Hi Paul & Sarah
Barney (Buster) is continuing to progress and has achieved a lot so far. His behaviour inside the house is excellent, he never damages anything and loves to be close, he throws (yes throws) his toys to us for play and enjoys a cuddle with us on the sofa. A real treat for him is a good brushing and he rolls over from one side to another and then on to his back so we can reach all of his coat.
He has a big soft basket big enough for a Great Dane so can really stretch out at night and sleeps soundly. When we unpack the weekly shop he knows immediately if we pull a new toy out of the bag and behaves like it's Christmas. He is rather fickle with his toys, the first ones we gave him hardly get a look in now, he only likes the most recent which will be ditched as soon as he gets something else.
He has made a lot of friends but did get into a bit of a punch up with a rather excitable Staffy that pushed its luck. No harm was done to either dog and he allowed me to pull him off and sat still when told to, allowing the Staffy owner to get her dog under control. On first meeting, he is initially rather boisterous and some dogs like this, others don't, but he needs to establish his social skills with minimal interference from us and this seems to be working. He is rather cocky with other dogs and thinks he's Jack the Lad on a Saturday night and will steal their ball and tease them with it - but he will bring it to me so I can give it back.
He still pulls on the lead for 50% of the time (at first it was all of the time) but can, when he wants to, do a perfect heel. He has a tendency to lunge at cars with their lights on and I have found that by placing his ball throwing stick between him and the car, it seems to act as a psychological barrier and the problem is occurring less often now. His training is slowly progressing with "here" and "No" but he is sometimes on his own agenda. Treats and the ball work for a little while but after that he gets bored with the lesson, so we just do short stints at a time.
He can be rather aggressive around food or if we approach when he is eating his dinner, but he is just going to have to pack that in, as he eats in the kitchen which is the most used room in the house. He once me a small nip when I bent down to refill his water bowl as he was eating. I would like to get him to the point where I can take anything out of his mouth, just in case there may be a time when I need to remove a rotting animal (plenty of them around here, rabbits, bits of deer - lots of shooters, sadly), I am dealing with this by keeping hold of his bowl for a few seconds when passing him his food and telling him he is a good boy if he doesn't growl and allowing him to eat while I am still holding the bowl. If after a 5 or 6 seconds he has not growled, I put it on the floor and leave him to it.
He has a lot of tartar on his back teeth, I have managed to dislodge the biggest bit with my fingernail while he was playing tug of war with his ball. He has been given dentisticks and hide chews to remove it and I will try to find a raw marrowbone for him. If this doesn't work, then he going to have to have his teeth cleaned under anaesthetic and in his eyes, vets are the biggest baddies of all and he makes his feelings perfectly clear with threats to the poor vet, so hopefully we can avoid that.
He no longer has any problem whatsoever with men and has greeted them on walks and is well behaved with visitors to the house. However, he does pick up on bad vibes from people and will warn me if he thinks a baddy is getting too close, there is one person in the village he sees as a threat, but we just keep away from him. My old dog used to do this as well, he would let me know if he thought anyone was a threat, and generally, he was right, so I listen.
He suffers a little from stiff joints after sleeping, and although he looks really young, and once he has warmed up moves like **** off a shovel, I think he is considerably older that we first thought. This does not matter to us, although I will have to watch this joint stiffness. Perhaps I am over, exercising him, although he never tires of chasing a ball or a stick, especially if there is another dog around to play with.
He is currently averaging around three hours per day in walks (a great deal of this will be spent running) and a fair bit of play at home.
I have attached some pictures for you to see.
With best wishes
Carole & Peter
Nice toy but far too clean, now lets see how we can make it smelly.
Don't wake me, this is a very good dream.
Ok, we are by the front door, take the hint - walkies, I mean it's not rocket science to
understand what we want is it Angus.
Pick the ball up Mum
Go on, throw the damn ball!