30 June 2010

{29june2010: park time}

I don't know if it's the acupuncture making Dar's qi (chi) flow or the cool temperatures we've been having but her energy level is OUT OF CONTROL.  Our hour plus long walks don't tire her out at all so I decided to take her to the dog park after work yesterday.
Westcrest park is a great one because it has the off leash play area and a trail that loops around so between play sessions we can walk the loop to rest her from playing and still get exercise.  (There are even trails outside of the off leash area, but we have yet to explore that part yet.)

Darwin was playing with this husky who decided to try and hump her... I told his owner she'd get him off, but his owner back there quickly put his leash on him and took him away.  I felt bad for him.

There was another Dane at the park too!  It's funny how quickly Darwin will run over to say hi to another Dane.  They played a quick game of bitey face (they look so ferocious), but Darwin got distracted by that little pug in the background who kept biting her ankles.  Each time she got bit she'd almost sit on the pug and the pug would keep going after her.  It was kind of funny, but I'm sure Darwin didn't think so so I took her away.

Even an hour and a half at the park, play time and walking four loops didn't tire her enough and she was up at 530 this morning wanting to get out and do something.

Thanks for all your suggestions on the fireworks + barking issue.  We ordered a Thundershirt to see if it will help.  Almost all the advice that was given was to ignore the barking and praise her when she stops.  But we can't just let her bark since we're in a small condo and her barks are really loud.  It's especially a problem if she barks late at night when our 3 year old neighbor is most likely in bed.  We've been working on our "no bark"/"shh" command, which works sometimes, but we still haven't perfected it.  She was barking this morning at some random noise outside, so after our "shh" or "look at me" commands weren't getting her attention I took her to the bathroom and put her in there for a bit (I was in there brushing my teeth) and we let her out after a while.  I've been watching a fair bit of It's Me or The Dog and Victoria seems to use the "removal" technique quite often (removing the dog to another room for a few seconds when they bark) and I think I'll be trying that out with Darwin, especially for her barks at random noises.

29 June 2010

{28june2010: the crazies}

This weekend Darwin got to meet "the crazies" (my mom and two aunties).  My mom and Aunty S2 were visiting my Aunty S1 in Sacramento and the three of them decided to come and visit us for the weekend.  They got in Thursday afternoon, but we didn't have time for them to meet Darwin.  They spent Friday touring Seattle via The Ducks and browsing around Pikes Place Market.  They met up with Jason and I after work and we took them over to meet Darwin.
Darwin soon noticed Jason was carrying a bag from Beecher's Cheese and had to inspect it.

{mmm is that cheese I smell?!}
She also serenaded them with a round of "hello's".

She kept leaning on my mom, which my mom thought was hilarious as she almost fell over a few times.

Darwin kept whacking everyone with her excited tail (which hurts) and didn't like everyone laughing at her.

After the introductions were over we noticed blood all over my mom's pants.  We realized it was from Darwin's tail.  At some point the tip of Darwin's tail started bleeding (we aren't sure if she was gnawing on the tip of her tail right before we got home, because it seemed a bit bald, or if she just whacked it too hard on something) and with all her excited tail wags against everyone she got blood everywhere.  I took a picture of my mom's pants, but I don't think she'd like me to share that with everyone... hehehe.   
My mom and aunties were shocked at how big Darwin is... my Aunty S1 has a little collie and we've always grown up with 'poi' dogs (mixed breed dogs) or a Golden Retriever so a giant Dane was quite a size difference.  
On Saturday we decided to watch the USA vs Ghana game at our place.

After the game ended (poor USA) I took them upstairs to check out the view from the roof.

Darwin really seemed to like my mom and kept going over for some pets.

My mom thought it'd be fun to chase Darwin.

Then my mom tripped on the leg of a chair and took a slow motion tumble.

Can you see her?

It was the funniest thing.  Of course we all had to get a picture before helping her up.  She tried to blame it on Darwin (jokingly) but we all saw her fall on her own.
Darwin had a great time with her grandma and aunties and hopes they come back and visit her again soon!

