ARE GREAT DANE GOOD FOR FIRST TIME OWNERS

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TEMPERAMENT  We’ll start with temperament. It is no surprise when I tell you that Great Dane’s are known as gentle giants. That is the alure of having a dog as big, or even bigger, than yourself! They make beautiful additions to the family, their peaceful disposition and relentless attempts at being a lap dog will just make them a joy to be around! Who could have a bad day when your 60kg Great Dane is desperate to share your spot on the sofa?? They’re very people orientated and will even go so far as to defending your home and family should they feel they need to! They were historically utilised as guard dogs for noble families and some aspect of that is still present in the breed today. There will only be a few times they will bark, they don’t tend to bark for the sake of it, and that will be to get your attention to what that may deem as a threat! Y ou can expect them to be vocal with sassy back chat that comes out as grumbling, which will come from a good natured place I promise!  TRAINING/ EXERCISE  As a puppy, once they’re cleared to meet and greet other people and other dogs, it is so so important to socialise them correctly. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean meeting as many dogs and as many people as possible! It’s more that they need to explore the world around them in a positive way to ensure you have a well-rounded dog that’s less likely to be reactive. A Great Dane can be a good guard once they’re fully grown, meaning they can be wary of strangers! It’s best to be aware of this and the best way to overcome it is to socialise them with people in a positive environment when they’re young! They may still guard the household with their booming barks but they may become less likely to be hostile to anyone outside their immediate family.  Now even though they have an impressive size, they can be sensitive to harsh training techniques. They love their owners and so a positive approach will allow for better results! You will want to train them from a young age to make sure they’re manageable by the time they get to their full size! Whilst they aren’t overly intelligent, they will require a level of experience that may overwhelm someone that isn’t used to being around dogs. Their size alone can make them a daunting task. But for those more familiar with dogs will be more likely to harbour a good training relationship and therefore create a happy, well-trained dog.  But don’t be fooled for their lazy appearance, they still need at least an hours exercise per day. Jogging is one of the best training to do with these dogs as human walking can be too slow to truly give them suitable aerobic exercise. Be wary not to let them bound about too much before they fully mature. It is also important not to over-exercise this breed, the strain on their joints simply due to their size can cause some discomfort if you regularly take them on hikes!  CARE/ SUITABILITY To begin with, let us explore hip and elbow dysplasia. Great Dane’s commonly suffer from this disorder. It comes from the joints in the hips and elbows not fitting together harmoniously. If left untreated, it can cause arthritis and even lameness. It is important that for the first couple years of their lives, Great Dane pups shouldn’t be allowed to charge about, jump on and off the sofa, charge up the stairs ect. And as hard as that may be, it can help prevent any future joint problems. Whilst this is a hereditary issue, meaning that preventing it is to ensure that any breeding bitches and studs get full hip and elbow scores before being mated, owners still need to be aware and do their bit to prevent unnecessary suffering. If you should notice your Great Dane becoming stiff, sore, or reluctant to get up ect, it is always best to get them seen by your vet!  Another major concern I will share with you is GDV, or bloat. A way in which you can help prevent this from happening is to slow feed your dog. This will stop them swallowing excess air if they are allowed to quickly wolf down their food! Elevating food and water bowls can help prevent a Great Dane from swallowing air into their stomach. For a wet or raw diet, you may even want to look into slow feeder bowls, they are extremely effective. But for a dry diet, large kong wobblers are brilliant for their brains and their stomachs! Now, let’s say you’ve researched and located a reputable breeder that will give you a gangly, lovable Great Dane puppy, you have to be able to give them the best home. Again, in the early stages, it is best to ask a reputable breeder who they think the breed is perfect for. They will know the breed inside and out, meaning they can make sure suitable homes are found. Great Danes are known as gentle giants; however, they also tend to not know how big they are! A family with very small children may want to either until their children at least stand taller than a Great Dane just to minimise any accidents that could occur. You want to be able to allow space for a dog that can reach up to 3 feet in height and 3 feet length. They will want to share your spot on the sofa!  As much as you might prefer one breed over another, you have to be somewhat objective when looking at your suitability. If you live in an apartment with limited space or have no access to a garden, you may want to downsize the breed you’re after. However, if you have a decent sized, open plan property with either a bigger than average garden or easy access to secure, open parks, a Great Dane could become your best friend!  OVERVIEW Let’s recap what we’ve gone through today.  Their gentle giant nature is alluring to a lot of people, they can be affectionate to all members of the family but may overwhelm smaller children! Whilst they aren’t known for barking they will alert to threats and will give sassy grumbling that will keep you entertained all day! Socialisation is key for this breed, plenty of positive exposure is what will allow your pup to grow into a well-rounded adult. Positive training is the best to get the most out of the breed, harsh correction isn’t the way to go with a Great Dane. You do want to be consistent though, a fully grown unruly Great Dane can quickly become unmanageable! You have to be realistic when thinking of owning a Great Dane, their impressive size makes them best for people that have experience with dogs and how best to accommodate them. They aren’t unsuitable for first time dog owners, but they do come with their own challenges that first time owners should be aware of! 

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