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Doggy Daycare with a 5 month old Great Dane

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  • Doggy Daycare with a 5 month old Great Dane

    I hope this is the right place to post this. I purchased a male Great Dane named Moose last week who just turned 5 months yesterday and is 45 lbs. I've come to realize that he is lacking in socialization with people and a bit with other dogs. I find this to be because he was raised in a kennel for the first 4 months of his life and didn't receive the proper attention. Moose loves me and follows me almost every step while wagging his tail. He has already learned how to use a leash, that we potty outside, and when to go to his crate in less than a week. The issue is with other people and other dogs. When he sees someone at a distance he tends to growl/ whine and cower behind me. I work 8-5 Monday-Thursday and he is now enrolled in puppy daycare, which I believe has already showed a little improvement with his approach to other people and animals. He shows no aggression but is very shy. I was wondering if there was anything else anyone could suggest to help him realize that no one is trying to hurt him and he shouldn't be scared of strangers if I'm not. I really love this pup and I want him to be able to enjoy rather than being scared when he sees something new. His parents were on the larger side and I don't want this temperament to continue when he gets too big for me to physically control. Any advice would be appreciated!
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  • #2
    Welcome to Great Dane ownership!

    I would usually strongly advise that someone does not put an anxious or fearful puppy in a daycare situation. One traumatic incident with a dog, or a person, could really worsen your puppy's fearful behaviors. However, you say that your puppy is doing well and seems to be opening up, so in that situation I'd say to make sure that they're aware of your pup's nervousness, and to keep the playgroups that he is in small, and make sure that an experienced attendant is monitoring his group at all times.

    Big thing to do - don't FORCE him to interact with people. If he's growling/whining and crouching behind you, do not allow anyone to approach him or pet him or give him treats. You can give him treats to try to build a positive association with seeing people, if he will take them from you.

    It could be that he's going through a bit of a fear period, and obviously these are all huge changes for him, so I'm really hoping that you'll see improvements in his behavior.

    But the bad news - a severe lack of socialization during the critical periods will often lead to certain amount of nervousness/anxiety/fear behavior in an adult dog. I really hope this isn't the case for your pup, but I'd highly advise you to be prepared to hire a professional trainer if you see these behaviors worsen, which will most likely happen (if it does happen) around 10-12 months of age.

    A side note about his size - 45 lbs at 5 months is actually fairly small. He may be skinny, and his lines may be 'slow growing', but I wouldn't expect him to be on the larger side based on that number. For reference, my male who is 33.5" at the shoulder and 135 lbs as an adult (so on the smallish average side) was almost 60 lbs at that age. The average for that age on the pretty reliable chart that most Dane owners use is 60-85 lbs. There are always outliers, and sometimes the smallest dog of the litter can end up being the largest, but there's no reason to worry that he's going to be an uncontrollable behemoth.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Hiraeth View Post
      Welcome to Great Dane ownership!

      I would usually strongly advise that someone does not put an anxious or fearful puppy in a daycare situation. One traumatic incident with a dog, or a person, could really worsen your puppy's fearful behaviors. However, you say that your puppy is doing well and seems to be opening up, so in that situation I'd say to make sure that they're aware of your pup's nervousness, and to keep the playgroups that he is in small, and make sure that an experienced attendant is monitoring his group at all times.

      Big thing to do - don't FORCE him to interact with people. If he's growling/whining and crouching behind you, do not allow anyone to approach him or pet him or give him treats. You can give him treats to try to build a positive association with seeing people, if he will take them from you.

      It could be that he's going through a bit of a fear period, and obviously these are all huge changes for him, so I'm really hoping that you'll see improvements in his behavior.

      But the bad news - a severe lack of socialization during the critical periods will often lead to certain amount of nervousness/anxiety/fear behavior in an adult dog. I really hope this isn't the case for your pup, but I'd highly advise you to be prepared to hire a professional trainer if you see these behaviors worsen, which will most likely happen (if it does happen) around 10-12 months of age.

