How to Obedience Train a Great Dane

Medium
3-6 Months
Behavior

Introduction

Great Danes are large beautiful animals. If you happen to have a Great Dane who has not been trained, he will be very difficult for you to handle as he grows older and larger. Because the Great Dane is such a large, strong dog, you're going to want him to be obedient so you can keep him safe and trust that he will listen when it matters most. 

Your Great Dane is incredibly smart. He is eager to please, and he wants to learn new things every day. Begin with basic obedience training with your Great Dane and then move forward to more advanced training to keep his mind engaged and continue to build the trust and the bond between the two of you. Great Danes are fun, sweet, and incredibly affectionate. Once you have obedience training down, try playing a game of soccer with your Great Dane. 

Defining Tasks

There are a few basic obedience tricks your Great Dane should learn before he moves forward to more advanced training. Your Great Dane should learn how to 'sit', 'lie down', 'stay', 'come', and 'heel', along with knowing how to walk on a leash using proper leash manners, before you teach him any cute or fun tricks. Every step of obedience training for your Great Dane will be a building block for the next trick to come, whether it's an obedience command or a fun trick. You can teach your Great Dane puppy much easier than your adult Great Dane. However, older Great Danes can be taught as well. Remember your Great Dane is incredibly smart. He will be eager to please you once you show him you are the leader of his pack. Don’t be fooled by his size either. He will work hard for a tiny treat so there will be no worries about too many treats during training.

Getting Started

To train your Great Dane basic obedience commands, you will need lots of small but tasty treats to keep him engaged, motivated, and rewarded. You will also need to have your Great Dane on a leash.from time to time. Your Great Dane is incredibly strong, so a harness where the connector for the leash is on the chest rather than the back is recommended. Start with small training tasks and move up to other commands, building from one basic obedience command to the next. 

The Respect Training Method

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Step
1
Set boundaries
Give your Great Dane clear, defined rules. This will keep you at the top of the hierarchy within your pack. Your dog will depend on you to set the rules and the boundaries and give consequences when he doesn't follow or obey.
Step
2
Start with grooming
Even when your Great Dane doesn't need to be brushed or bathed, groom him often. This might mean picking up his ears and looking inside. Pull on a couple of hairs inside his ears. Lift his gums and check out his teeth. Put your fingers in his mouth, so he knows you are doing these things often and it's okay.
Step
3
Food
Set your place within his pack as his leader by taking away his food every now and then. Give it back quickly, of course, but let him know you can take his food away and return it to him without him growling, barking, or getting upset. This begins to teach your Great Dane he is to obey and listen to you, and in turn, you will care for him and make the best decisions for him.
Step
4
Follower
Your Great Dane needs to be a follower rather than a leader in your pack. Putting your Great Dane in a follower position builds up his security and his respect for you. He'll know that you are in charge and he'll wait for your commands. Followers wait patiently to be fed. They ask before they expect something such as to be petted. Begin to train your Great Dane now to wait patiently for the things he wants.
Step
5
Basic commands
Train Your Great Dane basic obedience commands. These will include 'sit', 'stay', 'lie down', 'come', and 'heel'. Because your Great Dane is a giant breed, you should teach him to heel as well as how to use leash manners when walking on a leash.
Step
6
Redirection
When your Great Dane needs to be redirected, simply ignore poor behaviors and always overly reward great behavior. Your Great Dane will learn very quickly which behavior gets him rewards and which behavior gets your back turned towards him.
Step
7
Practice
Practice making your Great Dane obedient to only you, the leader of his pack, by building up his confidence, turning him into your follower, and having him respect you. This will take lots of conversation with your Great Dane. He will listen to every word you say as long as he respects you. When listening to you, he will wait for the commands you have taught him, knowing he can earn rewards.
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The Commands and Words Method

