BEFORE YOU SURRENDER YOUR GREAT DANE
Is Your Dane Spayed/Neutered?
Are you considering surrendering your male Dane because he is urinating everywhere, or is your male or female behaving aggressively towards other animals or people? If this sounds familiar, consider spaying/neutering your Dane. Dominant behaviour in males can be caused by testosterone and females and males can become aggressive when protecting their family. Sometimes this is enough to fix the problem, but how well this works may depend on whether your dog has already developed a habit of aggression.
Consulting a dog behavior specialist with experience in working with aggression issues can show you positive ways to help your dog learn to feel less anxious and curb the aggressive response.
It is also recommended that you see a veterinarian to check for any medical causes of such aggressive behavior such as pain, disorientation, thyroid issues, etc.
Dogs may also urinate around the house when there is a change in their environment, even a subtle one. Is there more stress or commotion than usual? Did the behaviour come on suddenly? Training and time can help in these circumstances.
Did the urinating behaviour start out of the blue one day? If so your Dane could be suffering from a urinary infection, or other medical reason for the accidents. A visit to the vet and some medication may be all that is needed to solve the problem, or is at least a first step in managing it.
One of the number one reasons we see Dane’s surrendered to rescue stems from their lack of exercise and unwanted behavioural issues as a result. It’s a misnomer that all Great Danes are lazy and don’t need much exercise. They can definitely have a laid back disposition and like to laze around the house, but for most this is only after their exercise requirements have been met. We suggest you up their exercise regimen, and stimulate them not just physically but mentally too. Consider taking them to off-leash parks to run free and socialize with other dogs. If in the Ottawa area, we highly recommend that you join the Ottawa Great Dane Walking Group.
If you have a lack of time for your dog because of a new baby, for example, hiring a dog walker or finding a safe doggie day care are great alternatives to help burn off your dog’s excess energy and keep everyone happy.
Have you taken the time to teach your pet how to behave appropriately in the world? Teaching your dog the top 5 basic commands (sit, stay, come, down, heel) allows you to control your Dane’s behaviour in just about all situations with others. If you need additional help on how to become your Dane’s leader, please contact a professional animal trainer with Great Dane experience.
Kids and Danes
Danes are a large breed of dog and although they for the most part get along with children, they don’t necessarily know their size. Danes can unintentionally knock over a toddler when at play and even the happiest of tail wags can hurt.
It’s important to teach your children to respect dogs, they are, after all, still animals and often can react instinctively. Show your children how to pet gently and make sure they never pull a dog’s tail or ears. Kids (and adults) like to hug dogs, but dogs don’t like to be hugged; they can find it intimidating. As cute as that picture of your baby and Dane together may be, please refrain from risking a bad reaction, always set your Dane up for success. Staring into a dog’s eyes can also be taken as a threat, so teach your children not to do it.
Teach your Dane how to behave around your kids. Taking an obedience class with your Dane is highly recommended and will help you learn commands you can use when your Dane and kids are together as well as exhibiting yourself as leader. If your children are old enough to help in the training, that’s even better!
Young kids should let adults be responsible for taking toys away from dogs, and should leave dogs alone when they’re eating or having a chew session.
Help your Dane to be calm when kids are around by rewarding them for calm behavior: sitting, lying down, chewing on their own toys or hanging out on their own bed. Adult members of the family should avoid rough play with the dog, because the dog may be tempted to play in the same rough manner with children.
Make sure your Dane always has a safe place to go to get away from all the commotion such as a comfortable bed in another room, for example. Teach the kids that they are to leave the dog alone when the dog is in the safe place.
If your dog is growling or snapping at your child, you will need the help of an experienced behaviourist, someone who understands the cues and triggers of your Dane’s behaviour and can help you work on the issues.
Dogs are social animals and do not like to be left alone or to be isolated from their family pack, this is especially the case with Great Danes. Behaviors like jumping, barking, digging or chewing can be related to loneliness, boredom, lack of exercise or stress and anxiety. When not properly stimulated or exercised, their anxiety can manifest itself in unwanted behaviours.
It is not ideal to be gone for long periods of time in the case of owning a Dane as they are a sensitive breed and prefer the company of people. When you are away from the home provide a bed and leave interactive toys so that the dog may be occupied while you’re gone. Hollow sterilized bones and strong rubber toys, such as Kongs, can be stuffed with food to make them enticing and keep them busy.
Tire your dog out before you leave them alone. If your dog’s needs for exercise and mental stimulation aren’t being met, destructive behavior is likely to be the result.
Make sure the things that your dog might find interesting are safely out of reach – put your shoes, clothing, remote controls, kids’ toys where your dog can’t get to them.
If your Dane has severe separation anxiety that leads to destructive habits, your vet and/or a trainer can try to help you work out a plan for addressing the issue with behaviour modification training and/or medication. Patience, routine and consistency are often the keys to success.
Surrendering your Great Dane
If you have tried all the above recommendations (vet, exercise, trainer, spay/neuter) and are still unable to keep your Dane and wish to surrender your pet, it is best to make sure it is up-to-date on all shots to make them more adoptable. Spaying/neutering your dog also ensures they will not fall into the hands of unscrupulous breeders or puppy mill owners.
Please be aware that in every animal shelter, there is too little space and too many animals and your pet could be euthanized for something as simple as catching a cold (Kennel Cough).
We strongly recommend that you do not advertise your dog for sale or adoption on sites like Kijiji. Unfortunately, sites such as these are a source for people to obtain ‘bait’ dogs for illegal fighting rings. No amount of money is worth this risk, please do right by your dog and if you must surrender do so to a reputable rescue who pride themselves in matching each Dane in their care to the most suitable adoptive family and ‘forever home’ of which can rarely be found and screened adequately through sites such as Kijiji.
Dames Saving Danes Rescue will not judge you for surrendering your Dane, as we know that there are times in life when circumstances are beyond your control, and we will make every effort to help as the Dane’s well-being is our highest priority. We in fact know of some owner surrenders and their Dane’s eventual adopters keeping in touch (if they both shall wish).
To surrender your Great Dane, please complete and submit our Owner Surrender Intake Form. This form allows us to better evaluate your Dane’s needs and determine if we have a foster home capable of taking him/her in. If and when you surrender your Great Dane into the care of Dames Saving Danes Rescue you will be able to check in with your Dane on our Facebook page at ‘Dames Saving Danes Canada’, which chronicles the Danes within our care through their Fostering and Rehabilitation period, through to their eventual Adoption.