I am the Trouble Boy.

Bonjour my furiends !

Sorry I haven't been posting these days - we have been quite busy ! Here is a list of the things I've been doing :

helping my human to study for her exams

checking out my new toys

- is it pink ? Are they KIDDING me ?

chillin' out on the balcony

making sure the pizza man arrives safely

tasting new stuff

being cute - as usual

making faces to the camera

showing my tongue

playing hide and seek with my kitty brother


enduring a grooming

- leave me aloooo-oooone !

And last but not least :

growing, growing, growing !

Note from my humans : Lincoln has been REALLY trouble these days. It's been two weeks almost since when we leave Lincoln alone at home and come back after a while the house is just a disaster - well, the living room is - he pulls out of the shelves everything he can catch - mainly books - and sometimes does not do much than this but some days he will ripped them apart ( and he does it even if we just leave him for 20mins! ). This is really upsetting as he never really did it before. Well, he did it once or twice when he was 4 months old maybe but had never done it again until now. We never leave him for more than 3 hours alone and ALWAYS make sure we took him for a walk just before. We don't make any fuss of him before we leave - but we do give him a treat to chew - most of the time his daily Denta-Stix ( should we stop this ? ). He has tons of toys - so we don't really know what else to do to make him stop. Maybe it is because we always try to take him with us wherever we go since he's a little pup' and now he just don't understand when we can't.

Be prepared - this is from last tuesday :


There is something else he's just started doing - trying to catch and chew his leash when we take him for a walk - he's walking nicely and then suddenly we don't know why but he starts doing it - when he manages to catch it he starts jumping and acting silly. That would be OK I guess if he wasn't so big - but this is kind of embarrassing when there are loads of people around and he starts doing it - people will stare at us and think he is not well-behaved even though he is really..... except when doing this ! We can tell him NO! - STOP! he won't ... and just seem to be too excited to listen. Oh, this is so frustrating !

Any tips maybe... ? :-)

Talk soon,

Lincoln and his Humans


  1. have you tried a filled Kong?


  2. Probably not what you want to hear, but have you thought about crating him when you are gone? Mom had to do this when we were all younger until we knew how to behave when home alone. How old is Lincoln now? Sounds like he might be going through some teenage rebellion too.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  3. I was going to mention the crate as well. Once they get used to it, it's a wonderful thing! Susan Garrett has a DVD out called Crate Games that is all about how to make the crate lots of fun for the dog and teach them really great manners while in the crate.

    With regards to the leash catching and chewing. My four year old, Bess, will occasionally do this when we're out running. She only does it on the sections of our route that we run most frequently. Basically she gets bored and decides that it's time for a game of tug. It's not too difficult to get her to stop. But for Lincoln, since you're out on a walk, maybe bring some treats along. When you see him starting to show signs of wanting to grab onto the leash and play his game, distract him and get him to do a variety of commands and reward him with a treat. If he gets the leash up in his mouth, tell him to drop it and when he does, reward him. Turning the walk into an interesting game/training session will work his mind as well as his body.

  4. P.S. The close ups of his face are ridiculously adorable!!!

  5. These are all great photo's. I am thinking that Lincoln is going into his "male grown up stage" and this is when you are going to have to be much firmer with him as he is testing his position in the pack (same as wolves do) If you do not teach him where his place is he will take over and you could have one REALLY troublesome dog on your hands. I would start some reading and see what dog experts have to say.

  6. My owner, Ellie, suggests getting a couple different Kong toys and filling them with treats. Here's the link to the Kong website if you don't know about them already.

    Let us know if you need more information about them! I love my Kong toys! They keep me busy (and out of trouble) for a long time!

    ~Treasure the Dachshund

  7. Cute Lincoln, and also making your Mom mad. I really hope everything will turn out alright soon. when Sapphire first came, she chewed and ate practically everything, scratched our cars (!!), tore down two beautiful plants (they were 5 feet tall)... just to mention a few.
    Hope you will find ways to keep him busy and most importantly safe while you are away.

  8. Lincoln sure has been busy lately. Mom gets mad when we trash the house, too. We see that one of Lincoln's jobs is to be cute...that's our job too but when we make a mess she says we're not cute...