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Step
1
Basic conversation
Your Great Dane wants nothing more than to please you. As your dog grows, he is going to listen to everything you say. Though he won't understand it all, you do want him to understand as much as he possibly can. Start working on words you can teach your Great Dane so you can have full conversations with him. This will make him an obedient Great Dane.
Step
2
Commands
Train your Great Dane to sit. Once your Great Dane understands the 'sit' command, build his training to 'lie down'. From the 'down' position, work on 'stay' and 'come'. Teach him leash manners with and without distractions. After about three months, when you are done with basic obedience training, your Great Dane should know all of the basic commands and the rules to stay with you and when it's okay to play.
Step
3
Tone
Practicing tone is especially easy to do when your Great Dane is a puppy or learning new tasks. When your dog needs to be redirected, your tone needs to be a bit more firm than normal. Avoid raising your voice or yelling, and never hit your dog when you're angry at his choices. When your Great Dane is making great choices, celebrate with a happy tone in your voice.
Step
4
Other words
Train your Great Dane to understand other common words. Your dog is going to love to listen to you talk. This will build the respect he has for you and teaches him some great words. Besides obedience commands, your Great Dane will love knowing common words he will hear from you every day such as ‘treat,’ ‘food,’ ‘dinner,’ ‘toy,’ ‘no,’ ‘yes,’ ‘bed,’ and more.
Step
5
Practice respect
The list of words to teach your Great Dane is pretty endless. The more he knows, the more he will listen to you when it matters most. By teaching your Great Dane when you're disappointed in his behavior and when you're excited, basic obedience commands and everyday words he will hear will give him more respect for you. He will and see you as his leader and therefore obey you.
Step
6
Continue training
Once your Great Dane has gone through a few months of basic obedience training, don't stop training. Train your Great Dane fun tricks like how to fetch, to roll a soccer ball, or to make a soccer goal. There are all kinds of fun tricks to teach your Great Dane once he has obedience down. Constantly training your Great Dane will keep him an obedient dog with you as his leader.
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The Basic Commands Method

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Step
1
Prepare
Prepare for all of your basic obedience training with your Great Dane with lots of treats a little extra time to focus without distractions. You may need a leash in the event your Great Dane tries to get away from you.
Step
2
Sit
Stand in front of your Great Dane with a treat in your hand. He may jump on you to get to the treat, or he may sit down. If he jumps up, turn your back and ignore him. If he sits, which is more likely because he'll get bored and tired, give him the treat. Repeat this using the command ‘sit’ until your Great Dane gets that this is a basic command he needs to know.
Step
3
Down
When your Great Dane understands the 'sit' position, have him sit and give him a treat. Take a second treat and bring it down to the floor. Put it between his paws and then pull it out away from him a bit. Do this several times until your Great Dane lies down. Once he's in a 'down' position, give him a treat. Keep practicing, using the command ‘down.’
Step
4
Stay
With ‘sit’ and ‘down’ understood, have your Great Dane practice ‘stay’ while you take a few steps away from him. Put him in a 'sit' or 'down' position, hold your hand up, palm facing out, and take a couple of steps backward. Tell him to stay. When he doesn't move, walk back to him and give him the treat. Practice as he understands when you walk away the expectation is that he stays put until released.
Step
5
Come or release
Train your Great Dane to come when called or release him from the stay position. To do this, have him in a 'sit and stay' position. Show your Great Dane a treat, hold your hand with fingers pointing down, palm out, and ask him to come or use the command ‘release.’ Show him the treat, encouraging him to come get it.
Step
6
Leash manners
Put your Great Dane on a leash and go for a walk. Anytime your dog is distracted or pulls at the leash, stop in your tracks until he can no longer walk. You need to make sure your Great Dane is not strong enough to pull you along and it when you stop, he stops. Walking with a high-value treat above his nose certainly helps with leash manners.
Step
7
Keep training
Once these basic obedience commands are taught to your Great Dane, continue to work with him every day. Building respect and obedience in your Great Dane takes time, patience, and commitment. Your Great Dane is an incredibly smart dog. He is also incredibly loyal. He wants to be the follower in your pack, so become a leader, set boundaries, give him commands, and reward him for great behavior.
Step
8
Rewards
While training your Great Dane, award anytime he is successful. Make training rewards high-value, such as cheese, beef, jerky, or hot dogs. These are treats he'll know he only gets during a training session. Any time you catch your Great Dane doing something great, say a word or a command he will recognize and reward him with a treat. This acknowledgment builds his confidence and keeps him obedient.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
wriegley
Great Dane
7 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
wriegley
Great Dane
7 Months

he wants to chew on everyting and every body including myself. I say no but he continues. He is also like a toddler into everything the garbage the laundry anything else he can. any advice would be helpful.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
78 Dog owners recommended

