Hmm… We’re up a bit earlier then usual. The little furry brother seems to be doing his usual thing and I can hear Him doing the stuff he always does when I wake up. That means it will be time to go soon.
Ah, here He is. I’ll watch Him to make sure I don’t miss the time we can go. Ok… Just a bit longer… I hear a dog outside … I have to let them know to stay away… Woof!! There, I told them… Feels good.
Ok, He is coming … And … I’m out. The neck thing is on and we go! As usual, the furry brother tries to come too, but I help Him to chase him away.
The room before we get outside is moving and I have to sit here and I get a treat! That feels good … All is in order.
I pee on my tree … Hi tree… Glad to see that no one inappropriate peed on you since I saw you!
Ok … Now I wait for Him to put those tasty things that I sniff out. Ah!!! I can bark at this small flying thing while I wait!
Ok … Here we go… He says Sook and I sniff and find tasty things and he is happy when I do and I am happy cause he is happy and tasty things make me happy… And that makes Him happy!!! GOOD!!!
I know this… Wait … No I don’t. Hmm … I walk close to him, but now he wants me to lie down as we go. I think I get it. Let me try to get up?!?! Nope … He doesn’t like that. He likes when I walk and when he says Down, I lie down! Got it! I lie down … He is happy and I get a tasty thing and I am happy!!! GOOD!
I do things I know and He is even happier. Wow… This is great!
Oh cool, this dark girl is here and He lets me play with her. She runs and I run and if she doesn’t run… I raff at her and she runs. Oh oh … He got my Preciuos! It is so cool how He does that. Ahh… She got my Preciuos!!!! Must get it back! That’s right!!! It’s mine and I’ll take your Precioius! Ha … I’m the Boss! Hmm … Ok, He is the Boss, but I am right after Him! Cause he controls Preciuos, but I got it back from the dark girl.
We’re back in the safe place and I know food is coming. Food!!! Ok… I wait until he makes that sound and now I can eat!!! Food!!! I like Food!
Food is gone… I wish there was more Food! Ah, little furry brother … Come here … I said Come Here!!! Look, I brought you Precious to throw for me! You still don’t know how to do it? It’s ok you’ll learn one day! Maybe if I press it on you and chase you you’ll learn. No? Fine, we’ll work on it more.
He gets me and throws the tasty stick into my home and he seems happy and I am happy.
Now I wait until he is back and we do happy stuff! I know he’ll be back so I just got to wait here. Hey!!! The tasty stick… Let’s see if you got tastier!
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!
I had big plans for the morning walk with Dexter. We were suppose to do a tracking exercise, some obedience and tug play. Oh, and maybe we work on some healing.
So, tracking done, I am ready to do some obedience work and BAM!!! Dexter decides that the only thing he cares about this morning is some invisible entity that he cannot get his attention off. He locked in staring into the distance and sniffing. No commands or food could distract him. He was full of tense, concentrated energy that was laser beam directed into that ghost.
Now, I faced a choice … Push him into what I wanted to do or let this almost 6 months old deal with whatever occupied his mind.
My plans crushed, I decided to listen to my pup and allow him to process his emotions and interests along with me.
Instead of all the training planned, we went for a long power walk. I chose to be a part of his process and help him drain that energy with my help. We walked together and allowed his tension to dissipate into the walk.
Ah, and after about 20 minutes of power walking, a miracle happened, my pup relaxed into an easy trot and his attention returned to me. We did some simple obedience exercises and happily went home.
So, remember to be fluid with your dog. Pay attention to their emotions and behavior. Especially, with young dogs who are still processing lots of new information about themselves and the world. Be patient and attentive! Sometimes you will need to surrender you desires, plans and ego and go along with your dog’s needs. Your patience and understanding will pay dividends later through greater bond and respect with you dog.
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.