Knowing what to expect with a Great Dane puppy is near to impossible!
There is almost nothing more special (and unpredictable) than a Great Dane puppy! There is this insane time where your new puppy seems to grow right in front of your eyes.
Since we’ve recently been through the crazy new dane puppy phase, we thought it would be a great time to talk about what to expect when you bring a Great Dane puppy home!
Great Dane Puppy Growth Chart
Puppy Socialization Guide
Is My Great Dane Puppy Knuckling?
How to Prevent Knuckling in Great Dane Puppies
Is My Great Dane Puppy Too Small?
Great Dane Puppy Growth Chart
Is My Puppy Too Skinny?
GREAT DANE PUPPIES ARE INFANTS
When you bring a Great Dane puppy into your home, you are literally bringing an infant to the family!
They know absolutely nothing.
What they DO know is that:
- They are hungry
- They can squat and pee comes out
- You are warm
- Biting is fun
- The big dog they saw was scary
- They can squat and more pee comes out
- They are still hungry
- Your food smells good
- Did I mention that they squat and pee comes out?
What they DO NOT know is that:
- Shoes are not chew toys
- Water bowls should not be tipped over
- Obedience training is not a game
- The house does not actually belong to them
- Dog food is not at their disposal whenever they want
- Eating the couch / wall / blankets / etc. is not allowed
- Peeing in the living area isn’t fun or funny
- Their collar won’t hurt them
- Naughty behavior isn’t their full time job
As you can see- teeny puppies are FULL of behavioral problems that when you really get to thinking about it– are not actually problems at all.
More simply, it’s just a puppy dane in a new environment where every single turn down a new hallway is a whole new world.
Keeping this perspective with your little dane will help you gain empathy, be more prepared, and grow your Great Dane puppy into a strong and confident adult Great Dane.
THE FIRST NIGHT
The first night the puppy is either going to sleep well and TRICK you into thinking they are perfect, or they are going to cry and cry and cry.
Either way, just know that they are likely NOT going to be good sleepers for quite some time.
If you think bringing home a dane puppy is stressful for you and your family, just try putting yourself in their paws.
They’ve left their mom, pack, and previous house / life. Their breeder whom raised them said goodbye, and to them, that was their safe place.
So, get ready to spend time creating a bond and relationship that begins this first night and transpires over the course of your Great Danes life.
Also- keep in mind- this phase moves FAST! Before you know it, your pup is going to be HUGE!
WHO IS THE BIGGEST GREAT DANE?
What To Do The First Night With Your New Puppy:
Make sure they have warm bedding, a full tummy, and your comfort. Touch their crate, sleep near them until they learn that this new place isn’t so scary after all. Remember, less than 24 hours ago your puppy was cuddled up with littermates!
Don’t have a crate yet? You’re going to want one! Crates can help with managing behaviors (peeing, chewing, biting) and give your pup a calm space to lay down and nap.
We’ve included a link to a helpful article for you, How to Crate Train a Great Dane Puppy the right way!
PEE & POOP EVERYWHERE
We hope you are aren’t too attached to your carpet, because that puppy is going to find a way to pee on it whether you like it or not.
These little guys have absolutely NO knowledge of their bladder and no control at all. They have to pee and it just happens. Same deal with poop.
PRO TIP: turn the auto-schedule off on your robot vacuum. Can we say ‘poop painting’?
Don’t expect consistency and reliability with potty training until at least 4-5 months of age, and that’s only if you have been diligent with training and management.
And yes, they do pee when they get excited.
When potty training, be prepared to be VERY consistent with frequent bathroom breaks (and I mean VERY frequent). For the first week, it is significantly better if you do not have to leave your dane alone at the house and are able to let them potty as often as every 20 minutes.
In the long run, this intensive training upfront will help you set up a solid foundation for your Great Dane.
Remember all of that pee and poop? You’re likely going to need some cleaning supplies on hand to take care of that. Waste bags, odor eliminator, and some toxin free basic cleaning items are nice to keep on hand when bringing home a puppy.
All dogs are very messy- but a puppy is often outlandishly so.
Just gear up to spend about 50% of your life cleaning up after your dane puppy- but don’t worry, the bigger they get they tend to get less messy. Just kidding of course, Great Danes are pretty much ALWAYS a mess!
