The Great Dane is often referred to as the "gentle giant," known for its natural protective instincts when the need arises. This breed is characterized by its affectionate nature and love for people, traits that should always be nurtured without encouraging aggressive behavior.
Great Danes have an affinity for children, but it's essential to teach them to interact gently with kids. Due to their size, their wagging tails, while friendly, can inadvertently knock over young children. Therefore, close supervision during these interactions is crucial. These sizable dogs can also adapt to living harmoniously with other pets, especially when introduced from an early age.
Maintaining a secure fenced yard is a necessity to prevent a Great Dane from wandering on its own. They typically do not have a reputation for being jumpers, so a standard six-foot fence is generally sufficient to keep them safely contained. It's worth noting that while adult Great Danes are known for their relaxed demeanor, puppies are highly energetic and may engage in activities like digging and "landscaping."
Despite their massive size, Great Danes thrive as indoor dogs when they are considered integral members of the family. In such an environment, they exhibit affectionate behavior, learn quickly, and tend to adapt well to house training. However, when left to their own devices outdoors, they may unintentionally cause extensive damage to both your home and yard.
Regardless of their temperament, any dog can develop undesirable behaviors like excessive barking, digging, or counter surfing when they become bored, lack proper training, or are left unsupervised. Adolescence can be a challenging phase for Great Danes, with the "teen" years typically starting around six months of age and continuing until they are approximately two years old.
It is advisable to initiate training for your Great Dane puppy as soon as they join your household, ideally beginning at eight weeks of age. Delaying training until they are six months old may result in a more stubborn and headstrong dog. Enrolling them in a puppy kindergarten class at 10 to 12 weeks old can be highly beneficial, focusing on socialization. It's essential to note that some puppy training classes may require specific vaccinations to be up-to-date, and veterinarians might recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until all required vaccinations, including rabies, distemper, and parvovirus, have been administered.
When selecting a Great Dane puppy, engage in a dialogue with the breeder and clearly communicate your preferences. Breeders, who interact with the puppies daily, can offer valuable recommendations tailored to your lifestyle and personality. The ideal Great Dane is not born fully formed but is shaped by its lineage and breeding. Seek out a puppy with amiable parents and a history of early socialization for the best fit as a companion.