Crate training a great dane might seem intimidating for some new dog owners, but these mighty dogs are surprisingly easy to train.
The great dane is responsive to firm training methods and adjusts well to almost any situation if well trained, they can even live happily in an apartment despite their colossal size.
Great danes need early socialization and obedience training at a young age, and crate training will do a great job establishing the foundation for what’s to come in training.
This giant dog is very popular in the US -probably Scooby-doo fans- and that’s mainly because he is eager to please and make a great guardian dog.
Grate danes sure are friendly but these strong beasts will not hesitate to unleash their fury when their owner is in danger.
Walking around a great dane or having one at home will make people think twice before they make a move.
This is why crate training a great dane and early obedience and socialization are important.
Why crate training a great dane is important
The great dane is a large and powerful breed, so powerful that it was used in Germany to hunt the wild boars.
Having a mighty beast like the great dane untrained is an irresponsible move and they need to be trained at a young age.
That’s why crate training your great dane is important to lay down the first rules and encourage good behavior.
Crate training is also the best and fastest way to potty train a great dane, so you want to start as early as possible.
What you need to crate train a great dane
Crate training a great dane properly needs the proper tools to do it, and the crate is the obvious one. Having the best crate and the perfect size is very important and will determine how well training will go.
Besides the crate you’ll need some training toys and treats to help motivate your mighty friend and enhance good behavior.
You have to be careful when choosing the crate, the toys, and especially the training treats since the breed’s number one killer is the Bloat.
Best crate for a great dane
Choosing the right crate for your great dane is the most important step of the crate training program.
If you don’t choose a good crate you could see all your efforts gone and that’s a common mistake.
Crate training is making the crate a home and a safe den for your dog and teaching him to love it. However, if your dog can’t feel comfortable in it you’ll never succeed in crate training him.
The best crate for a great dane is the wire crate and we recommend the Midwest Ginormous dog crate(click here to check the current price on Amazon).
We love this crate simply because it was built specifically for great danes.
It fits perfectly and like all Midwest crates it’s sturdy and foldable and easy to assemble.
It comes with the double door option and you can install a divider panel for better results at crate training.
What we like about Midwest Ginormous crate
Like all Midwest crates, this one comes with plenty of great options that will make crate training a great dane much easier.
- The crate fits a great dane perfectly offering plenty of room for the dog to lay down, turn around, and stand up but not too much space for him to turn a corner into a potty spot.
- It is easy to assemble and you don’t need any tools, but unlike most crates, this one is huge so help from another person is probably needed.
- The crate comes with two doors another great feature that will make luring into and exploring the crate easier for your great dane and therefore crate training easier.
- You have the option to install a divider panel to adjust the size will the puppy is still young and the crate is too big for him.
- The wire crate provides plenty of open space and a great view of the house so the dog does not get bored.
Hint: We strongly recommend getting the divider panel for your crate to help you adjust the size as your great dane puppy grows, this way you can avoid in potty training incidents.
Best training toys for a great dane
When it comes to crate training, there is no other toy that can compete with the Kong chew toy. It does a wonderful job keeping the dog distracted in his crate after meals or while you’re not around.
The Kong will help a lot ease the stay alone time in the crate for your dog; it can be used as a simple chew toy or filled with treats and used as a food puzzle that will keep your great busy for a while.
You can get your Kong here on Amazon, I linked to a pack of two and so you can have one at all times to retire the old one when it gets too mangled and chewed up.
However, crate training a great dane needs plenty of exercising and play sessions, because of their large size they need a couple brisk walks a day or a walk and interactive toys play sessions.
You might want to consider getting an interactive toy like these ones, but unlike chew toys, your dog can’t have access to interactive toys all the time these are used to build a relationship and as a high-value reward to enhance good behavior.
Once the play session is finished the interactive toys must be hidden and only used when you are around.
Best training treats for a great dane
Using treats for crate training a great dane will sure make it faster and more enjoyable. However, you need to be careful about what kind of treats you give your dog.
The ones I use for all my dogs and recommend are Bil Jac’s training treats, it’s a safe brand sourced in the US my dogs love it and it supports a good cause.
