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Rescue Great Dane and all that goes with it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

As some of you know, I recently acquired a rescue Great Dane dog.
She is delightful in almost every way EXCEPT bathing. Its seldom you find any rescue dog with no hang ups. Jewels issue is bathing. In her book its simply UNACCEPTABLE.
What I get when I attempt to bath her is.....ESCAPE!! ESCAPE!! ESCAPE!! ESCAPE!!

So, if anyone is coming home and the gate is opened for a vehicle, she will push past the person at the gate and take off like a rocket down the road. She isn't a naughty dog, she is actually a highly sensitive animal, so fortunately all I have to do is walk after her and she will eventually come to me and allow me to attach her lead to her collar and bring her home.

The trouble is, she's not only afraid of herself being bathed, she's afraid of us even bathing Bronson our 10 month old Great Dane male. Bath Bronson, and Jewel takes off too. If the gate is not open, she jumps over the fence and hides out in the neighbors undergrowth. She's extremely athletic and jumps like a buck. Rather painful business!!!!

I've been searching for answers on how to handle this problem since its new to me. I found so much rubbish info that I started wondering if I would ever find a solution to this problem till bingo, someone finally made sense. The sensible answer was:

Take a wet sponge/cloth and wipe her face, legs, paws....anything she will allow without panicking. Do this as often as possible to get her used to water without fear. Also, brush her as often as possible to create that pleasant feeling on her skin. They also suggested taking time to help her heal, but time is something I don't have because she picked up demodectic mange (bush mange) on her first outing and has to be dipped every 5 days. It's so catchy that not only has she got it, but Bronson and my nieces Great Dane who came to play for one hour, one day. So every 5 days this was what could be seen in our home.

Get bucket of water and dip ready. Hunt and flush dog out of neighbors garden. Bring her home. Attempt to put first drop of water on her and she drops like she's been beaten which means you can't get the dip onto her underbelly, throat etc. It takes two people to roll her over to get her coat all treated. You also have to have her collar REALLY tight because she just pulls and wriggles till she's free. The second you release her, she either disappears back into the neighbors garden or flees indoors and leaps all over the furniture trying to "hide" under my lounge suit overhanging armrests. She lies trembling.....its very sad.
Dogs engage firstly by smell, but she goes into such a mental state, that she won't even take a treat of any kind after her bathing ordeal.

Still, I was determined to help her past this fear zone regarding bathing. After a couple of weeks of doing the wetting her and making her feel comfortable about being brushed and wet, things are much better. For the first time yesterday, she stood and allowed me to wet her underbelly....thats a huge improvement. She also ate a marmite sandwich almost immediately after the dipping.....another huge improvement. Priorly she could not be tempted with any treat what-so-ever, even turning her face clean away from the treat.

I now have a different plan of how I go about the whole process. My dogs are indoor animals, so I close the house doors to keep them indoors, while I mix the dip and leave it in the kitchen for an hour while I potter around doing other water things like setting the washing machine in motion, and doing the dishes (all water sounds). When she settles to these sounds, I clip the lead onto her collar and walk her around all over the house before taking her and the bucket with dip outside. I also towel dry her after being dipped and bring her back indoors so she cant run anywhere. This is working much much much better for us.

So this is what it all looks like after the bath.
Jewel who NEVER climbs on furniture, unlike Bronson, ends up diving straight on to the couch and staying there.

Once Bronson is bathed, its like they both see the couch as the "safe house."
Photo not clear because its a photo of a photo on my phone (lost my phone to pc cable)
Bronson tries squashing in between Jewel and whats left of the space on the couch.

Not comfy, he did some major twisting and turning and attempted another position which still included parking on top of Jewels back. Baring in mind these are two giant dogs attempting to share a two seater couch. LOL

After Bronson gave up and disappeared, Jewel spread out and got really comfortable.

I went to the kitchen for some water, fully expecting to find Bronson on his bed in the kitchen but no dog? The doors were still shut, so where was he? Checking out the other rooms, this is where I found Mr Bronson......on daddy's bed.

Ooooh wet puppy on Justins bedding. Luckily for me it was bedding washing day hence the unmade bed. Dogs!!!

So poor old Jewel has bathing issues and hopefully over time I can help her come to terms with the fact that its ok now.....no more pain and no more hurting is what she will experience in our home. Hopefully I will get through to her subconscious which is where the damage lives.

