old.

We had tried to imagine what an 8-week-old puppy was like, but he’s more of a baby than we expected. The breeder said he had never stepped on the ground outside in his life. She said not to take him for walks until he had more vaccinations. We thought this would be hard. But after meeting him, he’s not ready for walks outside our yard. He gets tired and overwhelmed just by walking around the yard.

Princeton at two weeks (courtesy of Shabrea Great Danes)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

First night with a Great Dane pup

Princeton likes to be a clown
We had braced ourselves for our new Great Dane puppy Princeton to cry all night long on his first night. After all, he’s just eight weeks old and away from his mom and littermates for the first time.

We were armed with a cloth with the scent of his littermates, a hot water bottle and a ticking watch. But he hardly cried at all! Maybe for one minute after I put him in his crate. Then he slept through until sunrise. I think it helped that the crate was right next to the bed (my side).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

We got a Great Dane puppy!

Big, happy news: We got a Great Dane puppy!

His name is Princeton. He’s 8 weeks old and cuter than cute.

Princeton is an AKC-registered purebred Great Dane with many champions in his pedigree, including his grandfather, a big European champion from Poland.

His coloring is known as “merle mantle.”

We got him from a breeder who lives a couple of hours away. Today she brought some puppies to ship out of LAX airport, and we met her there and got Princeton.

He's very sweet and seems to be getting along with the kitty already, but he's afraid of the two Chihuahuas next door -- they bark every time we go out.

It’s amazing to spend time with a being who is so young… so small and everything is new to them. Our little prince.

Uh-oh, he woke up! Gotta go make sure he doesn't chew on something dangerous and take him out for a potty break.