Great Danes are unique dogs, not only in terms of their appearance but also because of their friendly and good-natured temperament. Despite their huge size and intimidating presence, these gentle giants are protective, playful, loving and intelligent, making them excellent family pets. But if you have a baby at home, the question is, “Are Great Danes good for families with kids, babies and infants?”
Well, there’s good news for you! Also known as “nanny dogs”, Great Danes are a very gentle and affectionate breed, making them excellent family companions and good with kids and babies and even other pets such as dogs and cats. They are loving, very patient and can be quite protective of their family members when required.
While Great Danes are great family dogs and thrive well in families, if you have small kids or a baby at home, then it is necessary to take some precautions. Great Danes are highly intelligent dogs and are quite cautious around small kids; however, their size may be a disadvantage and they may accidentally hurt your child.
In this article, we’ll discuss in detail everything you need to know about having a Great Dane in your family with small kids and babies.
Factors to Consider for Families with Children and Great Danes
Great Danes have a sweet and gentle disposition and love spending time with their family. However, they often forget their size and how big they are and will lean into you, knock you over or try to sit in your lap. They just want to be close to you at all times, forgetting how big they are.
However, this could be dangerous for kids. While leaning into your child, your Great Dane could accidentally knock them over and cause accidental injury. Also, apart from being generally playful, Great Danes have very strong tails and can accidentally hurt your child while wagging them.
Another thing to look out for with this breed is that while in general, they have low to moderate energy, occasionally, they release their energy with wild sprints, resulting in a few fast and wild laps of running in figure eights or circles. This is not aggressive behavior and is only a way by which your pet is releasing his pent-up energy.
While all these behaviors are quite normal and nothing to get worried about; however, as a parent, you must be aware of them. You must teach your kids to be wary of such behaviors and keep them out of your pet’s way while he is wagging his tail or on a romp around.
When your Great Dane is a puppy, it is important to keep a watch on them around your kids, because they are too young to know and understand proper behavior and may view your children as mates and may nip them or engage in boisterous behavior. You should also not leave your kids alone with an adult Great Dane that has not been trained.
While in general, Great Danes are gentle and calm dogs, they may react in a negative manner sometimes when interacting with kids. Children can get quite rough and rowdy and your Great Dane is a patient dog that will put up with it to a great extent; however, they may respond aggressively at times and so no matter however gentle and friendly your Great Dane is, you must make sure to supervise the playtime between your pet and kids.
Also, with proper training and socialization, your Great Dane can be an excellent, protective watchdog for your children and develop great bonds with them.
Great Danes and Energetic Kids
For the most part, Great Danes are among the most dependable dogs, especially for families with small kids. They are reliable and trustworthy. However, if your kids are highly energetic and lively, you may be worried about how your pet will deal with this kind of behavior. Great Danes are quite friendly and patient and deal quite well with high-energy kids.
Although they are not as active as some other breeds and are quite mellow, Great Danes have sufficient energy to run around and keep up with your energetic kids. They are not very bothered by the chaos of having smaller active kids. However, it is still very important for your kids to learn to treat your pet with respect.
Your Great Dane will be tolerant of your kids and their behavior as long as they are familiar with them, especially if you have been raising your Great Dane since he was a puppy.
Nevertheless, it is still important to supervise the playtime with your kids and dog, especially if your kids are very young as your Great Dane could hurt your child accidentally during play.
Great Danes with Toddlers and Infants
It is not a very good idea to let your Great Dane have unsupervised interactions or play with your toddler, even for a little while because these dogs are not aware of their power and force.
It is very difficult to predict how your Great Dane will react to something your toddler does, regardless of how you have raised him because after all, your Great Dane is an animal and even a small nip can cause serious damage.
Even if your Great Dane does not mean to hurt your toddler or infant, he can do it accidentally. Just a swipe of his wagging tail to your baby’s face can hurt a lot and it is always better to be safe. Great Danes in general, are quiet dogs and are not big barkers, which makes them ideal for families with infants and great apartment dogs.
Babies can get startled by loud noises and it can get quite tiring to handle a barking dog and comfort a wailing baby. Fortunately, Great Danes are not very bothered by crying babies and tolerate them quite well. And, as long as you can minimize any risky interactions between your pet and baby, your child should be fine.
Socializing Great Danes with Kids
It is extremely important to socialize your Great Dane and your pet must learn how to act when he is playing with your kids. Lack of socialization can lead to accidents and injuries, which may or may not be intentional. It is best to socialize your Great Dane very early and frequently. Get your pet used to being petted or touched by your kids. Petting on the head, rubbing his belly, touching his face, holding his paws and massaging his ears.
