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So you’re finally going to get a Great Dane? Well, they are man’s best friend, and for good reason – they’ll love you no matter what. Bringing home a new pup requires a lot of patience and discipline to teach them good habits.
Great Danes are gentle giants of the dog world but what is this new pup going to do to your house? Will he destroy it? Well, not necessarily…
Great Danes can be a lot of work and there are guaranteed to be some accidents along the way. However, with diligent house and obedience training you can rest assured that they will not destroy your house.
Puppies have a lot of energy and they’ll require just as much training. All dogs, Great Danes or not, can have accidents during potty training or they may swipe one of your kid’s toys to use as a chew toy. Not only that but they might keep you up for a good part of the night if they’re lonely.
If any of this behavior sounds familiar than this post is for you! Read on to learn about some of the causes and what you can do to make life easier on both you and your furry friend.
Common Causes of Destructive Behavior
#1 Excess energy
Let’s just put this out there – puppies are crazy. They have loads of energy, mostly at night, right? Just remember, they’re only puppies for a short time, so even though it’s crazy and they might drive you nuts, this too shall pass.
You can help your puppy burn off some of that excess energy by playing with them. Find a ball they can chase or a favorite toy to chew on.
This would also be the perfect time to start working on some basic commands. Your Great Dane is going to be a big dog so it’s essential for him to have some listening skills before he gets really large.
Stimulating his brain with these exercises can also focus your dog and calm him down. It’s like killing two birds with one stone – you’ll start teaching him the lessons he needs to know and hopefully make him sleepy 😉
#2 Insufficient exercise
Dogs need plenty of exercise. When you’re bringing home a new puppy you need to ensure that someone will be available to play with the dog. That means either going for walks regularly throughout the day or letting the puppy run around in the yard.
Puppies that don’t get enough exercise can become destructive. They can focus all that unused energy on doing things that you don’t want like chewing furniture and chasing other pets.
One word of caution specific to Great Danes is to be careful with forced running at an early age. This can lead to joint damage and should be avoided at all costs. For additional tips around the specifics or running with your Great Dane, take a look at our dedicated article on the topic here.
#3 Lack of House Training
Training a new dog is tiring. It may be difficult but puppies require consistency in order to succeed at potty training. They should be on a schedule and taken outside after all their meals and as soon as they wake up.
Without a schedule, there are bound to be accidents which will lead to frustration on your part.
One tactic that has been used successfully is tying a bell to your door. Every time you need to take your puppy outside, ring the bell with his paw. Doing this consistently each time he needs to use the potty will eventually lead him to associate the door with going outside.
It’ll also serve as an alert to you that he’s ready to go. The only drawback is that you must consistently be ready to go outside – that means every single time he rings the bell, even if he seems like he’s just playing with it.
Crate training is also a popular method. Setting up your pup’s crate as a safe space allows him to rest and sleep in there. Dogs usually don’t dirty where they sleep so it’s the perfect opportunity for you to notice your pup’s potty cues.
If you need to purchase a crate, then look no further than the Ginormous Crate by Midwest Homes. It’s the best crate by a wide margin, and the one that I recommend to everyone who asks. You can also refer to my best Great Dane crate review for more information.
The Ginormous Crate by Midwest homes is the best XXL crate on the market today by a wide margin! It's large enough to hold a fully grown Great Dane, and its durable metal construction ensures that it will last many years of use.
- Large size: 54 inches long, 37 inches wide, 45 inches tall
- Metal construction for added strength and durability
- Offers single and double door options for ease of access
- Leakproof removable tray included
- Adjustable divider panel not included by default (add-on available)
- Large size requires 2 people for initial assembly
The time you put into potty training will be worth it when you have a dog that can consistently go outside and use the bathroom without accidents inside your house.
#4 Separation anxiety
Consider what your puppy is going through – he’s just been adopted by you into a loving home. The thing is, he doesn’t know you, he has been around his mother and brothers and sisters since he’s been born. It must be scary to be taken out of the only home you’ve known and brought into another.
If you keep this in mind it’s no wonder that your new pup might cry at night or cause some destruction while he’s left alone. There are some things you can do to help him feel better when you’re not there.
Nighttime may be the worst for your puppy. It’s dark and he’s in a scary new place. If he’s in a crate then it may be your best bet to have that setup near you.
That way you can comfort him when he starts to whine. If that’s not possible then putting a piece of your clothing with your scent on it may give him some relief.
Another idea that can work is buying him a stuffed animal toy that has a heartbeat inside. These toys may remind him of curling up with his brothers and sisters.
The soothing heartbeat will calm him and make him less anxious. You’ll find that this will become one of his favorite toys.
If you’re at work during the day it might be a good idea to have either family or friends drop in on your new addition. Not only will this help with potty training but it’ll also get your puppy familiar with others and provide much needed exercise.
If you don’t have anyone available there are dog services available that’ll come to your house and either walk him or just spend some time with him.
If you’re really concerned about your dog’s wellbeing while you’re away and have the means to provide it, there are always doggy daycares. This would be a great way for your dog to learn how to “play nicely” with other pets.
Whatever you decide, the key is to keep it consistent. If you want your Great Dane to grow up into a well behaved dog, the training starts while he’s a puppy.
Ways to Get Your Home Ready for a Great Dane
#1 Toys and Equipment
Your new doggie will need lots of toys to chew on and play with. Be sure to buy a variety of options to see which one he likes best. Here is a list of some of our favorite toys for Great Danes as a starting point.
You’ll also need to get puppy food and treats. Check with your vet and either the breeder or shelter where you get your pup to see what they’ve been feeding him.
He’ll also need a snazzy new collar and leash for all the walks you two will be going on! You should also have his crate setup ahead of time in a quiet area of your house.
#2 Have a Plan for when you are not There
As we suggested earlier, if you’ll be at work and won’t be able to take the new pup out, you’ll need to make some sort of arrangements.
Whether that includes family or friends or a dog walker, you’ll need to have that in place before the new puppy arrives!
#3 Pick a Vet
Your Great Dane is sure to need some shots so you’ll have to take him to the vet within the first few weeks. You can ask around for recommendations or read reviews on the internet.
It may be a good idea to contact the vet ahead of time to see if they have any advice regarding your new family member.
In the event that your dog does get sick, it’s important to already have a relationship established with a vet so you know exactly where to take him.
#4 Puppy Proof!
Your new doggie is bound to get into trouble but you can help minimize it by puppy proofing your home. That means getting down on your hands and knees and checking out all the hazards that will be at his level.
You may need to remove breakable objects or put gates up by the stairs.
If you have children you’ll need to talk to them about the new pup, not to overwhelm him his first few days in the house. You may also need to move any of their toys, especially those with small pieces, to another space.
It’s never too early to start training. First, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to do it. Do you plan on using a clicker and then rewarding with treats?
If so, you’ll need to make sure that everyone in the house is on board with the plan and ready to implement it. You’ll also need to have the clicker and treats ready to go.
If you don’t take the time to train your Great Dane than the likelihood of issues increases exponentially. But if you’re consistent and have the patience and understanding to guide your new puppy through this difficult and exciting time then you’ll end up with a sweet, well behaved, gentle giant.
Great Danes can be wonderful pets as long as you accept the commitment and responsibility necessary to make them great companions.