13 July 2010

{12july2010: delayed}

Ahhh I'm backed up with posts!  
First off, thanks to Moose's mom Dana for emailing us last night and alerting us to the recall of Merrick products for Salmonella risk!  Darwin LOVES her Merrick Lamb treats, and while it's their beef that has been recalled, Moose did get sick after eating a good amount of lamb fillets and the timing of it is worrying.

Second, the Thundershirt

As mentioned in the part 2 of the weekend review the Tundershirt seemed to work instantly at calming Darwin down at the houseboat.  She barked less than the last time we were there and was quicker to settle down.  That morning we took her to Marymoor for a long play session so she was pretty pooped for the remainder of the day.  We were going back to the houseboat to bbq and watch the fireworks so we dragged Darwin off the couch (literally had to drag her off, she was so tired from the park) to get her shirt on.  She quickly settled back onto the couch and we turned on the tv to a channel that was playing Grease on a loop.  There were already some small fireworks going off by then and she seemed completely unphased by it.

We headed over to our friends place and had a great time.  Their houseboat had a perfect view of the fireworks over Lake Union.  I was nervous about Darwin and we tried to call our neighbors to check on her, but they didn't answer (after I thought about it, duh, they were probably enjoying the fireworks from our roof deck). 
After the festivities we headed home.  When I opened the door, Darwin peeled herself off the couch to greet us.  Seemed like she didn't move an inch since we left.  I don't know if she barked at the fireworks, but she definitely wasn't stressed when we got home.  I can't say it was just the Thundershirt that did it, because a couple hours at the park probably helped, but I will say it did seem to help the first day when we were at the house boat.  
I had ordered Darwin an XXL, based off her measurements and their website, but it was a little big (it barely fit the deepest part of her chest and was too loose along her ribs) so I contacted them on the 5th and we are exchanging it for a smaller size.  I'll keep using it, and let you all know how it goes!

**more pictures of the fireworks can be seen on my Flickr page.


  1. I was curious about the Thundershirt; thanks for the explanation. I like the photos of the fireworks.

  2. Hee hee... I saw my Moose in the photo on my blogroll and was confused! Thanks for spreading the word! Another lady in our rescue uses them (the lamb flavor) all the time and said her dogs have had diarrhea on and off for a few weeks and wonders if that was the cause. I am crushed because they are awesome treats, I just don't know if I can trust them now.
    Awesome news about the thundershirt! I agree about the park helping but still sounds like it is working! Beautiful pics as always!

  3. What stunning pictures of the fireworks :)

    We are glad you didn't bark at the fireworks Darwin! :)

    Licks and lots of slobber,
    Lexi and Jasper the Danes

  4. Those pics are GREAT! Hats off to you, my friend!

  5. Ha - I'm ALWAYS backed up with posts!! To tell you a secret - we're always about 2 weeks behind on Honey's blog when we post about things! :-)

    That has to be the most creative cake I have ever seen! Glad Darwin coped better with the fireworks and new stresses, whether it was the Thundershirt or not! I know what you mean about the sizing - we always have the same problem with Honey - they either don't make enough girth for the DEEP chest or if they do, they also add too much around the side and front so that it's loose - they don't seem to realise that Danes have a deep chest but are very "narrow" dogs! :-)

    About your question, yes, when we're going to go somewhere where Honey will have to lie down quietly for a long time (eg. a cafe) then we usually take her blanket for her to lie on. It's actually just the same one that lines the boot at the back of the car - it's just an acrylic wool one that we found in a charity shop - nice and thick but also washable. We don't take it because she won't lie down (that's just down to your Down Stay training - Honey will do a Down Stay on anything we ask her to) - but because we feel it's nicer & more comfortable for her to lie on something soft, coz she is such a big dog - seems a bit unfair to get her to lie on concrete! (besides, it prevents those unsightly elbow calluses and things).

    But yes, I think having a blanket to lie on will help Darwin to learn to lie down quietly. Aside from being more comfortable and therefore more appealing to her, it also works like the "bed" command - don't know if you have taught that to Darwin but it's a good one to teach - very useful in lots of situations. Therefore, having the blanket gives the dog a more specific target to remain on - so easier for them to follow the rules.


  6. (...continued)

    To keep her on the blanket/mat, you can either use your Down & Stay commands or your Bed command. I actually prefer the Bed command because it is a bit more relaxed than the Down Stay - for Down Stay, the dog must remain in the exact same position you put him in - whereas for Bed, he can adjust himself, turn, sit or lie down as he likes - as long as he remains on the blanket. So this is a better one if you're at a cafe or something 'coz Darwin can suit herself but still remain "under control" because she remains in one place. Also, usually if you confine a dog to one spot, they will naturally lie down after a while. In the beginning, she may keep trying to get off it - so it is up to you to be persistent & consistent and keep returning her onto the blanket with your "Bed" or "Mat" command. If you want help with how to teach the "Bed" command, I did a video on that under our Clicker Training section.

    At the end of the day, getting Darwin to lie down quietly next to you is up to you doing more training with her and proofing her Down Stays more - she should lie down at your request on whatever surface and if she doesn't, then that's something you should be aiming for and working towards. Use everything in your everyday life to train her - eg, Honey went through a phase where she wouldn't lie down on concrete so I made her do a Down on the concrete every night if she wanted her dinner bowl - took only a few days and she was willingly lying on concrete anywhere. Danes will try to get out of doing things by making a fuss - they're testing you and seeing if they can get away with it. If you let them, then they will always manipulate you that way. As long as they are physically OK to do it, they should learn that they HAVE to do it if you say so. But of course, you make it as comfortable for them as possible (eg. with a blanket).

    It's an important skill for a dog - esp a big one - to learn to lie quietly & calmly next to you when out and not always be demanding attention or be stroked all the time - it also helps to build confidence and lessen anxiety and teach self-control - so I really urge you to practise this.


  7. Your firework pictures are gorgeous! And so is Darwin. :) I like her super hero cape very much.
    Was she bothered at all by having to watch Grease? Hee hee hee!!! Maybe some of that beautiful CAKE would help her.