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Great Dane dogs prefer living in a social environment, and generally consider "their" humans as part of the family. In some families, they share their lives with humans as well as other dogs. In these social settings, it helps them to know who is the pack leader in their social group.
Dogs, in their natural state, are pack animals. Well-trained dogs are taught to look at the humans as their leaders. This should be accomplished early on, not by showing any type of physical domination, but by being the leader mentally. Being bossy is not the same as being a leader. Simply trying to enforce your will on a dog does not necessarily communicate to her that you are truly the pack leader.
Helping the dog to gently and consistently know what is acceptable behavior, will actually help your dog be more comfortable. You should always watch your dogs body language for signs of stress and anxiety. For a dog, as for people, not knowing what is expected of you can be very stressful, as can mixed messages.
Owning a great dane makes the job of becoming the Pack leader easier. Being as the Great Dane wants nothing more then to please you she will gladly let you take the lead.
Remember the three rules: Exercise, Discipline, and only then Affection. Affection is something we humans do for our own satisfaction.
Being the pack leader does not mean putting the dog in its place, or shouting at it. It means being the authority figure in the dog’s life.
Pack Leader Tips
Dogs, in packs, have leaders. The leadership role in dog packs is one of great influence. Other dogs in the pack naturally subordinate themselves to leadership and will look to their leader for guidance and instruction.
15 Ways to help you become the Pack Leader of your Great Dane Dogs Family:
- A Pack Leader always goes first. First when going through a doorway, first when going down or up stairs, and first when walking your dog. Your dog should be behind the pack leader at all times. While walking your Great Dane dog she should be by your side or behind you. Walks like this help release pent up energy in your dog. This is the number 1 way to communicate that you are your dogs pack leader.
- When you come into the house or the room where you dog is you should ignore the dog for a few minutes (even if you only leave the room for a minute).
- Your dog should always have to work for a treat. A simple obedience command should be given before any treat is given. If she does not follow the command she should not be rewarded with a treat. The dog should always take the treat gently from your hand.
- You should have set times for your Great Dane feeding, Great Dane feeding should be done on a schedule. Do not feed table scraps to your dog (especially Great Danes) Great Danes have very sensitive stomachs and if you deviate from her normal food and treats you will have a sick Dane.
- Just like the walking and going through doorways you should always eat first. The leader always eats first. When you give your dog food, eat a small snack first while your dog watches before feeding her.
- You should never allow your dog to mouth or bite anyone at any time, including during play.
- You Great Dane should not sleep in your bed, not only because there may not be room for you but also because in the dog pack the leader sleeps in the most comfortable place. This is not to say you can not ever allow your dog on your bed. You can invite your Dane to lay in bed with you but just make her stay at the bottom of the bed and not push you out of the way.
- If you establish eye contact with your Great Dane she should look away first. When the dog looks away first it reinforces your status as pack leader.
- When walking your dog you should never allow your dog to "walk you". You should have a slack lease, not tight. Remember, the leader is always first and leads the way.
- One of the basic commands your Great Dane pups should learn is "drop it". What ever is in her/his mouth you should be able to take possession of at any time.
- You should never play tug-of-war with your Great Dane. This is a game of power and you may lose, especially if you have a Great Dane, you may end up getting hurt.
- When you put your dogs food dish down make her wait until you tell her "Ok" to eat. Put yourself in front of the food dish and make her sit first. Remember, stand tall and think "Big" you are the pack leader. If the dog does not follow your command take the food up and try again in 15 minutes.
- All games played with your Great Dane pups should start and end with you.
- If you have a very dominate dog who has a problem with growling you should not allow them to lie on the sofa. Remember, the leader of the pack gets the most comfortable spot.
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Always be firm and consistent with your dog, as this will show him that he can not get away with everything. Their submission to you should be premised in respect and appreciation, not in fear or humiliation.
By maintaining eye contact with your pet during training, he will better understand your role as leader. Likewise, it is desirable to occasionally demand your dogs attention while walking, playing or during more intense training sessions. By commanding your dog to heel and to look at you, for instance, you will further reinforce your position as pack leader.
Our dogs are incredibly finely attuned to us. That is why they need calm, assertive energy to relax. Remember: Dogs are predators in the wild, so if they become nervous, their fight-or-flight, response is almost always more likely to be fight. Nervousness in dogs will soon come out as aggression. It is how they deal with a problem.
Listen to your dogs. Listen to them carefully, for they are trying to tell you what they want. Their needs are really very simple, and if you satisfy those, you will have a happy and harmonious relationship.
I have a Female Great Dane and her name is Kitty. She will be 2 in July '10. Her mother is a Blue Dane and her dad is a Black Dane. This is a picture of her here and there are lots of pictures of her on this website. This space is called Kittys Corner because when ever I am at my computer working (which is most of the time) Kitty is laying or sitting beside me with her head on my lap. So I made her a corner so she can voice what is going on in her world.
The weather is so warm and sunny. I was getting tired of the cold and being stuck in the house. Now mom has been back taking me on our walks I missed our walks. Have you been doing anything fun lately? Will you send me your pictures so I can see them? Mom even said something about starting a contest. How fun! So start taking some pictures, or if you already have some, send them in so I can see them. Send in a Picture
Remember the three rules: Exercise, Discipline, and only then Affection. Affection is something we humans do for our own satisfaction. Being the pack leader does not mean putting the dog in its place, or shouting at it. It means being the authority figure in the dog’s life.
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Most Common Meal Time Mistakes
In a dog pack, animals of lower rank always respect the food that belongs to those above them, and nobody ever bothers a pack leader while he is eating. By creating firm rules, boundaries, and limitations around the feeding ritual, you are not only providing your dog with nutrition, you are also helping him lead a more balanced and happy life.
- Not letting your dog work for their food. In nature, all animals work for food and water. For canines this means migrating in search of a meal. You can re-create this experience for your dog by taking a long walk. By properly challenging your dog before mealtime, you are allowing your dog to stay in tune with mother nature.
- Associating food with excitement. Many humans talk and gesture in an excited way when providing food for their dog. They create and encourage the dog’s excited state, which can lead to problems or exacerbate existing ones. You need to be calm, and you should ask your dog to maintain calm energy before feeding time.
- Rewarding negative behaviors. Excitement is just one of the states that should not be rewarded with food. Dogs will often become anxious, territorial, or aggressive at the prospect of being fed. If you feed your dog when he displays negative behaviors, you are reinforcing the behavior, and it will almost certainly reoccur.
- Not establishing a routine. While you fill the bowl, ask your dog to sit. If he sits quietly and projects calm submissive energy with no negative behaviors, place the bowl of food in front of him.
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