Great Dane Puppy Fear Stages

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3 mins read

Great Dane puppy fear stages often happen without warning and can be alarming to pet parents. The great news is that puppy fear periods are temporary, and most puppies will eventually overcome them.

Great Dane puppyhood is full of big changes and new experiences. It’s not surprising that puppies can sometimes become afraid of things that they’re encountering for the first time. Fear is a normal survival instinct that all animals have.

Great Dane Puppy Fear Stages
A mantle Great Dane puppy

However, if a puppy’s fear response is excessive or prolonged, it can become a real problem. Read on to learn more about Great Dane puppy fear periods!

GREAT DANE PUPPY FEAR STAGES: YOUNG PUPPIES AGES 2-8 WEEKS

There are several known fear periods in puppyhood, and each one is associated with a specific stage of development.

TWO WEEKS OF AGE

The first fear period begins at around two weeks old and lasts until about four weeks old. During this time, puppies are often afraid of sudden noises and movements. They may easily startle and should be handled calmly and gently, but still be exposed to a variety of sounds, motion, textures and touch.

SIX WEEKS OF AGE

The second fear period begins at around six weeks of age. Puppies at this age are learning how big the world is and may explore new behaviors such as resource guarding. While puppies at this age should be generally curious and confident, they may have a day (or a week) where they show fear about things that previously didn’t bother them.

Choosing ethical breeders can make a massive difference in your experience! Good breeders use positive reinforcement and dedicated positive socialization challenges such as ENS and Puppy Culture to encourage confidence.

Great Dane Puppy Fear Stages
A harlequin and merle Great Dane puppies

GREAT DANE PUPPY FEAR STAGES: OLDER PUPPIES AGED 8 WEEKS- 6 MONTHS

EIGHT WEEKS OF AGE

The next fear stage usually hits when a Great Dane puppy is about eight weeks old. This is when socialization should be in full swing, as the puppy is becoming fully aware of its surroundings and the people and animals in it. At this age, a puppy may show some fear of new environments, loud noises, or fast movement.

Thoughtful puppy socialization and positive reinforcement are key at this stage to help the puppy overcome any fears that may try to stick around.

Spend a lot of time exposing your puppy to a variety of textures, sights, and sounds. These experiences should be fun, positive, and varied. Challenge your puppy with tunnels, balls, cushions, and new things to see.

The Great Dane breed standard states that Great Danes should be ‘friendly and courageous’, NOT timid or aggressive.

If you are seeing extreme fear or aggression, find a positive-balanced trainer to work with ASAP.

Great Dane Puppy Fear Stages
A lilac-fawn Great Dane puppy

GREAT DANE PUPPY FEAR STAGES: AGES 6-14 MONTHS

The next fear stage comes between 6-14 months of age, and may happen more than once.

A puppy that was well socialized and who was previously fine around people, other dogs, or in the car may suddenly show fear. They may growl, bark, shy away or try to get out of the situation.

If your puppy is still exhibiting signs of fear during this stage, it’s important to continue positive socialization and positive reinforcement training.

Fear stages that pop up will typically come and go, especially if you make an effort to help your suddenly fearful puppy have a positive experience.

If your normally confident puppy is suddenly afraid of something, don’t coddle but don’t force, either.

Stay calm, stay positive and practice positive exposure to the scary thing.

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A black Great Dane Puppy that is yawning. Yawning can be a sign of stress.

HOW TO HANDLE FEAR PERIODS IN GREAT DANE PUPPIES

If your puppy is exhibiting signs of fear during any of these fear stages, it’s important to take action.

The best way to help a puppy overcome his fears is through positive reinforcement and socialization.

Make sure your puppy has plenty of opportunities to see new people, animals, and environments in a safe and controlled setting. Don’t let people fuss over your puppy and scare him! Advocate for your dog.

Reward your puppy for displaying brave behaviors, and encourage your puppy to ignore people, dogs, and things in the environment.

Confident adult dogs are able to ignore the world around them.

Fussing over a puppy or forcing them into scary situations doesn’t build confidence.

Choose positive exposure and thoughtful challenges instead.

Great Dane Puppy Fear Stages
A confident mantle Great Dane puppy running through a snowy field.

THOUGHTFUL SOCIALIZATION FOR GREAT DANES

With patience and guidance, your puppy will work through his fear stages and become a confident adult dog.

– Thoughtful socialization experiences are key

– Positive reinforcement, fun challenges and obedience training helps puppies build confidence and overcome fears

– Provide new experiences in a safe setting, listen to your dog and don’t coddle or force

Great Dane Puppy Fear Stages

ETHICAL GREAT DANE BREEDING AND FEAR IN PUPPIES

Choosing an ethical breeder is going to put your Great Dane puppy one step ahead of the rest in regards to temperament and confidence.

If you are choosing a breeder, you should do your due diligence in finding one that health tests and raises their puppies with strong socialization skills like Puppy Culture.

Badly or poorly bred Great Danes tend to be overwhelmed with structural (and health) issues.

Off Color and Designer Great Danes
Bad Breeders
Scam Breeders: What to Look For
Breeders: Shady Business
Should I Choose a Breeder or Rescue?
Choosing a Dog From a Show Breeder
What Makes a Breeder Good?

GREAT DANE PUPPY TRAINING RESOURCES

Hello Danes

Dane lover and believer in ethical breeding, training and rescue practices. Positive + Balanced trainer, owner of rescue dogs and dogs from breeders. Love the dog in front of you.

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