Great Danes have great qualities in a four-legged companion. They love to be social, be near their human family and other pets and they are very loyal as well.
Because they like to be with their humans a lot, it causes most Great Danes to have separation anxiety when they have left home alone for long periods.
You should think about this fact before you adopt a “gentle giant” because when dogs have anxiety when you leave the house, they tend to get very destructive and rearrange and destroy most anything.
If everyone in your home goes to school or works full time, you may think of getting a different breed of dog.
However, the good news is that you can train your dog to be much calmer when he is at home alone. This works best if he is a puppy or a young dog and it does take some time and patience on both his part and yours.
Why Do Great Danes Not Like to Be Left Alone?
Great Danes were first kept by German nobles to hunt wild boars and to protect their estates and family members. They were also known as “chamber dogs” because they slept in the bedroom chambers with their owners at night to protect them from any harm.
Usually, when dogs are bred to perform specific tasks, it will be in their genetics from centuries ago to still do these things. Since Great Danes remained close to their owners at all times in history, this may be the reason why they don’t want to be left home alone.
How Long Can You Leave A Great Dane Alone?
This is a question that is hard to answer because each dog is different from the others.
Some will only be okay for just 30 minutes, while others could be alone for half a day. Your particular Great Dane will have his tolerance level and training him correctly can increase his level for a much longer period.
What Happens When Great Danes Are Left Alone Too Long?
When you leave your dog home alone for several hours, he may suffer from separation anxiety because he is attached to you or another family member that isn’t at the house. This can start by being left alone too often or for too long.
Isolation distress is similar to separation anxiety but not quite as severe. When a dog gets anxious and his stress level is high when left alone, it may feel this way.
But as soon as someone returns home, they will be happy and calm again. In many cases, an additional dog can help your dog to remain calm and gentle.
Your dog may also exhibit some major changes if he is left alone too long such as a change in temperament, destructiveness, stress, depression, and disobeying your commands that he once obeyed perfectly.
How Long Is Too Long?
If you see that your dog destroyed furniture, rugs, or any other item, then he is not a happy camper. You may also notice scratch marks on the doors or windows where he was trying to get out of the house.
Dogs show stress by cowering when you come home or they may be overly attached to you when you get home and won’t let you out of their sight.
Shaking or trembling dog or urine on the floor even though you let him out before you leave are also signs that he is in distress.
How To Keep Your Great Dane Happy When He’s Home Alone
Make a dog room for your companion with his bed and toys in a quiet area of the house, so outside noises don’t startle or scare him.
Feed him some tasty treats so he will associate his room with good thoughts and put him inside and close the door when you leave the house.
You can take a t-shirt and rub it on yourself so that your scent is on it and leave it in his room as well. The scent of a dog’s owner can keep him very calm and relaxed, but be aware that some dogs will just tear up the shirt.
Leave the radio or TV turned on when you leave the house. Absolute silence will allow him to hear external noises that can upset him.
Stuff a Kong-like toy with peanut butter and leave it in the dog’s room when you leave the house.
It will take him quite some time to lick all of it out and keep him busy so he won’t be thinking about you not being at home.
Take your pooch for a brisk walk before you leave the house to quell his anxiety. Tired dogs are much calmer than dogs that are full of excess stress.
Open the curtains or window treatments in your dog’s room so he can see you leave and most importantly see when you return. It helps him learn that you will leave, but you will always come back home to him.
When leaving your Great Dane home alone, make sure the temperature in your house is comfortable for you so it will be comfortable for him as well.
Training Your Great Dane to Lengthen The Separation Time
Great Danes are very intelligent and very easy to train as well. First, you put your dog in his room and shut the door while you are still home.
Walk away from the door for 15 minutes and then let him out. Gradually increase the amount of time that he is alone in his room with his comfort items by 15-minute increments.
When you let your dog out of his room, don’t get him overexcited, but merely tell him he’s a good boy and pet him. Over excitement when you return can fuel the fire of separation anxiety even further and you certainly don’t want that.
You can most likely expect your dog to whine at first until he realizes you will let him back out of his room when you return home. Your gentle giant should get the hang of this very quickly and learn to be calm and quiet when he is by himself.
After you have worked up to an hour or so while remaining in the house, you can start leaving the house for an hour and increase the time by 15-minute increments to increase his time at home alone without stressing him out.
Can I Leave My Great Dane Outside All Day?
Great Danes are very susceptible to temperature changes and they can’t tolerate much warmth or cold either. Their coats are very short, so they have a harder time regulating their body temperature when they are outside for long periods.
It’s also not a good idea to leave your dog outside all day, because he may try to jump or climb over the fence and take off.
Great Danes are very strong and they might be able to break your fence and escape your yard or dig under it and you certainly don’t want to lose your family pet.
Does Crate Training Help?
Crate training is a very helpful thing to do for any dog. You must understand the crate is not a punishment place for a dog, but an area where he is comfortable and relaxed.
You can start by throwing treats in the crate for him to go in crate and inspect it. Put a bed or a blanket in it and some toys as well.
After your pooch is comfortable with his crate, put his food dish in the rear of it and close the door on the crate. As soon as he’s finished eating, open the crate door and let him out.
Slowly increase the amount of time that you leave the crate door closed with him inside. Crate training takes longer for some dogs and others are experts in no time.
Just remember to be patient and take your time so he is comfortable in his private area.
When your dog is calm in his crate, you can start leaving him in his crate for short periods while you leave the house and keep increasing the amount of time to increase the time he is left alone without being stressed out.
Dogs that are crate trained will usually decide they want to sleep in their crate all the time and this is a great accomplishment.
It’s very helpful to crate train your Great Dane from when he is a puppy so that he never gets separation anxiety in the first place.
In this case, you can leave him in the crate when you leave the home for quite some time and you won’t need to worry about your house being destroyed or your dog howling in distress all day long.