Dexter will be 7 months in a few days and he has been going through normal adolescent moods, fears and tests.
One of the things I started noticing is that he is afraid and unsure of carts, baby carriages and similar wheeled objects. Despite of me introducing him to these things in his earlier age, his “tough” adolescent mind decided that these things are better to stay away from.
Obviously, for a dog that is going to live in Brooklyn and is lining up to do Schutzhund and IPO, these are unacceptable fears.
I’ve seen many people ignore these signs and chuck it off to being cute and just “a baby thing” and ignore the fact that these puppy fears can turn into full blown panics or aggression feats when the dog gets to adulthood. And believe me, I wish luck to anyone who wants to deal with a fully grown mastiff in panic or manic aggression mode.
Thus, I have been walking Dexter by lawnmowers and ladies with carts and etc, but this morning we got a perfect opportunity to face his insecurity head on. Right by our house was a perfectly nice abandoned shopping cart. Dexter promptly decided to make a wide and expeditious circle around it. But to his dismay, which resulted in few “Are you kidding me looks?!” from Dexter and people on the street, I went straight for it and proceeded to roll the cart with us as Dexter and I walk down the street. As he became a bit more confident, i placed him in it and rolled him around. Next, we progressed to walking circles around the cart with Dexter right next to it and doing some basic sit/down obedience with plenty of praise and treats. Not surprisingly, after 10-15 minutes of these shenanigans, he was comfortable and care free walking next to the rolling cart as I rattled and bounced it around or just rolled it in circles.
In one morning of opportunity training we resolved a very simple but potentially very aggravating puppy neuroses. Not only did we solve a problem, but we also had a bit of fun and increased my dog’s trust in me and our bond.
Pay attention to your dog and his behavioral signs! Do not treat puppy behavioral problems as cute and funny “puppy things.” Help your dog explore life and things around them. Guide them through dealing with threatening and uncertain situations and things! It might be funny to you, but to your 6 months old pup the baby carriage might be the most fearsome thing in the world. Your work and patience will pay off by leading your puppy to becoming a confident and reliable dog that will respect and love you and will be ready to follow you in to water, ice and fire!
We have been working on learning not to chase the cat every time. Dexter’s favorite thing is to run up and grab the tail, but Monya is not a fan. So we are working on hanging out together without chasing or biting.
These are important skills for Dexter to learn for peaceful co-existence with his buddy.
As an owner, even though it is quiet entertaining to watch their antics, it is my responsibility to teach Dexter proper etiquette with the cat and other smaller animals. Very soon he will be much bigger and stronger and bad learned behaviors can lead to lots of headache and conflicts.
It has been 3 days and we are doing kibble (Taste of the Wild Salmon) in the morning and raw Bravo Turkey Blend in the evening as a transition process. I do see qualities of raw food that many people speak of. Dexter’s stool is more solid and he is drinking less water after he eats raw. There hasn’t been enough time yet to make a better evaluation, but so far there has been no negative side effects.
However, an important aspect of going with raw (pre-manufactured, not home-made) option is the cost. Especially for a large breed it could be substantial even with kibble, but raw comes out even more.
According to the manufacturer, Dexter requires at this age about 0.56 lb a day. As an adult, at the weight of 110 lb, he will require about 2.5 lb per day average.
Thus, same period as a bag of food would last me, raw food for Dexter would cost me about $80 ($1.66 per day) and about $180 (about $7.50 per day) when he is fully grown
So the cost of raw food is about double the price for the puppy (or small dog) and almost 4.5 times more for an adult large breed (Cane Corso) dog.
48 days of food for puppy
Dry high end kibble food – $40.79 (aprox. $1/day)
Bravo Raw – $80 (aprox. $1.66/day)
24 days of food for adult
Dry high end kibble food – $40.79 (aprox. $1.70/day)
Bravo Raw – $180 (aprox. $7.50/day)
Obviously, it is a lot more expensive to feed raw, especially for an adult large mastiff breed. If raw food delivers all the health benefits claimed by pro raw food community, then the argument is easily won for the favor of raw diet. The vet bills to deal with skin, coat, allergy and digestive issues can be very high. Many dogs with food allergies end up on special vet diets, which can be nearly as expensive as raw.
Aside the costs, dogs health and well-being is a major concern and if raw will prevent all of the above mentioned health issues then, again, the pro-raw argument is easily no-brainer.
I am not arguing here one way or the other. There are great quality kibble foods out there (nearly 100% grain free; grain is usually one of the main concerns in kibble food). I think a conclusive ruling on raw vs kibble is still out there. I am leaning towards raw.
Raw also presents a storage issue as it requires fridge space which can be difficult if you live in an apartment (like I do) and do not have space for extra fridge. I will have to buy a mini-fridge to store food for Dexter.
Here is an article from WebMD discussing raw diet for dogs.