Does Your Great Dane Have Too Much Energy? Here’s Why and How to Keep Them Calm
Great Danes are known for their loyal personalities, which makes them a wonderful addition to the family. Yet, you might realize that your new pup has boundless energy that never seems to end.
If the thought of having a rambunctious 140-pound dog running through your home makes you nervous, then it helps to know that they will eventually calm down.
A Great Dane has a noticeable decline in its energy levels that begins towards the end of its first year. By the time they are two years of age, your pup should hit their full maturity level.
They might still have occasional bouts of energetic play, but they shouldn’t return to the same level they displayed during puppyhood.
Proper training and care make a significant difference in how quickly your dog calms down.
Why Makes Great Danes Hyperactive?
This dog breed was bred as working dogs, which means that their energetic personality was welcomed out in the field.
Today, most canine lovers choose Great Danes for their size and amiable personalities. While it is fun to watch your pup play, it is also important to help them learn how to reign in their energy so that they stay safe in your home.
Figuring out why your Great Dane is so energetic makes it possible to begin planning care and training strategies that help them stay calmer.
They’re Still Maturing
Dogs progress through different life stages faster than humans. By the time you bring your Great Dane home, they may already be on the level of a toddler.
From two to four months of age, your dog will often exhibit high energy levels that are followed by frequent rest periods, much like a young child might display.
At this age, they are naturally curious about everything around them. But, they may still lack the attention span they need to do more than a few minutes of training.
Keep your training sessions short, but offer them frequently throughout the day. Even a pup this young can learn some basic commands that help to stop negative behaviors.
Between four months to a year tends to be the highest activity period in a Great Dane’s development. During this time, your dog’s energy levels might seem relentless, and it is common for them to still be ready to play after a long walk.
You can help make this period more tolerable by increasing your dog’s exercise and play opportunities. This is also a great time to focus on serious training, since your dog’s cognitive activity is peaking, and working on following commands helps to burn off some energy.
Your dog’s energy will reach moderate levels between one and two years of age. However, Great Dane lovers tend to notice a major developmental leap around two and one-half years old.
At this point, your dog will have reached full adulthood, which means that its mind and body have aligned in maturity. If your dog still has unmanageable levels of hyperactivity at this point, then it might be time to seek professional help to figure out why.
The final change in energy levels occurs when your dog is around eight years old. By then, you can consider them a senior dog. They’ll be happy to rest by your side more and might take more naps, but they’ll still be happy to go for walks and enjoy playtime.
They Need More Exercise
A lot of your dog’s hyperactivity can be blamed on age, but Great Danes also need tons of exercise. The average dog requires anywhere between one to three hours of exercise a day, which might be hard to fit in if you are working.
If you live in an apartment or urban environment, then taking your pup to the dog park is a great way to give them safe exercise opportunities. Even people with backyards might still need to take their dogs out for long walks to help them manage their energy.
They’re Not Getting Enough Mental Stimulation
This breed was frequently used for hunting dogs, and a Great Dane’s brain is primed to be constantly looking for stimulation. A dog that is left alone for long periods of time might also display negative behaviors as a response to needing more attention.
Plan to carve out lots of time during your day to spend with your pup. You can keep their mind stimulated with toys, new commands, and even treat puzzles that are designed specifically for dogs.
You’ll also want to provide socialization opportunities for your dog every chance you get. Invite a friend or family member to come over to play with them if you’re busy with other responsibilities.
Once your dog has had all of its early vaccinations, you can also let them play with other dogs. Romping around with another puppy could be all they need to burn off their excess energy.
They Have Anxiety or ADHD
Dogs can have mental or behavioral health conditions that are similar to humans. They may just display their symptoms in different ways.
Hyperkinesis, or canine ADHD, is a rare condition in dogs, but it is worth exploring if your Great Dane doesn’t respond to your efforts to curtail their energy.
Dogs can also have anxiety. While some dogs might hide behind the couch in response to fireworks or other perceived threats, others will get wound up.
Both of these conditions can be treated with medication and behavior modification strategies that can help your pet stay calmer no matter what is going on.
Will Neutering or Spaying Help?
The answer to this question comes down to the timing along with your pet’s general personality.
For years, spaying and neutering services were recommended early in a dog’s life, and this can have an impact on energy levels if it is done before a dog reaches sexual maturity.
Spaying and neutering can stop a Great Dane from producing sex hormones, such as testosterone, that lead to potentially challenging behaviors and excessive energy levels. However, it doesn’t make them suddenly reach the calm demeanor of a senior dog.
Many vets also recommend waiting until a dog reaches their full growth to perform spaying and neutering services. In this case, the procedure won’t have as much of an effect on the dog’s behavior.
What Can You Do at Home to Calm Great Danes Down?
The good news is that many of the things you can do to help your dog stay calm are also effective for strengthening your bond. Try adding these strategies to your dog care routine, and watch as your pup gradually begins to act calmer.
Teach Your Pup New Tricks
Dog tricks provide both mental and physical stimulation, which is wonderful for harnessing your pup’s energy for good. Teaching them commands such as to sit, heel, or lie down, also helps them to quickly adjust their behavior when it is unsuitable for a situation such as being in a crowd.
Make Exercise More Challenging
Many Great Dane owners find that a simple walk around the neighborhood just isn’t enough. You might need to find an area where you can walk your dog on a longer leash, or they may need to visit a large open space where they can safely run freely.
Building a doggie obstacle course in your backyard is also a fun way to increase your exercise level. Even a ramp or hoop to jump through is more strenuous than simply walking. Just be cautious to only create exercise opportunities that are safe for your dog’s joints.
Dog gyms and parks also tend to have special equipment in place to provide dogs with chances to jump, balance, and navigate their way through obstacles. Often, giving your dog a new environment to play in keeps them calm for the rest of the day.
Adjust Their Routine
You’ll want to remember that your dog’s routine may need to change as they age. As your puppy moves to a new developmental stage, take a look at its schedule to see if it is working. For instance, a six-month-old dog might need fewer rest periods compared to when they were two months old.
Know When to Give Your Dog a Break
As a final note, you can also overdo it with all of the attention and fun times. Similar to babies, Great Dane puppies can get overstimulated and express an abundance of energy.
If your dog seems to be unregulated with their behavior or agitated, then move to a calmer activity.
Over time, your pup will eventually learn how to self-regulate their behavior with your guidance and patience.
Are Great Danes calm dogs?
Great Danes are peaceful with people and other animals, but obedience training helps them stay on their best behavior.
At what age do Great Danes mature?
A Great Dane reaches their full maturity level between two to two and a half years of age.
How do you discipline a Great Dane?
This breed responds best to positive reinforcement. You can use a command to help them behave, and give them a treat or lots of attention when they do well.