Friday, July 1, 2011

Mr2Poe: Raising Monsters

So you're thinking of getting a Great Dane?

Just some things to consider... It will make huge messes until potty trained. It will cost more money at the beginning for shots and vet visits than smaller dogs. (Most medicines, including heart worm medication, are dosed by the pound. If you get a female for example, I think we paid $250 to get her fixed at around 5 months old.) It will need to be properly trained and trained early. (I spent a lot of time with Layla in order for her to consistently obey commands.) If the dog is too big to control physically, then it is extremely difficult to teach basic "dog etiquette". It needs to learn to behave on a leash early. This is especially important for smaller owners. (We had this problem, but now Mrs. Poe can walk her without issue.)

While these negative aspects exist, don't let them scare you away.
I will tell you that I will own a Dane for the rest of my life, Lord willing. She is the most loyal, obedient, friendly, and beautiful dog I have ever seen (I'm not biased at all). She is great with kids, other dogs, and even crabby adults. While training, she was not overly obstinate, and learned very quickly. She is so gentle and sweet, and she gives great hugs - it's just like a big hairy person. That is probably my wife's favorite part of owning Layla. I would definitely recommend purchasing or rescuing a Monster Dog.

Here are some tips that we found useful when raising our Dane:

Ground Rules
-No Danes on furniture
-No Danes on beds
-No Dane mouthing (She can put your whole hand in her mouth)
-No unauthorized Dane barking (it's loud)

These rules were beneficial for several reasons. We wanted a people friendly environment, and most people aren't used to really large dogs. This keeps Layla from thinking she is everyone's lap dog, and makes our house an inviting place to visit, even to those who aren't dog lovers like us.

-After shots, it is best to socialize him/her with other dogs
----Danes can have dominance issues with other dogs
----This is more prominent with males
Crate training our Dane made it easier
----Provides a "comfort zone" for him/her when frightened
----Allows you to get them out of the way when a problem arises
--------Dealing with broken glass, etc.
--------Dealing with children's messes
----Helps with potty training (they won't potty in their crate)
-Potty training
----Take out as soon as they exit the crate
----Use a leash at first (even in a yard)
--------You can keep them from wandering
--------He/she realizes the purpose for going outside
----Use a "key word" (like potty)
----Begin by taking him/her to the same spot
----Keep to a schedule
-Using a baby gate when a Dane is small will teach them
-boundaries even when they are older (baby elephant syndrome)

-We prefer large/giant breed Iams brand food.
----Didn't hurt her stomach
----Easily available
-First ingredient was chicken
----Plenty of calcium; no supplement needed
----Mid-level pricing; coupons available
--------More expensive food could reducing gas, waste size
--------Less expensive food has byproducts and fillers

-Don't feed too much protein; 26% in Iams worked well for us
-Don't over feed
-Keep to a schedule
-Don't exercise him/her 30min before or after you feed
-Dane's are lazy
----Don't require food intake of high-energy dogs
----Layla eats 40lbs of food every 3-3.5 weeks

-Don't over exercise
----Great Danes are well known for having hip issues
----Heart failure from over exhaustion can occur
-Danes don't do well in extreme hot and cold
----Not having an undercoat makes it difficult to regulate temp.

Do you have a Dane or other large dog? What tips have you found useful?


  1. Ryan has been so helpful to my husband and me as we decided to get a Monster Dog! All of these tips are great and have worked well with our Baloo. I actually had to do a double take of that last picture of Layla- looks just like our big boy!

  2. @Brooke

    I know he's been happy to help! He love Loves LOVES Danes :) And, by the way, your pix of Baloo are so cute! I miss the tiny monster days...