Most Great Dane owners will tell you that Great Danes are great with children, and for the most part, they are. However, if your Great Dane is going to be around kids on a regular basis, there are some things that you need to understand.
1) Give Your Dane A Safe Place
There should always be a space in your home where your Dane can feel safe. A space that they know is theirs, where they can rest and relax without being bothered. It might be a bed in the corner of the living room, a room of their own, or an indoor kennel that is always accessible. Your house rules should state that your Dane is to be left alone in their safe place and allowed to relax. Just like humans, every now and then, your Dane just wants some time to themselves.
2) Train Your Children
Great Danes are great with children but children can be unpredictable. It is important that your children learn to respect your Dane and give them space when they need it. Your children should not be allowed to run around or run away from your Dane in an effort to encourage a game of chase. Danes are big dogs and even the gentlest of giants can inadvertently hurt a child.
Your children should be taught to respect your Dane’s space and to always allow him/her to initiate interactions. They should avoid coming face to face with any dog. To many canines this represents a challenge and they may react aggressively. Children should never be encouraged to ‘ride’ your Dane, scold your Dane, punish your Dane, or approach your Dane during feeding time.
Teach your children to teach their friends how to properly interact with your Dane as well. There are many stories of dogs chasing or biting a child simply because they were rough-housing nearby.
3) Don’t Punish A Growl
Despite some victim stories depicting dog attacks that ‘come out of nowhere’ canines almost always give some type of warning sign prior to aggressive or unwanted behavior – a growl is a good example. You and your children should be able to recognize these signs and know what to do when they are given. Other warning signs that your Dane is getting irritated might be signs of discomfort, walking away, showing teeth, or an uncomfortable stare.
If your Dane is showing these signs of discomfort you should diffuse the situation. Allow your Dane to go outside or to his/her safe place and redirect your children to some other activity.
4) Train Your Dane
Training your Dane is one of the best ways to build respect and report. Encouraging your children to participate in regular training with your Dane teaches your Dane that your children are to be respected as well. In addition, it teaches your children how to properly handle your family pet. This type of bonding is irreplaceable and will go a long way toward ensuring a safe and loving relationship between your human children and your canine children.
Don’t misunderstand. Great Danes truly are family dogs and they are very good with children. Still, following these simple guidelines will help both your children and your Dane to better understand and respect one another.