How to Train a Great Dane to Not Chew

Medium
1-2 Months
Behavior

Introduction

Training your Great Dane not to chew on things in the house is important to both protect your valuables as well as keep your dog safe. Unless you nip problem chewing in the bud fast, you will find that these large dogs can be quite destructive.

Chewing can lead to:

  • Damaged furniture, rugs, flooring and even drywall
  • Your pooch getting hurt from household poisons or chewing on a live electrical cord
  • Injury from swallowing sharp objects such as hard shards of plastic, wood, nails, and screws

Luckily, getting your Great Dane to learn the rules about chewing is usually not a difficult thing to do. This guide will give your three different methods to stop problem chewing. Instead of trying one, use all three to get the best and fastest results. 

Defining Tasks

Dogs need to chew. It is unrealistic and unfair to expect your Great Dane to stop chewing altogether. This is particularly true when she is teething. At around 5-7 months, you can expect a major explosion in the drive to chew as your Great Dane is losing her baby teeth and adult teeth are pushing their way in.

Although teething is totally normal, how you handle this critical stage of your dog’s development will make a major impact on her chewing habits for the rest of her life. If your Great Dane is in the teething stage, it is the perfect time to work on her chewing habits. However, these methods will work for Great Danes at any life stage.

Make sure that you have plenty of appropriate toys for her to chew on. Be sure to cover a range of sizes, textures, and hardness so that she has options to choose from that are safe and dog-proof. Always reward your dog with praise when she makes the choice to chew on a toy rather than the corner of the sofa!

Getting Started

Here are some things to have ready before you get started training your Great Dane not to chew:

  • Appropriate doggy chew toys in several shapes, sizes and textures.
  • Both food related chews like large rawhide bones and non-food chews like rubber and plush toys made just for dogs.
  • Dog crate, kennel or small room where you can give your canine a “time out” away from other people and dogs.
  • A sturdy tug toy that is made to withstand play with large dogs such as a large tug made from braided fleece, rope or another dog-safe material.
  • Handful of high-value food rewards that your dog loves such as small pieces of chicken, cheese or commercial dog treats. 

The Reward Right Chewing Method

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Step
1
Supervise
If your Great Dane is a problem chewer, then the first step is to make sure she is not left in a place where she can get into chew trouble when she is unsupervised. This way, the instant she tries to chew something she is not supposed to, you can catch her in the act before any damage is done.
Step
2
Redirect
Make sure you have lots of appropriate chew toys to offer your dog. As soon as you catch her chewing something she is not supposed to, lure her away from it by tempting her with one of her good chew toys. Reward her with praise once she starts chewing on her toy.
Step
3
Lots of toys
Make chew toys interesting by engaging your dog with the toys. Give them a toss, play a gentle game of tug, or try some “keep away” so that your pooch knows that her toys are fun to chew and play with.
Step
4
Reward
When you catch your Great Dane chewing on her own toys, make a big deal about how good she is with praise. You can also give her a delicious surprise food treat to make sure she knows you are proud of her for making a good choice.
Step
5
Curb problem chewing
Make chewing on furniture and other valuables less rewarding by spraying them with products recommended to curb dog chewing such as sour apple spray.
Recommend training method?

The Tug of War Method

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Step
1
Why play tug
Teaching your Great Dane how to properly play Tug of War is a way to give them another appropriate way to channel their chew drive without taking it out on your property.
Step
2
The rules
The rules of Tug of War are: 1. No teeth should ever touch skin. 2. “Drop it!” must be obeyed instantly. 3. Tug is a game only a person can start – that is – do not allow your dog to ever start a game of tug by trying to grab an object already in your hand.
Step
3
Enforce the rules
Always enforce the rules of tug by ending the game if any of the rules are violated by your dog.
Step
4
Initiate tug
Start by enticing your dog to tug on their end of the toy by being fun and exciting. Say “Tug it!” in a fun way once they are already eagerly tugging their end. Go ahead and let them win about 50% of the time. This keeps the game fun and builds her confidence to play. No one wants to play a game they can never win.
Step
5
Drop it!
Say “Drop it!” and then go limp with your hand, releasing the pressure on the tug, but not letting go. With your other hand, offer a treat and praise your dog when he lets go of the tug to get the treat. Over time, you want to get an actual drop BEFORE offering the treat.
Step
6
Play often!
Once your dog knows the rules to tug, play the game often. Continue to practice “Drop it!” regularly as well, although you can eventually stop giving him a separate reward for dropping it since starting up a new game of tug is all the reward he will need!
Recommend training method?

