Here are some important tips about raising your new Great Dane puppy to help ensure they grow up to be healthy and happy family members.
When it comes to play time, moderation is absolute key. A very good rule of thumb to follow is for every month in age, add 5 minutes of play per day. This is for hard play like running as fast as their uncoordinated paws can carry them or playing an epic game of tug. Leisure play with a toy or easy walks do not count in this rule of thumb. Once they turn 1 year old, this rule does not really apply anymore although things like running up and down stairs repeatedly and jumping up and down from any significant height should also be avoided no matter their age as this can cause damage to their developing joints.
Feeding your puppy is really what works best for the puppy. Most puppies prefer getting food 2 to 3 times per day, 2 being average. As for your breeder, feeding time is generally done 2 times per day. As they get closer to a year in age, some dogs prefer having only 1 meal per day either in the morning or in the evening and that is perfectly OK. Some dogs like to graze and nibble little bits here and there throughout the day although this method of feeding is discouraged. (Please feel free to discuss the reasons behind this with your breeder). If feeding a raw diet, fasting every 10 days from food once your new baby is at least a year old is very beneficial to your dog’s digestive system. When it comes time to feed your puppy, be sure to not let them run around like crazy for an hour before and after it is time to eat and never let them drink large amounts of water at one time. Be sure to leave time, about 30 minutes to an hour, after feeding your puppy to take them outside for a potty break. To help discourage your new baby from becoming a picky eater, leave their food down for them to eat for only 10 minutes. And make sure you time it. Once that 10 minutes is up, take the bowl away and put it up somewhere so the dog cannot reach it. If you are feeding raw and there is still food left inside the bowl, simply put it in the fridge and add it to the top of the next meal. If feeding kibble, cover with a bag and leave up high. This encourages your dog to eat when it is time to eat. If any point during your dog’s life, you need them to eat at a very specific time for one reason or another, you have already taught your dog that mealtime is for eating and nothing else.
*If feeding raw and your puppy has only had kibble, the best way to transition is either one meal raw and the second meal kibble 12 hours apart or simply fast your puppy from food only for 12 hours and then continue to feed raw. Discuss with your breeder for further details on which is the best way to switch. If your puppy has already been introduced to raw with the breeder, then you have no worries and can continue to feed as normal.
Which brings us to house training. Consistency is gold! As soon as your puppy wakes up, they need to be taken outside on a leash. Always bring them out on a leash during potty breaks so they can learn that it is time for potty and not play. Puppies get distracted very easily and with being on a leash, you can keep redirecting their attention to the task at hand (this includes training as well). When doing potty time, pick key words such as “go poopin' ”, “go pee pees” as examples to cue your puppy it is time for bathroom breaks and not play. Use any word but be consistent with whichever words you use and always use the same words just as you would teaching a puppy to sit or stay. Having treats on hand also work wonders for potty training. Once they do their business, happy, proud exciting voice is the way to go with lots and lots of praise. Your voice and physical praise (petting, scratches...) are number one with giving treats here and there. If you do give treats, make sure to give them AFTER your puppy has done their business. The trick is to have the treat ready to go in your hand and as soon as they are done, BAM! Treat time!
It is never too early to start teaching your puppy their manners and best way to do this is training. Obedience training classes are the most effective way to train your puppy what is acceptable behavior and what is not. It is also amazing for building confidence in your puppy and one of the biggest bonuses is the boned training helps build and strengthen between you and your puppy.
Bringing a new puppy home is exciting and fun for everyone in the family…. except maybe not your dog that is already a part of your family. Like a new baby can cause jealousy with an older child, the same thing can very easily happen between dogs and a lot of people do not realize they have either caused it to happen or have made it worse. There are many things you can do to ensure you do not have to correct an issue with jealousy as it is much easier to avoid than it is to correct.
When your new puppy comes home, have your resident dog meet the puppy in an open and safe space. You will want to avoid public spaces because your new puppy is not fully protected yet not being fully vaccinated. If you have a relative that you know well and they have a secure yard, that is a great place to allow the two to meet for the first time. Avoiding the home as small spaces can lead to insecurity which leads to fear and there you can experience aggression. You do not want your resident dog feeling trapped or cornered. It is not a great feeling for anyone and can lead to lasting resentment towards the new puppy. You want to bring the resident dog to the puppy, not the other way around.
Now, the nitty-gritty. After you have introduced your resident dog to the new puppy, here is where it really matters on what you do. Everything you do with the dogs; you do with the resident dog first. THEN the puppy. Jealousy is created when everyone flocks to the puppy and the resident dog gets pushed to the backburner. SO, we make sure that does not happen. Resident dog gets addressed first, let outside first, fed first, petted first, gets to walk out of the house first. Now, when I say first, I do not mean first from everyone. They need to keep their place in the family below the people. SO, when going for a walk for example, the people go outside, then the resident dog and then the puppy. This will ensure and comfort and reinforce to the resident dog that the new puppy is not above them in the pack and to help teach the new puppy where their place is so when that puppy does hit puberty and starts pushing boundaries, there is a lot less of a chance that there will be altercations between the resident dog and the now adolescent teenager puppy.
