Wednesday, December 10, 2008

we got a horse not a dog

This past weekend, Man-dad and H-Mom were playing with Madison along the Riverwalk, by the courthouse building, where the sculpture garden, with its strange "Hadrian's Wall" wannabe installation creates a kind of "safety zone" for tennis ball throwing. Man-dad used to play baseball and softball and he is a really really good athlete, even if he is an "OG." (Old Guy.) You should see him throw a tennis ball. H-Mom is so impressed. Who needs a chuck-it when you've got a Man-dad with an A-R-M.

All of a sudden Man-dad spotted a huge black dog. A huge black Giant Schnauzer. Walking along the paved Riverwalk pathway.

Oh my gosh. This created such a thrill ... the couple with the Schnauzer was hailed, and Madison was lifted up onto the wall, like a runway model. Friends were made all the way around. There was much chatting and exchanging of information and happiness and general weird dog-people vibe-sharing.

The Giant was "Superman," a 6-year-old male from Skansen kennels in California. He is absolutely stunning, strong and huge and very "German" in demeanor. And he weighs 105 pounds. The humans had a wonderful short meeting, and exchanged info for future friendship, living very close as they do. Too bad that Superman is dog-aggressive, or Madison would have a playmate and role model right in the neighborhood.

The owner of Superman warned us that Giants, right around 1-year-old, often turn dog-aggressive and territorial, and said that she had been an avid dog-parker, too, until a couple nasty incidents. Superman is on a raw diet, and is being raised very holistically - no dog shots, no flea/tick meds - so the conversation was interesting, but philosophically different from H-Mom.

H-Mom is really worried about Madison becoming aggressive as she matures. There will be a concerted effort to keep her socialized and control that dog experiences are pleasant and that rewards for nice play behavior are plentiful.

But here is what really came out of the meeting with Superman:

Man-Dad says, "I didn't know that we were getting a HORSE not a dog."

"In 6 months, Madison is not going to fit in our car."

We drive a Dodge Nitro. H-Mom really loves our car. It it silver with 20" wheels and a red pinstripe and red racing upholstery. But it doesn't have much head room, and it is high ... difficult for Madison to get into. Actually she won't get in on her own at all, and is just starting to jump out.

That sent Man-Dad and H-Mom to the dealership, to look at MINIVANS. H-Mom is having emotional trauma over being a "soccermom" on account of the DOG.

She is doing all kinds of research on BIG DOGS and CARS. She found this awesome Web site with car reviews and ratings.

So now we want to know: What kind of car do you drive and how do you rate it for your dog's weight and activities?


Eduardo said...

My Daddy & Mommy have a Mazda3. It's great for me, plenty of room & it drives very smoothly, so I don't get carsick unless I see the vet, he always upsets me, we are looking for a new vet. Anyway, I know Madison wouldn't fit in our car, it's very low! I don't think she will be aggreesive! I think all of y'alls love will keep her from being aggressive!
Hugs & Snugs
Eduardo the Snuggle Puggle

Sunny,Scooter,Jamie said...

Hey Madison, We haven't been around much but hope to catch up soon. Anyhow, we have a Chevy Trailblazer. It works for us, not the greatest on gas, not the worst.But especially with the back seats down, roomy. Mom's best dogmobile was a Ford 350 Cargo van. You know-the big ones with just 2 seats and loads of room in the back. Like businesses use! Worse on gas than the current dogmobile.
Our human sis had a minivan-dodge-and there was hardley any head room. Her Whippets heads nearly touched the ceiling if they stood up in the back.! Sooooo-unless they have changed, you couldn't stand up!!
pee ess Mom says though she did not personally know Giant Schnauzer exhibitors when she still showed dogs, she does know that they were NOT dog aggressive. She thinks it is in the socializing and training....too bad about the dude you met.

Sen, Tama and Tom said...

Madison is going to be a BIG GIRL, that's certain! We are sure you will do everything that can be done to keep her friendly and sweet. The fact that she's a girl will probably also help.

#1 is not getting a new car! She is determined to drive her current car until it goes to Aumotive Rainbow Bridge. It was her dad's and she is very attached to it. It's a Jaguar XJ-6. It's a low car (terrible for country road driving!) so easy to jump into. Tommy occupies the back seat which is fitted with a Hammock Bench Seat Cover from Drs. Foster & Smith, and that works really nicely. Our current loaner is a 2-door Mitsubishi Colt which is barely large enough for a backpack in addition to the driver! It's the perfect car for Chihuahua owners!

Mango said...

Mango Momma Here,

I had to buy a new car when I had two mastiffs. I have found the Honda Element to be very practical. I just popped out the back seats completely.

Regarding the dog aggressive stuff. I have to say that I had a very hard time navigating my mastiffs through their teenage months due to their size and Mango can behave badly when he is on leash. Both my mastiffs learned that because they were so big, if another dog was frightening them or bothering them, they could just go AR AR AR rather than learn proper doggie manners.

Personally, I suggest you try and find Madison playmates her own size so that as she grows she can continue to interact with dogs that aren't easily intimidated and then she will learn more subtle forms of communication.

Cocoa the Beagle said...

Our dad drives a van but it's more for those cargo type (he needs it for his business) where he puts lots of goods (like ladder) at the back. There's hardly any space for us and also it's too hot as there is no air condition behind. The front seats up to 3 pax and normally Stinky Barley will sit next to mum, and I will be on mum's lap. So all THREE of us will be in front! *sulks*

Cocoa and Barley

The Devil Dog said...

Wow, Superman is big. Mom drives a Ford Focus Wagon, but since Lucky and I weigh a total of 31 pounds, mom really doesn't have to worry about what kind of car she drives.




Dad drives a Ford Explores. As for Dog Agression, we don't know about Giant Schnauzer. We would have to read up on them all the different sites on the web. We'll have to see if we can get a list.

Essex & Deacon

Puglette said...

i try not to listen to people and their experiences. i had a bad time after a surgery for myself, I kept listening to others about all of their problems and before long I was all stressed about having the same problems...not sleeping, crying, I was a mess! Then I decided that they were a small minority and even though they had terrible problems, I probably would not. I think you can just love madison and socialize her, take her to some training, agility or some other focused training and she will grow into a lovely dog you can feel safe with. she will need something to keep her mind active as well as her body.
oh, we drive a mini van (yuck)and a isuzu trooper (yay!)

Julie said...

We have three Skansen giants and none are dog aggressive. If you socialize Madison and work with her on obedience daily in some little way, I would be majorly surprised if she became dog aggressive. But giants are extremely smart and will run the house if you don't. Nothing harsh but always gentle firmness. If you have not heard of Nothing in life is free, then google NILF and read and practice some of those things. Our giants fit just fine into our Rav4 and the biggest one is almost 29 inches at the shoulder. He is only about 95 pounds because we prefer them to not have any extra weight on them at all. Our smallest is barely 24 inches and only 60 pounds. She looks like the pup of the largest one. We have had many giants through rescue and I can't think of any that were truly dog aggressive. I do know of one that just doesn't like any other animals at all but it has to do with the fact that he wasn't trained or socialized as a pup.

musings on a giant schnauzer in a little MEDIUM LARGE package