Gentle, giant Great Danes can weigh up to 200 pounds.
They can stand up to 3 feet tall. Despite their size, Great Danes can live in apartments, although owners may have to make some adjustments in their lifestyles.
Great Danes Have Great Temperaments
It only takes one look at an adult Great Dane to realize that they are dogs of imposing height, weight, and strength. Adopting a Great Dane isn’t a decision to be taken lightly.
Great Danes really are great dogs, but they tower over other dogs and even over people when they stand on their hind legs.
Great Danes aren’t easily intimidated. They have a relaxed stride everywhere they go. They are attractive dogs, coming in different coat colors and patterns.
Most of these giant dogs are easily recognized by the black and white coat pattern known as a harlequin.
A Great Dane in your apartment will make an intruder think twice, because, despite their sweet nature, Great Danes are fierce watch dogs.
But breeders agree that they are also just about universally great with kids and make friends with adults easily.
Dogster Rates Great Danes in the Top 10 Dogs for Apartment Living
Dogster is a monthly publication where dog owners share their experiences and experts share their advice about dogs.
The readers of Dogster consistently rank Great Danes in the top 10 breeds for people who live in apartments.
What makes keeping a Great Dane in an apartment work?
Great Danes are quiet. They won’t howl in the middle of the night. They won’t disturb your neighbors.
Great Danes aren’t destructive. They won’t tear up your apartment because they are bored, because you couldn’t take them out for a walk in inclement weather, or they have pent-up energy.
Their needs for exercise are satisfied with a walk around the block.
It’s normal to love your Great Dane. However, successful apartment living with a Great Dane requires some effort.
Socializing Your Great Dane
All Great Danes are capable of being friendly, social dogs, but their lovable demeanor doesn’t come completely naturally.
Great Danes need to be socialized to people and other pets between the ages of four and seven weeks, as they are becoming independent of their mother.
At this age, a Great Dane puppy’s brain is laying down the connections for recognizing “OK” people, pets, places, and experiences.
The greater the variety of people and pets that your Great Dane puppy gets to know at this time, the fewer adjustment problems it will have later in life.
Just a few weeks later, your Great Dane is learning situations to avoid.
Any kind of unnecessary, unfortunate encounter during this time of your Great Dane’s life can leave it traumatized for life.
It can become fearful and aggressive toward anyone or anything that causes it pain during the second six months of its life until it is a young adult dog.
Socialization is especially important for Great Danes that will live in apartments. Many kinds of people and pets will be close by.
The more experiences your Great Dane has at the right time of its life, the happier it will be in apartment living.
How to Deal with the Downsides to Size
Making a happy home for your Great Dane in an apartment takes advanced planning and persistence.
There are issues that arise from a Great Dane’s size that doesn’t come up with other dogs.
Permission to Keep Your Great Dane
Don’t even think about lying to your landlord about your Great Dane. There’s just no way to keep a Great Dane a secret.
Sooner or later, and probably sooner, your apartment complex management will discover that your beloved pet is a Great Dane
But you may be able to negotiate your way around size and weight limitations for pets.
Some apartment complexes will allow agreeable larger pets like Great Danes with an increased security deposit.
All apartment complexes are required to allow you to keep a service dog.
If your Great Dane is an emotional support animal, your apartment complex must make reasonable accommodations for you.
It also helps to demonstrate your commitment to being a good tenant and a good neighbor by getting a CGC (Canine Good Citizen) certification from the AKC (American Kennel Club).
You and your Great Dane show mastery over 10 areas of canine good behavior to get the certificate. it shows you are committed to responsible dog ownership.
No matter what kind of deal you make with your landlord, there are certain basic requirements for choosing an apartment where you will keep your Great Dane.
- You will need about the same amount of space for a Great Dane as you need for an additional family member or roommate. That’s because your Great Dane will need a kennel and/or an exercise pen.
- Carpeted floors and Great Danes don’t go well together. Look for apartments with floors of tile or linoleum.
- Your apartment should be located on the first floor or in a building with an elevator. You don’t want to take your Great Dane up and down stairs several times a day.
- Your apartment should be large enough you can keep all of your possessions without clutter. A simple wag of the tail can do considerable damage to possessions haphazardly stacked or packed too closely together.
Great Danes produce significant volumes of waste.
Whether you call the process house training, house breaking, or potty training, training your Great Dane to “go” in sanitary and aesthetically acceptable locations is essential to a happy life with your dog.
It’s important to be calm and consistent as you train your Great Dane how to use the restroom.
Great Danes, like other dogs, appreciate a consistent schedule, so your first step is working out a schedule that satisfies both you and your dog.
When you are potty training a puppy, plan on providing them with bathroom breaks every two hours. But learn the signals that your dog needs to go right now:
- Sniffing around.
- Looking for someone to go to the door.
- Acting agitated.
- Whining, barking, or crying.
It’s important to give your Great Dane puppy a chance to use the bathroom when she exhibits these signs.
