Raising your Great Dane
Before you come home, have his place all set up for him… a little bed, a food and water area. I have dry kibble and fresh water out in stainless steel bowls for my dogs at all all times.
As soon as you get him home, take him outside in his yard. I will have a little newspaper with puppy pee on it in a plastic bag. Take this and put it in an area of the yard where you want him to do his business. The familiar scent will let him know this is the spot. And once established he will know this is an ok spot (as opposed to your carpet or floor).
Walk him around outside until he goes (as he will be ready after his trip)… and then praise him profusely… then you can introduce him to his little bed and food and drink area. As he is learning, praise him every time he goes… “what a GOOD DOG.”
DO NOTE THAT YOUNG PUPS DO NOT HAVE THEIR IMMUNE SYSTEMS DEVELOPED. He will have his first set of shots, but until the third set of shots you should not take him to public places and give him minimum exposure to other dogs, except your own. He is at risk for PARVO until his immune system is completely developed at 1 year of age. Talk to your vet about this. He is more protected (but not completely) after his third set of shots. Also, at your first visit with her vet determine his schedule for the next two sets of shots.
BACK TO THE PUP’S place– he needs to know his spot to sleep and be. Some people crate. I never have as I find too many folks over do this and leave the dog in the crate for too long… but the crate can be a spot of comfort if done right… if the dog has a nice spot to sleep one that is comfy and soft. Danes need a soft spot to lie down as they have no padding on their elbows and if forced to lie down on concrete or hard floors they can easily develop a swollen elbow “tennis elbow.”
DO NOTE– that the pup is accustomed to being with his mother and siblings full time. He will want the warmth and the heart beat. If he is just in a crate he will want to be close to the rest of the pack. I will sleep next to my pup or let my pup sleep with me or she will sleep with her mother. You should at least have a water bottle or blanket for warmth and an old wind up clock or one that ticks will simulate the heart beat. Making it easier for the pup to adjust will make your life easier.
On housebreaking… it will be a minimal issue if you do it right.
Establish a protocol of taking the pup outside to his place: a) when he wakes up b) after he eats c) after a big drink d) after a play time or time of excitement. He will soon think that you will take him out after each of these times and he will wait to go outside. Also if he is pacing, sniffing, pick him up immediately and place him outside as he is looking for place to go. Puppies need to go more often than adult dogs and males go more often than females.
Also a dog door is most helpful, as the dog goes out when he needs to. You will just have to put him through the door a few times and he will get the idea. Having a dog door makes it much easier. If you do not want one… you must establish a protocol for your dog to let you know he needs to go outside. I have had dog doors for over 10 years, but before that the dog either a) sat by the door b) scratched at the door or c) rang a string of reindeer bells hanging on the door. Dog doors are really helpful and I strongly recommend you have it already installed by a pro before the dog gets there. Get the largest dog door available.
If he does have an accident tell him firmly NO, OUTSIDE, and then take him OUTSIDE. Ammonia is the best thing to kill the smell for the dog on the accident and Lemon Mr. Clean is not as obnoxious. If the smell gets established he will cling to the idea that this really is his spot. If the dog has a second accident I would give him a swat with a newpaper. He does not like the sound and the negative attention and quickly learns. It also does not physically harm the dog. Never push a dog’s nose in their own poop (which some people do) as a training vehicle… because then the dog thinks he should eat the poop. Always quickly clean up any accident with an ammonia based product.
When you take him OUTSIDE, use the word OUTSIDE.
The more your talk to your pup the smarter he will become and the more he will understand you. The pup’s great-grandmother LOLA knew some 400 words at six months and I spoke to her in complete sentences… I switched to spelling for some words and when I spelled “GO to the park” Lola who was napping jumped up and stood by her leash… My sister that I was visiting said, “My stars that dog of yours even spells.” And it was true, she did!
Danes can be sloppy drinkers so a tile floor with a towel under the water bowl is ideal. IAMs Large breed puppy will be his main food for his first two weeks or so with you… along with milkbones. He will especially like IAMs for puppies milkbones.
