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Tie a Yellow Ribbon Around The Old Oak Tree…. Or….

around your dog’s leash if he/she is reactive, or needs space, for any reason.   I love this new idea that’s sweeping around the block these days!

Three of our six dogs have some issues with reactivity.   One is an itty bitty boy (Max) that has had a serious fear of men and strangers since we adopted him.  He came to us with these issues and though we’ve worked with him over the years, we finally had to accept the fact that he’s always going to react negatively to men and people he’s not sure of and it’s up to us to simply protect him and the people he fears most.

Then we got an Australian Shepherd (Raider) from a breeder who had tossed him out into her yard and ignored him completely, outside of giving him the extreme basics of food and water.  He “made the mistake” of having too much white on his ears to be sold as a show dog…  seriously.  *sigh * He was terrified of everything due to six months of being completely ignored!  And I do mean everything.  Everything was a struggle with him, but with training and lots of love he’s a different dog than the one we originally picked up.  However, he has issues with dogs, on leash, that he meets away from home and will growl and snap if they come too close too quickly.  If he’s given some time and they’re not super energetic, then he can accept them.  At home, where he’s comfortable, he’s fine meeting new friends.  He also has had issues with the people at vet’s offices.  It’s a scary place to him!  Once they’re done with his vaccinations, or whatever they’re doing, then he’s fine, but until then and during the exam, I prefer him to be muzzled.  It’s taken a lot of working with him to get him to be okay with them after they’re done with “the scary stuff”, and we’re happy with that – if he can’t ever be un-muzzled during the exam, then we accept him that way.  We also have to watch him around strangers if we’re out at a park or someplace else.  It doesn’t take too much to scare him or make him feel the need to protect us, so we’re always watchful of who and what is around us.  When I take him to work with me, he’s perfectly fine with the people he meets because that’s always been fun for him, but meeting new dogs there is a different story.  Once he’s met them at home, he remembers them when he sees them out and is fine.

Last, but not one bit the least… is our Great Dane, Streifen.  You may have read about him… ha ha 🙂    Sadly, he’s the more sensitive sort of Great Dane and developed some intense fears of strangers pretty young.  Small children are particularly scary to him.   Taking him to work with me where he was around large amounts of people turned out to not be a  good way to socialize him due to his sensitivities.  Too many people in the general public are scared of the giant breeds of dogs, we discovered the hard way.  It won’t always stop them from wanting to approach them either… nope… they’ll approach and ask to pet them and then scream bloody murder in your dogs face, out of the blue…  Yes, they sure will.  Why?  I haven’t a clue, but they do that.  They’ll also let their terrified child scream in your dog’s face when you least expect it and laugh…. Laugh at their child’s terror and the terror your dog feels.  Crazy – yet true.  Streifen was my first Great Dane and I had ZERO idea that they were quite this sensitive/nervous of new situations.  Once I caught on to the fact that he was seriously being scared to the point of it doing damage, I quit taking him to the store I work in.  I kept hoping he’d have more good experiences than bad, but it just wasn’t working out that way.  We often dog sit for people at our house too and it only took one dog meeting to go wrong to do it’s damage in him with meeting new dogs.  He had loved all other dogs until that one bad meeting where a chocolate lab didn’t want to be friends and reacted poorly to him wanting to play.  So now he has issues with new people, small children, and other big dogs.  Made walks with him a bit difficult at best.  So, I decided to walk him only in places where I could control the distance of other people and their dogs so he could still get his exercise and yet not suffer the results of up close meetings.

Having a “yellow ribbon” tied to his leash to warn others to not approach could be a wonderful thing for him – for all three of my fearful/reactive dogs.   I would seriously like to see this information get passed around so that everyone, even people that don’t own dogs, will know what a yellow ribbon means.  It could make a huge difference to the people and their beloved pets that have issues (of any type) or that are learning to be service dogs.  Education is the key!

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I agree completely with Jessica Dolce when she says, “DINOS are GOOD dogs, they just need space!”  

DINOS: Dogs in Need of Space

The Yellow Dog Project – Some Dogs Need Space! 

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The Great Dane ♥

554435_328354013905069_104144246326048_812289_707331022_nAs you may have already guessed the Great Dane is one of my favorite breeds of dog.  I would even go so far as to say that they are my number one most favored breed!   I’m not 100% sure of exactly why they’re my favorite mainly because there are so many reason to love them.  It’s hard to pick any one single reason.  Maybe it has to do with the silly fact that Scooby Doo was my favorite cartoon as a child? Who knows?!  Whatever the reason, I just adore them!  So comical, goofy, loving, loyal, fierce when necessary, grand, and regal all wrapped up into a single very large canine.

After I fell in love with the breed, and we decided to get one ourselves, I started researching and learning about them. In doing so I, discovered that though they’re most often called a Great Dane here in America,  there’s absolutely nothing Danish about them.  They’re believed to have originally come from Germany and are thought to be a cross between an English Mastiff and an Irish Wolfhound, though dogs that closely resemble the Great Dane have been seen on Egyptian momuments dating as far back as 3,000 BC.  The French naturalist, Compte de Buffon, gave them the name “Great Dane” after he first saw them back in the 1700’s while traveling in Denmark.  The name was apparently popular to the English since it stuck, though the Germans still preferred to call them Deutsche Doggen.

Great Danes come in many various colors, but only six are considered “show acceptable”.  Fawn, Brindle, Blue, Black, Harlequin, and Mantle are all acceptable colors at dog shows.  Blue Merle, Fawniquin, Merlequin, Merle, White,  and Fawn Mantle are a few of the unacceptable colors – unacceptable in dog shows at least.  My sweet fella, Streifen, is one of the Blue Merles and we love him regardless of the fact that his color isn’t accepted by the AKC.  🙂

Great Danes are often referred to as Gentle Giants because of their usual sweet nature.  However, if not properly socialized, or if they have too many negative experiences when they’re young, they can become overly fearful and that sweet nature will “hide” when around strangers.  It’s been my experience that when you have a Great Dane puppy that’s showing fear of a situation, it’s best to get them where they’re comfortable and allow them to choose when to move closer.  They’re very sensitive and often won’t do well with forcing them a scary situation on them.

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Zeus – Tallest Living Dog record holder as of 2011

The title of Tallest Dog in the World is often given to Great Danes.   Currently, a Great Dane named Zeus is the World’s Tallest dog (as of 2011), measuring in at 44 in from paw to shoulder. When he stands on his back legs, he’s 7’4″ – Can you imagine?!?  And we thought Streifen being able to steal items from the top of our refrigerator was impressive!

Because he held the record when I first fell in love with Great Danes, I feel the need to recognize Giant George in this post too.  Giant George  was officially verified by Guinness World Records on February 15, 2010 as the World’s Tallest Dog.

There are so very many things I love about Great Danes, but there’s one thing I don’t like… bloat.  Also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV).  Bloat is the second leading killer of Great Danes.  Cancer is first.  Bloat can kill a Great Dane within an hour and is extremely painful.  Be sure to learn about Bloat and know who you should take your dog to in the event of an emergency.   If you know me,  you know that I HATE BLOAT.

Even with the risk of heartbreak when you are the parent of a Great Dane, they are more than worth it.  I’ve never had as much fun with, or enjoyed a breed of dog more than I do our Great Danes.  They are the most loving, amazing breed of dog in the world  – at least to us 🙂

Streifen - 2 years old

Streifen – 2 years old

What’s your favorite breed?  I would love to hear about it in the comments section!

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