You have probably heard that Great Danes are great people dogs, good with children, smaller pets, and even strangers. This is all true, but without proper training, you and your Great Dane can be in for a less than perfect relationship.
Great Danes are eager to please and training your Great Dane can be an excellent way for the two of you to build a loving and trusting relationship based on mutual respect. When you consider that your Great Dane will likely be as big as you are, mutual respect becomes a lot more important.
So, without further adieu, here are 5 important tips for getting the most out of training time with your Great Dane:
TIP #1 – Start early!
Do not procrastinate. Your Great Dane puppy is eagerly leaning from birth. Even before they can see, they are constantly gathering information from their environment and learning how to better achieve their goals. For the first 12 months of their lives they are absorbing information, conditioning their responses, and forming habits that may or may not be positive ones .
Starting early is important because it allows you to promote positive behaviors and deter bad behavior while your puppy’s brain is still developing. Behaviors learned during this stage of your puppy’s life are much more likely to become reflexive, allowing you to shape their behavior in a positive way.
In addition, spending quality training time with your puppy allows the two of you to bond, and helps to establish a pecking order that promotes mutual respect. When your new family member has the potential to be bigger than you in a couple of years, mutual respect becomes much more important.
Ideally, your puppy should begin potty training at 4-6 weeks of age and should begin learning basic commands at 10-12 weeks.
Tip #2 – Socialize
Socialization should be part of your puppy’s early development. Introducing your Great Dane puppy to new people, places, and experiences will help them feel more comfortable around others and in new environments.
Socialization also provides training opportunities that may not be available when alone with your pet. Bring a bag of treats with you on your excursions to take advantage of these opportunities. This is a great time to teach your puppy not to jump, how to heal, and to be gentle with smaller animals and kids.
Tip #3 – Start With The Basics
The seven basic commands that you should teach your Great Dane puppy are:
The key here is consistency. Always use the same command for its corresponding exercise and always reward with a treat and/or praise. It is best if you limit the commands to one or two words and avoid using similar sounding words for different commands. For instance, ‘sit’ and ‘git’ sound very similar, but mean two very different things.
Don’t overwhelm your puppy with too many commands in a given training session and keep training sessions relatively short. Begin with an easy exercise like ‘Sit’, work on it until your puppy has got it down pat and then introduce a new command at the next session. For instance, once your puppy learns to sit on command, open the new session with ‘Sit’ and then begin working on the ‘Down’ command.
Make training sessions a positive part of a daily routine so your puppy looks forward to them. Eventually, your Great Dane will start reminding you when it’s time to train and you will both enjoy this very important time together.
Tip #4 – Avoid Distractions
When first starting out, your training sessions should be performed with minimal distraction. Of course, this is not possible during socialization, but the majority of early training sessions should be performed one on one.
You want your Great Dane to be focused on you and the lessons being taught. These sessions will undoubtedly become important bonding moments for you and your pet; the fewer distractions, the more able your dog will be to concentrate and learn.
As your pet becomes more responsive to your commands, you will want to test that responsiveness when there are more distractions. If your Dane fails to respond with distractions, you will want to reinforce the lessons in a more private setting.
Tip #5 – Be Patient and Positive
Different dogs will learn at different rates and you must be patient to ensure that you and your pet do not get frustrated with the exercise. Great Danes are very intelligent dogs and with patience and consistency, your puppy will learn.
Your Great Dane wants to please you and negative reinforcement can have a negative impact on your puppy. Always be positive, never punish your puppy during training, and always end with a command that they understand.