The Life with a Large Dog
Let me introduce you to our dog, Rosco. He is mix of Lab, Sheppard and possible Grate Dane. He is very active and big though he thinks he is a lap dog. He is very good with the kids and knows how to get dad up and moving around by chasing him around the house.
Let me back up a little and tell you how we got to this point. My wife and I have always loved dogs. We had a black Pug since before either of our boys was born. Her name was Sadie and she was the best pet anyone could ask for. Long story short, she got old and passed away. We went almost a year before deciding to look for a new puppy to rescue, it would be hard to replace our princess.
We got Rosco from a niece. We were told that he was a Sheppard and Lab mix by the family we got him from. We were also told that they got him from a friend of the family and that is how they know what his mix is. My wife and two sons fell in love with the four month old as soon as we got out of the car to check him out. There was only one issue, he would not stop growing! Gaining close to 10 pounds a month, he weighed in at 83 at 8 months old. After doing a little research, he looks dead on a Sheppard, Lad, and Grate Dane mix! My niece must have forgotten that part.
This also inspired me to create New Dog Owners. A site dedicated to help others prepare for new dogs, know what to expect and to cut down on the passing around of puppies.
Puppies and Worms
Large dogs = a lot of worms
I did not know that most puppies have worms. We were told that he had all of his shots but just having him less than 48 hours, I was stunned when taking him outside. I found that he had a bad case of worms (which I have never seen before). He had them bad enough where they were coming out both ends. Needless to say, we already had a vet appointment set up for the following week to check him out but we moved it up to the following day. Having two cats, we did not want to get an infested yard and home.
Getting rid of worms are easier than I expected. The vet gave him a shot and medication to take for a week. We took him back a week or so later and he was worm free.
It is very important that you get new puppies de-wormed as soon as possible and to make sure that all vaccines are done in a timely matter. It is also important to give your pet HeartGuard monthly. You do not want to get worms.
Dogs Chew Everything
Large dogs destroy everything
Puppies chew on everything, we all know that. Big dogs destroy everything! We have never had a big dog before and we paid the price. I went through three pairs of work boots in less than two weeks. First pair Rosco ate, I got a new pair and forgot to put them away one night. Woke up and again, destroyed. Got my third pair and I make sure to put them in the closet. He got the end of one of them but I caught it before he made them unusable.
Rosco is like a teenager; he will get mad at you and is very sneaky. He has eaten my SIII twice costing $250 to have it fixed each time. He did it both times when he got mad at me. Going outside and not taking him with me. Really, no joke. I went out to plant our garden and knew he would be in it trying to help so I left him inside. He got mad and snacked on my phone!
Toys for Large Dogs
With any dog, especially large dogs, buying plenty of dog toys will help with chewing. It is always a good idea to change the toys out every couple of days so they do not get bored with them. Finding dog toys that large dogs will not destroy will save you money in the long run.
We found that Kong makes some very tough toys. A lot of them are puzzle type dog toys like the Kong Cone. We fill it with peanut butter, cheese and even some pumpkin filling, freeze it and let him go to town. We also have a treat ball and a couple others that are alike.
Rosco is a big “squeaky fan” and it is a little harder to find squeaky toys that he will not destroy in 5 minutes but they are out there. We also keep stock of a lot of $1 squeaky toys and let him run through them.
Large Dogs and Kids
Our boys are 8 and 5. Our large dog is very good with them. This will depend on your breed and how it is raised. The younger the dog when you get it, the better it should be with the kids. You of course will need to keep an eye on things and see how things turn out. You will know if a dog can be trusted with kids within a week or so. Also remember the earlier you get your male dog "fixed" the less likely you will run into territory and domination issues.
The biggest issue with Rosco and our kids is, Rosco is big and he doesn't know how powerful he really is. My boys get him worked up and running around which is good exercise for all, but Rosco will push my younger son down at times. He is not doing it to hurt him, he is excited and playing. My son is learning to not let him do that.
Though Rosco loves people in general and accepts all visitors, I think he would rip someone's arm off if they tried to really hurt the boys. But I don't think that would happen, would you mess with a kid if a year old close to 100 pound dog was with them?
A Dog and no Fence
Not having a fence was our biggest worry when we brought home our new guy. Living close to a semi busy street, we had to do something. Our yard is close to an acre and we are not fence type people. We find them uninviting and do not want to break off from the other large yards and fields in back. We decided to get an Invisible Fence which has worked perfect for us.
We thought about getting a cheaper brand like PetSafe but everything I read was that they did not work well with large dogs. I'm sure they are fine for anything under 30 pounds but we have a giant! Since getting it installed and fine tuned, Rosco knows his limits and respects them. He has never gotten out.
Having a Invisible Fence installed gives our large dog the run of the yard, splits the front and backyard so we can choose to let him in front or not and lets us keep our large wide open yard, not needing to worry about fences.
Our Life Now
So we are almost out of the main puppy stage with our large dog and things are getting better. Sure, he still grabs stuff that he isn't supposed to have, runs up to you so you see him, then runs and makes you chase him to get it back but, he has came a long way. Don't give up on your puppy in the early stages. We might not have expected to have such a large dog but we did expect the puppy behavior.
Our house is crazy anyway and I couldn't imagine life without our new member.
Do you have a large dog? - What toys have you found that last?
Vote on what toys you find that are good for large dogs? The toy you like not here? You can add it. This will help others looking for toys that will actually last!