That being said, I'm attempting to teach myself the same thing as I lose the weight this year.
The damage is in my subconscious and I need to get to the place in my life where my conscious knows that what happened to me as a helpless child is a million miles away from then to now. I am safe, it wont happen again and heal up once and for all regarding being slender. I need to come to some complete cycle in my head that it IS safe to be a different shape other than out of shape.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    It sounds like you are making progress! There is an animal behaviourist website in South Africa and you can ask them questions for free i think. Maybe try that. I have two rescue dogs (not great danes) and can tell you that the border collie look alike one came with real fear of men and of submitting to other dogs even though we got her when she was 10 weeks old! She and her litter had been dumped at the SPCA at 2 weeks and obviously must have had horrible experiences with men/other dogs. It is now three years later and we did make progress on some of the fear issues - but the fear of other dogs has regressed again after she ran up to say hallo to one in the park who aggressively rolled her over and marked all over her.... she is an absolute sweet heart though (but not a border collie at all in terms temperament or cleverness). The web-site is www.friendsofthedog.co.za
    1980 days ago
  • MAMADEE016
    Oh Celeste, words escape me just now (more they are jumbled up as there's so much I'd love to say on this blogpost... emoticon emoticon
    1981 days ago
    I SO love you dear sister for loving this dog so much.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1982 days ago
  • LINDA!
    I am such an animal lover. I love your blog.
    1982 days ago
    We just adopted a rescue great dane over Christmas too! /they are such sweethearts!
    1984 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/11/2013 4:10:57 PM
    so sweet
    1986 days ago
    I LOVEEEE your babies! So cute!
    I learned something here. thanks!
    1986 days ago
    Hey girl. I love those dogs!

    We had two Great Danes about ten years ago. Whenever the outside hose was on, they would come running and try to get in the stream and want to bite it. They would attack it. They had a lot of fun with it. Does yours run from a simple hose? If not, you could start there.

    1986 days ago
    It could be, she was abused with water. They may have dunked her as punishment. Keep up the method you have found and she may come around entirely.
    1986 days ago
    ahhh what a great blog

    loved your analogue of the the 2 situations .. so right on.

    love your dogs .. sooo big and tall...
    1986 days ago
    I am so glad you were able to find something that works. The little one we have, I can bathe her in the kitchen sink. She doesn't like it, but she isn't afraid of it. The hair dryer is another story.

    1986 days ago
    Amazing how emotions work not only in us but in animals as well. Jehovah's creations are so wonderful and amazing
    1986 days ago
    emoticon she so lucky to have a terrific mistress
    1986 days ago
    That is great that you are making progress with the bathing. It always makes me wonder, what happened to them to have those kind of fears for certain things. Pooor thing, people can be so mean!
    1986 days ago
    emoticon WHAT A BLESSING You and Jewel are to Each Other!! I can almost feel the Healing happening in BOTH of Your Hearts. As you reach out to HER Subconscious Fears, She is Reaching Those Hidden Fears in Your Heart!!
    emoticon I am looking forward to watching you BOTH as You Blossom this Year!!
    1986 days ago
    You are such a kind loving Lady. I can't even imagine how much work it is to bath these mighty dogs. I have a little one so no problem for me.

    I love the idea you were given, slow and easy might do it. Wouldn't it be wonderful if out pets could tell us what happened to make them so afraid?

    Hugs to you Celest.

    Love Mary
    1986 days ago
    Oh, I love your blog! I am an animal lover and I applaud your rescuing Jewel...and your patience in earning her trust. It sounds like you are making progress. what about a harness instead of a collar? She would have a difficult time slipping out of that...at least, it would seem like it. Once fear sets in, a scared dog is capable of just about anything I suppose. I wish you luck and hope you continue to share your journey with Jewel on here.

    I agree with the other poster, take a lesson from Jewe's healing and make the time daily to shower yourself with love and kindness. I hope this doesn't come across as weird...but you could also spend some time in the mirror, just looking and smiling at yourself and taking in all your accomplishments. Get used to looking at yourself and enjoying it.

    Have a wonderful day.
    1986 days ago
    I love your blog!
    1986 days ago
    Take a lesson from Jewel and "bathe" yourself in love and self-esteem in small doses all over yourself.Repeat daily until you get used to it! HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!
    1986 days ago
  • ELSCO55
    It takes a special person to convince a rescue that they are now in a safe place.
    After 10 years, ours still has problems with thunder and only cuddling with mom or dad will convince him the monsters will not get him. They are our hearts and the experinece will help you. Thanks for having the love and patience to help Jewel on her journey and I know she will help you on yours.
    1986 days ago
    Sounds like you are making some good progress...with bathing the babies. Those deep seated fears are so difficult. Hope things continue to progress...for you and the dogs. emoticon
    1986 days ago
    Bless your heart for taking on a rescue dog. With the love that Jewel is feeling from her new family, those fears will disappear. Animals are amazing and their philosophy on life can be so adapted to our own lives. May you have a peaceful day!
    1986 days ago
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