So you’ve done your research, talked to friends, family and vets, and you’ve decided to add a Great Dane to your family. Just before shaking that great big paw, you might ask yourself … puppy or rescue? There are advantages and disadvantages to buying a puppy, just as there are for adopting a rescue dog. Of course they are not mutually exclusive – puppies come into rescue care all the time – but people often think they are, so let’s explore some of the pros and cons of both, and dispel some misconceptions in the process!
Great Dane Puppy Considerations
Puppies are cute and if all goes well health-wise, they will be a member of your family for the rest of their god-given lifespan. Whe you adopt an adult dog, they has spent of bit of their “life inventory” before they came to you, so logically they may be with you for a shorter duration.
Puppies are not typically house trained at the tender age of 8 or 10 weeks. Even at that age, a Great Dane puppy produces “accidents” in keeping with his size, which can be quite the clean up chore!
Puppies initial veterinary needs are expensive. Having your puppy microchipped can cost from $25 to $50. They must have a series of shots, three weeks apart whereas adult dogs already inoculated receive yearly boosters only.
Puppies must be spayed or neutered when they reach an acceptable age, which for a Great Dane is usually 6 to 9 months. For male dogs, the alteration is a straight-forward procedure. For females, who at that point may be the size of a small human, a spay surgery is a major operation, with attendant costs involved.
Puppies can also be susceptible to additional health problems that are otherwise resolved by adulthood. For instances, conditions such as OCD (Osteochrondritis Dissecans), HOD (Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy) and Panosteitis (Pano) are all issues connected to the bone growth of giant breed dogs like Great Danes.
Puppies chew–a lot! Just like human young ‘uns, hey chew because they loose their “baby” teeth and grow adult teeth in their place. When teething, everything but everything is a candidate for a gnaw. In addition, puppies chew because that is part of how they explore and learn about their environment. And when a Great Dane puppy chews, you aren’t left with “cute little teeth marks.” More than likely, the object in question will be totally destroyed.
Finally, puppies are much more active than adults and require a great deal more exercise and supervision. Be aware of the impact this stage of the dogs’ life will have on your personal lifestyle.
Great Dane Rescue Considerations
Though though there are always exceptions,Adult rescue Great Danes are usually house trained when you adopt them and require only yearly shots. All reputable rescue groups will have already spayed, neutered, microchipped and brought their rescue Greats Danes up to date on vaccinations.
Adult Great Danes are past the frantic chewing stage, though a good, appropriate chew is a good idea for any dog, By the time they have reached adult years, Great Danes are more calm and require less exercise and supervision than do young puppies.
Many people believe that if they bring an adult dog into their family, the dog will not bond with them. This is simply not true. Even dogs of advanced age can and will bond with their new family, particularly the dogs who have been neglected and/or abused and have never been shown much kindness and love. When someone shows them kindness and love, they bond extremely tight to that person.
Some people believe that if they get an adult dog, they won’t be able to train the dog. In fact, a dog of any age can learn and be trained. And in many cases an adult dog can be trained much faster than a puppy, simply because they are able to focus for longer periods of time at each session. If an adult dog has had some previous training, it may be a matter of days to learn a new skill, rather than weeks or months!
Great Danes, or rescues of any breed for that matter, may suffer from “separation anxiety” during the transition to a new home. That is to say, they may become very anxious when left alone and can engage in destructive behavior such as eliminating in the house, or chewing inappropriate items. This can be controlled with training, conditioning, and even medication in more persistent cases. For example, a product called Comfort Zone with D.A.P. has been shown to help with separation anxiety. Most dogs overcome separation anxiety with time and attention to the issue by caring owners.
Great Dane Puppy Breeders
If you decide a puppy is right for you, please be aware of buying from a puppy mill or backyard breeder. Puppy mills sell factory-bred dogs that are rife with disease, behaviour issues and poor genetics. Puppy mills use local newspaper ads and online services like Kijiji and Craigslist to sell these unfortunate puppies. Resist the urge to buy a puppy from a puppy mill because you feel sorry for him or her. You are actually only encouraging these people to breed more puppies and continue adding to the already overwhelming dog overpopulation problem we already have in North America.
If you decide on purchasing want a Great Dane puppy, find a responsible breeder in your area and speak with them one on one. Be sure you ask questions about the incidence of genetic diseases in the “line.” Be very specific and show you’ve done your homework–ask specifically about bloat, osteosarcoma, and other breed-specific health challenges. You must be responsible in studying about the breed and know what genetic problems you may encounter in a puppy you purchase. Look at the parent’s appearance and behavior–that’s what your new Great Dane puppy will be in a couple of years! Of course if at least one of the parents of the puppy are not present, chances are that breeder is not a reputable breeder.
Please do not add to the burden of shelters and rescue groups by buying from breeders who will not take their puppies back. Make sure the breeder is responsible enough to take the puppy back if there are issues, or you find you must return it. I realize you intend to keep the dog, but things happen– children develop allergies, you lose your job, et al – and you may not always be able to keep the dog as you intended. And don’t be surprised if the breeder is as choosy about you as you are about them–they should be. If they aren’t, if they don’t seem to care where the puppy goes, beware and go elsewhere.
Why Do Danes Come Into Rescue?
Most puppy and adult Great Danes come into rescue through absolutely no fault of their own. Contrary to the misconception that all rescued dogs are somehow “broken,” in ill health or are behavioural nightmares, the reason people have to surrender dogs is far less dramatic.
Below are some of the more common reasons dogs come into rescue:
- Divorce, when the fractured family is no longer able to care for the dog
- Children develop allergies to the dog
- The owner becomes ill or dies
- The owner “can’t handle” the dog and is unwilling or financially unable to take professional dog handling classes or personal training
- The dog gets too large;
- The owner wants an outdoor dog and the Dane keeps trying to get inside to be with the family;
- Financial reversals, when the family can no longer afford to care for a giant breed dog;
- The owner gets married and the new partner doesn’t want the dog;
- Someone new moves into the home (such as an elderly parent) and doesn’t want the dog;
- The family moves (because of job considerations or they are in the military) and cannot take the dog with them.
As this list demonstrates, most dogs come into rescue because of “people” problems, not dog problems! There are as many purebred dogs as there are mixed breed dogs. So if you are considering adding a Great Dane to your family, you may find the perfect companion in your local dog rescue organization, shelter or humane society. Please consider adding a rescue dog, adopt don’t shop, and know that every
Contributor The Dame Dane, With the help of Dames for Danes Great Dane Rescue