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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 WonderfullyWacky.com. My own puppy-teacher can’t maintain this peaceful expression for long.
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.