The following are some DO’s and DON’Ts to help expedite the bonding process with your new companion.
- Dane-Proof your home – A Great Dane’s tail can clear a coffee table quicker than any human.
- Be liberal with praise and petting.
- Be calm at all times when correcting inappropriate behavior.
- Provide consistent structure and guidance.
- Reassure the dog and provide calm-down time periodically/as necessary.
- In the initial stages of your relationship, keep tidbits with you for rewards.
- Have a dry, soft bed for the dog to sleep on and introduce it as soon as possible to where you expect it to sleep (Danes usually make their own choice on this!!).
- Keep the toileting area clean by picking up daily.
- Let your dog see that life will be fun with you by taking it on walks, playing with a ball or other favourite toys.
- Establish a daily routine with the dog – they all like to know what to expect.
- Make outside activities part of your daily routine.
- Make fresh, clean water available at all times.
- Feed at approximately the same times every day – e.g. 8:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
- Keep your new pet on the food previously being fed until the dog has settled into its new home. You can introduce new food gradually after this.
- Feed your pet a high-grade dog food. It’s false economy to use a ‘cheap’ food – they have many fillers such corn, maize.
- Have a variety of toys available.
- Devote daily time to your new family member. Dogs, especially Danes, love human company.
- Introduce your new dog to your vet.
- Have vet and emergency clinic phone numbers readily available in the event of a medical problem.
- Encourage anything that is not desirable in the long run. Training your dog to put his/her paws on your shoulders may seem cute to you, but if he/she does that with a child, it could be construed as aggression.
- Kill your dog with kindness – canine obesity will shorten your dog’s life considerably.
- Let your dog chew on rawhide bones unsupervised (preferably ever!).
- You should eat before your dog so that it ‘knows who is the boss’. This may be true in the wild, where ‘alpha’ animals eat before the rest of the pack, but your Dane is a domesticated animal, and this philosophy is simply untrue. If you feed the dog first, you can then eat while it’s having quiet time and you don’t have to feel guilty about not sharing your meal. If you can’t resist giving table scraps, choose carefully which ones you give. Foods in the cabbage family can cause harmful gas and should be avoided. You may put them in your dog’s bowl after you have finished eating, or add the scraps to their next meal.
- Great Danes are just couch potatoes and don’t need much exercise. This is absolute nonsense! For the ongoing health of your Dane, and indeed any dog, they need daily exercise, unless a medical reason dictates otherwise. They ARE couch potatoes—on their down time, but need a healthy balance or you may find them chewing on the very couch they should be sleeping on! Exercise should be in the form of lengthy walks (preferably 3-4 km) twice per day, Play periods in your back yard will not provide adequate exercise. Ongoing, daily exercise will give your dog a much better chance of living a longer life with fewer medical problems. If there are medical issues, a physically fit dog stands a much better chance of recovering.