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Dogzilla – Great Dane

Dear John,

Our Great Dane is a year old puppy that weighs 170+ pounds. He is a loved family member, along with our other animals (2 cats, 1 parrot). Monk has great respect and compliance for my finance Bob, but he has issues with myself and my step-children. He continuously challenges our pecking order in the household, growling, food-anxiety attacks, and not wanting to be told what to do.

A month ago, I had to get two stitches from an inch-rip on my hand from when he fought with me about not wanting to go to his crate. He does have wonderful qualities but we do not want our children to get hurt, and if we cannot resolve his problems, we will have to put him down at the next bite.  – Marla

Dear Marla,

I can honestly say that after 20 years of training dogs there has only been one time I’ve been frightened in a dog related way. The problem is I’m not talking being scared of one dog, I’m talking about being scared for one year. Over the last year I’ve been asked to fix some aggressive dogs so big that if they wanted they could easily kill single handed and in a flash. I predicted a trend towards this type of dog several years ago when the government chose banning the pit bull breed instead of holding dog owners, breeders and dog trainers accountable. I told the government at the time that the dolts that owned pit bulls for no other reason then to provide themselves with courage on a leash were not going to replace their banned pit bulls with hamsters.

Instead began replacing them with breeds 2 and 3 times the size and rather then bred for aggressive tendencies towards other dogs, some of these giants were originally bred to kill large game and in war; kill people and since that prediction there have been deaths caused by breeds that until a few years ago even the average dog trainer hadn’t heard of them.

The next step is that these cash hungry Vickerites start breeding these behemoths indiscriminately and selling them to unsuspecting people like yourself. I’m not saying unsuspecting from the perspective that you don’t know you’re getting a dog that will grow big enough to become dangerous but you’re getting a dog that no thought went into as far as breeding for mental stability. The same things happened to pit bulls. Once, one of the most reliable family dogs you could get, eventually through stupid breeding, many became guns with brains. Now we’ve replaced them with tanks with brains.

Before last year I couldn’t tell you about the last Great Dane I’d treated for aggression. I’ve been consulted on 3 Great Danes in the last month. All aggression cases. The good breeders of Great Danes know all this and are powerless to do anything. There are no regulations. What they do know is it will take 10 years to repair the damage to the breed’s reputation. To top it off I can tell you that Great Danes are going to be the least of our problems. Wait until you see what some of the really aggressive mastiff breeds are going to do. They’ll be contributing to the stats soon too.

Maybe Monk just needs some training but at 170 and only 1 year you’d better start taking your steroids soon. However, if he’s as you say he is, I’d have a bull dozer pushing that dog out of my house as fast as I could figure out how to get one started. Get him out of the house. Family safety comes first. If you want take him somewhere to see if he can be trained fine, but get him out of the house.


– John Wade the Dog Trainer 

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2 thoughts on “Dogzilla – Great Dane”

  1. The dog obviously does not well with this famely but that does not mean that he needs to be put down. I have seen many people in the last 8 years with Labs Shepards and other “average famely dogs” that don’t know how to control their dog(s).

    They allways let their dog decide if he will come up to me and my dogs. They usually don’t even watch what the dog does and when they do they only look. If they try to correct their dog then the dog does not listen and more often the owner does not correct the dog but instead pets the dog for being a good boy…

    And these people aren’t the stereotype like the pitbullowner. No, they are old people, the average joe etc.

    None of those fools understand how to control their dog. And it does not mather if the dog is small or big or where the dog has been bred for.

    Like with the great Dane-he had to be controlled from the start by being very dominant and constant in your behaviour. The Eastern European people own dogs that eat great Danes for breakfast for hundreds of years now without problems. But they don’t do that by letteing the dog do whatever he wants.

  2. Thanks for the input David. I definitely see your point and I like the reference to Eastern European outlooks. Their dogs are usually higher drive and yet much more responsive to their training and handling but their approach to training is different as well. I think a lot of people that you refer to, I’m sure out of frustration, as fools are made to look so by the training suggestions we see from so many North American trainers. I think dog owners do their best but to me it’s garbage in, garbage out and once given proper advice they and their dogs start looking a lot less foolish and a lot more happy. When I talk to these people the stuff they’ve been told to do lacks balance. Many are told if they discipline they are abusive and scientifically guaranteed to make matters worse. If that were the case based on how I was raised and everyone I’ve ever me for that matter must be secretive violent criminals. 🙂 Are you a trainer David?

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