Activities For Dane Shepherds

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Introduction

A Dane Shepherd is a mix of a German Shepherd and Great Dane, creating a "paw-fect" pup. The German Shepherd is known for its superior intelligence and versatility. Though large in size, German Shepherds are loyal and loving when it comes to their pack. On the other hand, Great Dane is often used interchangeably with "friendly giant" as this giant breed is compatible with and loving towards both people and other pets.

The combination of characteristics makes for an intelligent and devoted pooch -- and the ideal cuddle buddy! This devoted watchdog can exhibit traits from either of the parent breeds, which can result in your pooch having a different temperament from another Dane Shepherd. For example, they may take more after their German Shepherd parent and exhibit characteristics of dominance and wariness toward other pets or dogs, whereas if it's more like a Dane, they will likely act friendly towards other pets.

When it comes to stimulating your Dane Shepherd, having a variety of mental and physical activities for stimulation is key. Below, we've rounded up some activities for Dane Shepherds that fit in both categories.

Take a Stroll

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Any Day
Free
Easy
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Leash
Waste Bags
Activity description

Taking your Dane Shepherd on a traditional walk is definitely one of the simplest activities for you to do. As Dane Shepherds require an adequate amount of physical exercise daily (approximately one hour), it’s important to plan out a walking route that’s lengthy or includes stops, such as at a nearby park or dog run. Alternatively, you may want to take your pup on multiple walks throughout the day.

Something to note about Dane Shepherds is that they grow at a very rapid rate, which means for the first two years of their lives, they should not undergo vigorous exercise of any kind for sustained periods of time. This can result in injury. Therefore, if you do plan to take your Dane Shepherd on a run, it’s best to begin with walking, until they have reached the developmental maturity required for such activities (after the age of two).

Step
1
Plan your journey
If you plan to walk your Dane Shepherd daily, it would be a good idea to plan your walk beforehand, giving yourself a general idea of the neighborhood or area you wish to cover. As your pup needs mental stimulation daily, varying your walk and changing your route is a way to keep your pup engaged and excited for the activity.
Step
2
Head out
After you've either decided upon a route or have a general idea as to where you'd like to explore, it's time to prepare Fido for the trip. Grab a leash, your waste bags and be sure to wear comfortable shoes -- it's not ideal to walk for an hour in flip flops. Depending on your pooch, just prepping for the walk may signal it's time to go, so they might meet you at the door without being prompted. Leash up your pup and head out on your journey. As Dane Shepherds are large in size, some owners prefer a harness to help maintain control throughout the walk.
Step
3
Stay in the moment
One key factor to be mindful of when walking your Dane Shepherd is they need and require your full attention – this goes for walking any dog, in fact. During your walk, becoming distracted in things like a phone call or text can take away from your experience with your pooch. To present yourself as a capable leader, your pup expects you to confidently guide them along the walk, keeping a steady pace, always walking a step ahead, as it’s the leader of a pack that guides the others. You pup should mind their leash manners, never pulling and always following your lead. If you have graduated to running with your Dane Shepherd, using a shorter leash will help you maintain control at all times. It will also prevent getting caught up and tripping, especially if you decide to run through a natural terrain versus a street setting. The same rules apply when it comes to maintaining your leadership.
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Hide and Seek

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Any Day
Free
Normal
15 - 30 min
Items needed
Toy
Healthy Treats
Activity description

As a Dane Shepherd is half German Shepherd, it's important to keep in mind that mental stimulation is key to a satisfied pooch. A mentally stimulated Dane Shepherd is a happy Dane Shepherd, which is why hide and seek is an optimal way to spend time together.

The game is simple. Once your pup knows what you’re hiding, find a spot for it and sit back and enjoy watching your pooch use their superior olfactory and tracking abilities. Depending on how many times you've played the game with your pup, it could take them quite some time to locate the item. After a while though, they're sure to catch on and have as much fun as you! Don’t be shocked if they find it quickly -- their ability to hold a scent and track it is remarkable. 

