23 November 2009

{22nov2009: snow bunny}

We have an adventure planned for this upcoming Thanksgiving weekend so we wanted to test out Darwin's reaction to snow to get prepared.  We headed East on I90 towards Snoqualmie looking for a snowy area for Darwin to explore.  We had snow chain issues (why are chains so hard to put on?!) so didn't get to anywhere too snowy, but found a little rec area that had some slushy snow on the ground and figured it would be good enough for our little experiment.  We put on her coat and headed out to explore.  She was a little nervous about it at first, but soon was willing to check it out.  

She liked to find holes in the snow cover and stick her nose in it.

Soon we found a hill of dirt covered in snow and let her off leash to play on it.  She had a blast.  Zoomies all over the hill.  She was a total snow bunny.

We were relived that she actually enjoyed the snow, but decided to head out after a short time cause it was raining and getting cold.  
Since she only got a short time to romp, we headed over to Marymoor so she could get some real play time in.
As soon as we got there she found a 2 year old dane, Daisy, to play with and chase.

During our loop around the park she met this German Shepherd pup to play with.

On our way out, we met the cutest big 5.5month old European dane... can't remember his name, but he's a cutie!  At 5.5months he's almost as tall as Darwin, but a lot more stocky. 

As we were nearing the exit we passed an older brindle dane and found out she was 11.5 years old!  That's an old dane!  And she looked good for her age!  We hope Darwin lives a long life like that!

One thing I feel we need to work with Darwin on is her confidence.  She can be such a scaredy cat.  She's fine going up to random people to say hi when she wants to, but when people want to say hi to her, she sometimes gets scared and barks and backs away.  A lot of the time it's people with hats on that freak her out.  What's the best way to teach her these people aren't scary?  Last week when I took her to Marymoor, there was a guy in the grass throwing the ball for his dog and Darwin was scared of him.  Barked, whined, jumped around. I went over to stand by the guy to show her there wasn't anything to be scared of, and he tried to take off his hat and kneel down to say hi, but she would come close and then run off.  It was funny to the guy and I, but also frustrating.  It's worse when people want to say hi to her and she gets scared and barks because then they think she's mean and she's really not!  Advice?


  1. Darwin! I am the wrong guy to ask about being shy with people. They freak me out! Especially if they have back packs or weird clothing on. Momma says I am a big scardy cat too. And when I get scared sometimes I bark to sound fierce and that makes momma mad at me. Sob.

    Snow is fun, but do watch out for ice. I have hurt myself many times slipping on ice and it is very ouchie.


    P.S. From Momma - Both my mastiffs developed extreme shyness and fear with strangers around the age of nine months. Almost like somebody flipped a switch. I did not do a good job helping Mango through that and now he is 4 1/2 years old and not really able to go out in strange situations. Good luck. Talk to Honey's mom.

  2. Have you poked around the dogs with blogs forum? I never had until today and there is a whole discussion area called 'Help!' and people post problems there. I read through some today and was impressed with how knowledgeable some of the members are! My Moose is a 'chicken hound' about some (seemingly random) things but I have really not worked on them much because they have not been a problem (except his stair phobia which we conquered with anti-stress supplements and treats) so I don't have much advice I am afraid!
    As for the liver, I got the 'recipe' (it is just plain cooked liver!) from Honey and Moose goes even wilder for them than the Merrick ones. The down side is it is cooked meat so has to be handled that way and you can't always have it handy like the merrick ones. Just as well as it is not good to let them have too much at a time. If you wanted to work on convincing her that people with hats were ok, for example, fresh cooked liver might be enough to convince her. I use them where regular treats fall flat so it is a good thing to have up your sleeve so to speak. Here's instructions:

  3. p.s. we are so jealous of where you live! I soooo badly want my Moose to see snow at least once in his life but we would have to drive for days to find some. I need to find hills to help with Moose's rehab and I live on the flattest place on earth so watching her romp around in that make me sad my Moose may never get to see that :-( Nice to live vicariously through your photos though!

  4. Darwin, you had some wonderful adventures in the snow, at Marymoor and at the ocean. Love your bright coat and the way your ears fly in the wind. Sasha & I were afraid of some things when we first came to live with M & D. They took us all over, introduced us to strange things and were patient. We are happy dogs and hardly ever get spooked anymore. Checking out the dog blogs would probably be a good place to start. Good luck
    Ernie & Sasha

  5. Hi Darwin,
    I'm so excited for the snow to come back this year, it was so much fun last year! I'm jealous of how many danes you get to meet, I rarely see any...

    On the being scared thing, I am also a big chicken. Momma and Dad had socialized me like crazy and a do really well with the regular hoomans. It's the little hoomans that I find scary.

    woof - Tucker

    P.S. Tucker's Momma here. We had a problem with Tucker at about 5 months when a little boy scared him in a pet store. The child ran at him screaming, where were the parents - who knows. Since then he has been unsure about children. We've learned to tell the children to apprach him correctly and let them give him treats, that helps a lot! If Tucker is scared or nervous we don't allow the children to pet him. Children insist on petting dogs on the top of the nose and we find that causes the most problems. I don't think Tucker can see anything on his nose. We tell children to hold their hands out and let Tucker sniff them, then they can pet the side of his face. It is getting better. It's just something we need to continue to work on.