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 Basic Commands Method

Most Recommended
8 Votes
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.
Recommend training method?

The Respect Training Method

Effective
6 Votes
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.
Recommend training method?

The Commands and Words Method

Least Recommended
4 Votes
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.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Anastasia
Great Dane
9 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Anastasia
Great Dane
9 Months

Basic obedience, and to stop biting.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
134 Dog owners recommended

Hello. Here is information on puppy nipping/biting. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

Add a comment to Anastasia's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Thor
Great Dane
4 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Thor
Great Dane
4 Years

Our big guy Thor is a wonderful Great Dane! He is a playful fella that enjoys cuddles and going for walks. However it's always a challenge to get him to calm down when he is a bit hyper. We brought him into our home when he was 1 yr old so we didn't get to train him as a puppy. So taming him when he's hyper is a challenge. We have two daughters that he's pretty careful with. But we just had a baby (07/10/20) and we still can't bring the baby around him because he gets so curious and hyper that we feel he might lunge at her and who knows what he might want to do. We've tried letting him sniff her blankets and other clothes so he can get familiar with the scent. As well as showing him the baby and giving him treats for him sitting or staying while she's in the same area but if we get too close or move a certain way, he'll want to put his snout right by the baby in a pretty excited way. We just don't want him to hurt her but at the same time we can never be in the same room and that has taken a toll on our daily lives as on his. What can we do?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
92 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I apologize for the delay in reply. I can understand your concern. No doubt Thor is just curious and means well but yes, I agree that complete caution is best. I would suggest having an in-home trainer come in and work with you and Thor to give you the tools needed to teach him how to act around the baby. It may only take one session and it'll be worth every penny for peace of mind. In the meantime, make sure that Thor still gets his regular schedule and routine - including tons of exercise to keep him content. It's never too late to take your dog to dog training classes. The socialization with other dogs will be a bonus and he'll learn many useful commands. To start Thor off on the right track, take a look here:https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-rottweiler-to-be-obedient. Also for basic commands and great tips (read the entire guide!) https://wagwalking.com/training/obedience-train-a-great-dane. Good luck and all the best!

Add a comment to Thor's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Zeus
Great Dane
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Zeus
Great Dane
1 Year

We are trying to train both of my Great Danes to be emotional support animals these animals don't have to have training but I just need to train them how to walk properly on a leash we did the sit and shake with my other dog Willow but Zeus won't be hard to train. Can you help with getting them to walk on a leash or without a leash?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
707 Dog owners recommended

Hello Shelby, An off-leash heel is generally started just like a normal leashed heel, then as pup improves you practice the heel on a long leash so that pup is following because they are paying attention to you and not dependent on the leash - but you can use the leash to guide back when needed and prevent pup from disobeying and having inconsistent training. Once pup can heel in places like your neighborhood on the long leash, then also go places where other dogs are walking around and practice the long leash heel around other dogs - with pup learning to ignore other dogs unless told to "Say Hi". I personally prefer starting with a 6 foot leash, then going to a 15 - 20 foot one when pup is almost ready for complete off-leash work, with some come involved, so I can practice calling pup back to the heel position and letting the leash drag a bit, as if off-leash once they are ready for more off-leash transition. Whenever pup starts not coming or heeling again well, snap the leash back on for a month and do a refresher training course to deal with any issues - the refresher shouldn't take nearly as long as the initial training but at some point most dogs will test ignoring you again and need the refresher. Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel James Penrith from Take the Lead Dog Training also has a lot of great videos on Off-leash training. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoxuNKpmUs390K7x_rvgjcg With a Great Dane, you may need a training device like a Prong collar or to start the training in fenced in areas for safety reasons - so pup can't pull you over as easily until they are at an off-leash level. Be careful with how much slack gets in the leash too when working with longer leashes. You want to play the leash and coil it back up as pup moves closer and further away so that there is always only a little slack- but still enough that pup doesn't hit the end of the leash and feels like they are off-leash, so that if pup did suddenly pull hard or try to run, they wouldn't be able to pick up speed before you regained control - be careful not to get pulled over when training with a large dog who may be closer to your size. The goal should always be to work on increasing pup's focus on you though, so that pup is not pulling because they are actually choosing to stay with you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23zEy-e6Khg Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Zeus's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Ash
Saint Dane
12 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Ash
Saint Dane
12 Weeks

He doesn't come when called, and sometimes even runs away from me,as if he is scared. I have never hit him. In fact, a stern "no" is all we ever use. How do i fix this?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
707 Dog owners recommended

Hello Chessy, First, start working on a reliable Come. Check out the Reel In method from the article linked below. You will want to be very gentle while reeling in, and focus the most on acting really fun and exciting, running away from pup a bit like it's a game, and praising and rewarding well when they arrive, even if you had to gently reel them in. You can also start with one of the other methods, and transition to the Reel In method later, when pup is ready to practice around more distractions. Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall More Come - pay attention to the PreMack Principle and long leash training sections especially once pup has learned what Come initially means. These need to be practiced around all types of distractions like dogs and kids at the park to ensure pup is reliable before attempting true off leash. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Another activity you can practice is walking around places like your yard or a field with pup on the long training leash and changing directions frequently without saying anything. Whenever he takes notice (at first because the leash finally tugs, but later just because you moved), then toss a treat at him for looking your way or coming over to you - without calling him; this encourages him to choose to pay attention to where you are and associate your presence with good things on his own, so he will want to be with you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Ash's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Bonkers
Great Dane
11 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Bonkers
Great Dane
11 Weeks

Bonkers will nip and bite my youngest son, as soon as he walks into the room, not just during play. If I go to stop him he starts on me too. I have tried to constantly reward good beahviour but cannot ignore him during bad behaviour because he just ignores me and continues to go for my kids. Because of his size if I physically try remove him it is an effort already and he becomes more aggressive and nippy.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
134 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am going to give you information on the jumping and biting. Both behaviors are attention seeking/play engaging behaviors often seen in puppies. But if left uncorrected, they become habits as dogs become adults. Utilizing this information will prevent that from happening. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

Add a comment to Bonkers's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd