Rescue groups have been formed to save and re-home dogs that are unwanted, lost or abandoned. Amazingly enough, many people turn their Danes over to rescue with the reason "I didn't know he would grow so big" or "he won't behave."
Another reason is that the novelty of a cute puppy wears off when it grows up. Families often purchase puppies to teach the children responsibility. They give the entire responsibility of taking care of the dog to a child. Unfortunately, children are not good care-takers and the dogs is often neglected. The care of a pet must belong to a responsible adult.
When a family gets a new pet, they should do a bit of research to see if that animal will fit with their lifestyle. One common misconception is that dogs train themselves. The problem is that dogs will behave like dogs. They don't understand that it's wrong to get into the garbage, steal food from the counter tops or chew on the furniture unless they're taught that it's wrong. The young Dane in the photograph above just came into rescue a couple days before this picture was taken. She's very proud of her work and sees nothing wrong with un-stuffing the sofa. She has since been taught that this is unacceptable behavior.
With any dog, and especially a dog the size of a Dane, it's also best to spend some time with obedience training. Taking your dog to a local obedience class will not only teach your dog manners, but it will also help socialize your dog so it reacts well when it meets strange dogs and people. Besides, you surely don't want to walk a 100-plus pound dog that doesn't know that it's wrong to drag you down the street. Owners also need to be taught and trained how and what to do and commands should be consistent between family members or the dog will be boss.
Many of these untrained dogs will be chained out in the yard and forgotten. Dogs are very social animals and to deny them access to your family is mentally cruel. They become stressed and depressed and often take up unwanted habits. Dogs tied in the yard can become very territorial and are more likely to bite strangers. These dogs are often euthanized or turned in to shelters. It's a sad situation.
Crate training is a valuable tool. Dogs look at their crate in the same way as their wild counterparts view a safe den. A crate can also keep your property safe during training when the dogs are unsupervised. The puppies below are still learning.
If you're still thinking of breeding your dog, read:
Q: What is the Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League and what do you do? A: The Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue is committed to helping abandoned, neglected and/or abused Danes find suitable homes. With over 350 volunteers, we spay/neuter, provide necessary medical treatment and train/socialize the Danes in our care to ensure adaptability in their new homes. We work hard to also educate the public and potential owners about caring for this wonderful breed through various community efforts. Q: Where do you get your Danes? A: Most of the Danes that come into rescue are surrendered by their previous owners for a variety of reasons. We also work closely with local shelters and SPCA's to place unwanted Danes. Q: Why are Great Danes turned into rescue? A: One of the most common reasons for surrendering a Dane is its size. Owners often claim that they didn't realize how big the puppy would get when full-grown. For this reason, we rarely receive puppies in rescue. Another reason can be that other members of the family are opposed to keeping the Dane or there are extenuating circumstances, such as, divorce or financial difficulties. Sometimes, if the owner didn't take the time to properly train the dog in basic obedience, they state that the Dane is destructive or uncontrollable. At any given time, we have between 70-90 Danes available. Q: Where are the dogs kept while they wait to be adopted? A: Before MAGDRL takes a Dane into rescue, we send a volunteer to evaluate the dog in its current residence or at the shelter to determine their temperament. We do our best to obtain copies of vet records from previous owners as well. MAGDRL has a network of volunteers who provide foster homes for our rescued Danes. Foster homes are responsible for caring for, socializing, and teaching the Dane basic house manners and obedience commands. However, we have a limited amount of foster homes available and are forced to kennel some Danes. Last year, we accrued $19,078.08 for kenneling expenses due to a lack of available foster homes.
Q: Why would someone want to own a Great Dane as opposed to another breed? A: Their size and personality is what appeals to Dane owners the most. These gentle giants are loving members of the family whose devotion to their owners is unsurpassed by any other breed. They are literally an owner's shadow. Q: What is the procedure of adopting a Great Dane from MAGDRL? A: First, we urge you to research the breed. Once you've decided that a Dane will fit your lifestyle, you can contact your local coordinator to start the adoption process. Please note that we require a fenced yard (electronic fencing is not acceptable). You can refer to the fencing policy if you are unable to fence due to extenuating circumstances. A volunteer will conduct a phone interview to assess your expectations about living with a Dane, and to explore what type of Dane would suit your lifestyle the best. Next, we will conduct a vet check to verify that your current and previous animals are UTD on shots and spayed/neutered. Finally, a volunteer will conduct a home check by bringing a resident Dane (not a foster) to your home to provide you with the opportunity to experience what it's like to have a Dane in your home and to assess the current pet's reactions to the newcomer. Provided all goes well, your local coordinator will then help match you with a Dane that is appropriate for your family and lifestyle. You can view current foster Danes available for adoption on www.magdrl.org and read their bios. Approved adopters can adopt a Dane that is out of state, provided that all members of the family are willing to travel to the foster home to initially meet the Dane before adopting. We also encourage new adopters to join our yahoo group because we have a network of volunteers who can provide information for any questions or concerns the new adopters may have. Q: What are the costs involved? A: The rescue assumes the initial medical costs of the Dane, including spaying/neutering, vaccinations, and any additional medical attention that is discovered during a routine vet check and while the dog is in foster care. All dogs are spayed and neutered before going to their adoptive homes. Breakdown of costs Q: What are ways I can help MAGDRL? A: There are many ways to help the rescue. We accept donations and sponsorships for our Danes in addition to hosting numerous fundraisers to help cover the cost of medical expenses. We are always in need of volunteers to help with a variety of tasks and foster homes for our Danes. Please check www.magdrl.org to find out more ways you can help the Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League.
Do's and Don'ts of Adoption
Do on adoption day take your new family member directly home
Do let him/her check out the new surroundings keeping in mind he/she has to become accustomed to his/her new home
Do have a comfortable space set-aside with/without a crate where your new companion will feel he/she is safe and can rest
Do slowly reintroduce other family members one by one and observe behavior between family member and animal companion in your home
Do keep notes on any unusual behaviors observed and if in doubt ask a MAGDRL Volunteer or trained professional
Do let your new family member feel safe and comfortable with you, your family, and new home before you introduce him/her to other new people, pets, etc.
DO KEEP IN MIND that your new family member may exhibit different behaviors for you than those seen in his/her foster home
Do keep in mind Dane’s and stairs can be an issue. Some Dane’s may need to learn to go up and down stairs, some may need to get used to your particular set of stairs
Do try to learn your new Dane’s body language. It will be helpful with new introductions
DON'T give the dog hugs and kisses at this time. To a human a hug is affection. For a dog, however, a hug is not love at all; a hug symbolizes dominance and invasion of space. This will lessen the stress level for the dog and possibly prevent a bite due to a lack of human-canine communication
DON'T go straight home with your new family member. You need to walk your dog before you bring it home to burn off some of that energy and establish yourself as the leader. You should make your dog heel on the lead without pulling and go through all entrances and exits such as doorways and gates before the dog. In a dog's mind, the leader leads the way.
DON'T unsnap the lead and allow the dog to investigate your home on his own. Walk him around the house on a leash and be sure you continue to go through doorways first. This continues to show your leadership
DON'T pet the dog if he is excited, scared, nervous, anxious, nor when he is showing signs of dominance by demanding your attention. You would be rewarding fearful or dominant behavior
Giving your new family member the time needed to acclimate to his/her new surroundings is crucial to the future relationship between you and your Dane. We suggest gathering information on the routine your Dane was accustomed to in his/her foster home. Knowing some key facts about your Dane's behavior, moods, habits, etc. in his/her foster home can make the transition into the new home easier. For more information on adoption, please read Petfinder's "Dog Adoption Checklist" and "Tips for the First 30 Days of Dog Adoption"