    Mocha Barney, Ashley Pumpernickel and Winniechurchill

  9. Oh Lincoln my friend, what have you been up to. Dexter was the same a couple of years back and chewed the doorframes, the lot! There is so much advice out there for seperation anxiety but it really is worth thinking about an appointment with a behaviourist to get advice and a plan of action. Otherewise you end up taking advice hear there and everywhere and everyone gets confused. That's what we found anyway and pleased to say no more damage unless we leave food or tissues around and there's no way Dex can leave those alone! Good luck, hope you can get some help soon for the little monkey (who's not so lttle!) xx

  10. Uh oh Lincoln! While the pictures of you are awfully cute, that mess is not so much!
    We crated/contained (started off using a crate, then just a baby gate keeping her in the kitchen) Darwin when we left her home alone and at night til she was about 9 months old. Then we slowly started letting her have more freedom. She never was a big destroyer and never has taken anything off our shelves or coffee table. A crate or baby gate may be a good thing just til you can trust him alone.
    Oh and like many have said, a Kong or other food dispensing toy that can keep him entertained for a good period of time.

  11. Reilly is closest to the mark. Lincoln is going into his 'male teenage' phase, pushing boundaries. Lacking an adult Dane to put him in his place, you'll have to do it. Mama never had much trouble with female Danes in their 'teen' phase, but almost all the boys acted out. As mama always had more than one Dane, most of the job of correcting the 'teen' fell on the adult Danes and not on mama, which was great.

    Crate training or shutting him in a damage-resistant room [do you have a spare bedroom you can empty of stuff he can chew or rip up? including the mattress?] is a good idea until he outgrows this phase. Failing that, can you block off the bookcases with other furniture to keep him away? It won't hurt to try the stuffed Kong or something similar to occupy his mind, but he's not doing this primarily because he's bored or has separation anxiety. He's just an unruly teenager. That's also why he's chewing on his leash. The advice to distract him is good. Is it possible to run with him, instead of walking, when he starts chewing the leash? The point is for you to take charge and direct him in another direction, not to reward him for grabbing the leash.

    The more you can exercise him and tire him out, the better. Could you do agility [yes, Danes can do it, or at least most of it] or advanced obedience training with him? You will live through this, but you're in for about 6 months of being tested, give or take a couple of months. Bon chance!

    Jed & Abby

  12. Oh dear. Welcome to 'Canine Adolescene'!! :-) Honey was a complete monster from about 8 months till about 18months and required a lot of additional training & "reminders" of her place in the pack (at the BOTTOM!!). It is a time when your cute, sweet puppy will complete forget all the good training and manners that they had been taught and start to test the boundaries and also your leadership - so it is really important during this time that you remain very firm and consistent - kind and fair - but still very much in control. It might feel like you are getting nowhere but if you ar patient and don't give up, your lovely Lincoln when come back to you and remember all his training and socialisation from before. He is just testing you now to see if you are a worthy leader for him so you have to rise to the challenge and show him that you are.

    Especially when you have a big, powerful dog like this - it is really important to impress this lesson on him now, while he is still growing and still mentally quite immature - because once he accepts it, he will not challenge you anymore when he grows up but if you don't show him authority now and make him understand that you are the boss, he can become a bully as he gets older - and stronger! - than you.

    Honey never thinks that she is stronger than me or weighs 20kg more than me or can easily overpower me if she really wanted to...because in her mind, I am like a 10ft giant and my word is law. But I had to work hard to get this position in her mind.

    OK, first - I agree with everybody about finding some way to confine him to a safe place when you are away from home, so that he does not get a chance to engage in destructive behaviour. Remember, everytime he gets away with it, it is reinforcing his behaviour. A crate is a good idea (but you must introduce it properly if you have not done so before) or if you don't have one, then try to confine him to a room which has few things that he can destroy *(eg. a laundry) - this is what we used for Honey when she was young adn I was working away from home. Then in this space, you can leave the things for him that he CAN play with - such as his own toys, chews, etc. Since there will be less 'forbidden' stuff with him, he will not be so tempted to make the wrong choice.

    Also, I agree that you need to leave him with interactive toys - such as stuffed Kongs and treat balls. Even better - make him work for his breakfast. I remember you are feeding him kibble - right? That makes it even easier. Don't just give him his breakfast in a bowl - put it in a treatball and make him work for it, rolling around, eating 1 kibble at a time as it falls out. Give this to him just as you are leaving the house and it should hopefully occupy him for sometime. And when he is finished, hopefully he will be exhausted and need a long sleep! :-) At the same time, maybe leave a stuffed Kong for him to find later but don't let him see you leave it - hide it under some toys or something when he is not looking - so then after he wakes up from his sleep, he can find it. You can also use raw bones (knuckle bones from the butcher) which will also keep him occupied for a long time and also clean his teeth.)


