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More about our big Gus the Great Dane pup

Little Gussy puppy is nearly four months old and he's already 15 kg and growing quickly.  I had some great responses to my last post about training Gus, so I wanted to update and explain some of the things we do with our dogs to encourage obedience.


eight acres: big dog update
nearly as big as Taz

Mealtimes
Dogs must sit and wait for a command "tucker" before eating their morning meal.  We also teach them "don't touch" before eating.  This command then applies to food and animals (chickens, cows etc) and anything else they shouldn't eat.  We will also be teaching him that we can take food dishes and bones away.

Dog Food
As I wrote back here, the dogs are fed minced offal with grated carrot, green vege (currently choko), seaweed and eggs.  If we run out of the homemade food, they get a grain-free dog kibble (dog nuts!).  Gus eats TWICE as much as Taz and sometimes steals her food (although she's started eating way quicker than she used to).  We have a few sources of beef offal (apart from our own beef) and may get a licence to shoot roos to feed to the dogs in future.  The dogs also get a bone each in the morning as we're leaving for work (helps to distract them and good for doggy teeth).


eight acres: big dog update
Gus demonstrating the front-clip harness (and sitting)

Walking with humans
We take the dogs for a walk in the morning.  Lately Taz has got the hang of "walk behind" and will stay with humans instead of running ahead (it looks like it takes all her self-control to achieve this, and she was not able to do it until recently at age 2).  We have a front-clip harness for Gus, and so far it really works, any time he tries to pull on the leash is just turns him around.  I still think is going to be important to train Gus to walk with us as Taz now does, because when he is fully grown he will probably be strong enough to pull us along.  I feel the same about halter training house cows.  If a 500kg jersey cow doesn't want to come with you, pulling on her halter won't help you!


Doggy Playtime
If you haven't seen dogs play before, you might be surprised how much growling and biting there is (some great photos here on Ohio Farmgirl's blog).  It can turn nasty though (as one person commented, sadly her large dog didn't get on with their other dogs and had to go), so we do need to keep an eye on this as Gus grows.  I'm trying to maintain Taz as the alpha dog by feeding her first and giving her lots of cuddles, that way Gus might respect her as the leader.


eight acres: big dog update


Not spoiling dogs
I totally agree with the comment about dogs ending up in shelters.  It seems to be around one year old that people realise their big spoiled dog is going to be a terror.  Barking, jumping and other bad habits need to be discouraged when they are young.  The best way to stop jumping is to put pup on a leash and stand on it when he tries to jump.  I've been doing this at mealtimes.  When Gus bites my hand I yelp at first, and second time he gets a smack on the nose, he has learnt not to do that anymore.  Taz has also taught him some manners when he bites her too hard, she really tells him off.


eight acres: big dog update


Any other thoughts about training, feeding and living with big dogs?

Comments

  1. LOOK HOW CUTE HE IS!!!! those ears! those eyes! that terrific blaze across his chest! he is perfect!!!!!
    all great news about his progress - yay for you! i think you have him well in hand. Gus is going to be an incredible hard workin' farm dog thanks to all your hard work!
    :-)
    ps Taz is fantastic in that pic - so cute!

    ReplyDelete
  2. We taught Jessie early to let us handle her paws and trim her nails as it is not something I would want to pay a vet to do or get bitten doing especially from a big dog like Gus will be. Also being able to open their mouths in case they ever try and eat things they shouldn't is something we are able to do without to much of an issue.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Two very beautiful dogs! Our Sir Steve dog is an older, rescued Labrador. He came to live with us when he was around 6years and settled in really well. He is very food orientated (such a Labrador trait) but he has learnt pretty good "manners" ... he can wait pretty patiently to be fed and for his bowl to be put down although his excitement at feeding times knows no bounds! I think you'll have a well trained dog with all the effort you're putting into Gus. I think that's the key - consistency and effort. Meg:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. So cute!
    I agree with the no spoiling. It may be cute when they are puppies, but not so cute when they are older.

    ReplyDelete

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