Hello Melanie, I would suggest teaching Wriegley the "Leave It" and "Out" commands, and then you can communicate with him to either get his mouth off of something or to leave the area completely. Start teaching him the "Leave It" command using treats, and when he can leave treats alone, then practice "Leave It" with household items and with clothing articles that you can wear, to work on him leaving you alone too. To teach "Leave It" follow one of the methods in this Wag! article that I have linked bellow: https://wagwalking.com/training/leave-it To teach him "Out", first call him over to you, then toss a treat several feet away from yourself while pointing to the area where you are tossing the treat with the finger of your treat tossing hand and saying "Out" at the same time. Repeat this until he will go over to the area where you point when you say "Out" before you have tossed a treat. When he will do that, then whenever you tell him "Out" and he does not go to where you are pointing, walk toward him and herd him out of the area with your body. Your attitude should be calm and patient but very firm and business like when you do this. When you get to where you were pointing to, then stop and wait until he either goes away or stops trying to go back to the area where you were standing before. When he is no longer trying to get past you, then slowly walk backwards to where you were before. If he follows you, then tell him "Out" again and quickly walk toward him until he is back to where he was a moment ago. Repeat this until he will stay several feet away from where you were when you told him "Out" originally. When you are ready for him to come back, then tell him "OK" in an up beat tone of voice. Practice this training until he will consistently leave the area when you tell him "Out". When he will consistently leave, then practice the training with other areas that you would like for him to leave, such as the kitchen when you are preparing food, a person's space when he is being pushy, an area with a plant that he is trying to dig up, or somewhere with something in your home that he should not be bothering. I would also encourage you to crate train him if you have not done so already, and to crate him whenever you cannot supervise him. When you crate him, give him a Kong chew toy stuffed with food in the crate. You can either stuff a Kong by filling it most of the way full with dog food and then covering most of the opening up with a large treat, so that only a couple of pieces of food will fall out at a time, or you can put his dry dog food into a bowl and cover it with water and let it sit out until the food turns into mush. When it turns into mush, then you can mix a bit of peanut butter or Kong food paste into it and loosely stuff the Kong with the food mush. When it is stuffed, then place the stuffed Kong into a ziplock bag and into the freezer to freeze. To save on time, you can prepare multiple frozen Kongs ahead of time, so that you can simply grab one from the freezer when you need it. The frozen Kongs tend to entertain determined dogs for longer because they act as time released treats. Crating Wriegley when you cannot watch him will prevent bad chewing habits from forming, making it more likely that he will simply outgrow the habits. Giving him a Kong to chew on while he is in the crate will encourage him to be quiet, to entertain himself, and to chew on his own toys, so that he will also be more likely to look for his own toys when he is free. Seven months can be a very destructive, curious age for puppies. This is a common age for people to hire trainers because of rambunctiousness and destructiveness. I often tell people to remain consistent with training and socialization even when it does not appear to be making a huge difference, to do whatever they can to prevent bad behaviors from becoming bad habits, which means things like crate training and supervising, and to hang in there while their dogs mature. This is an age to increase your training efforts, but to understand that it might not appear like your dog is learning, so be prepared to persevere and have a bit of faith that your efforts will eventually pay off as he matures and your training and consistency begin to get through to him, or rather he begins to show you that he has been listening all along. So teach him whatever manners and obedience you would like him to learn. If you feel overwhelmed, then look into a local training class in your area that emphasizes manners as well as obedience. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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