On another note... 4th of July is coming up!  Last year Darwin was about 5 months old and cared less about the noise of the fireworks (there's the big fireworks show right over Lake Union, near our house).  This year Darwin is 17months old and this time she seems to care about the fireworks noise.  Someone set one off last night and Darwin kept barking at the noise.  I know there is that product out there the Thundershirt.  Has anyone used it?  I'm kind of hoping to not have to order something though (as it may not make it in time).  How do you all deal with fireworks and barking dogs?

25 June 2010

{25june2010: About me}

We're jumping on the "about me" bandwagon following Remi's lead.

1) Name and Age
Darwin.  Almost 17 months old... still a baby really... a 120lb (trying to be 115lb) baby.  :)

2) Breed
Great Dane... a blue one!
3) Nickname(s)
Dar, Darweena, Sweetie Pie, Sweetie, Crazy, Nutty, Jealous, and the latest one: Darlephant.

4) Where'd ya come from?
Port Orchard, WA. My dad's a huge blue Dane, Atlas, and my mom is a blue Dane, Misty.  Mom doesn't seem to like me much when I go visit her, but my dad LOVES playing with me.


1) Toy
I have a favorite squeaky toy I love to play with but it seems to have gone missing.  (We have it up on the bookcase so she can't squeak it in our face.)

2) Snack
Apples of course.

3) Human
At the moment... mom.  I'm a momma's girl!


1) Worst habit
Ever since she was on Prednisone, Darwin's become a barker.  She's getting better at it, but she still does it quite often. 

2) Most embarrassing moment
Mom took me out for a potty break and as we were walking up the street I got distracted by something on the other side of the road.  I was looking across the street, but kept walking, and walked into a fire hydrant.  I was sooooo embarrassed!

3) Family dynamic
Mom, dad, then Dar.  (Dad would probably say he's in charge, but it's really me)

4) Your human's FAVORITE thing about you
Mom:  What's not to love?!  I think besides the really soft patch of fur on her chest, Id have to say her play bows before a case of the zoomies.  Cracks me up.

Dad:  Other than that she's the most perfectly clean bone chewer on the carpet? Or that she doesnt take my spot on the couch the second i move? Or walk in front of my 8 bazillion times while on the leash?

{25june2010: Play date}

Since we've been taking Darwin to Dr. Kelleher it seems like her energy level has returned to what it used to be before.  It's great to see, but also our 1-2 mile walks don't tire her out like they used to.  So today she's off for a play date with her favorite brother, Boo Radley!
Here are some videos and a picture (so far) of their morning together.

Kristie was trimming her rose bush and Boo decided to share a rose with Dar.

And of course, no play date would be complete without a round of bitey face!

24 June 2010

{23june2010: wordless Wednesday}

Darwin in boots edition:

(few words: I know it looks like Im squashing her, but I had no weight on her, I just had to get behind her to get the rainboots on)

(more words: btw, Darwin is not a fan of wearing shoes)

23 June 2010

{22june2010: elephant}

Last night I had the weirdest, cutest dream.  I dreamt that Darwin was a baby elephant.
Everything about her was totally Darwin: sitting on people's laps, coming when her name was called, even the square patch on her back that has yet to grow back.  She was just in the form of a baby elephant.  
It was so weird.  I hope I have that dream again!  I love elephants!

See any resemblance?

It'd be something like this:

21 June 2010

{20june2010: hfd}

Happy father's day to all the dad's out there!
Darwin's dad, Jason:

And her doggy dad, Atlas:

And my dad:

So after back and forth discussions about how much Darwin's homemade dinners are costing (if they are that much more than her normal kibble), I've decided to blog about it to keep track!  
Today we went to the market to stock up on meat and veggies. We picked up cauliflower, broccoli, kale, parsley, and ground turkey (it was on sale).   We already had at home carrots (bought a 3lb bag last week for a couple bucks) and eggs (carton of 18 for about $2.50). 
ground turkey (3lbs) $6.50
cauliflower (2.62lbs) = $3.89
broccoli (2.74lbs) = $4.07
kale = $ 2.49
carrots = $2.00
eggs  = $1.00
total  = $19.95 
With everything we bought we got about eight 2 cup servings, which breaks down to about $2.50 per serving.  We actually have extra broccoli, cauliflower and kale that we can eat ourselves so it actually is less than that.
Week one we were blending her veggies almost nightly.  Week two we started blending enough for two meals.  Week three I wised up and decided to make a weeks worth and store them in the freezer and we'll just defrost each days dinner serving in the morning for that night (hopefully we remember).

