Great Danes: Tell me about yours! - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-08-2009, 10:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are looking into getting a dog. Due to a bad situation in the past we are taking our time but have finally narrowed it down to a couple breeds. We are both partial to Great Danes since we have had expereinces with them. I have been researching them for a good part of the day and have come across some good info. Nothing like some personal stories though to help.

1. I know they are prone to health issues (especially bloat and heart issues). Have you had issues with it? What are your tips for keeping them under control (thinking more along the lines of the bloating since I know heart conditions are more tricky). What about joint issues? I know you shouldn't (ideally) take them jogging or anything like that until at least 1 year old. Sometimes closer to 2.

2. Tempermant and ease of obdience training...I know they are a "gentle giant" but the only ones I have been around were much older. We want a puppy and will be doing obdience training. I know it's important, especially with large dogs. What specifics do you recommend? Our last dog took things off the counters. We are wanting to avoid that like a plauge. I don't mind dogs in the kitchen. I do mind them on my counter tops. Tell me about your dane's personality!

3. Male vs. female. I know some breeds have a more aggressive gender. I have no clue about that with Great Danes. We don't prefer one or the other but which one, IYO, is better? We are a family with small kiddos so obviously we are looking for a more mellow one.

4. I wanna see pics! : I love pooch pics.

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Old 02-08-2009, 10:50 PM
 
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I love great danes but recommend highly that you choose a retired breeder/show dog or rescued adult that has been fostered with a family. Puppies are very, very unpredictable regardless of the amount of training you expect to do. I'm not sure where you live but I adore http://www.greatdanerescue.org/

Once again I really advise against getting a puppy. Especially, absolutely, with small children. I have raised a great dane from a puppy and worked with them and would never, ever recommend such a venture to anyone with small children unless you are already extremely dog-savvy (i.e., a breeder who shows dogs).
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Why wouldn't you recommend a puppy?

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Old 02-08-2009, 11:26 PM
 
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Getting a puppy is a "crap shoot" - I just had a terrible experience with a puppy from one of the top lines in his breed and learned this lesson the hard way. He was well socialized, well trained, and came from a respected, well-behaved line of dogs. He, however, became very aggressive "out of the blue" at age 18 months.

Great danes are simply too active/potentially destructive as pups and too large to be safely raised from puppyhood in a family with small children (IMHO) even if they never exhibit any abnormal behavior. A "normal" great dane can be - no, IS - destructive in puppyhood unless measures are taken to curb this. A mom with small children cannot expect to have 1 hour MINIMUM alone time for training every day from purchase for training and walking. And it's important to keep them from hurting themselves as they grow. And I'm not sure about your financial circumstances but you should be prepared to pay no less than $1200 for a pup from a reputable breeder, then hundreds for care. And I would not have one without spending $45 appx per month for health insurance since they are prone to bloat and other ailments. Without the insurance you may find yourself paying through the nose for this and injuries and any number of things as they grow. And food - OMG. We're talking $40 - 60/month for quality food if you are not feeding raw.

The advantages of an older dog are numerous ... especially one fostered or raised with children. Their personalities are predictable. You will know how they'll react to various situations... introduction to strangers, interaction with children and pets, being left alone, what foods they can't tolerate, whether they're showing signs of deteriorating skeletal structure, prone to bloat. Those are factors that will change as a pup grows to maturity and no amount of dna/etc testing will ever guarantee a physically and mentally healthy dog. With an adult most of those factors are set... they may change but the range is extremely minimal compared to what you would experience if you bought a pup. I personally will never expose my kids to that risk again... and I really hope to help other people avoid the mistake I made which cost me dearly.

Not to mention the fact that you would be providing a loving home to a dog who needs one!
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sorry about your pup. I read your threads earlier. That's always hard.

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Old 02-08-2009, 11:49 PM
 
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Thank you Getting a new pet is so fun - I don't want to take away from that - but it sooo much more fun if you really know what you're getting into!
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Old 02-09-2009, 12:39 AM
 
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If Joanna is still on here, she has had Danes for years and could give you tons of info.

