Monday, October 13, 2014

I Became a Streaker For My Dog

I Became a Streaker For My Dog

Not this kind of streaker

This is my dog.
He's the large, furred one on the right.
His name is Zeus.  He's 100+ pound Great Dane/Labrador mix.  We came into ownership of him on the third of July, 2014.  He's one and one half years old.  He's a good dog.  Mostly.  He's also the neediest creature that I've ever dealt with.
Everything has been fine between him and my family until recently.  During the past week, he's taken to barking at us when we're not paying enough attention to him.  
I'll reiterate the fact that he weighs 100+ pounds.  As is warranted by his size, he has an extremely hearty bark.  There's a lot of depth to it.
I realize that he's not barking out of aggression.  He just needs attention.  The problem lies in the fact that my wife works full time.  I work part time and am taking 14 credit hours.  We have a seven and one half month old daughter (that's her on the left of the above picture).
Just yesterday, Zeus has taken to tugging on my wife's clothes.  He wants to play.  When his tugging becomes more insistent, my wife gets frightened.  Zeus doesn't realize how big he is, or how much force he can exert.  The conversation between my wife and I has started centering around how we might have to return him to Adopt-A-Pet, where we got him, if we can't fix his behavior.
Our daughter, Iola, loves Zeus.  Sometimes I think she loves him more than she loves her parents.  I realize that if we were to return him, she would have no memory of him.  Conversely, if we were to be able to calm him down, she would have fond, pleasant memories of growing up with him.
After some cursory research on Great Danes, it became evident that they are prone to anxiety.  There are a couple of solutions.  One of them is medication.  My wife and I are old school in the sense that we're not going to go to the vet so Zeus can have some doggy Prozac.  Another solution is to start giving him exercise.  We have a very large back yard, which I just recently fenced in so he can run free when we let him out.  I figured that this would be enough.
As a runner, I did attempt to take him with me.  Once.  He didn't do too bad, but because he's not accustomed to it, I had to struggle at times to drag him away from any item that he found interesting.  I really love my daughter.  I would do anything to make her happy. 
So I'm running with my dog again.  
Because it's much quicker for me to run a mile with him in 9 minutes than it is for me to take a 20 minute walk with him, I'm now doing just that.  Including the days that I normally take off from running.
And that's how I became a streaker for my dog.

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