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How to Train a Great Dane (15 Expert Tips)

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

man with his great dane dog by the pond

How to Train a Great Dane (15 Expert Tips)

If you recently brought home or plan to add a Great Dane pup to your family, this is such an exciting and challenging time. While all of the oohs and ahhs about having a puppy are real—so is the rigorous training involved to keep them on track, obedient, and mannerly.

Great Danes are incredibly large dogs, making pee and poop puddles bigger and clumsy puppy stages bulldozing. So, how exactly do you train this magnificently large breed? Lucky for you, these dogs are brilliant and can certainly pick up on most concepts with proper training. We look at the following types of training:

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Command Training Your Great Dane

Since Great Danes are so intelligent, command training probably won’t take you long. These dogs are also highly food-motivated, so having treats during the process helps speed things up. However, remember that these dogs are huge and powerful, making it hard for many to control.

1. Remove Distractions

Especially when your dog is very young, it will have a short attention span. That’s why it’s best to remove any outside distractions as much as possible when you are command training. You can gradually increase the external stimulation as your pup ages, and it will vary from dog to dog.

Beautiful Great Dane outdoors in a meadow
Image By: Marie Charouzova, Shutterstock

2. Use Motivation

If you’re in command training, you might use different forms of motivation. Some people use dog whistles, vibrating or beeping collars, and some rely on dog treats or toys. Whatever method you choose, make sure to use it consistently each time.

You will want your dog to associate the training technique with the desired outcome. It’s going to work much faster if you can give them an incentive.

3. Use Simple Commands

Refrain from using complicated words or phrases. Keep things as simple as you can verbally. Express the outcome you want to your dog to exhibit and whatever you choose, stay with the phrase.

You can even use hand signals and gestures to communicate with your animal. Some prefer not to use speaking but instead use a series of whistles, beeps, or vibrations to get a response.

Great Dane getting and giving love and hugs to its human owner
Image By: Victoria Rak, Shutterstock

4. Keep Training Intervals Short

You can break your training sessions up into 10 to 15-minute intervals throughout the day. It’s up to you how much or how little you would like to work with your dog but try to keep it a daily routine.

Your dog has a brief attention span, so it might be difficult to sit for long periods working on tasks. Instead, keep the sessions predictable and timed. That way, your dog can train more, and training sessions go smoother.

5. Keep Control

Try to train your dog while they wear a harness. A harness with a backside handle can help you maintain body control over your dog. Using this feature as a guiding tool when they are learning to walk on the lead, among other tasks, can help to direct.

Negative Training Methods & the Impact It Has

Being too harsh on your dog can have adverse outcomes. It can cause a fear-based relationship and lead to unwanted behaviors down the line. Also, if you’re inconsistent or wishy-washy with training, it might be frustrating when it’s not sticking.

Just remember always to keep a positive attitude while being the leader of the show. Do not allow your pup to have the stage. Rather than fighting them for power, divert the attention back to the task at hand.

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Trick Training Your Great Dane

Your Great Dane will love to use their mental function all the time. They will enjoy learning new tricks and spending time with their people.

1. Find a Yummy Treat Your Pup Loves

Your pup will probably like any treat you buy. But purchasing a treat that is crunchy and pocket-compatible is very important. You’ll want easy treats that you can have on hand to offer your dog rather than wet or messy selections.

There are tons of treats you can buy on the market, some designed for flavor, others designed for health, and a wide variety of other purposes. So, try a few out, or commit to one – the choice is yours.

woman and her great dane
Image By: Yuri Nunes, Shutterstock

2. Get Your Pup’s Full Attention

When you are teaching tricks, your pup needs to be fully aware. Getting their attention helps them retain information and ensures they learn to focus during this time.

3. Use Simple Phrases

Make things simple. Instead of using long strings of words or confusing them with rambling, choose a specific word or two and stick with it for every trick.

Here are some trick ideas to get started!
  • Sit (down)
  • Lie down
  • Speak (bark, talk, sing)
  • Dance (up-up, spin)
  • Shake (paw)
a great dane dog lying outdoor
Image By: Emma Forsyth 88, Shutterstock

4. Master One Trick at a Time

You’ll not want to confuse your dog by teaching them too many tricks at once. Rather than working on a handful of tricks, focus on one at a time until they have it down.

