The Dane and Obedience 

Obedience? Obedience? Obedience with a Great Dane are you kidding? Ah Nooooo! 

Have you ever seen the long list of Great Dane accomplishments?  It's amazing long.  A Dane can do anything YOU teach it to do. Go onto the GDCA site and click on Performance and then onto Obedience and see OUR dogs who are in competition. 

A Dane can do anything that any other breed can do. All these dogs and bitches mentioned have proven this time and time again in their competing in all breed obedience competitions.  

I've been asked to write so many times about Danes and obedience. I must tell you I have no real secret. I have been blessed with always wanting to teach and that was extended into animals when my Mom brought my ex-wife and me an Anniversary present many years ago. My ex was a teacher and so she did tons and tons of research for the perfect family pet and companion. One day she went to the school library and bought home several books about this Great Dane home. The book was, Pinkerton. Well, me being an animal lover and never being without a dog since I was 6 years old had no problem with a Great Dane. They were appealing to me with being so majestic, and lovable. Then after much further research I saw the size that this “baby” could grow. At that time my Mother was 100 pounds and less than 5 foot and I knew I had to get some type of training underway to be sure this new member was not going to knock my Mother down on our visits.  

Lady became our first Dane. I scoured the yellow pages for training schools and settled on one that wasn't into the macho "killer" methods. I started going to "Y-worry Training and boarding School" I've been there since 1984!  They have greatly helped me with now having achieved four (4) CD’s, three (3) CDX’s, one (1) UD, one (1) UDX and two (2) TDI'S, a therapy dog title.. 

Where do I start? How do I start? When do I start?  

These are just some of the questions that I will attempt to address in this the first foray into our Obedience discussions.  

Remember one thing and unfortunately I hear it over and over "My dog is too dumb," NO dog is too dumb. We just haven't either taken the time to train or we haven't adequately practiced enough with the dog. No dog is too old to teach new "tricks," but the earlier the training starts the better the foundation and the willingness of our "pupil."  

Like us, our dogs have different personalities and learning curves and way we learn. Some dogs will need 10 to 20 minutes each and every day to train and some will need 45 minutes every other day and yet others will need 12 minutes every other day. And yet others will need constant training the all of a sudden their light bulb goes on and the necessity of time intervals decreases. You need to judge your dog and know your dog. Don't have a low expectation and therefore give a poor training experience to your companion because you will get out of it what you put into it. Don't blame the dog!!!! Our Danes are as able, bright, and willing as any other breed. In competition maybe our guys aren't as quick or as agile as a sheltie or border but there very willing if you show them the way. 

In another article I will go into the AKC titles and there requirements. 

First off one has to ascertain the purpose of their desire for the obedience training. Will it be for our home and occasional neighborhood bound family member / pet or is it to enter beyond into the area of competition with our companions?    

Either way there are similarities. You should start teaching the basics the day you take and get your puppy home. The keys are patience, praise and practice.  All of our dogs / companions should have the basic concepts especially the "come" trained and drilled over and over because it may just save their life one day. The other basics such as sit, stay, and heal are all good dog "etiquette" that every dog and owner should have a firm handle on. 

There are several great basic obedience books out there on the market that are available. If you are at a dog show in our area, see Cherry Brook. One of my favorite authors for basic and competitive obedience is Diane Bauman. Another author is Marsha Smith. In all of our towns, or counties there are Dog Clubs or Obedience Clubs that offer basic to advanced obedience training.  

As previously stated in my next article I will address the AKC obedience titles and their requirements as well as try to explain the exercises that are required to obtain these titles.  Look for that article in a future date. 

Charles Marcantonio


AKC Judge

Member of NNJGDC