Saturday, April 25, 2009

One year old and 123 pounds!

Princeton on his first birthday, April 24, 2009

We celebrated our Great Dane Princeton’s first birthday by taking him to the vet to be weighed today. The big result: 123 pounds!

“And not an ounce of fat on him!” our favorite vet added.

He stands 33-1/2 inches tall at the shoulder.

You can see how beautiful he looks in the photo, taken yesterday on his actual birthday when we arrived at the dog park -- right before he ran to party with his dog friends.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Princeton!

Princeton on his first birthday... “Hurry up with that camera so we can PLAY!”

We’re celebrating Princeton’s first birthday today!

He’s having a fun birthday. We’ve already played his favorite backyard game of chasing the water from the hose. Later we’ll spend a long time at the dog park. And tomorrow -- we’ll take him to get weighed. Then we’ll find out what a BIG BOY he really is.

Here are birthday photos of Princeton taken today. Woof, woof! He’s looking a bit impatient because I made him pose for photos right before we played with the hose, while he was still dry.

My Big Boy on his first birthday

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Beautiful day at the dog park

Princeton on the path to the park

It started raining on Good Friday soon after my Great Dane Princeton and I arrived at the dog park. All the other people took their dogs away, but we decided to stay in case it was just a brief rain shower.

After a couple minutes of light rain, a gorgeous big bird flew over our heads and perched on one of the trees in the park. Believe it or not, it was a Great Blue Heron! (The park is near a river and an Audubon bird sanctuary.)

While I was still marveling at the bird, the clouds broke and a lovely rainbow appeared in the sky. Wow!

It was the most magical moment I’ve ever had in the dog park.

Then the rain stopped, and new dogs came to play with us.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dog Bed Drama, Part 3

After a few quiet nights sleeping on old blankets, my Great Dane Princeton woke up in the middle of the night crying again.

I opened the door to let him out to “go potty” -- and he ran past the open door and out into the living room. He plopped right down on the top-quality dog bed that we keep there -- where we can guard it. That bed belonged to our old Dane (who died last year) and it’s made of bean hulls and organic cotton. Princeton loves that bed, but that hasn’t stopped him from chewing it. We have to scold him almost every night for gnawing on the corners, then spray the corners with bitter apple. We got a new denim cover for it, and that is helping a lot. It weighs 15 pounds and he likes to swing it around and attack it. He lost his first baby tooth while biting it. We thought that someday maybe we would be able to move it into his crate.

Well, that day came. Princeton refused to get off of that bed and growled at me when I first tried to pull him off. Finally we pushed him off and dragged the bed into his crate. He has been sleeping happily there for the last two nights. He chewed on the old sheets, but treated his bed with the respect it deserves.

Maybe we’ll all be getting better sleep now.

Click the following link for info on the organic pet beds. They really are worth the money:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dane likes sleeping on old blankets (bed drama, part 2)

Princeton looks proud to be sleeping on real blankets and towels -- not a "doggy" bed

Thanks to all the comments on my last post, I set up a new, simpler bed for my 11-month-old Great Dane Princeton. He’s sleeping on old blankets and towels -- and he loves it.

He lifted his head high and looked proud and happy when he first lay down on the blankets and towels. I ran for the camera and took a photo (above). While he thought the supposedly tear-resistant doggy bed was one big chew toy and attacked it immediately, he had a totally different reaction to the old blankets etc. He recognized right away that it was a bed -- with the same kind of good stuff that humans sleep on. He settled right down and fell asleep.

It did take some adjustment before Princeton completely accepted the new bed, however. The first night he woke up at 3:30 a.m. whimpering, crying, then howling. I thought at first that he had diarrhea and needed to go out, as happened when he was a puppy. But no. He didn’t want to go out. I made him go out and he came back in and cried for another half hour. I think he missed his ratty old shredded bed with its green fluff and cedar chip mess. (Princeton gets very attached to routines and likes everything to stay the same.)

I kind of missed the fresh scent of cedar chips, too. The old blankets smelled kind of musty. Finally I got in the crate with him and snuggled him. He fell asleep within a few minutes -- but woke up crying again one more time before morning.

The next day I got some of his favorite smells onto one of the old blankets (swampy mud from the dog park, my old socks). He’s completely happy sleeping on the blankets and towels now.

Thanks, everybody, for telling me about this simple solution.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Help! Dane dog bed advice needed! (bed drama, part 1)

“Tear resistant” dog bed -- after 5 minutes with my Dane pup!

Tonight our 11-month-old Dane Princeton ripped apart his brand-new “Tuff n Ruff” Dura-Ruff bed. It’s advertised as “tear resistant -- withstands rough treatment.” Ha!

Within 5 minutes, Princeton had ripped a HUGE hole in it. (See photo.) Fortunately the store has agreed to refund the $65.

But what is Princeton going to sleep on now in his crate??? I send out a plea to others who have lived with Great Danes and other “determined chewers,” please tell me what kind of beds your dogs use!

I know, some of you share your own bed with your dog or give him a couch of his own. There has to be another way.

I don’t want to use a piece of carpet because I have finally succeeded in teaching him not to chew on our carpets. However, if he had his own carpet piece in his crate, I’m sure he would get back into that bad habit.

Sleeping on the hard, bare floor of the crate will give him calluses and “proud flesh” on his elbows, etc. I’d rather avoid that. It took him several months to rip apart his old bed, which was much flimsier than the new one. It seemed like it took all morning to clean up the scattered cedar chips.

Yes, I do put chew toys in the crate with Princeton. He ignores them and chews his bed. (Maybe because he knows that he’s not supposed to? Or he just likes tearing something soft? I took away all his soft toys on the advice of a dog trainer in order to teach him not to chew the carpet.

He’s definitely not ready to sleep outside the crate (still chewing on anything available -- but now he’s a good boy and stops when we say no).

For now, I guess he’ll have to sleep on a few blankets.

P.S. Thanks for all the advice about leashes and collars. Princeton’s leash training is going well. He pulls on the leash a lot less and has learned to walk politely next to another dog on leash. It seems like a miracle compared to how wild he used to be.

Update in April 2016:

We hardly ever put Princeton in the crate anymore, but when we do we remove everything to prevent him from chewing and swallowing his bed.

He has TWO beds around the house now, and he loves them both. One is a canvas dog bed with soft plush and poly fill fiber similar to the Armarkat Pet Bed. And the other is an organic dog bed filled with buckwheat hulls. These are expensive but worth it for the support and durability. This bed was used by our previous dog for many years before Princeton.

The "Big Barker" orthodpedic pet bed for giant dogs looks good too.

Update in Dec 2016: 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.