Take your Great Dane to the doggy park and family events where he can interact and socialize with other dogs and children of all ages. Give your pet every chance to interact with kids at an early age; however, take care to supervise him at all times and correct him in case he exhibits bad behavior. This will teach your Great Dane to behave properly around children.
An excellent way by which you can nurture a bond between your pet and kids is to make them do activities together such as taking your pet for a walk, playing catch or fetch. Encourage your kids, if they are older, to be involved with your pet’s obedience training and keep him mentally stimulated, rewarding him with treats for good behavior.
Training Your Great Dane to Behave around Kids
In terms of intelligence, Great Danes are ranked 88th among the smartest dog breeds. And, as long as you train your Great Dane well, he will obey and respect you and your kids as well. However, when it comes to obedience training, Great Danes need positive reinforcement and they will learn quickly if praised and rewarded for good behavior.
However, this breed of dogs can be stubborn learners and while most times, they are happy to learn, especially if they have a positive motivation, they can go on stubborn streaks too. It is extremely important to teach your Great Dane to respect kids and not treat them as equals.
For instance, you should teach your pet not to jump on your kids, push or bite them. While this may take some time and patience, the key is not to be discouraged and give your pet time to learn. Your pet should recognize you as the pack leader and you must establish dominance using consistent and firm training methods.
Teaching Your Kids How to Behave around Your Great Dane
The more your kids and Great Dane interact, the better their relationship will be, even when they are older. As you must train and teach your pet to behave around your children, likewise, your kids must also learn how to behave around your Great Dane.
You should teach your children to respect your dog and enforce rules while interacting with your pet. They should not indulge in behaviors like kicking your dog, pushing him, pulling his tail or riding him. Great Danes are quite tolerant of rough play; however, it is better to limit this type of behavior as it will minimize any risk of your pet hurting your child.
While generally Great Danes are not food aggressive, you should still teach your kids not to snatch your pet’s food while he’s eating. You do not want your pet to be fearful or aggressive towards your children. If your kids are very young and are not able to understand this, then it is a good idea to keep them away from your pet until your kids are much older.
Are Great Danes Good Family Dogs?
Whether you have children or not, undeniably, Great Danes are great family pets. They are protective and reliable guardians and loving companions. However, the question is, “Are Great Danes suitable pets for all kinds of families?”
If you live in a small home or apartment, you are probably worried that the limited space may not be enough for both your large Great Dane and your family. However, there is no need to worry, despite their large size, Great Danes make great apartment dogs, even if you have many kids.
They are calm and quiet dogs and don’t bark often. They also are not high-energy dogs and don’t need huge amounts of physical activity. However, this does not mean that they don’t require any exercise at all and it is good for your pet to get out of the house once in a while.
Even if you live in an apartment, your Great Dane requires a bit of exercise and just 15 minutes of walking, running around or playing fetch is sufficient for your Great Dane. You could even take your child along with your walks with your Great Dane so that they can bond.
On the other hand, if you have a large property with a large garden or backyard, this is excellent for your Great Dane. Your pet will have plenty of space to run around and play with your children, keeping them stimulated, both physically, as well as mentally.
Are Great Danes Good Guardian Dogs?
If you’re looking for a good guard dog, one that will protect your kids, then the Great Dane is an excellent option. Protective by nature, Great Danes will defend and guard your home very well. They are always vigilant, making them among the best guard dogs.
While they don’t bark often if an intruder gets into your property, they do bark and their huge size can make it quite intimidating for strangers to mess with your dog. Great Danes are very intelligent dogs and can determine any situation where your kids are in distress and will go to great lengths to protect them.
Create a Safe Space for Your Great Dane
While your Great Dane loves company and does not like being alone, it is still very important to have a dedicated space that belongs to your pet which he can use if he is overwhelmed by your kids or other stimuli.
It is a good idea to use a dog crate, which is a safe haven for your pet where he can sneak away to, relax or take a nap. Most Great Danes sleep around 16 to 18 hours a day, and so having their own space to nap is a good thing. A dog crate is also a great accessory to housetrain your Great Dane puppy.
In conclusion, when it comes to your pet and kids, every parent wants to see both of them getting along well. You adore both of them and so, you want everyone to be one big happy family. And, by doing the things that we have discussed in our article, you can ensure that you achieve this.