If you’re bringing home a Great Dane, there’s a lot of be excited about. Famously known as “nanny dogs,” Danes seem like the dream dogs for parents. But if you have small kids at home, introducing such a big dog into the home can be worrisome.
Despite weighing upwards of 100 pounds, Great Danes are gentle giants that get along great with kids. They’re affectionate, playful, protective and intelligent – making them fantastic playmates for older kids. But while Great Danes are docile creatures, their large stature makes it possible for them to unintentionally hurt kids.
These dogs know it’s important to be cautious around small children, thanks to the Dane’s high adaptive intelligence. But because of their size, precaution should be taken before letting the two play. Read on to learn the pros and cons of Great Danes with kids.
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Table of Contents
- Why Great Danes Are Great for Kids
- Does Your Great Dane Get Along With Children?
- Training Great Danes to Be With Kids
- Are Great Danes Suitable For All Families?
Why Great Danes Are Great for Kids
As parents, we know exactly how rowdy and rough kids can get. Often times, they can be a pain for us, so why wouldn’t they be for your Great Dane? They’ll kick, scream and they’ll run. The only way to deal with them is to have some patience.
Fortunately, Great Danes are some of the most patient dogs ever. In many cases, they’re much more patient than humans. One Great Dane owner tells us exactly what his dog puts up with. He said;
She’s constantly being poked and trying to get rides all day. Crazy kids think she’s a pony. The only time my Dane has aggressively growled towards anyone was at myself for cleaning her paw pads.– Thelastbadguy (Reddit User)
Not only are Great Danes big enough to handle the rough play from the kids, but they’ll simply “put up with it” because they understand your kids are just playing.
It’s rare for Great Danes to respond aggressively to kids play – though it is possible. So always make sure to supervise any playtime no matter how “nice” your dog is.
The Dependable Dane
Great Danes are also some of the most dependable dogs for families with children. For the most part, a Great Dane is trustworthy and reliable when it comes to your children (but not with small children, like toddlers or infants).
They are large dogs and they know it. If treated well, they understand that they have a duty to protect your kids – who they view as fellow pack members. However, they’re also smart enough to realize they can easily knock a child over.
Provided your kids are old enough, letting them play in the backyard with a Great Dane is something that many parents allow. That’s because, parents believe they can depend on their Danes to watch over their kids.
And because of how reliable Great Danes are, many owners have called them “big nanny dogs.” Though I would never leave a toddler with a Great Dane, these dogs can lend a helping hand with the older kids.
Great Danes Are Great For Energetic Kids
Chances are you have energetic and lively kids. So, you’re probably worried that they’ll get the best of your dog. After all, not all dogs appreciate rough play. But fortunately, Danes deal extremely well with high energy children.
As mentioned, these dogs are very patient and friendly. Though they’re not as active as other dogs, they still have enough energy to keep up with children. Just don’t expect these big dogs to be running all over the place with your children.
For the most part, Great Danes are mellow and easy-going dogs. But the best part is they don’t usually mind all the chaos that comes with young active kids. That being said, it’s still important to treat them with respect.
As long as your Great Dane is familiar with the kids of the family, they’re fairly tolerant of them. If you’re raising a Dane from puppyhood (with the children), then you’ll rarely encounter any mishaps if any. But that doesn’t mean accidents can’t occur!
Still, it’s important to supervise playtime with the dog if your kids, especially if they are too young. Even the most loving Great Dane can unintentionally hurt a fragile toddler. One simple swipe of the tail to the face and you’ll have a crying toddler.
Great Danes With Toddlers & Infants
First of all, I would never recommend letting a Great Dane have unsupervised interactions with a toddler, even for a second. Some large dogs just don’t know the extent of their power and force.
At the end of the day, your Great Dane is an animal. It’s hard to predict how a dog will react to something a toddler does no matter how long you’ve raised them. And because Danes are so big, a little warning bite can cause some serious damage.
Even if your Dane doesn’t mean to intentionally hurt an infant or toddler, they can easily do so. Like we mentioned, a simple swipe of the tail to the face can immediately bring your infant into tears. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
As for noise level, Great Danes aren’t big on barking, making them perfect for families with babies! It’s a big reason why they’re fantastic apartment dogs.
Parents can all agree that loud noises and babies don’t mix well. As parents, we know that loud noises and babies don’t mix well. The last thing I want is to be comforting a crying baby while dealing with a barking dog.
As long as you minimize risky interactions between the Dane and your infant, your child will likely be fine. Great Danes are great at respecting kids and they aren’t really bothered by the sound of a crying baby (in most cases).
Does Your Great Dane Get Along With Children?