  13. (...continued)

    In addition, you also need to start doing more training with him. I know you already do a lot of fun stuff but you need to start doing more every day obedience - it's a bit boring, I know, but it will really help to remind him of your authority and also help to calm & focus his mind. For example, before you start your walk every day, do 5mims in your garden or in the street in front of your house. YOu don't have to do anything fancy - just make him walk next to you (Heel) with lots of turning and twisting & changing direction (not in a straight line) - so he never knows where you are going to walk next and he has to pay attention - mixed up with some Sits & Downs & Stays. If you just do this before you start your walk, it will make a big difference because it will focus his mind & make him calmer before you start and also remind him that you are the pack leader. This is what we did with Honey when she was this age.

    Then during the walk itself, don't just let him "switch off" and do whatever it likes. Training is happning all the time now. So every 10mins in your walk, stop and again repeat the 5mins that you started with - a bit of Heeling, changing direction a lot, mixed with Sits & Downs & Stays. Since you will be stopping in different places on your walk every 10mins, this will provide different distractions around you and so teach Lincoln that he has to pay attention & listen to you, even in other environments.

    Also, don't just let him decide where to walk. I don't mind dogs walking in front - I don't think this is a bad thing - but don't let him just pull you everywhere he likes to go. YOU are the pack leader and YOU decide where you are going on the walk. So if you always turn right somewhere, this time turn left. If you always go across the street here, change and do something else. Stop in the middle of walking and turn back and walk back the way you came for 20 steps before turning around again. Surprise him. Keep him guessing. Suddenly do something different. So that he realises that he has to pay attention to you and that YOU are the boss on the walk.


  14. (...continued)

    The leash-grabbing is an "attention-seeking behaviour" - which is another sign of him being a teenager and testing you. He is trying to get a reaction from you - and getting excited becuase this pushes your buttons (do you have this expression in French?)

    The best thing - if you can - is to ignore him when he is doing this and AS SOON AS he drops the leash, give him praise & reward. This way, he sees that he gets no attention when he is being silly but when he lets go, he gets praise. HOWEVER, with big, powerful dogs, it is often not possible to just ignore them as what they are doing is just dangerous or annoying or physically immobilsing - so in that case, you may need to "interrupt" his behaviour with something. I know the "positive only" people don't like to use any kind of deterrent or correction but I found with big, powerful dogs that often, it is just not possible or safe to just ignore them.

    So if you really can't ignore Lincoln when he is grabbing the leash, then do something to interrupt his behaviour. I don't know what he is like but with Honey, just a loud "NO!" will often do the trick - something to startle her and scare her. You can also try clapping your hands suddenly & loudly or give a little "pop" on the leash or at home, we used to use the water spritzer from the ironing to scare Honey because she HATED water. Alternatively, you could just suddenly turn sharply away and walk off quickly in a new direction - which might surprise Lincoln and make him drop the leash & quickly fun to follow you.

    I know again the positive people don't like using this kind of correction but it depends on the dog and on a confident, stable dog like Honey (and I think, Lincoln also), I don't feel that a bit of well-timed, appropriate correction does harm. At least, I have always used correction in combination with rewards, with Honey and you can see she is not a "damaged dog"! But the key is to immediately balance the correction with praise/rewarde AS SOON AS the dog stops doing the bad behaviour. Most of the time, people who use correction use it as a nasty way to punish the dog - when it should only be used in a non-emotional way as a deterrent - like "Oops! Not good!" followed by, "Yes! THIS is the right way! Good dog!"

    SO in this case, AS SOON AS he stops in surprise and drops the leash, you praise him lots. You may need to repeat this a few times but after a while, he should start to get the message.


  15. (...continued)

    Like Jed & Abby suggested, it is good also to distract him with something else to do. You should by now start to recognise the signs & body language when he is thinkingn about grabbing the leash so be prepared and stop him before he starts - surprise him! - before he gets a chance to grab it, ask him to do something (Sit or run suddenly backwards, saying "COME!" or even just a trick, like your spin) - it doesn't matter what but just something to take his mind off what he was going to do.

    Remember, this is like a bad habit and once a habit forms, it becomes very difficult to break it, so don't let this behaviour become a habit. Break the cycle. Don't let him get any chance to do it - and after a while, he will forget about it and turn his mind to other things.

    This is also part of what I was saying earlier that you NEED to do more training and give more instructions to Lincoln at this age - you cannot just go out for a walk now and just mess around, playing...unfortunately, this is like military time - just until he comes out of adolescence - so you need to keep his mind busy for him, otherwise HE will find things himself to keep it busy in a bad way! :-) So as I said, you WHOLE walk needs to be a training exercise now and constantly ask him to do things. Don't let him relax for too long. Every 10mins or whenever it looks like he is thinking of mischief, get his mind back in focus by quickly turning away and walking off briskly, calling him to follow you and when he catches up with you, make him Heel beside you - lots of changgin direction, turns, Sits, Heel, Sit, Down, Heel, Come, Sit, Heel, Down...etc...and then give him one final Sit and then say "OK!" (or whatever your release word is) - and release him again back to the casual walk.

