As a dog walker who frequently looks after a couple of Great Danes, I can tell you first-hand that they are excitable and hyper dogs. Whilst all dogs are unique, Great Danes are certainly on my list of the more hyperactive breeds… and if you own one, you might be wondering when your Great Dane is ever going to calm down – particularly given their size and how much damage a hyper Great Dane can do accidentally!
Are Great Danes calm dogs? I would say Great Dane puppies are not calm (as a sweeping generalisation) but they tend to become gentle giants of dogs, calming down around the age of 2 years. This lack of calmness during the puppy period of a Great Dane is primarily because they were bred as working dogs
This means that Great Danes are literally built for chasing, catching, and jumping and other high levels of athletic activity. Nothing calm about that I am sure you will agree!
This means that naturally, Great Danes have a lot more energy than your average dog and, as a result, are a lot more hyperactive and quite low down on the calm scale particularly when younger.
Great Danes aren’t always hyper though and some can be calm… but there are a lot of facets involved. For example, a Great Dane’s level of hyperactivity will vary dramatically depending on their age and how you have trained and adapted them in your home.
When do Great Dane puppies calm down? When a Great Dane reaches one year old, you should expect them to calm down a lot over the subsequent 6 to 12 months up to the age of 2. Although your Great Dane may continue to be hyper after two years, it will never be to the same extent of them in their adolescent age. Again, this is a generalisation.
To learn more about the average Great Dane’s hyperactivity and the best ways you can calm them down, and whether neutering them can have an effect, read on!
The causes of a hyper Great Dane who won’t calm down
There are many reasons why your Great Dane might seem overly hyperactive, but some of the most common factors and causes are listed below.
Great Danes are an interesting breed, because whilst they can physically mature very quickly, but inside they’ve still got the mind of a puppy!
It can take some time for your Great Dane’s mental maturity to catch up with their physical maturity, and a lot of the time your dog might be full of seemingly limitless energy because they have not yet fully developed the capacity to self-regulate their energy levels.
Their hyperactivity peaks and troughs throughout their life, so below is a rough guide:
2 to 4 months
At this age, your Great Dane will be very excited and fascinated by everything. They’ll be moderately hyper, but will have a significant lack in focus, and it isn’t uncommon for them to be full of energy one minute and crashing the next during this stage of development.
This is probably the age where your Great Dane will be the most hyper it will ever be. It will have a lot of pent-up energy, so it is important that they have plenty of opportunity to healthily release it via exercise or playtime. If not, you risk instilling harmful behaviour patterns.
12 to 24 months
Your Great Dane will still be moderately hyper at this stage, but this is the period where most Great Dane owners will notice a turning point. Yes, your Great Dane will still appear more hyper than the average dog at this time, and this is because the gap between the physical and the mental development is most pronounced.
But, with patience and plenty of means to healthily expel of excess energy, you can feel assured that at this stage, your Great Dane will calm down considerably.
Another notable benchmark many Great Dane owners mention is around two and a half years. This should be the time where the mental development starts to match up with the physical development of your dog, meaning that now they can be considered as fully being in the ‘adult’ stage.
They will still have their moments, but at this point they will ideally have an established routine and exercise regime that keeps their energy levels at bay.
This is the stage at which a Great Dane can be considered as being a senior dog. When they get to this age, they will be a lot more inclined to relax and snooze as opposed to charging around, but you should still keep up with their exercise.
2. A lack of physical and mental stimulation
As we have seen from the above, the key to controlling a hyperactive Great Dane is routine – this can have a huge calming effect. Their routine should involve plenty of exercise that not only challenges their body, but their mind too.
Great Danes should have 30 to 45 minutes of vigorous exercise each day as well as more intense cardio exercises 1 to 2 times a week. If your walks are shorter or you’re skipping out on the cardio, it is likely that your Great Dane isn’t expelling as much energy as it needs to, which then manifests in more hyperactive behaviour.
The same can be said, in turn, for a lack of mental stimulation. Great Danes, as hunting hounds, are incredibly intelligent creatures. Subsequently, if they aren’t intellectually challenged, they will get hyper and restless and won’t calm down easily.
There are many easy ways to mentally stimulate your dog, such as teaching them tricks and commands or providing them with interactive toys where they have to work for their treats.
This should be done regularly, and with the right combination of physical and mental exercise, you will most likely see an improvement in your Great Danes’ behaviour and temperament.
They just need to be challenged in order to calm down.
3. A lack of attention
All dogs need love, and Great Danes are especially affectionate, widely renowned for their good temperament and status as the ideal family dog. It is important to take the time to play with your Great Dane, even if it’s a quick game of fetch for fifteen minutes or a few cuddles and treats. This will keep them happy, and is a sign that they then love you in return.
