Sunday, August 16, 2009
Our 15-month-old Great Dane weighs 124 pounds -- the same as he did three months ago. And only one pound more than 4 months ago.
I caught myself smiling a big grin when we saw the number 124 on the scale. I was happy at the thought that Princeton won’t get any bigger. He’s big enough! Hey, I even outweigh him by one pound still. Don’t worry, I’m feeding him plenty, but he doesn’t always finish his food.
Princeton is also looking more mature. I love the photo above, taken when he struck a show-dog pose all on his own at the park. He’s looking so handsome and grown-up! His long front legs are incredibly straight.
Princeton may not be getting bigger, but he IS getting stronger! He can pull a lot harder on the leash. Fortunately, he’s also growing up mentally. We’re working with a new trainer now called BarkBusters.com and it’s going the best ever for Princeton. His most important new command: “Leave it!!!” This works with his biggest behavior problem -- mouthiness. Yes, he’s STILL Mr. Mouth. The trainer predicts this will be a lifelong challenge for Princeton.
Training is going well. I am becoming Princeton’s pack leader by using my mental strength, even though he is physically stronger. I try not to think about how big he is, but instead to stay CALM and focus on his energy and actions. Of course, people don’t let me forget Princeton’s size for long. I am learning to ignore the constant stream of people telling me, “That’s a BIG dog!” everywhere we go.
Our trainer says that Princeton is “the most intuitive dog I know.” She means that he picks up the emotions of the people around him, and then mirrors them back and magnifies them. For example, if we meet a calm person who loves Great Danes, he is the best boy in the whole world. If we meet somebody who’s afraid of him, he jumps around like crazy. If somebody says something in anger, he instantly starts barking at them. Each of these emotions feeds on itself and escalates when the other person reacts to Princeton’s behavior.
Of course, all of this happens based on my mood, too. Having Princeton reflect all my own emotions is one of the hardest parts about training. I have to stay calm, calm, CALM , or else!