NEEDLES FOR TEETH
Puppy teeth are SHARP! If you’ve never been around a dane puppy, you might want to plan ahead and buy some bandaids.
Imagine owning a shark with a mouth full of needles that wants nothing more than to BITE YOU.
Welcome to the world of having a Great Dane puppy!
Biting is VERY normal for any puppy of any breed. It is not ‘aggressive’ behavior, it does not mean that your puppy is ‘bad’. Normally, your puppy either has a painful mouth from teething, etc. or they are just simply trying to play.
To work on stopping the bite, provide plenty of strong toys for your puppy. Giving your dog lots of exercise and mental engagement can also help them to feel fulfilled in other areas and not feel the need to bite everything else in the house- including yourself!
Tips for Stopping Your Great Dane Puppy from Biting:
- Keep as many chew proof dog toys in the house
- Exercise your dane puppy often
- Get mental brain games and toys for your dane
- Feed your dane with a slow feeder or puzzle
- Keep baby gates up around children or small kids
- Get started with training early and practice obedience skills continually with puppies
Read our ‘How to stop puppy biting’ article here.
START SAYING NO
Pet owners, get ready to SAY NO! But, not to your dane puppy. To the humans!
Everybody is going to want to love on the puppy and meet him or her. Make sure you don’t overwhelm your new puppy with too many sights, sounds and experiences! They need lots and lots of sleep and lots of time to learn your routine.
You do NOT need to rush to the dog park for fear that your Great Dane will be scared of other pets or ‘unsocialized’.
Try taking your puppy on a walk: INSIDE YOUR HOUSE! Practice using the leash and gearing up for the big day when you take them on leash for a real walk outside (which should be done shortly after bringing your dog home).
However, remember that when you DO bring your puppy outside on a walk, you MUST be prepared to SAY NO! Having a million hands coming in to pet and touch him is not going to make him less afraid of humans, but could lead to stranger fear or reactivity.
Dogs deserve space, trust and the ability to determine when and how they’d like to greet other dogs or humans.
Our Great Dane Socialization guide is amazing for learning how to use modern training and socialization methods to create a confident, friendly and resilient family pet!
Have a Great Dane Puppy? Check out our positive socialization guide.
Friendly – Confident – Resilient
GET TO WORK!
The work you are willing to put in to your Great Dane puppy is the amount of outcome you will get out of them. It’s usually as simple as that.
Now is the time to begin training! Make sure your pup has good experiences with you and with the environment.
Great Danes are not supposed to be fearful, timid, scared or aggressive. If you see those traits in your Great Dane puppy, start with a vet visit to rule out medical reasons.
Training Starts on Day 1: You are Your Great Dane’s First Dog Trainer
Basic training begins THE DAY you bring your puppy home. Training can consist of anything from learning how to play in the grass to playing appropriate with chew toys.
Nonetheless, training should be worked on daily with the use of positive reinforcement, a large crate, and treats – lots and lots of treats. Did we mention that Great Danes LOVE treats?
CUE THE COMMENTARY
People will have an opinion. Here are some of our ‘favorites’ that you can expect to hear:
- You know that dog is going to be huge, right? (Nope, really? We had no idea!)
- I hope you bought a horse trailer!
- How much does that thing eat, anyways?
- Are you sure that’s a Great Dane? It looks kind of small (sigh, yes because it’s a PUPPY! They don’t come out 150lbs with pointy ears).
- Are you sure that’s a Great Dane? Danes have pointy ears! (If you keep ears intact).
- Wow those paws are HUGE!
- I would NEVER own a Great Dane, they just don’t live long!
- Do you have a saddle for that thing?
Being a Dane owner comes with SO many positives, but also comes with regular dane puppy commentary. When walking your pup or spending time with your dane out in public, expect to get comments… and LOTS of them!
You can reply with useful information or just laugh it off, but either way you should be prepared for lots of comments, conversations, and interest.
Most people have never seen a dog as big as a Great Dane.
SO MANY GOOFY PHOTOS
Great Dane puppies grow alarmingly fast. One day your dog is a puppy and the next they are full grown Great Danes.
Basically, they will take a 2 hour nap and WAKE UP BIGGER.
You cannot possibly take enough photos, so clear your phone now and get ready.
Within weeks you will no longer be able to pick your puppy up.
They are awkward, clumsy, and take forever to grow into graceful, loping, well-muscled adults.