How to crate train a great dane puppy
Crate training a great dane could be intimidating but it’s actually easier than it seems, great danes are eager to please their owners and respond well to training.
Step 1: Introducing your great dane to his crate
Introducing your dog to his crate is a key step in crate training a great dane successfully. You don’t want your dog to freak out when he first has to go in the crate, so you want to make sure he has plenty of time to see it explore it and get inside it freely.
You can do this simply by starting your crate training program early during the day, just take your dog with the leash on and circle around the crate with no pressure let him sniff it and walk around.
Just let it be natural dogs are curious and will check it out, but don’t force it if he does not seem interested.
Just keep walking around it for a few minutes then go back to doing something else and repeat the process a few times.
You want the crate’s door open and secured to avoid any incidents that might scare the puppy and make it hard for you to get that good first impression.
Step 2: Exploring the crate
If the introduction part is done properly the dog will feel fine around the crate and you can actually start using your tools.
In this phase you want to toss in a couple treats in the crate and have the dog get inside to get them and once he does you need to reward him and praise verbally to show that being in the crate is a good thing.
Using the wire crate with two doors we suggested makes this step much easier since the dog doesn’t feel trapped inside and can walk in and out of the crate freely.
Just repeat the same process using treats and verbal praise every time the dog gets inside the crate, if you do that enough times you’ll notice that your great dane is offering to get in the crate on his own to get the treat and that’s your sign that he is ready for the next step.
Step 3: Making the crate great
This step is so important and crucial that we’ve made it our slogan, this is what crate training is all about. You need to make the crate the best spot in the house for your dog, happy things must happen in the crate and it needs to be a safe spot.
The best way to do that is food, toys, and praise; and you can start by feeding the dog his meals in the crate.
You need to keep the crate open and serve the dog his meals inside the crate and you must be sitting next to the crate while he feeds.
Feeding is a happy time for dogs and you want to associate it with the crate.
You also need to play games that include the crate, like using chew toys to get the dog inside, just toss in his favorite toy in the crate, and every time he gets it, praise him and give him a nice rub.
You can secure the game to the wires of the crate to make him stay inside to enjoy it.
Another important thing that some dog owners overlook is to make sure nothing bad is associated with the crate. Dogs evaluate places based on memories and experiences they had in that particular place if you yell at your dog or use the crate for a time out then you are associating bad memories with the crate and making your job crate training a great dane harder.
You want to avoid anything that would make the dog feel uncomfortable in his crate.
Step 4: Spending time in the crate
Now that your great dane is spending some happy time in the crate playing and feeding you want to start the next phase.
While your dog is feeding you need to gradually close the door, but don’t do it all at once and freak out the dog.
Crate training is all about patience, if you see any objections from your dog just let go and go back a step and start over.
If you do things smoothly your dog is going to be busy feeding and won’t pay much attention to the crate being closed.
However, once he finishes his meal you want to open the crate and try to keep him inside by praising him playing with a toy or anything just to prepare him for the next move.
If feeding time is going without incidents, you can now gradually increase the time he spends inside the crate with the door closed five minutes at a time.
The Kong is actually the best tool for this step, it will help you keep the dog busy inside the crate after his meals.
Just make sure you are not using too many treats in the Kong, and you can find plenty of stuffing recipes online.
Keep doing the same thing and make sure you stay next to the crate to keep your dog busy while you increase the time he spends inside until he reaches 30 minutes, which is the sign that he is ready for some home alone time.
Step 5: Home alone
Up until now, your great dane is doing great spending time in the crate closed enjoying his food and playing with his toys, but still, you had to be sitting next to him.
We want to gradually spend less time next to the crate but don’t speed it up, instead of sitting next to the crate you can move around the room, do something else but make sure the dog can see you.
If you see no objections you can leave the room for a couple of minutes and move passed him just say high tell him he’s a good boy and, leave again.
Slowly increase the time you spend outside the room depending on your dog’s reaction until you reach the 30 minutes point again, which is again the sign that your dog can stay alone in the crate while you’re not home.
