After reading from Lincoln himself that he had been a little trouble this past weeks you've been asking what he had been up to...!
Well, first of all Lincoln ate the brand new floor we just bought for the new flat (he managed to make a big whole in the middle of the living room and a big one in the hallway -so all of it has to be changed - which is going to cost quite a lot of money especially for us as we're still students) and also started acting crazy on walks.
From time to time, when he sees another doggie (or a pigeon - and only in this cases because otherwise he is very good), he suddently pulls on the leash VERY hard and starts doing his jumping thing he did when he was younger and excited to go for a walk.
Nothing aggressive of course - he just really wants to play - and no matter the size of the dog in front of him - big german shepherds or chihuahuas. Before doing it he starts to raise his ears but keeps walking slowly on our side. Sometimes he will do fine but sometimes (especially during the evening) he will starts to behave badly when we walk past the dog so we both get stressy and of course Lincoln must feel it too ...
He never ever did this with other doggies when we were walking before, he has started it around the beginning of August. One day he was great - the next day we had a completely different dog when walking past other dogs.
Thing is he gets to see other doggies quite often and gets to play with them off leash (not so often since we're here but Anika his labrador friend we already talked about has moved to Bordeaux too), so I don't think (but I could be wrong) that he behaves like this because he is in real need to play with other dogs...
What works best is when we've been playing with the ball outside with him before going to the proper walk and when we've been running a lot so he's tired and does not pay much attention to other doggies (or birds) but it's not a real solution as we won't always be able to make him tired before every walk in doggie-crowded areas like the big forest we have just in front of the building where we now live.
Also, what works well is to tell him to "seat" or to "lie down" or to "shake paws" when he sees a doggie and starts to do his raising ears thing. Everytime we walk past another dog and if Lincoln had been behaving OK then he gets a treat. He also has a DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) collar, and a DAP diffuser in the room he sleeps and is left alone in when we have to leave.
But all this does not always work so we don't really know what else we can do when it doesn't- we meet a lot of other excited doggie in the forest that pull on their leash too when they see other dogs but Lincoln is a huge dog and we just can't let him get away with this kind of behavior as some people or dog might get scared of him and that's obviously not what we want. But he is doing better every day and we are hoping it will stop as quickly as it started. Did it ever happen with any of you?
About his destruction problem we found a behaviorist where we now live and it appears that Lincoln has developed a very special relationship with one of us and clearly he is too emotionally attached to me and didn't properly learn "detachment" and so he finds it very difficult to see me go and leave the house and don't understand why he should have to stay without me.
So we both have a lot of work to do on this point - and we're doing great for now.
He sleeps alone in his room now (he used to sleep in our bedroom...), and I have stopped cuddling him all the time and started ignoring him in some situations like when he comes and asks to play - behaviorist said it is fundamental in our case - and I now make him "earn" everything even playtime or cuddles.
It's been quite hard at the beginning but necessary and I can tell you it's been working AWESOME as Lincoln hasn't done ANYTHING wrong in the house for almost 2 weeks !! We started everything all over again - starting by leaving the house only 2 minutes then 5, 20 mins ! We are now doing 3 hours in a row and everything seems fine. The change in his behavior in the house has been radical ! And I'm very proud of him :) But I can't help feeling guilty and sorry for all the mistakes we (I) made with him - I was so excited to get my very own Great Dane as I had been waiting for it for ages since I was a little girl and I guess I just did not have the "strength" to tell him "no" when I should have..
Let's see how it goes with our going back to uni on Monday and see if all our efforts have really paid off ! We'll keep you posted !
ps : did you notice Lincoln has a grain of rice stuck on his nose on every picture of this post ? haha