Kim, proud CPS mom to Marnie and my 4 legged kids, Jess, Zander, Oliver, Stumpy and Eddie.
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Old 02-09-2009, 12:46 AM
 
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She hasn't been on much since her home burned down
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Old 02-09-2009, 01:51 AM
 
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I have been involved with the breed for several years now. I have also been involved with Dane rescue as well and have successfully rehomed over 2 dozens Danes to loving homes. I currently have one beautiful female Dane laying at my feet now, but have had 4 total in my life. I the breed and will always have a Dane in my life! To answer your questions....and this is going to be long

1. I know they are prone to health issues (especially bloat and heart issues). Have you had issues with it? What are your tips for keeping them under control (thinking more along the lines of the bloating since I know heart conditions are more tricky). What about joint issues? I know you shouldn't (ideally) take them jogging or anything like that until at least 1 year old. Sometimes closer to 2.

--The girl I have now has bloated twice in the last year. The first time, she completely twisted (her stomach flipped on it's axis cutting off blood to her intestines, etc.) and was minutes away from losing her life but was saved. The second time (4 months later) she partially twisted and was saved again. She comes from a very nice pedigree, no bloat in her lines at all on either side that we know of. Both parents are Champions, her father was in the top 15 of Great Danes when she was born 6.5 years ago. Both are health tested, wonderful dogs. I am friends with her breeder and know the mama dog very well (well did, she passed earlier this year) But my pup's brother died of bloat at the age of 4, and one of her nephews passed just a few weeks ago of bloat. No one really knows why they do it. My dog had no reason to bloat. I always thought it was more stress related then anything but she doesn't do much besides sleep on my rug It's a fluky thing that happens and the best advice I can give you is to know the signs and never hesitate if you think your dog has bloated. I had my dog at the E-vet within 20 mins of the first signs of bloat and we nearly lost her in that short time!

As far as other issues. I've never had a problem with any of my other Danes. They have all been very healthy. Even my 3 rescues that I had were all very healthy despite the h*ll they went through in their previous homes. One was very abused, used as a breeder, kept in a 4x4 concrete cell until he got testicular cancer and was sterile. They dumped him at a pound and that is when they called me and I drove 4.5 hours round trip to get him. He was covered in scars, nothing but skin and bones, bloody, he was a mess. He was given 6 months to live and he made it 3.5 years with us. He gained 50 lbs (that is how underweight he was) and was a very wonderful 175 lb loveable guy. He died of heart failure at 11.5 years old. My other rescue was an abuse case that we tried for 2 years to train. He went after me several times and the last straw was going after my pregnant belly and we made the painful decision to put him down. We have never had any type of joint issues, etc. Bloat has been our only issue so far.

Research the breed, pedigree, breeder/rescue, etc before making a decision!!!! Also I know a great forum for Danes that can help guide you. If you want it, pm me and I would more then happy to pass it on.

2. Tempermant and ease of obdience training...I know they are a "gentle giant" but the only ones I have been around were much older. We want a puppy and will be doing obdience training. I know it's important, especially with large dogs. What specifics do you recommend? Our last dog took things off the counters. We are wanting to avoid that like a plauge. I don't mind dogs in the kitchen. I do mind them on my counter tops. Tell me about your dane's personality!

Danes are easy to train but you have to start immediately when you get them, especially a pup. They get big FAST! and they need some manners. Plus a dog of that size, needs tons of socialization. We trained ours ourself but took them to PetsMart and local pet stores, walks on the river, etc. several times a week to get them use to people, kids, bikes, cars, etc. It wasn't structured, just a fun time to get use to things.


3. Male vs. female. I know some breeds have a more aggressive gender. I have no clue about that with Great Danes. We don't prefer one or the other but which one, IYO, is better? We are a family with small kiddos so obviously we are looking for a more mellow one.

Females are b*tchier but smarter, IMO. Males are big goof balls. I think males are sweeter though. The Dane I have now is a female, my others have been males. Two I got when they were older and one as a pup. The male pup refused to learn any manners and literally ate my home from top to bottom! He was a sweet heart though but very destructive. My female never was and was always willing to learn. I prefer female dogs for some reason (I have 4 female dogs now). I like the smart, b*tchy personality

4. I wanna see pics! I love pooch pics.

This is Mira, the female I have now. This pic was her calendar pic. She made the cover of the 2007 Great Dane calendar that went international : We are so proud of her!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...iraInMist1.jpg

This is Apollo, he was the rescue that was so physically abused and survived cancer!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...ewKitty002.jpg

This is Simon, the one we had to put down due to severe abuse
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...kbonead016.jpg

