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Holley Calmes
05-19-2012, 01:43 PM
My daughter just adopted a rescued BIG DOG. We think he is mostly a Great Pyranese with a lot of Golden Retriever and perhaps a drop of husky somewhere. He's 1 year old. His new name is Duke. He was in a kill shelter in Tennessee when he was adopted by a rescue group and shipped to New Jersey after being matched with my daughter.

I am thrilled to have a new grandpup, but this guy is as huge as he is gentle. My daughter has a 4 year old and a 2 year old, and they are being carefully taught how to pet and treat Duke. My daughter considers the dog her 3rd child.

Do any of you have any advice about the care and feeding of such huge dogs? Duke is underweight at 73 pounds-they want to get him up to 90. The house is small, but they have over an acre of fenced in back yard. He seems pretty laid back and kind of lethargic. I was thinking the lethargy is a product of stress and depression from the "journey" he has been on. He's just beginning to realize he has a "forever" home, and he gets a little livelier every day. The vet says he's a real "find." I think both the dog and my daughter are pretty lucky!

However-he seems to love people food more than his dry food. Any healthy homemade treat or food recipees?

And yes-he got his first professional grooming yesterday (he was terrified-advice??) And he's had all his shots, heartworm, etc.

It's like havign a new baby in the family! I can't wait to go see him. My daughter has never had her own dog. Lots of cats-but she loves big dogs and this is her first.

Any tips or advice in feeding, grooming, discipline...very much appreciated!

05-19-2012, 02:02 PM
Not a lot of advice but just a great big congratulations! We've got a 90 pound Golden Retriever that is a rescue and you couldn't ask for a nicer more gentle dog. The big dogs tend to be more gentle I've found. Just give him lots of love and he'll more than likely return it a thousandfold. :)

05-19-2012, 02:04 PM
How "terrified" is terrified? My brother's first dog, the first time he went to bathe him in the bathtub - he was still a puppy - the dog literally climbed over my brother to get away from the running water. When he needed a bath, my brother had to take him to the vet and have him sedated, and I'm not sure he ever got over that. I do know that when I would walk him, he would go down onto the street when we passed houses with lawn sprinklers in front. He loved lakes and rivers and swimming in them, but water from a spout or hose was "bad". He was a "big" dog too - part Golden (mom), Samoyed and Norwegian Elkhound (dad, who looked like a black Samoyed, which are always white), and looked just like a black Lab.

The big dogs tend to be more gentle I've found.

You still do have to be careful with them. We just had a case locally where a HS gym coach was mauled by two dogs. And no... they were NOT pit bulls, they were two Chocolate Labs. Yes, one of the most popular "family friendly" breeds in America, which is why it was never big news. If they had been pitbulls, it would have been the headline story on every single newscast that day, and the biggest headline in next day's paper.

I also wanted to mention that exercise is a must. It's not enough to let him out in the backyard to pee - when I was caring for my brother's first dog, his frathouse mascot (mutt that looked like a white German Shepard), and before that a family friend's St. Bernard, all of those dogs got no less than 4 walks a day. Before school, after school, at night before I went to bed, and then sometimes my dad would take them out for a final walk late at night. I'd sometimes be out with them for well over an hour, and there were a couple of fenced fields I would take them to where I could let them off-leash and they could run, although they spent more time walking the perimeter and doing their "business" (this was long before they came up with Pooper Scooper laws!). All they wanted to do when they got home was to drink some water and then sack out in the corner!

05-19-2012, 02:07 PM
Congrats! We want pictures!

05-19-2012, 11:13 PM
My mom resscued a golden and he was Holocaust-survivor gaunt from kennel cough when she got him! I think if he were at a normal weight, he'd clock in at over 100 lbs but my mom still wants to be able to control him (she barely weighs 100 lbs!) so she'd like to keep him at 85. :shuffle: Not that it matters, since she feeds him 6 cups of food per day and he's still gaining weight slowly. 6 cups of food coming out the other side also equals going through a lot of plastic bags. :rofl: He also loves people food but we don't let him have any. He's so tall he can reach the counters with his nose, so we always have to move food towards the inside of counters and tables. He does try, though. My mom has peach trees and he'll eat the fallen peaches, pits and all. And then roll around in them, returning with sticky hair. :lol: This dog will even eat oranges whole! My mom finds out when he has orange in his breath. :)

You definitely want to train the dog out of any bad habits, because they can cause a lot of destruction without trying too hard. Walking and general exercise will help tire them out. Usually dogs are destructive or inadvertently destructive because they're bored or have a lot of pent-up energy.

