As dog owners, we have a strong bond and love for our dogs. It feels wonderful when we can understand them and feel connected. And it can be upsetting when they behave in aggressive ways that undermine our love and connection.
Great Danes are a loving and affectionate breed but rarely they too can become aggressive towards their owners, their families, and other animals.
Today we will explore the behavioral characteristics of a Great Dane and find out why Great Danes can become aggressive and how can we tame an aggressive Great Dane?
Why Is My Great Dane Aggressive? And How Can I Change That?
Let’s start with the overall characteristics of this breed to under the topic better.
1. Not So Adaptable
Being as majestic as they are as a breed, Great dances are so so great when it comes to adaptability. They are big dogs that do not like to share their space so get easily pissed off in smaller living spaces.
Also, they do not tolerate the naivety of their owners regarding their needs. They don’t adjust well to novice owners and their care must be done through expert hands.
2. Very Sensitive
Great Danes are very sensitive toward any reprimand or admonishment. They take any aggressive remarks to their hearts and often can reciprocate such behaviors.
You would need to be very considerate of their sensitive nature when interacting with them.
3. Friendly Nature
Being one of the kindest dog breeds in the world, Danes do good with people and other animals. They show great love and affection towards their owner and their families as a whole be it adults or children.
It is very difficult to annoy this breed and disrupt its calm nature.
4. High Barking Tendency
This must be a little surprising for a lot of dog owners but Great Danes have a high tendency to bark. This is annoying for many owners as this isn’t a breed that you keep as a watchdog.
5. Moderate Prey-drive
Breeds with a high prey drive easily lose their cool when confronted with an animal they think of as being their prey and start chasing after it. However, Danes have a very moderate prey drive that can be easily controlled with training.
If you want to know about this breed, its origin, and other characteristics then read this article from DogTime.
How To Tame An Aggressive Great Dane?
Now that we’ve established all this, let’s dive into the various things you can do as an owner to change your Dane’s aggressive behavior:
1. Show Your Dog Who’s In Charge
Great Danes who want to be the dominant figure in their environment often show it through aggressive behaviors. They don’t listen to commands from the owners, especially those who haven’t established themselves as leaders.
So to establish your authority, use strong body language and show charisma right from the start. You can use hand gestures along with a firm voice when giving commands.
Always assert your authority via verbal and non-verbal cues but never resort to physical force with your dog.
If they misbehave through biting or nibbling, you can ignore them for your safety.
2. Positive Reinforcement
This is an evidence-based technique that can be used if you want to change any of your dog’s behavior.
So whenever your dog tries to bite you or shows any kind of aggressive behavior, first discourage the behavior through the cues mentioned above and when the dog does so, you reward them with a treat. It can be the dog’s favorite food or a toy, anything it loves.
Thus, this reward-based system will incorporate a positive reinforcement mechanism where your Dane will start associating the aggressive behavior with your disdain and will associate a reward with a calmer demeanor. gentle behavior.
Eventually, you may not even need to reward your dog as it would adopt the non-aggressive behavior permanently.
This is a simple yet remarkable way to change your dog’s aggressive behavior to a more relaxed one.
Great Danes are full of energy and need abundant exercise regularly. If not allowed to drain their energy then they get cranky and tend to channel this energy through other ways.
One of them is being hostile toward humans and other animals. They may howl, bark, chase or bite them.
So you must take them out for exercise regularly. Either you arrange for them dog sports like frisbee, catch or simply walk them for some time. Many dogs love obstacle courses, you can also explore this option.
Regular physical activity will drain them out so at home they will be more calm and relaxed. They will also have no trouble falling asleep.
4. Chewing Toys
This is another good way to redirect your dog’s hostile attitude. Chewing toys are made to allow dogs with a biting habit to spend their energy on them without harming any human.
If you train your dog to bite and chew on only such toys, they are least likely to latch on humans or other animals and will revert to such toys whenever they want to nibble at something.