And this is Dante, a puppymill pup that I rescued. He was rehomed to a wonderful family after living here for 1 year (this is the dog that ATE my entire home!)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...5/angie002.jpg

single mommy to identical twin girls (3/06) Non-traditional mama just : through life.
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Old 02-09-2009, 02:14 AM
 
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We LOVE our Dane! I grew up with a Dane and now have a 5 year old Dane named Savannah.
1.Health issues- short life expectancy, my childhood Dane lived to be 10 (which is old)
We feed our Dane Iams large breed food, no people food
Keep your Dane reasonably thin and they hopefully will bypass the joint problems, our girl loves to go for walks and to play soccer.
2.Training- we did puppy training and she is somewhat well behaved. If you are looking for a Lassie, this is not your breed. They are more like a big cat and not like a lab type dog at all. Very strong personalities and not people pleasers. We use a gentle leader (Halti) to keep her from pulling on the leash. She will sit/stay/leave it/ but is not great about coming. We always take her on vacations with us and she travels well in the back of our SUV. They not outside dogs and need to be around people. They are very careful and mindful of their size. Very easy to potty train.
3.The males drool much more!
All puppies are mouthy and require attention, but I feel raising your own puppy is a great experience if your family is ready to take on the task.
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Old 02-09-2009, 02:32 AM
 
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Wow! Great advice everyone has given. Truly, you can tell how passionate these people are about this breed. The only thing I wanted to add was that I knew a man who worked at a large city humane society and told me once that he adopted a great dane who came in and was going to be euthanized because he was deaf. According to what he had learned, great danes are often disposed of because they are deaf. Maybe someone who is more knowledgeable about this can chime in about whether this is true or not???

I meant to also add:http://rufflyspeaking.wordpress.com/ It's Joanna's website and you could ask her about her great danes she used to breed.

Tricia, married to DH. 2MC's & 4 yrs ttc...finally mom to Andrew6/06 and Benjamin 10/09. Adopted bro & sis 2002. My 2 fav. words: Spay and Neuter! I'm an Ultimate Viewer, 2010!

 

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Old 02-09-2009, 03:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Angie, they are all just gorgeous! Makes me want one even more!

Is there an issue with having a deaf dog (besides the obvious of training being rather difficult)? The pages I was reading earlier was saying if they are colorless (white spots) around the eyes and/or ears than the organ doesn't/hasn't developed properly and they are often either blind and/or deaf. Could you reasonably assume if they had those spots they had issues with that?

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Old 02-09-2009, 12:36 PM
 
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Angie, they are all just gorgeous! Makes me want one even more!
Thx! I sent you a pm, let me know if you get it!

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According to what he had learned, great danes are often disposed of because they are deaf. Maybe someone who is more knowledgeable about this can chime in about whether this is true or not???
The only GD's prone to deafness are those with lack of color i.e. white dogs or dogs with white heads and very little color.

Quote:
Is there an issue with having a deaf dog (besides the obvious of training being rather difficult)? The pages I was reading earlier was saying if they are colorless (white spots) around the eyes and/or ears than the organ doesn't/hasn't developed properly and they are often either blind and/or deaf. Could you reasonably assume if they had those spots they had issues with that?
I have rescued 2 deaf Danes, one went blind at 1 years of age. They are wonderful dogs with a wonderful owner (they both went to the same lady). She uses touch training for her deaf/blind dane and sign language with her deaf girl. She says they aren't much harder to train then a hearing dog, the hard part is getting their attention.

single mommy to identical twin girls (3/06) Non-traditional mama just : through life.
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Old 02-09-2009, 02:14 PM
 
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I am closely following this thread as I am looking at getting either a Dane or standard poodle in the next 2 years. I have had both before and worked a lot with dogs in my previous before children life One of my friends is a fantastic trainer as well, so that helps. I keep debating between the two because while Danes are my favorite, I keep thinking a standard may be easier to handle with two young children. I know my moms dane and the saints I used to have, when they went through puppy teething, it was like on couches and chairs

As far as training deaf dogs, we trained several where I used to work, and also boarded and groomed many. The only issues I really remember are that we told owners to look out for 1. to be extra vigiliant when out and to not let them off lead in the open, especially by cars as they cant hear the approach and 2 to be extra cautious about accidently sneaking up on them, espcecially ones who were older.