The one thing about blending her veggies is we need to make sure everything's blended down well, because any chunks get spit out on the floor.

Since our last vet appointment on Monday, we've been working daily on touching her feet and feeling her backside with a "let me look" command and today when we went back to Dr. Kelleher she said she could tell we've been working with her!  Woo hoo! 

Btw.  Bess is having a really rough month.  If you could pop on by and wish her a speedy recovery on her latest snaffu (be warned, there's a picture that's not for the squeemish), I'm sure her family would appreciate it!

16 June 2010

{16june2010: Wordless Wednesday}

Finally sunny in Seattle (at least for the weekend) edition.



{15june2010: needles round 2}

We went back for our second visit to Dr. Kelleher yesterday.  Jason was able to come with us this time and I think it helped because we were able to control Darwin a bit more and Dr. Kelleher was able to place a few more needles than last week and even did some electroacupucture.

After the acupuncture she did a bit of chiropractic work on Dar, saying that she still feels a lot of stiffness in her lower back.
Darwin's doing well on her diet.  She LOVES her homemade meals and I think she's slowly shedding some of her roid weight.

(Let me note that a blender is not the ideal gadget to grind up raw veggies, but we don't have a food processor (oh how I wish we did), so this will have to do for now.)

I've been trying shake off some comments that the doc made to us yesterday but the more I think about it the more it bugs me.  When she was checking Darwin out, she was testing her reflexes in her back legs and when she picked up Darwin's left back foot and bent the toes down Darwin turned and let out a growl.  Not a ferocious "I'm going to eat you" growl, but more like a "what the heck is happening to me" growl.  Dr. Kelleher said she didn't like that Darwin growled and that she thought it would be best to put a muzzle on her for the acupuncture treatment in case Darwin decided to bite.  I was ok with that as she's the doctor and while I don't think Darwin would bite, it's better to be safe than sorry. 
Then while she was treating Dar, she made a comment about how Darwin is our first dog and how a Great Dane isn't the best dog to "start out with" as they are very big and you need to have total control over them and we don't have total control over Darwin because she reacted when her feet were touched and wouldn't let herself be manipulated to be examined and worked on.   I know that we need to work on Darwin's acceptance to being touched and handled especially by strangers, but at the same time I don't think it's a breed specific thing of her being our first dog and being a Dane.  

At the end of the session Dr Kelleher gave Darwin a small treat as a reward and then walked away and tried to call Darwin over.  Darwin walked over, but then walked away and the doc made a comment (I can't remember exactly what she said) about how we need to work on that as that wasn't good.
Darwin loves attention, but a lot of the times if people want to say hi to her, she'll go over and sniff them, but then walk away and not hang out to be petted.  Does that mean we don't have her trained or totally controlled?  I just figured she was being indifferent to the attention and that was just her being her.  
I always thought we've been doing a pretty good job with Darwin, especially for her being our first dog.  I know there are things we need to work on with her but I really don't think she's that out of control.

15 June 2010

{14june2010: weekend review}

Finally!  A beautiful Seattle weekend!  After weeks of rain the sun (and warmth) finally returned to Seattle.  The timing couldn't have been better because we had a lunch date planned with some friends and their 16month old little girl.  Because of the beautiful weather we planned on a picnic so Darwin could join.

It was Darwin's second time hanging out with Olivia... the first time was back when they were both about six months old.

Here's Darwin sneaking in a kiss.

This time Olivia is walking and Darwin is a lot calmer.

She still managed to sneak in a kiss... which caught Olivia off guard.

Olivia found Darwin's tennis ball and Darwin took notice.

So she went over to get it back... 

Olivia kept trying to share the ball with Darwin.

She even shared the plastic bottle with Dar.

It was Darwin's first time hanging out with a little kid and she did great!  Even when Olivia would step on Darwin's feet or bop Dar on the head with the plastic bottles, Darwin would just shift over a little and chew her bone or lay there and watch Olivia.  Darwin's occasional barks would make Olivia jump, but she was totally comfortable with Darwin and they were just so cute together!