In order to see how other Great Danes get along with children, we asked real Dane owners this question. We went to the popular Great Dane Sub Reddit forum for responses. Here’s what they had to say:
One owner has a Dane/Mastiff mix that’s a bit of a goof-ball: “My Dane mix LOVES kids. He’s a big boy and he gets them with his tail and isn’t the most graceful dog around, but he means well. “
His best advice is to make sure the kids know to be aware: “And all the kids he knows understand that he is a big goof and that sometimes they need to stay out of his way so they don’t get knocked over.“
Another owner recommends plenty of walks to burn out your Dane’s energy: “Our Dane does really well around kids that’s 3 month old now. She is 7 months now. You just have to train the dog and kids well and make sure the Dane has plenty of walks to burn off energy.“
This owner stresses obedience training when dealing with toddlers: “We have a toddler with us and the Dane pup came after. It was an adjustment because Great Danes view kids as puppies. Just have to pay attention and enforce rules. Redirection is key.”
Training Great Danes to Be With Kids
Great Danes are the 88th smartest dog breeds. They’re considered “average intelligent” dog breeds for obedience & working intelligence. However, it doesn’t mean that they’re capable of obedience training.
As long as your Great Dane is well trained, they will obey you and respect the children. With that said, Danes require positive reinforcement when it comes to obedience training. Reward them for good behaviors and they’ll quickly learn.
It’s been widely documented that Great Danes can be stubborn learners. Most of the time they’ll be happy to learn if provided the right motivators, though they can certainly go on their stubborn streaks.
I’ve never had a problem with my Danes and my kids. You have to teach mutual respect. The dane must know that the child is higher up than they are and are not litter-mates.– Cujasky (Great Dane Owner)
It’s very important that they learn to respect children. You cannot let them treat them as an “equal.” For example, make sure they’re not allowed to jump on, bite or push them, as so many puppies will try to do.
Yes, it can take a while, but don’t be discouraged. They just need a little patience when it comes to learning – the same patience they give to children!
In order to be the “pack leader,” you need to establish dominance in the family. It requires both firmness and consistency during obedience training. Never let them off the hook and make sure they’re accountable for their actions.
It’s always a great idea to provide your puppy Dane a safe space in case they’re overwhelmed by children or other stimuli. I would highly recommend using a dog crate, such as the Midwest Homes XXL Giant Dog Crate.
It’s durable, affordable, has a ton of great features and most importantly, the perfect safe haven for a Dane. You’ll need this for housetraining as well!
Socializing Great Danes With Children
The most important type of training is socialization. Your Great Dane needs to learn how to act when playing with your (and other) children. Failure to do so is what leads to mishaps and injuries, intentional or not.
It’s best to socialize a Great Dane as early on and frequent as possible. Bring to them dog parks, doggy day care centers and family events, where they’ll be socializing with kids of all ages (plus other dogs!).
You want to give them every chance to interact with children at an early age. But make sure to supervise them at all times while correcting them on any bad behavior. This is how they’ll learn to behave around kids.
A great way to nurture a strong bond between your children and your dog is to have them do activities together. For example, have your kids play fetch, catch or go on a walk with your Dane.
Let your kids help keep them mentally stimulated with obedience training as well. Just make sure to bring out the good treats!
Training Kids to Be Around Danes
The more they interact together, the better relationship they’ll develop once grown up. Still, respect is a two-way street and kids often need to be trained too.
Great Danes aren’t as fragile as say, a Beagle, but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable behavior to kick a Great Dane puppy. You’d be surprised how many kids would do such a thing.
Like with your Dane, you’ll need to enforce rules with your children when interacting with the dog. This means no pushing, no pulling on the tail, no riding and definitely no kicking.
Danes are certainly much more tolerant of rough play, but limiting this type of behavior will minimize risk while playing. You don’t want your Dane to grow up fearing or aggressive towards the kids.
If your children are too young to understand this, I would not recommend letting them play with the dog. In this case, I would wait for the kids to be old enough.
Are Great Danes Suitable For All Families?
Whether you have kids or not, Great Danes are undeniably excellent family dogs. They can be loving companions, superb nanny dogs and reliable guardians. But are they suitable for all types of families?
If you live in an apartment and are worried the limited space, you shouldn’t be concerned. Even with an apartment full of kids, Danes are highly suitable for apartment life.
They don’t often bark and won’t require a high amount of physical activity, such as the Australian Shepherd or Border Collie. Note: this doesn’t mean that they don’t need any exercise.
By living in an apartment, it’s essential you take out your Dane for daily walks. Bring the kids along for a great bonding session with the dog.
On the other side, If you live on a large property with a backyard, Danes can thrive. Giving these dogs enough space to hang out and play with the kids will keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
Guardians of the Home (and Kids)
If you’re looking for a guard dog or at the very least, an extra set of eyes on the kids, Great Danes fit the bill. These dogs are protective by nature, meaning they’ll defend and guard the home if necessary.
Always vigilant, the Great Danes make some of the best watch dogs. Though they don’t really bark, they will in the event that an intruder makes his way onto your property. Few people would want to mess with a Dane.
If socialized properly with the children of your family, Great Danes will go through great measures to protect them. They’re highly intelligent dogs capable of assessing situations where your children are in distress.
So do you own a Great Dane with children? Do they get along? Let us know in the comments section below!
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