This way, you can ensure that your Dane’s potential remains preserved while ensuring safety for yourself and others around you.
5. Desensitize The Dog Towards Stimuli
Many dogs that are kept in a secluded environment lack the necessary exposure to external stimuli.
This makes them anxious and they may show odd behaviors in response to stimuli such as loud noises, unfamiliar surroundings, or new people. They may bark, howl or bite people.
To address this problem, it is very important to expose your dog gradually to such stimuli right from the start i-e their puppyhood. With time and consistent exposure, they will become more accustomed to such situations and would remain calm without feeling overwhelmed by emotions of fear.
However, during such exposures, you need to stand by your dog and don’t leave them alone so that they know they are with their owners who would protect them from any harm.
6. Socialize Your Dog
One of the key aspects of behavior training is to socialize your dog so that it learns to co-exist peacefully with other animals.
Encourage positive interactions of your Great Dane with other dogs through activities such as dog sports and shared eating. This would allow them to view other dogs as comrades and playmates rather than their enemies.
This will also discourage any aggressive behavior toward other dogs and will promote a more tolerant and friendly attitude.
Similarly, introduce your dog to other humans that may be your friends, relatives, or even total strangers. This will make them habitual of meeting new people and they will not see them as adversaries.
7. Train Your Dog Right From The Start
Training your dog right from the time it is a pup is the best way to inculcate desired behavior. Most dog breeds are easier to train when they are in their puppyhood as compared to when they become adults.
Early in life, a dog’s neural connections are being formed, any behavior that is incorporated into their brains at this stage is most likely to stick with them throughout their lives.
Thus, starting right from their early days is the best approach.
8. Never Punish Your Pooch Physically
Using punishment on a sensitive dog like the Great Dane can have long-lasting effects on their behaviors and will often lead to anxiety, and apprehension, and they may feel disconnected from their owners.
This can result in a more hostile and aggressive dog that would be difficult to tame later in life.
It is always better to train your dog using positive reinforcement techniques as mentioned before using reward-based methods of behavior training.
9. Professional Aid
Finally, it often occurs that a dog’s behavior is so aggressive that it is beyond the expertise of the owners to tame them effectively. Such dogs need guidance and training from professional dog trainers.
If your Dane’s aggressive behavior continues despite your efforts, it may be time for you to ask for professional help. You can Enroll your dog in behavior modification dog schools that are specially designed to tame hostile dogs.
What is rage syndrome in Great Danes?
Rage syndrome is a medical illness also known as sudden-onset aggression. This affects certain dog breeds but is overall a rare occurrence.
Such dogs show sudden and unprovoked outbursts of aggressive behavior. This is most of the time targeted at humans and other animals and can take the form of growling or biting.
The diagnosis is simple as there is often a family history of the disease present however the treatment can be a little complex.
Your vet may opt for behavior modification therapy along with medications. In severe cases, euthanasia is seen as the last resort.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s begin with some related FAQs.
What are the signs of aggression in Great Danes?
The typical signs of aggression in a Great Dane would be: tucking of the tail, pinning the ears, lowering the head, snarling, or they may also lunge. These signs indicate that they are threatened and will most likely be aggressive.
In such a situation, you need to take them to the side and try to calm them down.
Is a Great Dane an aggressive breed?
Generally speaking, The Great Dane is one of the most soft-hearted and kindest breeds on earth. They easily adapt to humans and other animals.
This being said, rarely they can be aggressive and you need to look for signs of aggression and calm them down promptly before anything bad happens.
Why Is My Great Dane Aggressive? – Wrapping up
Great Danes are very kind and gentle in their demeanor.
However, they are also very sensitive and can rarely become aggressive. There are plenty of ways in which you can change their aggressive behavior into a more relaxed and friendlier one.
This includes socializing them, using positive reinforcement, using tools, and seeking professional help when required.