Hint: Don’t make a scene out of leaving and coming back home, you don’t have to say goodbye before you leave in fact, you need to stop talking to your dog at least five minutes before you leave and five minutes after you come back home this way the dog doesn’t associate the crate with being left alone.
Crate training a great dane at night
Crate training a great dane at night is easier than most dogs since larger breeds have bigger bladders and need fewer potty breaks at night.
The keyword in crate training a great dane at night is exercising during the day. great danes are a large breed that needs plenty of exercises to stay in shape and healthy.
But this also helps bring the dog’s energy down before going in the crate and therefore making him more likely to relax in the crate.
It’s actually the same thing with us, you don’t feel like going to bed when you feel energetic and vice versa, all you think about after great effort and being sleepy is to get home and lay down in your bed.
So I made a few bullet points for you with the most important things to do before crate training a great dane puppy at night:
- Take your puppy for a potty break just before he goes in the crate so he doesn’t need to wake up at night for one.
- Stop watering your puppy at least two hours before his bedtime to minimize the need to wake up at night to pee.
- Choose a cozy and nice spot for your dog’s crate especially at night and if you can place it at your room in the first couple of weeks it would be better, to make sure there are no outside distractions that could wake him up.
- Take your puppy out for some exercising and play games at home before he goes in the crate to bring down his energy.
- If your dog starts whining at night just ignore it and don’t let him out or else he’ll always do it to get out.
- If the puppy won’t stop crying or barking at night then make sure to break his barking cycle before you let him out.
Crate training a great dane in an apartment
Crate training a great dane in an apartment may seem weird and some people would even consider having a great dane in an apartment to be cruel since it’s a large dog, However, great danes do actually great in apartments.
Great danes are very adaptable dogs that would live in confined spaces, one thing though is they need enough exercising and long walks.
When adults they love to go on hikes and bike riding since they are very athletic dogs.
If your dog is having enough time outside and plenty of play sessions then he has no issues with living in an apartment.
I suggest you read this article I wrote about crate training in an apartment you’ll find all the helpful tips to do it without having any trouble with your neighbors.
Crate training a great dane with separation anxiety
Separation anxiety is the hardest behavior issue most dog owners can’t deal with, especially when they consider crate training.
Crate training a great dane with separation anxiety is even harder since it’s a large and strong dog that will inflict great damage to your house if he feels anxious.
However, crate training could actually be a great way to deal with separation anxiety, providing a safe den for your dog while you are not around.
It’s generally older dogs that are the hardest to deal with when they have separation anxiety and I’ve written an article on this particular point recently that you will find very helpful.
What I would suggest in the case of a great dane is using a playpen to provide more open space. It allows the dog to play around freely, have access to his crate if he feels like going inside and it provides a controllable and safe space for your dog while you’re absent.
The playpen we suggest is the Midwest wire playpen( click here to check the current price on Amazon), the great thing about it is it can be attached to the wire crate making a safe playing area with the option to go into the crate. It is also easy to use and foldable so it doesn’t take much space and you can use it outdoors.
Crate training a great dane without treats
Many dog owners are considering crate training without treats, especially with dogs that have sensitive digestive systems like the great dane, however, if you choose a safe brand and respect the daily calorie intake you should fine.
We advise against crate training a great dane without treats simply because it will be much harder and will take longer.
Treats are great when exploring the crate and help you lure the dog inside the crate and reward good behavior.
Non the less, it is not impossible to do it in fact you can check out this article on crate training without treats and you can use toys and verbal praise as rewards and motivational training tools.
How long does it take to crate train a great dane
Great danes are not the smartest dogs, but they have high adaptability intelligence.
They like to please their owners and respond well to training, that’s why crate training a great dane doesn’t take too long.
In general, it takes around 6 weeks to fully crate train a great dane puppy depending of course on the age of the puppy and how much time you can dedicate to training.
Older dogs can take a bit longer especially if they didn’t have any good training before.
All in all, great danes are great guard dogs that you can train to perfection if you follow the 5 steps we just saw.
Use common sense, avoid anything that would make the dog uncomfortable in his crate, and try your best making it a great place and be patient that’s what it takes to crate train a great dane.