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Training Great Danes, socialization, behavior, conditioning, tips, tricks & techniques. How & why.
Training Great Danes is crucial to the well being of these giant powerful dogs. Please..especially with Great Danes, it's important to start early with socialization, early as 3 months old.
Trust us... YOU DON'T want a Great Dane dog that is out of control and troublesome. From the very start, let your Dane meet lots of other dogs, people, kids, animals and everything else! Socialization will instil a confidence, calmness and assurance that your Great Dane will carry through the rest of its life:)
There are eight easy steps you can take that have nothing to do with training! These House Rules will help assure you are not someday faced with a Dog Behavior Problem and will definitely get your Dane off on the right paw :)
Respect for its human companions is crucial to the well being of your Dane. The need to bond with humans is already instilled in the breed, with minimal training your Dane will achieve it's full potential as a magnificent companion and friend.
Those with a new puppy should take a look at our Great Dane puppy section and related puppy training articles. And start early, the earlier the better! Your Dane will be much easier to handle while small and manageable. Begin training your baby Dane as soon as she has settled in at her new home.
Following the early puppy stage, anywhere from three to 6-months old, move on to the next step. Great Dane training by correction reinforcement works wonderful but be cautious, many Danes are timid and this may not be the best method for a fearful pup. Also, the training industry as a whole has seemed to swing towards more positive methods. The choice however is up to you and since Correction Reinforcement does work well, we've included a how to article on this method.
Of interest, many trainers employ a mix of both correction or coersive techniques with positive praise and reward. Old school thought is that such a mix would confuse a dog, this is not true.
If you're leaning more towards positive training, our article on Training Great Danes with Dog Clicker Training should provide a ton of helpful information.
Certain training methods have become quite a controversial over the past few years, however, a modified correction method is my choice for training Great Danes, as well as, other large powerful dogs.
With the proper Great Dane Collars and leash technique, quick, long lasting are common.
As mentioned, many dog trainers favor Positive Reinforcement Methods! This is a personal choice and both training styles have their pros & cons.
Don't worry, training Great Danes is not difficult compared to many other dog breeds. Great Danes by nature are loving caring animals, somewhat sensitive and want nothing more than to please their owners, they're pretty smart and often catch-on quickly. However, if you own a mature Great Dane or a dog with a behavior problem that was not properly socialized, you have more of a challenge.
Dog Behavior May Interest You
Certain traits, habits and behaviors are "built-in" to your new puppy. These traits are part instinct and also acquired by a dog from the time it is whelped, through the time it is weaned. All dog behavior is based on action and response. For instance, a nursing mother may nip the back of a pup's neck if it's too rough while feeding. Mother quickly corrects the pup whose behavior is causing problems within the litter. We can mimic the mothers "nip to the neck" with a Training Collar and lead, interesting.
A mother dog will continue to correct the pup the same way every time it gets rough while feeding. The correction is timely and consistent every time. With repetition and consistency, the suckling pup soon learns how to behave.
The dog soon learns the expected response by consistent, timely, repetitive corrections."
This simple example is the basis for most methods of training Great Danes. When we want our dogs to act a specific way or perform an action, we give them a command. We give the command and expect a certain reaction, if the dog fails, we correct it. The dog soon learns the expected response by consistent, timely, repetitive corrections. Usually, a dog with a behavior or other problem can be taught the proper response with this technique.
Dog Pack Behavior
By nature, dogs are pack animals and live as a social group. Every member of the pack knows its place among the others. Remember, you, your family, and your dog are also a pack. If you are the only trainer you will most likely be viewed as Alpha of the pack. Teaching your dog to respect all members of your family is very important. Although a Dane by nature will live within your pack, training Great Danes they are at the bottom of the pack's pecking order is also important. It's good practice to alternate dog feeding between family members, this will help the dog to respect everyone in your pack and avoid a dog with a behavior problem like aggression.
Phew, that said, please take it with a spoonful of salt as not all information here applies to all Great Danes. We have known many Danes that with minimal, and I mean minimal training, have thrived among families with no problems whatsoever. Yet all dogs are different and some more stubborn and driven than others.
On To Training
With proper socialization and conditioning, big Bruiser has learned the expected action. As you can see he will actually lay down when playing with his tiny Chihuahua friend.
Training Great Danes is not as hard as you think. Whatever method you choose it's important to begin with simple, clear, one-word commands.
Consistency is key to success when training any dog.
Most will agree that the five important basic training commands are:
Recall or come, Heel, Sit, Stay & Down.
I may have moved the list around a bit, this just shows their importance to me when training Great Danes.
Why do I consider recall the primary command?
The command is given, within a few moments, my dog is here, focused on me, ready to sit, stay, down, or whatever else we are working on. Also, a solid recall can get your puppy out of trouble in an unexpected situation, like a sudden bolt after that cat across the street.
Of course a command like down will also work, while down is a basic command, a down to a dog in "prey" mode, that is "out" and moving away is quite an advanced command to teach.
However you categorize the list, please remember, any time your dog comes to you when you recall them, always give big love and praise for a prompt return!
A treat is always nice once in a while too :)
Things To Remember
For a Great Dane or dog that behaves pretty well yet is still rough around the edges, Reward/Clicker training may be perfect.
For training Great Danes that are stubborn, or have developed bad habits, Obedience/Correction training is highly recommended.
Who wants an out of control Giant dog with a behavior problem and bad attitude, I surely don't. Training Great Danes can be easy and fun, it's a win-win situation. With your patience and consistent, timely, repetitive training, you will have a well-behaved, obedient, awesome, GIGANTIC companion.
Have a question about training Great Danes? Send us a note using the form on our Contact Page located at the top navigation menu.
Good luck with your dog-training adventures:)