If your Great Dane feels lonely or isolated, they might begin to develop unhealthy behaviour patterns such as hyperactivity, as if they barely get any time with you, when they eventually do, they’ll likely get overexcited and overwhelmed.
Also known as canine ADHD (read more on the US National Library), this condition is rare in dogs but may well be the case if your Great Dane is inexplicably hyper.
However, hyperactivity alone is not a symptom of hyperkinesis. Other symptoms of hyperkinesis include:
- Attention seeking behaviour.
- Short attention spans.
- Impulsive nature.
So, if your Great Dane is always hyper, and these behaviours are displayed alongside some of these other seemingly inexplicable symptoms, it is a good idea to take them to the you’re your vet will be able to diagnose and treat with a combination of medication and specialist training.
How to calm down your Great Dane
If your Great Dane is always hyper, here’s what to do. There are several steps you can take in order to tackle that behaviour in a positive, long-term manner.
- Teach your Great Dane tricks: it will make them more disciplined, occupy their mind and provide them with some much-needed mental stimulation.
- Offer them breaks from playing: and provide them with an area to retreat as mentioned, Great Danes struggle to self-regulate, so encouraging them to rest and giving them an area to associate with relaxation helps them to learn to develop healthy boundaries.
- Make their exercise more challenging: when on walks, trying using an extended lead so they are free to run, or maybe set up some jumps or hoops in your yard to encourage their inner athlete!
- Reassess their current routine: as mentioned above, if your Great Dane seems unusually hyperactive, you should ask yourself whether they are getting the appropriate amount of physical and mental exercise. Great Danes thrive on routine, so if they are getting less than what is recommended, the simple answer to is up their activity and make a new routine! You’ll definitely see the difference within a week.
- Consider neutering: whilst this isn’t a quick fix, if neutered early, your Great Dane might calm down and not grow up to be as hyper. More on this in the next section.
Handy Hint: Here’s why your Great Dane gets the zoomies and starts running about like crazy.
Do Great Danes calm down after neutering?
There’s a common belief that Great Danes calm down after neutering. Whilst there is some degree of truth to this statement, it’s not always the case. It will depend on the age they get neutered, and what behaviours they might have already learned to enjoy.
The reason the answer isn’t as clear cut as you might think, we need to understand the effects of neutering. Not only does the removal of the male Great Dane’s testicles render him infertile, but it will also prevent him from producing testosterone.
A Great Dane with no testosterone can display some subtle behavioural changes. But that doesn’t mean he will necessarily get calmer, and here’s why…
At around 6 months old, the testosterone levels in a male Great Dane puppy will rise dramatically. This can lead to behavioural issues such as:
- Increased aggression.
- Increased self-confidence.
- Increased risk taking.
- Increased fear response.
- Increased territorial behavior (such as urine marking).
- Increased sex drive.
- Increased desire to roam.
- Reduced ability to calm down.
Based on that, you would assume that by neutering your Great Dane, he should calm down. That would make to sense anyone reading this, but it’s a little more complicated than that.
For example, if you neuter a Great Dane before he hits the puberty stage where the testosterone levels jump, it’s probable that he won’t exhibit the issues listed above.
However, if you neuter your Great Dane after this point, he will have learned those behaviours, and possibly found them fun and exciting. As a result, even after neutering and with a lack of testosterone, he could still exhibit these behaviours, rather than calming down.
But, it’s still important to understand that your hyper Great Dane could be acting the way he is due to his libido. And this is one thing that neutering will definitely have a calming effect on – no matter what the age of your dog.
Here’s what vets say you might expect after neutering:
- Libido driven behaviour will definitely reduce.
- Aggression could reduce.
- Territorial behaviour could reduce.
It’s unlikely that your Great Dane’s personality will be changed dramatically. He is probably still going to be a happy dog but could still display hyper tendencies!
So, to conclude, neutering can calm a Great Dane down sometimes and if the hyper behaviour is related to sex drive and if done before a puberty. However, if neutering is done at an older age, their hyper habits could be harder to break!
Handy Hint: What is worth knowing though, is that it’s known that neutering a dog can increase their life expectancy.
With their fast-going and hyperactive nature, Great Danes need owners who are patient and who can keep up.
Although it can be intense looking after a Great Dane sometimes, you just need to be resilient, receptive and have faith that things will calm down as and when they get older.
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- The Great Dane cold weather guide
Image in header via https://unsplash.com/photos/Of2r5d4rQIs