Step
1
Getting started
To get started with this activity, begin by introducing your pup to whatever item you plan to hide. Pick a favorite toy or sought-after treat to amp your pup up for the game. Be sure you have their complete attention before moving onto the next step -- if your pooch isn't engaged, they're unlikely to search for and find the item.
Step
2
Hiding the item
Hiding the item can make the activity just as entertaining for you as it is for your pooch. Get creative when hiding. You want to challenge your pooch enough so they’re being stimulated, but at the same time, you don’t want to make the task impossible. It’s also important to be mindful of your pup’s accessibility to the item once hidden. Burying your item under other objects or putting it on top of something can lead to some destruction during the seeking process.
Step
3
Rewarding the behavior
It's extremely important to reward a successful find by providing some form of praise or physical reward. Rewarding a behavior is likely to encourage it, as a positive association between the behavior and incentive is formed. This is known as conditioning. A physical reward may come in the form of a toy or a healthy treat. Praise requires an owner to talk in a positive tone while recognizing the good behavior. Simultaneously petting your pooch is another way to reward the behavior. Receiving positive feedback not only reinforces the behavior, but it also is likely to provide your pup with a sense of accomplishment. As Dane Shepherds are determined, work-oriented dogs, they live to please their owners.
Step
4
Stepping it up a notch
Once your pup has come to master this activity, you can increase the difficulty of the task by adding more items. Hiding two or three items will result in a longer seeking period and a more engaged pooch. Be sure to introduce your dog to all items being hidden. It's likely they will return after finding each item, which gives you the "op-paw-tunity" to reward each successful find!
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Taking a Dip

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Hot Day
Free
Easy
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Leash
Waste Bags
Towel
Toy (optional)
Activity description

A fun and exciting way to get an active exercise session in is by going for a swim. Both German Shepherd and Great Dane parent breeds usually enjoy going for a swim, which is why taking your Dane Shepherd to a nearby beach, lake, or pond is a "paw-tastic" idea!

Typically, you want to take your pooch to the water on a warm or hot day. If it's your pup's first time going for a swim, you'll need to introduce them to the water, and you should expect some hesitation -- but don't worry, your pup is sure to come around!

Step
1
Finding a location
Research your local bodies of water and their rules regarding pets. Once you've found a pet-friendly location, set out with your pooch. If the swimming zone is close by, seize the "op-paw-tunity" to walk your dog there, combining two different physical activities.
Step
2
Getting accustomed to the water
Of course, if it's your Dane Shepherd's first time visiting a large body of water, it's normal for them to display signs of nervousness or excitement. You will want to begin your initial visit by introducing your pup to the water by approaching it together. Walk into the shallows and let your pup get used to it. They may want to dive right in. Some pups, however, may take some time before entering deep water, especially if they can no longer touch bottom.
Step
3
Exploring the deep end
Once your pup adjusts to the water, and if show interest in the activity, there's a variety of ways to engage and persuade them to discover the deep end. One method you can try is swimming out a little deeper than your pooch and calling for them. It's likely they will come, or swim halfway before returning to where they can touch ground. In either case, reward them with praise to encourage the behavior. Another method is by tossing a toy into deeper water, little by little. This will encourage your pooch to go out and return back to your with the toy. Have fun exploring the water with your pup, and when they show signs of exhaustion, bring them in to dry off before calling it a day.
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More Fun Ideas...

Visit the Dog Park

Dane Shepherds are usually a social hybrid as Danes get along great with other pets and pups. That's why visiting a local dog park is a “woof-derful” chance for them to socialize and play.

Hike

Get out and explore the great outdoors with your Dane Shepherd by going on a hike. Local conservation areas, forests, or other hiking paths are ideal. It also gives your pooch the chance to explore different scenery than the typical neighborhood walk offers.

Conclusion

When it comes to entertaining your Dane Shepherd, there's an assortment of activities that you can use to provide both mental and physical stimulation. Walking your Dane Shepherd is the "paw-fect" way to introduce physical activity. After they're beyond the age of two and no longer at risk of growth injuries, you can also choose to run your pup or take them for a dip. Playing a game of hide-and-seek or visiting the dog park are other activities you can use to get your pooch thinking!  Overall, Dane Shepherd hybrids are an ideal combination of genes from their parent breeds that create the optimal pooch!