Our Gentle Giants

The story of two Floridians and their foster Great Danes

July 3rd, 2014

House Rules We Intend on Enforcing

By Tara
Credit: Jon Hurd

Credit: Jon Hurd

No laying on ‘our’ couch or our bed

Drool is a huge issue with giants. Like, huge. One shake of the head and it’ll be dripping from the ceiling. We’re mostly okay with it, but I really, really don’t want drool spots on our bed or the couch. They will have their own beds to drool on. Couches: giants are sleepers. It’s not only a necessity for them; it’s also a hobby. And couches are comfortable. But I don’t want drool on the couch. So my solution? Have two couches! One for the dogs and one for us. That way, they get to laze around the house just like we do. We just have the option of either sitting with them in their drool puddles or sitting on a nice, clean couch. This will also be good for our guests. Who wants to sit on a couch with drool stains?

Then again, here are 10 reasons why you should let them on the furniture.

No going in the kitchen

Christian does most of the cooking and he already dislikes it when Roxie gets underfoot in there and she’s only 14 inches tall. Add two dogs that are 30 inches tall and you’ve got one crowded kitchen. Plus, it doesn’t help that I’m in there eating all the ingredients he’s trying to use to cook us dinner.

No playing immediately after eating/you must eat at a reasonable pace

This isn’t something that most dog owners worry about, but with Great Danes and Mastiffs, this can be a huge problem. They are prone to bloat, which is a condition where the dog’s stomach fills with air and twists itself. Bloat has a 38% mortality rate and is a main cause of death in gentle giants. You can do a few things to reduce the risk of bloat:

  • Keep the dog from playing after eating
  • Keep the dog from gulping down his food (this type of bowl is helpful)
  • Opt to have the dog’s stomach tacked to the abdominal wall (this procedure is called “gastropexy“)

The obvious ones

These rules go without saying, but I’m going to say them anyway:

  • No jumping
  • No begging (Roxie doesn’t beg, but she does sit and stare quietly when we are eating and we’re okay with that. If this makes any guests uncomfortable, we tell them to say, “Don’t look at me” and she will walk away)
  • No biting/growling
  • If you must bark, you must stop when we ask you to (more on this later)
  • Be gentle with animals smaller than you

Final thoughts

It’s going to be tough to be stricter with these dogs than we are/were with Roxie. Roxie is allowed on the couch and she jumps on people occasionally and barks like crazy when she sees a cat or hears the doorbell ring. We are okay with her on the couch, but we are trying to teach her not to jump and to stop barking when we ask her to. This page has a list of rules you may want to consider when training your dog.