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 Created: 07/22/02


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– Couch Potatoes –

July 22, 2002 – After spending four weeks on the subject of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in the Great Dane, I think we all could use a break. But all the talk about inherited traits got me wondering. Are certain trademark Dane behaviors – such as boinging, woo-wooing, lap-sitting, and couch-slouching – actually "hardwired" into the breed via their DNA? It's certainly possible. Preliminary research by Dr. Justin Jest strongly indicates that Great Danes carry a special gene known as a "couch receptor."

It must be a dominant gene, too, because Great Danes don't just lie on couches – they dominate them. And once they've snuggled into their favorite couch, they don't like to leave. That presents a real problem when we humans want to sit there, too. Evicting a fully ensconced Great Dane from comfortable sofa is seldom easy. Below is a list of techniques that just might do the job:

Verbal Commands

Try the usual commands like "Down!" "Off!" or "Come Here!" Nine times out of ten, your Dane will pretend he is sleeping, so you have to be a little more creative.

Creative Lying
Walk over to the window and say in a loud voice, "Wow! Just look at the size of that squirrel!!" If he doesn't respond say, "Oops! I was wrong, that's not a squirrel. It's your favorite kitty – you know, the one who hissed at you the other day." Still no response? Try this: "By golly, isn't that (use the name of his favorite female dog) running down the street? I wonder how she got out... I heard she was in heat." If that doesn't get a rise out of him, it's time to head to the kitchen.

Food Seduction
Clomp your way into the kitchen. Stand next to your dog's food bowl, rattle it around a little bit and start talking to an imaginary dog. If that doesn't work, walk over to the refrigerator. Open the door. No response? Fiddle around inside for a moment and then say "Oh no! I just dropped the steak on the floor." If he doesn't come running, then pull the steak out of the refrigerator and throw it onto the floor.

 Home Invasion
If, after all this, your dog is still glued to the couch, you are going to need some outside assistance. Pizza deliveries will almost always rouse a Great Dane because if he doesn't get up to bark at the delivery boy, he'll usually get up for the pizza. Too cheap to order a pizza, are you?? Well, if you're lucky somebody else might just happen to show up – the mail man, the meter reader, the trash collector, or even some girl scouts (but only during cookie season). And remember, if you get really desperate, there's always the fire department.

Time to Surrender
If you have tried everything and your Great Dane still refuses to vacate the couch, then you have few remaining options. At this point you can sit on the floor, you can sit on the Dane, or you can buy a second couch. Personally, I'd save myself the trouble and go with a second couch.

(Note: I am looking for more "couch potato" photos. If you are willing to share your potato-Dane pics with me – and the world – please drop me a line.)

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