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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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Tug of War Method
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.
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.
Enforce the rules
Always enforce the rules of tug by ending the game if any of the rules are violated by your dog.
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.
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.
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!
The Time Out Method
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.
Leave your dog in time out for 3-5 minutes. Make sure you wait until he stops whining before releasing him from time out.
Welcome him out from his time out with an approved chew toy and entice him to get busy chewing.
Repeat the above steps, making sure to be consistent.
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.
By Sharon Elber
Published: 03/09/2018, edited: 01/08/2021