The Moments Go Fast With Your Great Dane
Take ALL THE PHOTOS. Prepare to look back and sob!
If this is your first dane, take double as many photos and videos as you think necessary! You will want them later.
Looking back, at the end of the first two years with your Great Dane puppy, you might think it flies by, but you’ll realize that teeny moment of actual ‘dane puppy’ lasts only a few short weeks before they outgrow themselves, unlike most pets.
GREAT DANE PUPPY FOOD
Your Great Dane puppy is going to eat a LOT of food, and it has to be just the right formula. The wrong food can cause knuckling, panosteitis, HOD, and other orthopedic growth problems. You will want to do immense research into what is the best food to feed your Great Dane puppy.
The food you choose to feed fuels or does not fuel your dog, gives them energy or wears them down, creates a strong dog or creates musculoskeletal issues, helps to build a strong immune system or perpetuates sickness, etc.
Look into every dog food you’re considering before making the choice on what food to feed your Great Dane puppy.
Myth Busting: “My Great Dane should not eat regular puppy food. I was told that I should put them on adult dog food.” This is just not true. Science, research, and increase in the dog food market has transformed giant breed formulas into much more than it was 20 or even 15 years ago. The food that you provide your dane with should be fit for a growing Great Dane puppy. For some companies, that means the bag will say ‘large breed puppy’, and for some that means the bag will say ‘large breed adult’. It’s what is on the inside of the bag that matters, not the outside!
For information on feeding your puppy, we recommend starting with the Great Dane Feeding Guide! We can work together to make sure your Great Dane puppy is eating the best possible choice for them, their breed, and for your family.
ULTIMATE GREAT DANE FEEDING GUIDE
The formulas below are what we recommend for growing Great Dane Puppies and the breed altogether. We’ve linked these photos up for you so that you can easily find them on Chewy.
Worried about knuckling? Great Danes are prone to certain health problems, including something called knuckling while they are growing. We’ve got resources for that, too. Because we know (speaking from experience here) that you are GOING TO WORRY!
That’s ok. Worry is normal and means that you really care about your new Great Dane Puppy!
IS MY GREAT DANE PUPPY KNUCKLING?
PUPPY PROOF OR GET DESTROYED
Get ready to puppy proof your house for your Great Dane.
If you didn’t want your Great Dane puppy on that couch, it may be too late. (just kidding, sort of!)
Great Danes LOVE to think that the entire house is actually THEIR house, and that includes your bed, your car, your couch, your food, anything that is on your table, and did I mention your bed?
Training your Great Dane takes time, so in the meantime, prepare to puppy proof your house with a solid, giant crate as well as some baby gates and safe spaces for them to hang out in.
Crate training is a fabulous way to prepare both your Great Dane puppy for having some alone time and help them not develop separation anxiety (something that Great Danes are famous for), as well as keeping them safe if you need to clean, cook, go grab some thing at the store, or simply sit down and watch a movie. (Did you know that Great Danes do not think that any of those exist, because they simply have nothing to do with THEM! 🙂
How to crate train a Great Dane: click here
Preparing to be able to sleep without your Great Dane
Many Great Dane owners LOVE to sleep with their puppies. Just keep in mind your little Great Dane will soon be consuming your bed.
We recommend utilizing a crate, but keeping it next to your bed for the comfort and security of having you nearby. Inside your crate, consider an orthopedic mat such as a Big Barker crate pad.
Joint Disease in Your Great Dane
Any large breed dog, including a Great Dane puppy, is predisposed to joint disease, and the best way to prepare is to prevent.
That is why we always recommend the only orthopedic mattress on the market that has been clinically studied by veterinarians to improve the health of your dog’s joints, Big Barker.
Have a look here:
ENJOY YOUR PUPPY
Your Great Dane may be frustrating at times and you may grow tired of the noise, peeing and biting but hang in there. These dogs are worth it! You’re about to fall in love with a Great Dane puppy, and truly there is really nothing better in the world.
Prepare to never go back!
Before you know it you’ll have a well-trained, calm adult dog and will be dreaming of the day when you will bring sweet puppy breath and snuggles into your home again.
How to Crate Train a Great Dane Puppy
Is My Great Dane Puppy Knuckling?
Puppy Food for Great Danes
How Much Do Great Danes Eat?
Canine Good Citizen Training for Great DanesYour Puppy is Bored
How to Choose the Best Dog Trainer