My Incredibly Emotionally Needy Great Dane Puppy.

I have a beautiful (or so everyone says) 6-month-old Great Dane puppy. (She's black, so we call her Raven.) I'm SOOOO happy that I started training her the day we got her because she weighs 70 pounds now, and that's only 30 pounds less than I weigh!

She does 'puppy things', and although she's never chewed any of our belongings... Let me tell you I've been shocked about this... She has NO IDEA of how big she is. She's very obedient, although she gets out of hand once in a while and goes running up to terrified people in the dog park... but she's just so BIG that when she wants something, it's the biggest pain in the @ss.

I'm doing my best to keep her under control and teach her all of the 'doggie politenesses' that one would expect out of any dog, but there's going to come a day when, if she feels like 'breaking loose', I'm going to be hitting the high spots on the sidewalk while she cavorts down the street.

Right now, I'm not exactly 'Hitlarian' about her training, but, as a puppy, she wants to be cuddled and loved, and to jump in bed with us when the sun comes up. It's a really tough role for me to play, but she's going to be a minimum of 120 pounds at adulthood, and I'm having trouble being the 'hard@***' that I need to be.

We never crate-trained her because my husband thought that it was a cruel way to go... and she's been GREAT about sleeping on the couch. Unfortunately she, like most Great Danes, is very vocal (not loud and barky, just 'noiseful'), and she drives me crazy with her emotional needs.

Is this normal, or have we inadvertantly spoiled her by letting her out whenever she wanted to leave the house, and by giving her attention whenever she wanted it? Any comments would be appreciated.

fishsweeper fishsweeper
56-60, F
4 Responses Apr 10, 2012

'Hitlarian' ?

Hmm.... yeah, wrong group. But anyway...

I've never owned a Great Dane, but from everything I've read, they are actually very good natured, calm dogs. But, of course, any puppy or adolescent dog is going to be difficult at times.

Don't worry about "spoiling" her. As others have suggested, clicker training is a great way to go. Positive, positive, positive, reinforcement. Avoid negative feedback at all costs. You've got to make the dog WANT to please you, not be afraid of angering you. Especially in a big dog, FEAR is your biggest enemy. Keep the dog trusting and loving, and you'll never have to worry. On the other hand, negative training can create a fearful or anxious animal. Combine that with jaws that can bite right through an man's femur, and you've got big worries.

Work on building really solid "leave it", "stay", "drop it", and "come" cues. Tons of good material is available on how to do this. I highly recommend Sophia Yin's website.

More difficult, but especially important with a big dog, is to establish loose-leash walking. The basic rule is this: if the leash is tight, you don't move. Period. There's more to it than that, but that's the basic idea. It takes a LOT of patience. But remember this - any time you let her pull you down the street, you are training her to do exactly that. She's learning that, in order to go forward, she needs to pull. Dogs do what works, so that's exactly what she'll do. Instead, you need her to learn that pulling on the leash causes you to stop. It may take you half an hour to go one block when you first start working on this, but it will pay off. Have lots of treats with you, and offer the treats only when she's behind you. Offer the treats with your hand back behind your leg, so she has to move around behind you to take the treat. Keep this up, and eventually, you'll have her trotting along by your side. Patience and repetition!!! Leash tight = brakes on!

Here's a training idea that may save your butt some time. At least once a day, when your dog isn't expecting it, suddenly yell out "Treat party!" and toss a whole pile of treats in front of your dog. Lots of their favorite goodies, all at once. A real fiesta. Keep doing this, day after day. One day your dog will get free of the leash, bolt after a cat or a kid, or be headed out into a busy street. That's when this trick pays off. "Treat Party" will have become so conditioned and so attractive to your dog, that he/she will immediately forget the cat/kid/whatever, and come to get the treats. Then you grab her, and put the leash back on. It works!

Good luck!

Hi <br />
She sounds a lovely pup, hard *** is not required but gentle and firm works well, attention only when she is doing the right thing, have a look at clicker training it may help also training in drive , these are much gentler ways of getting controllable behavior from even a big dog , advantage being they are social animals and the Danes need to please you, <br />
By the time she is 2 you will find her much more settled and with consistent training how much she outweighs you shouldn't matter , also although she will most likely never know how big she is you can teach her to know where her feet and tail are by activities like weaving and targeting as part of her training <br />
Good luck with her

I think you posted in an entirely inappropriate group. lol. You might get more responses in the "I love dogs" group, perhaps.

OOPS! What group have I posted to?

haha! This is "I Think Marijuana Should Be Legalised" =P . . I was reading your story, half expecting at any moment you'd say "...but a few puffs of my spliff really calms him down" XP