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Old 02-09-2009, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good points! Its funny the things you don't really think of.

T-minus 1 year! We are moving in about 6 months and then looking to purchase a house about 6 months after that! We put that "rule on ourselves in the begining and I thought it would never happen. I cannot wait. Off to start a new thread. Will everyone go look at that one to? Its pertinent to this but I want it as a seperate thread because I know itll be useful for others, Dane lovers or not.

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Old 02-09-2009, 04:23 PM
 
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The thing that I would really add is to be prepared about choices you have to make with a giant breed. Can you fit everyone into your vehicle? Yes, we purchase vehicles around our dogs. Are you prepared for the lethal great dane tail? What if it whacks your child in the face repeatedly? Can you deal? That sort of stuff.

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Old 02-09-2009, 04:47 PM
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growing up, we had two danes. They were both very different in personality. Both males. They were both amazing animals - though, the first one used to have rocks thrown at him by the horrible neighborhood boys, so he ended up going to another family who needed more of a 'protective' dog. The second one was a big giant baby, for lack of a better word - he was a lap dog inside a big dog body. When I was 7, I showed him for the first time, and he was so special. Very gentle. The only thing I would say is they run so fast - faster than my little 7 year old legs could keep up with, and I fell a lot keeping up with them on leash. He died at the young age of 7 from bloat. way too young.

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Old 02-09-2009, 06:52 PM
 
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We feed our Dane Iams large breed food, no people food
Keep your Dane reasonably thin and they hopefully will bypass the joint problems, our girl loves to go for walks and to play soccer.
Diet is a HUGE part of being a GD owner. This is one part of researching the breed you want to watch closely. You do not want a food that is above 22% protein and 12% fat. This can cause major joint damage in a growing dog. And no offense to the person I quoted above, but Iams is nasty dog food. It is full of fillers and dyes, its gross. I would probably put your Dane on something that is more nutritious and better. Innova, California Natural are 2 good ones.

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Very strong personalities and not people pleasers. We use a gentle leader (Halti) to keep her from pulling on the leash.
Again, no offense...but Halti's or gentle leaders (these are not the same thing) should never be used on a GD. This can greatly injure their neck and cause many bone/joint issues and even Wobbler's disease which is unstability of the neck. A martingale works well or we use a choke chain (even though she walks nicely on a leash but more for a just in case moment)Properly fitted, a choke chain works wonderful and won't cause any damage.

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They not outside dogs and need to be around people. They are very careful and mindful of their size.
Absolutely YES to this! They do not have the coat to be outside for any length of time in the cold or heat. They are very much family oriented dogs and are careful of their size.

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Old 02-09-2009, 07:20 PM
 
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We feed our Dane Iams large breed food, no people food
Apologies - but Iams is terrible. Raw is a great way to raise a healthy GD!
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've seen more than one mention that gentle leaders are ok. Why are they not?

ETA: Ok I googled Halti's and yeah, we won't be using one of those. What is a good set up for training? We dont like the idea of choke chains but dont want to be pulled along either!

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Old 02-10-2009, 12:02 AM
 
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ETA: Ok I googled Halti's and yeah, we won't be using one of those. What is a good set up for training? We dont like the idea of choke chains but dont want to be pulled along either!
You can use a martingale which is like a nylon choker. I don't like pinch collars but honestly, choke chains are the only thing I have found to work on GD's. Have a trainer help you fit it to your dog. A lot of people buy them without knowing how to properly fit them and that can be dangerous for the dog. I have had people that are lucky and get a laid back Dane and can get away with a flat collar, I was never that lucky I would start out with a flat collar and see how your pup does with it and go from there.

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Old 02-10-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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She hasn't been on much since her home burned down

OMG, when did that happen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is everyone ok????

Kim, proud CPS mom to Marnie and my 4 legged kids, Jess, Zander, Oliver, Stumpy and Eddie.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:57 AM
 
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Our Great Dane is actually the easiest of our dogs to walk. We did obedience training with him and he hasn't needed a lot of hooplah with the leash. My retriever on the other hand...boy, oh boy!

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Old 02-10-2009, 01:32 PM
 
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OMG, when did that happen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is everyone ok????
They're okay but Clue, while at the boarding kennel, escaped... got hit by a car... was finally found days later, broken but alive. Now she's doing better... here is a link to her blog:

www.rufflyspeaking.wordpress.com
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