It’s also important to go for a potty break every two hours, plus first thing when your puppy wakes up in the morning, whenever your puppy wakes up from a nap, and promptly after your puppy finishes a big meal or a big drink of water.
Praise goes a long way toward reinforcing desirable behaviors.
When your Great Dane puppy makes the right decisions, let them know you are happy, so they will make the right decision again.
It’s counterproductive to punish or scold a Great Dane or any other dog for accidents. They don’t perceive you’re getting upset with something they don’t remember doing as punishment.
They conclude that you are a weak alpha dog, and they become less inclined to obey you.
Treats are a good way to reinforce good behavior in puppies.
Eventually, you can replace treats with praise. Even senior dogs appreciate praise.
Great Danes respond to several house training techniques not often used on other breeds of dogs.
An easy way to introduce your Great Dane to proper bathroom behavior is to train them to ring a doorbell when they want to go outside.
Once your puppy has learned to ring a bell, you won’t have to listen to barks, cries, or whines.
There won’t be scratches on the door, And your friends and neighbors will be impressed by how smart your Great Dane is.
You can buy a doggie bell from a pet supply store for a Poochie Bell or Tell Bell. Alternatively, you can pick up a toy doorbell at a novelty supply house.
Attach the doorbell to a piece of string or ribbon. Hang it from a door handle. Alternatively, you can tape it to the sill of the door through which your puppy exits to go potty.
The doorbell will need to be placed where your Great Dane can reach it with a nose or paw.
Next, every time you take your Great Dane out to potty, say “Out” and use their nose or paw to ring the bell. Praise them for cooperating with you and immediately take them outside.
The downside to this method is you have to be consistent with your response to the bell.
If you keep your dog waiting for more than five seconds to go out, touch the bell with their nose or paw to reinforce the connection between the sound of the bell and going outside.
Kennel training is important for keeping your Great Dane safe. It acclimates your Great Dane to riding inside a kennel when it’s necessary to go somewhere by car.
Kennel training also helps with potty training, since no Great Dane will want to relieve itself where it sleeps.
The kennel you buy for your Great Dane puppy should be large enough that they will continue using it when they are fully grown.
“Large enough” means an adult Great Dane should be able to stand up and turn around inside it.
The kennel can be next to a pee pad for house training, since there will be times (like the middle of the night) that you won’t be able to take your dog outside.
There will be times you simply have to leave your Great Dane at home alone.
Exercise pens give your dog some room to roam outside their kennel without giving them a run of your apartment.
About half of the exercise pen should be devoted to your dog’s kennel. The other half should have pee pads or newspapers to protect the floors.
If you have a 5-foot x 3 foot (125 cm x 75 cm) space in your apartment, you can house train your Great Dane puppy in a puppy apartment.
One side of the puppy apartment is your Great Dane’s sleeping space. It has room for a favorite blanket and toys.
The other side of the puppy apartment is an area for peeing and pooping, with protection for your floor. A solid wall separates the two areas.
Puppy apartments are an easy way to continue potty training when you can’t be there to monitor your dog’s progress.
They aren’t a substitute for the previously mentioned methods, but they are very useful when you have to be gone all day.
Safety Considerations for Great Danes in Apartments
Great Danes in confined spaces are more likely to encounter certain kinds of safety hazards than in larger homes.
Many of the precautions parents take for small children are considerations for pet parents taking care of Great Danes:
- Don’t leave household chemicals in unlocked kitchen cabinets.
- Don’t leave string, yarn, or wire on the floor. Dogs can swallow long, cylindrical objects and get them caught in their digestive tracts. If you ever see a string or wire dangling loose from either end of your Great Dane’s digestive tract, don’t attempt to remove it. Leave this to your vet. Pulling on a string caught in the digestive tract can cause prolapse of internal organs and gangrene.
- Make sure your Great Dane can’t get into cooked bones, raw fish, chocolate, cannabis edibles, broccoli, coffee, tea, tobacco, or candies or gum sweetened with xylitol. These common foods are toxic to dogs.
- Don’t keep aloe, corn plants, cyclamen, dieffenbachias, philodendrons, jade plants, or lilies in your home. They can kill your pet.
Should You Consider a Shock Collar for Your Great Dane?
Great Danes that are not properly trained when they are young can demonstrate a mind of their own when they are off-leash. Shock collars take over when training has failed.
There are situations in which a shock collar could save your dog’s life. Aggression by Great Danes against neighbor pets simply won’t be tolerated.
If your Great Dane were to injure or kill another pet or bite a child or an elderly person, it’s likely that the authorities would order it to be put down.
It’s possible that the maximum penalty would be applied for other kinds of aggression.
Similarly, if you Great Dane just won’t obey your command to “Stay,” a shock collar might keep them from running out into traffic. It could keep them from getting killed.
If you rescue an adult Great Dane, you may need a shock collar to help you while your dog is learning to be properly social.
This situation is rare, but using a shock collar is better than losing your dog.
Apartment living with a Great Dane requires some sacrifice, but most Great Dane owners say their dogs are worth it.
Plan ahead, and you and your Great Dane can have a great life in your apartment.
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