At any point during your new puppy’s life, and generally more often when they are babies, they will get red, puss-filled bumps on their chin that look like pimples you would find and may have had as a teenager yourself…..the dreaded pimples. It is absolutely common for this to happen to your puppy and can happen quite often in the younger years and last for as long as until they are 3 years old. The best course of action to help your puppers prevent these is to make sure their food and water bowls are either stainless steel or ceramic. If feeding kibble, make sure you wash and disinfect their bowls every few days. If feeding raw, their bowls should be washed and disinfected after every meal. To give them relief from these annoying little bumps, after they eat and drink, wipe their face. The best thing to use for their face is to go to the Dollar store and pick up a bottle of Rubbing Alcohol and a package of UNSCENTED baby wipes. Open the baby wipes and pour the ENTIRE bottle of Rubbing Alcohol into the package of baby wipes and mix it around. Now, a few times a day, especially after eating and drinking, wipe their chin and lips with a wipe and it will not only help prevent them pesky pimples, but it will also help get rid of the ones that make it through.
Crate training your new puppy is not bad or cruel! The first couple of nights it is a great idea to have the crate right next to your bed. This is so you can comfort your new puppy during the night. Remember, they went from sleeping with their siblings to being alone. When your puppy stirs in the middle of the night, do not jump up to let them out. They sleep through the night when they were still with the breeder so with that in mind, all you need to do without saying a word is stick your hand or fingers into the crate to let your puppy know they are not alone. This is a great way to ensure your puppy is safe when you are not able to watch and mind them and to make sure they are not getting into anything when you are too busy to mind or not home. The other bigger benefit of crate training is that if at any point your puppy needs to go to a boarding place or even have any kind of vet work done that, they would be required to stay at the vet longer than a couple hours, they will be put into a kennel, which is essentially a crate. No one wants to work on healing and getting better while having to work through a situation that has never been experienced and can be very stressful for a dog that has never been in a crate. Crates are taught to the dog as being a safe place and not a place of fear or punishment. Much like you when you think of your bedroom. Crates are also great in families with children and teaching the child boundaries of the dog. When the dog is in their crate, they are to be left alone. It gives the dog a safe and clear way to let everyone in the household want to be left alone. We all have our times we want to just be left alone, and a crate helps clearly communicate that to everyone in the house that they are in their room because they want to be left alone and this ensures the children and the dog are safe from any miscommunications that can result in any unpleasant or scary experiences.
This is key for a well-balanced adult dog, to start socialization early...but not too early. Let me explain. :) When you bring your new puppy home, everyone is going to be excited and thrilled and rightly so as it is an exciting time. At the same time, you also need to keep in mind important things to ensure your new puppy stays safe during an exciting time and a time you want to show your new puppy off to the world. Do not worry, you will get through it!!!! I promise! There are certain new situations to which all puppies should be exposed, if possible, preferably during the first 16 weeks of life, and the good news is that most of these can be accomplished in and around your own home. Each positive experience builds your puppy’s self-confidence. These exposures include:
Treats and Manners Training
Ah, yes. The world of treats. Such tasty little morsels. The biggest thing to remember when it comes to treats and your canine bestie, regardless of their age, less really is more! Here is what I mean. Treats are something that should be seen as something of great reward and value. Not something you want to hand out willie- nillie! You also want to keep your treat options a wide variety. The uncertainty of what the reward is, is the best form of training as that is what treats will be used for in the beginning. And with a wide variety of treats, your puppers never knows what is coming and this will help keep their attention. Remember the most important part about training is the length of time you are actually doing the training and keep the time in mind with the age of your bestie. The younger your bestie is, the shorter amount of time they are actually able to concentrate and keep focus. We need and must set them up to succeed as much as possible! The best rule of thumb for how long your sessions should be is really on each individual puppy. Do not try to do training while they are bouncing off the walls full of energy as they will not be able to focus on anything in particular as their minds are literally all over the place and trying to any kind of formal training at that energy level will only be frustrating for you both. No matter how long you do your sessions, always and I mean ALWAYS end them on a good note for both you and your puppers. It is VERY important you do not get angry to your puppers for making mistakes or acting up. They do not know yet what their new rules of the house are and you must give them the opportunity to clearly learn those rules without punishment. Mistakes are not bad and not the end of the world. Punishment can cause a puppy to be fearful if not done in the right context. Best rule of thumb is this: for every action there is a reaction. Your reaction is what determines the future of that action. There is no such thing as balanced positive training. Watch a dog correct another dog or a mother correct a puppy. It is simply speaking in a language the puppy clearly understands. If you need any more clarification on how this works, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Here are some great treat options:
(these are best cut into small pieces)
Cooked Chicken breast
Small cooked plain meatballs
Freeze Dried Liver/ Chicken/ Lung/ Lamb/ Cheese/ Salmon/ Duck
Roll Over products as some you can cut the size of the treat yourself
Don’t forget about frozen carrots for when your puppy starts teething!!!!
And any small morsel that your dog really enjoys and will have no problem and willing to do tasks for a piece
Of course your physical praise (petting) and verbal praise (good boy/ girl/ puppers….)
Also a favourite toy, but if you are going to use a toy, make sure it is not a toy they have free access to