5. Be Consistent

Always keep things in the same basic routine so your pup can learn quickly. As their teacher, they rely on you to give them cues. Try to keep training sessions as routine as possible so your dog knows what to expect.

Treat Dependence & the Downfalls

You won’t only want your dog to perform for reward. So while treats might be a very good introductory tool, be careful not to overuse them. Treat dependence can lead to disobedience at crucial times. So, make sure to pull back the use of snacks as training progresses slowly.

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Potty Training Your Great Dane

Potty training might be the single most daunting task of raising a dog. You have to go through the motions with them, cleaning up piles of pee and poop from your rugs, carpets, and hardwood floors. It seems like the process takes forever, no matter what quick learner you have on your hands.

Bedding will get ruined; accidents will happen; things might be chaotic around the household for a while. But rest assured, soon enough, your Great Dane will get the hang of it. Here is a really good method to potty train your Great Dane.

It’s a very simple plan virtually anyone can stick to. So hang in there. We’re here to get you through this time.

1. Familiarize the Pup

Your puppy will need some time to get acquainted in the home. After all, they have only ever been around their litter mates, mother, and the folks raising them.

Now, they are totally alone with all new faces, smells, and environments. It’s a pretty scary time, so don’t expect immediate results or have too high of expectations (even if they have already been working on potty training before coming home with you.)

A change in scenery can cause regression. Plus, they don’t have any siblings to remind them to go out. They need some time to readjust and recalibrate.

a great dane pooping outside on grass
Image By: Victoria Rak, Shutterstock

2. Limit Access

Don’t allow your pup to roam freely about the house at first. This is a recipe for hidden pees and poops lying around undetected. Limiting their range to the same space is best when you can’t directly supervise.

You can slowly increase the space as you go. Pretty soon, you’ll have a fully trained pup capable of accessing the whole house without making messes.

3. Create a Safe Kennel Space

Instead of using the kennel for punishment, make it a sanctuary. Dogs have heavy den instincts and love having a secluded place to sleep, relax, and find peace.

Keeping your dog in a comfy kennel in between bathroom visits can eliminate floor accidents and keep your pup in one place. You can slowly start expanding the roaming space as training progresses.

Great Dane inside crate
Image By: marinaks, Shutterstock

4. Keep a Timed Schedule

Once you bring your dog home, you can get to know its own personal body language when it needs to go to the bathroom. After a few weeks, they are pretty predictable when it comes down to it.

Once you learn a little more about them, keep them on a schedule according to their age. But as a general rule, your puppy should go out every hour of their age. For example, if your Dane is three months old, they need to potty every three hours.

5. Visit the Same Spot

While your pup is learning the ropes, repeatedly take them out to the same spot. This will help bridge the connection, making this particular place where they do their business.

Things Not to Do When Potty Training

Always stay consistent when you’re in the process of potty training. Changes in schedule or routine can throw your dog out of whack and make it more complicated for them to form long-term habits.

Also, do not use harsh punishments as a way to correct going to the potty in the house. This can start a negative relationship that can lead to other behavioral issues, including destructiveness and aggression later.

Great Great Dane of black
Image By: Dulova Olga, Shutterstock

Professional Training

Some dogs are incredibly challenging, and some schedules are incredibly full. Sometimes it’s awfully complicated to find the time, patience, or tools to train your dog properly. If you’ve tried different training methods that have proven ineffective, it might be time to look for professional help.

There are tons of professional dog trainers who offer various services in your area. You can Google to find nearby trainers or have a consultation online. You can get additional tips and tricks from them or even enroll your dog in a class.

Training can be a little pricey, so it is definitely something to budget for. Some trainers might offer payment plans or particular discounts, so compare rates and read lots of reviews. Sometimes it helps both the owner and the dog to have guidance from an outside perspective.

After all, other happy dog owners indicate that you will likely be satisfied with the same results.

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Training your Great Dane is a fascinating time. Whether you’re potty training or teaching new techniques, it creates an opportunity to grow in your relationship with your pet. Great Danes are exceptionally intelligent animals with unwavering loyalty.

Even if you have a rather rambunctious pup, they want nothing more than to make you happy as their pack leader. Best of luck with the training process, and we hope we’ve given you some tools to use on your journey.

Featured Image Credit: Dmussman, Shutterstock

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