05-19-2012, 11:32 PM
Congratulations, Holley Colmes and daughter.

A higher quality less commercial food is always recommended, providing you can afford it. The key ingredient mentioned should be a protein. We use a brand called 'Wellness' and our dogs likes it so much she will eat the kibble first even if we mix in a bit of human food like a few chunks of chicken. I don't think there is a brand specific for 'big dogs' - just puppy, regular and senior so far as I know - but you could always check.

Most dogs like people food but it's important not to over-due it. Our dog gets quite a few human food treats. We often let her clean pots or plates before washing (makes it easier) and give her tuna cans after we've taken out the tuna. But we don't give too much and keep track of her weight. An overweight dog can develop health problems because of it. This happened with out last dog, a lab shepherd cross. She became diabetic due to being very overweight and then went blind.

My dog likes most vegetables and some fruits, which are a good choice for a human food treat.

And there should be a ton of recipes for home-made treats on-line. And recipes for home-made dog food as well, though I don't see any need for that unless a dog is particularly fussy.

05-19-2012, 11:46 PM
Some of the better brands have a large-dog version of their food. Check at a good pet store (PetCo) and they should have it. The protein mix is a little different. Large dogs tend to be a little more laid back in general so he's probably not going to run and jump around a lot anyway. Giant breeds actually need less exercise space than medium, more hyper breeds. He just needs a little time, especially going into a house with two small children. As for the grooming, I suspect it was his first experience. Regular brushing by your daughter will get him used to the process and he should be fine.

The only downside, is large breeds have a much shorter lifespan than smaller breeds. :( But, hopefully, Duke will have a happy life with his new family. I like large breeds.

05-20-2012, 12:51 AM
I LOVE big dogs - I wish I were there to give him big hugs and lots of love.

rfisher is right, though - the big boys and girls don't stay with us as long, but while they're here...lots of love.

Holley Calmes
05-20-2012, 11:45 PM
Thanks so much everyone for the well wishes and advice. I am passing this all along to my daughter. As of today, my daughter says that Duke just gets happier and more settled every day. In this world, a happy ending is good-though it isn't an ending-rather a beginning. Lucky dog-lucky family! Can't wait to meet him. Photos to come!


pat c
05-21-2012, 02:10 AM
Congrats, they're such a nice dog. Our neighbors have a pyrenese - Maggie. She's so mellow. :) But the neighbors told me - this is their 2nd one of this breed so they should know, they're leaners. So, as they have little ones, just watch for that. The dog probably won't do that to them as they're smaller than it is, but it's true. Maggie always comes and sits on my foot and leans into my leg. I like dogs, so I don't care, but for little ones, it would probably tip them over.

Holley Calmes
05-21-2012, 03:49 AM
Well, Pat....Paris says that her youngest, Xander, age 2, loves to lay on top of Duke when Duke is sprawled out on the floor. Xander just lays on top of him. I just love it! Evidently, so does Duke. And Duke has been helping 4 year old Zachary play with his cars...just observing....everything seems ok for now!

pat c
05-21-2012, 01:51 PM
Good to hear. :) Sounds like a win/win situation.

05-23-2012, 06:16 PM
I have a rescued Newfoundland/Chow mix now and he's the best thing that's happened to me. He's about 4 now, weighs about 70 pounds (half the size of a full Newfie) and as gentle as they come. He loves people and kinds and is great with them unless he gets excited and jumps up to plant those massive webbed paws on your chest. If you're not expecting it, it can be alarming so I'm working with a tainer to discourage the jumping on people.

He's generally content with several short walks a day - 10 to 15 minutes at a time, rather than one longer one - and he loves to lay around in the yard and keep the neighbor safe from invading squirrels. :) A few minutes spent romping before bedtime and he's good for the night.

05-23-2012, 06:22 PM
Congrats, Holley. The only thing I can suggest is asking your daughter if the rescue shelter noticed any triggers that freak the dog. As Karina described, her brother's dog obviously had some bad experience with running water. Your daughter's may have had some bad experience with the first owner and/or the kill shelter. Sometimes the rescue shelters keep track and make notes that can help the new owners.

purple skates
05-23-2012, 06:45 PM
Congrats Holly and daughter :)

I have an 85 pound black shepherd, who is a great dog. I hope your daughter and family enjoy their new friend!