The Time Out Method

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Step
1
Catch him
When you catch your Great Dane chewing on something he is not supposed to, say “Too Bad!” and take him to a "time out” space.
Step
2
3-5 minutes
Leave your dog in time out for 3-5 minutes. Make sure you wait until he stops whining before releasing him from time out.
Step
3
Try again
Welcome him out from his time out with an approved chew toy and entice him to get busy chewing.
Step
4
Repeat
Repeat the above steps, making sure to be consistent.
Step
5
Safety
Remember that a dog that does not yet know what he is allowed to chew is not safe to be left unsupervised. Combine 'time out' training with rewards for chewing on the correct toys.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
abby
Great Dane
6 Months
-1 found helpful
Question
-1 found helpful
abby
Great Dane
6 Months

needing help or suggestions on how to help with chewing. she has a range of chew toys, play fetch take for walks daily. she chews the sprinklers and has destroyed that many hoses plus sprinkler system in the garden. mats etc. have up the time spent with her outside as shes a outside dog, have made the walk longer to tire her out more. please help my husband has had enough and wants to get rid of her due to her destructive behaviour.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
708 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sarah, Honestly at this age the yard needs to be dog proofed. 6 months is a heavy chewing period because jaws are developing. It's also the age where dogs jaws are strong enough to chew through things. She is simply bored and creating her own fun. She doesn't know what to chew and not chew and without supervision she won't learn if she still has access to off limit objects. When you cannot supervise she should only have access to things that are alright to chew. Puppies this age need to chew, they just need to chew the right things. You need to go through and dog proof the yard. Block access to things like the water spigot, cover sprinkler heads with heavy flower pots she can't move or chew, undo the nose and put it away until it's time to use, remove mats, ect. If you don't want it chewed either block access or remove from the yard. Stuff hollow chew toys with food to make them more enticing. You can also spy on her from a camera and when you catch her chewing something off limits catch her in the act (don't expect a scolding after the fact to work. It needs to happen right when she is doing it). You can use deterrent sprays sprayed like bitter apple, bitter Mellon or white vinegar on things that are repeatedly chewed also. She honestly needs to either be confined, supervised, or the yard to be dog proofed. If you can temporarily prevent the chewing long enough for her to avoid developing a long term habit of it, then most dogs will out grow it by 1-2 years. Check out the article linked below for more tips: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Reign
Great Dane
7 Weeks
-1 found helpful
Question
-1 found helpful
Reign
Great Dane
7 Weeks

She is biting everything. I don't know what to do. Where should I put her besides her crate for time out?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
708 Dog owners recommended

Hello LaShydra, Check out the article linked below. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ If pup tends to chew on base-boards and door, I suggest using a crate, but give pup a dog food stuffed chew toy for crate time to help pup learn good chewing habits on the toy, rather than viewing the crate at the punishment. If pup does fine out of the crate in a dog-proofed room, where depends a lot on your home. A dog proofed bathroom, laundry room with appliances off, cordoned off part of the kitchen or mud room, ect... As long as the area is dog-proofed, safe and calm, and secure, many areas can work depending on what your home is like. A crate is not a bad option if you give an appropriate chew toy and work on additional training measures from the article I have linked below. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Apollo
Great Dane
7 Months
-1 found helpful
Question
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Apollo
Great Dane
7 Months

Hi I have a puppy Great Dane, I believe that he has separation anxiety and he is loosing puppy teeth, I have over 20 toys lying around the house but he likes to tear up the house or anything he is not supposed to, ive tried leaving him with large bones and toys but when we are gone for more than 2 hours something is chewed up, I’m trying to keep him out of a crate but I can’t think of any other option

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

Hello! Yes it does sound like he has some separation anxiety going on. I am going to send you quite a bit of information on separation anxiety with alternatives other than crating him. If nothing else seems to curb the destructive behavior, then you may want to think of crating him while you are not around until he matures a bit. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training can help fight separation anxiety and loneliness. Independence training can help build confidence and instill obedience. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains.

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Caesar
Great Dane
7 Months
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0 found helpful
Caesar
Great Dane
7 Months

My Great Dane is out if control .. he is eating the plaster on my walls .. he has several chew toys and treats available.. he jumps and lunges knocking into us . I have young children . This can’t happen. He gets time outs . We have gates . But nothing is working !!!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
708 Dog owners recommended

Hello Amber, First, I recommend crate training pup and crating pup when you cannot supervise them. To start, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Whenever he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Also correct for any attempts to chew the bars and be sure to put a dog food stuffed chew toy in the crate with him. When pup can be supervised, check out the article linked below, especially work on teaching the commands found there. Know that pup is in the middle of the second big chewing phase right now also - the one that happens due to jaws developing. It is normal and with training and confinement it should also improve with age. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ For the jumping, check out the Step Toward and Leash methods. Because of pup's size, the adults will have to step toward pup as soon as you see him about to jump - and not once into the air: The leash method will be better for guests and those unable to step toward, like kids. Because of pup's size you may need to use the Leash method with a prong collar on pup. Recommend hiring a professional trainer to help with that in that case. Make sure the collar is properly fitted as well - they are often not fitted correctly and are too harsh and less effective then. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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