      A side note about his size - 45 lbs at 5 months is actually fairly small. He may be skinny, and his lines may be 'slow growing', but I wouldn't expect him to be on the larger side based on that number. For reference, my male who is 33.5" at the shoulder and 135 lbs as an adult (so on the smallish average side) was almost 60 lbs at that age. The average for that age on the pretty reliable chart that most Dane owners use is 60-85 lbs. There are always outliers, and sometimes the smallest dog of the litter can end up being the largest, but there's no reason to worry that he's going to be an uncontrollable behemoth.
      Thanks for your input! I did find out after I took him for his checkup and got his worming medications that he had roundworms and that could be the cause of the weight. He isn't passing them anymore and his stools are normal. The vet said he looked healthy, however he does still look a bit thin to me. I'm was feeding him 2 cups of 4health low protein grain free twice a day but began adding another cup a day yesterday. At the daycare, he does play in a small group and I was very thorough to them about where he came from and his lack of socialization and they were very patient with him, introducing one dog at a time. He initially was grouped with smaller dogs but showed great progress so they put him in with dogs closer to his size a few days ago and he's doing fine. Lastly, he doesn't wine or growl when someone is close to us that he doesn't know, he just seems uninterested and slightly avoidant. He's a very smart puppy and I'm sure he will come along, after all it has only been a week and he's been through a big change just as you said.
      Last edited by josh_moose; 02-16-2017, 02:24 PM.
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      • #4
        Sounds like you're doing everything right. I think taking it day by day and making notes about his progress is going to be a really good strategy to use. Each and every dog will settle at a different rate, but I think it takes at the minimum a few months for a dog or puppy to really accept their new person as *their person*, and to develop some trust and become familiar with their environment.

        I think he's really lucky to have you and to be out of his previous situation
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        • #5
          Doggy daycares (assuming that you have thoroughly checked them out) are awesome for keeping your puppy socialized with other dogs and people......especially for those owners who work and are gone 8 to 10hrs a a day! No puppy should be left alone for that many hours a day.

          I applaud you for caring enough for your baby to continue & grow his social skills while you cant by taking him to a place that can let him run, play and be entertained under supervised conditions instead of spending hours upon hours in a crate.

          While this will not take the place of his unfortunate first 4 months of life, it will help him overcome his awkward social skills and see that people and other dogs are good/fun, not bad.
          Carolyn
          Divine Acres Great Danes
          Divine Acres The Legend "Bruce" 5 1/2 months old..5th generation of DA Danes!
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Carolyn View Post
            Doggy daycares (assuming that you have thoroughly checked them out) are awesome for keeping your puppy socialized with other dogs and people......especially for those owners who work and are gone 8 to 10hrs a a day! No puppy should be left alone for that many hours a day.

            I applaud you for caring enough for your baby to continue & grow his social skills while you cant by taking him to a place that can let him run, play and be entertained under supervised conditions instead of spending hours upon hours in a crate.

            While this will not take the place of his unfortunate first 4 months of life, it will help him overcome his awkward social skills and see that people and other dogs are good/fun, not bad.

            Thanks for the encouragement that I'm doing the right thing! It really does make a difference. I definitely couldn't live with myself seeing him in a crate all day while I'm at work, and I know that would make his lack of social skills even worse. I definitely checked out and asked around about the daycare before I put him in there. It is basically an open clean building with plenty of room to play on the inside and even more room outside with grass and shade for them to play and relax. There is always someone supervising (a lot of them vet techs) and encouraging playtime with toys and special attention for ones like Moose and they make sure they don't over exert themselves, even though Moose is pretty worn out and sleeps most of the remainder of the day. But they say he loves playing with the other dogs. We are still working on the people part, my conclusion is the breeder wansnt at all the best at knowing the needs of Danes, they are not like other dogs. But I can see a little change each day and I'm sure he will grow up to be a great pup!
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