    But do this throughout the walk and in the park also. Keep his mind busy. This will not only keep him out of trouble but also remind him all the time (in a nice way), that you are the boss PLUS make him much more tired so that he is good at home. Dogs gain stamina much faster than us so if you just keep increasing his physical exercise, you will never win. You have to tire him out mentally. If you could possibly take him for a short walk in the mornings with at least one 5min training session like this, before you leave him alone at home, I think that will also help a lot with his destructive problems.


  16. (...continued)

    Finally, you have to start making him work for everything around the home. Make him earn everything he wants - whether it is food, attention, cuddles, toy, playtime, access to the outside, going out the front door, etc, etc...everything. Have you heard of the NILIF system? (Nothing In Life Is Free) - this is a great way to show your dog that you are the boss but in a nice way. It is a lifestyle, not just a quick-fix. It is the way we have raised Honey. If you follow this system, your dog will be much more police & obedient and generally under control. You can Google it to find out more about it. But the basic things are like making him Sit & Wait and then his "release word" before he is allowed to eat. Even if he just wants attention & pats from you, he has to work for it - he has to do something for it. Instead of going to him all the time, call him to you for a cuddle. If he comes to you asking for attention, don't always just give it to him. Someitmes ignore himm - wait until he goes away and then call him back to you for a cuddle. The point is to show him that everything happens on YOUR terms, not his. I know it sounds a bit cruel but dogs are really much happier under this system - they LIKE to work for things - and they are much more stable & secure knowing their place in the family. You don't have to do this forever but it is important to follow it now during this difficult time when he is testing you. Don't be too soft on him now - don't let him get away with ANYTHING - show him that you are firm but fair, and he will respect you more.

    OK - I hope that is helpful! I'm sorry it's SO long but there were so many points to cover! Don't hesitate to email me if you have any other questions or are unsure about something!

    Good luck!


  17. O goodness me Lincoln, you are causing trouble!

    A confined dog-proof space will help with not allowing him to destroy things - Lexi was exactlally the same, books, dvds, anything things she could find! Jasper was an angel on the other hand (in my experience boys are much easier, far more simple and don't think as much ;))

    I can't really give much more advise other than what you have already recieved :p

    My one suggestion is that all your interactions need to be calm and confident and not frustrated. The tugging on the leash is a good example - have a think how you tell him to stop, did you really mean it or where there other emotions going on, like frustration/embarrassment? Lexi does a similar thing when she is excited - she grabs the leash, I stop, give her a "no", which I mean and there is no to other emotion behind it and then I ask her to do something else and wait until she has calmed down before I continue on.

    I'm sure it will all work out and remember "he can't have something for nothing"

    There are also lots of little things that can help - but I won't go into detail as I'm off to work, drop me and email if you would like me to give you some of them.


  18. Hello Lincoln, sorry I haven't spoken for a while. You have been a rascal haven't you. The advice given is wonderful. Now your Mum can choose what she feels is appropriate and go for it. Look forward to more adventures. Be a good boy Lincoln. Your Mum knows what is best for you so listen to her. No worries, love Carol.

  19. Oh my dear Laura, welcome aboard :)
    Worst period for you and your dog, but resist, we have all been through it... around 18 months Lincoln will be a different one...
    I cannot say more than Hsin-Yi already told you...
    I was able to use just baby gates and not a crate, but even though at the time I thought it was cruel, with the knowledge I have now I tell you it is not cruel, used in the proper way of course!!!
    Never give up, never surrender!!!
    You are doing a great job with Lincoln and it will pay you off!!!

    Ciao Nicoletta

  20. Hi! My name is Annie and I have a Great Dane named Keena. (I also have a blog that you should come and check out at She is having the same problems that Lincoln seems to be having. She gets bored and has destroyed many things. (Her favorites are blinds, toilet paper, and dumping trash everywhere). Keena is a rescue and I tried the crate but she has serious crate anxiety and was hurting herself trying to get out. I now put her in the bathroom or my bedroom. She learned how to open the cabinets beneath my sink and she messes up my bed some days. I have a Kong and I put peanut butter in it, treats and even some canned dog food and I will freeze it overnight so it takes her longer. I need to get some different Kongs so shes not using the same one all the time. My problem is that she doesn't play with toys and the only bones she likes are ones that are not safe to leave with her when she is alone. If you discover anything new that works well for Lincoln maybe you can let me know! It's rough having a giant dog going through their "terrible twos" and "distructive teen years".
    Best of luck!
    Annie and Keena