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We are on our 5th foster dog now (6 if you count the foster we babysat for a week) and I’ve come to realize that every dog is significantly unique.
Each dog has its mental and physical quirks. He can be 100% fine with everyone, but pull on leash really hard. He can love everyone but despise men. She can have issues in her knees so you have to lift her into the car. She can have a big surgery to remove a cherry eye which requires a lot of aftercare.
One of the biggest things Christian and I have to watch out for with every new dog is their behavior. If we misinterpret a situation and the dog, there can be very serious consequences. Remember that we’re dealing with a 150 pound dog. And Great Danes in particular are slim, which means most of it skin, bones, and muscle. I personally have never known a Great Dane who has attacked anyone (they’re called gentle giants for a reason), but you never know with a strange dog. (click to read more)
Rocco has, what I would call, severe separation anxiety, something I’ve never experienced before.
- The first night with us, he absolutely refused to go in his crate so we reluctantly allowed him in our bedroom (which actually went pretty well).
- He still is very, very slow to get in his crate. It usually takes him a few minutes and lots of “good boy; come on boy; let’s go, Rocco.”
- I left him alone in the bedroom with his raised bed and favorite blanket to go out to an appointment. I set up a camera to monitor him. He paced and whined. After 15 minutes, he started tearing up his blanket. I turned around and went home.
- I had to go to another appointment a few days later. I put him in the sun room where he couldn’t destroy anything (the windows into the house were open so the A/C was able to cool the room). He pooped and tracked it everywhere.
- I was out of town for two weeks and Christian couldn’t miss work. Rocco was left alone for a few hours and would sometimes poop, but consistently tore up his paws trying to climb through the windows.
Needless to say, he does not like his own company.
Bubba needs some work with greeting people in public. He barks at passers-by maybe a fifth of the time. Not at all in an aggressive way. I think he’s just trying to alert us of someone walking by. But because of his size and his deep bark, people freak out and I don’t like it for two reasons: 1) I don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable and 2) honestly, I get embarrassed.
So Christian and I are working on this by taking him out in public more and exposing him to these triggering situations so we can train him to not react like that.
Over the weekend, we took Bubba and Roxie to Chipotle with us in an attempt to work on his manners (also to taste the food of the godsssss). One of our methods was to distract him when he fixated on a person walking up to us. Calling his name wasn’t effective, so we either poked him or pinched him to get him to look away. Whenever he wouldn’t bark, we would praise him, either with verbal praise or physical praise (petting him).
The past month has been CRAZY busy, with holiday festivities, family being in town, etc etc. I’m disappointed that I haven’t been writing on Our Gentle Giants, but I’m going to be turning that around!
An update on Bubba: he’s doing well (did you see the post about his first day?)! He’s still with us and is a very happy boy. We had one home visit a week or two after getting him but unfortunately, it didn’t work out. Since then, we’ve been working on training him to be the best Dane that he can be.
He is getting along pretty well with the family and other animals. He generally does alright with cats, but our cat, Mia, is/was scared of and intimidated by him. She would mostly hide or sit in high-up places which made Bubba want to play even more. I think it was the sort of thing where he wanted what he couldn’t have.
I often hear about what dogs are afraid of/strongly dislike: “He’s terrified of thunderstorms/fireworks so we have to medicate him” or “She hates car rides” or “She won’t let you touch her paws”.
I understand that a lot of these dogs that have these sorts of quirks are rescue dogs who may have had a traumatizing past. And even if they didn’t and they were raised in a loving home, they may have not been socialized properly. I’m not judging or putting anyone at fault; things happen.
(click to read more)