After the first few weeks (as he reaches four months of age) he should switch (gradually by mixing kibbles over a few days) to a high quality kibble like Purina One for large breed adults. Switching to adult food helps to regulate the high growth rate of Great Dane puppies.
You can integrate canned dog food and I like pedigree.
You want to keep his diet simple. So the same brand of canned dog food over time. The canned has more nutrients, and is not boiled at high temperature as are all kibbles. I like to feed a mixture of boiled chicken and rice as a dollop over the kibble. Chicken and rice is highly digestible which is good for Danes and young developing dogs. I tend to a) keep dry kibble out at all times and b) keep fresh water out at all times. My dogs tend to want to wait for the moist kibble with warm water and some canned or some chicken and rice… they use the kibble as a back up… but they like having it available. Boiling fresh water on the stove is better over the kibble than just running warm water out of the faucet as water heated in hot water tanks has a higher lead content.
Leaving dry kibble out or a few extra milkbones left out– tends to avoid food anxiety. If you do choose to feed on a schedule, three times per day is good for a young Dane pup… and feed as much as he will eat and then a little extra.
Food anxiety is not good for a dog, and Great Danes want to know plenty of food is available. It makes them happy and secure.
Since Danes have small tummies, they tend to like to eat several times a day. They would rather eat their kibble several times rather than all at once. They also do not eat too much or overeat. Folks who only feed dry kibble once a day have the highest rate of bloat. Folks who feed several times per day including some “table scraps” have the least incidence of bloat.
Bloat is a devastating disease of gas in the stomach that can’t be processed and then the tummy flips and unless a team of trained surgical vets is standing by the dog could die. It especially hits the Giant Breeds and those dogs with small tummies like Danes. Dogs with poor genetics, poor nutrition and lots of stress are the most likely. Talk to your vet about this. If your dog eats well and is in a loving home he is not likely to bloat.
Some lean meat– chicken or beef– is good to add periodically as it has more enzymes than any kibble or canned. Also if you note you can buy fresh chicken at 66 cents a pound but high quality kibble is $1.20 per pound… and dogs prefer the chicken every time.
A fresh or frozen big beef bone given helps as it has materials for bone building and growth. I get them from the market and microwave mine to reduce bacteria. The dog likes them fresh or cooked. You should give items other than main diet carefully and with review, and a leaner bone is better. No poultry or pork bones as they splinter.
No vitamins as it overstimulates growth. Some breeders do give some powdered vitamin c and also glucosamine and chondroitin… if the dog has real chicken and some beef bones it does tend to meet their glucosamine needs. Minimize protein for the first six months and NO Cottage cheese. Cottage cheese warps their growth rate.
At one year old my dogs are offered anything I eat except beans and items that are gassy in nature. The do better with a simpler non-spicy diet but do like some variety. So mine will get chicken, turkey, hamburger, rice, and the last bite of my sandwich if they sit and are polite. If I bake a lasagna (which on sale is 88 cents a pound) I give the adult dogs a big slab on top of their warm moist kibble– for example. They are happy with the treat and I have just saved money on dog food.
My dogs have done well with this type of diet. However some dogs have more sensitive tummies as little ones– and high fat can give them diarrhea… so lean meat and lean bones are best… and consistency.
Also, I train my dogs to lay down before dinner and then to eat when I tell them it is ok. He will learn this now if you teach him.
Do make all the training fun and non-stressful. Make it a play session.
Take a little chicken or an Iam’s puppy milkbone and tell him to lay down. help him by making him and give him the treat with lots of praise. Also when he lays down on his own say “good lay down” and pet him.
Point is to make him calmer before eating is a good practice. Also, as soon as you start his first meal… and as you place the food down and say ok… do use his name every time you feed him… OK, Popeye (or whatever name you choose to call him), come… as you put his food down. or Popeye, Popeye come and then when he does “GOOD BOY!” Thus he will learn quickly.
More soon, Sam
Call 970-259-1128 or e-mail Sam with any questions regarding care of your puppy.