english mastiff & great dane puppy care sheet
Giant breed puppies require unique care and nutrition compared to smaller
breeds. We have highlighted some of the most important points to be aware of
when caring for great dane puppies and english mastiff puppies below. Always
consult a veterinarian for specific recommendations regarding your puppy.
Please do your research before purchasing a
puppy. Read our checklist on Choosing
the Right Puppy and Finding a Good Breeder for more questions you should ask when interviewing breeders
and selecting your new puppy.
great dane & mastiff puppy nutrition
Nutrition plays a huge role in proper growth and development. Great Dane and
Mastiff Puppies should never be fed a regular puppy food. In addition, the
quality of ingredients in the food you choose and the amount fed are just as
important. We feed our giant breed puppies Eagle Pack
Large & Giant Breed Puppy. There's too much to say about feeding and
nutrition to fit it all here, so
check out the page on Great Dane and Mastiff
Nutrition and Feeding for
more information on this topic.
Socialization is more than just taking your puppy out to play with other dogs
- proper socializing involves exposing your puppy to all sorts of new
experiences while they are young so they will be able to handle new and
different situations as adults. Once you bring your puppy home, it will be up to you to teach
them all of the things their mom would normally show them - exposure to new
people, places, pets, objects, scents and noises is incredibly important. That
being said, our vet recommended that we not take our puppies anywhere until they
complete their vaccinations at 16 weeks, which makes socializing tricky.
Here are some ideas on socializing before it's safe to take your puppy out to
- Ask friends, family, kids of different ages and neighbors to come over
and visit your puppy. Have treats and toys ready so they can hand them
to your puppy, creating a positive experience with strangers.
- Take your puppy out on your front porch on a leash and watch kids on
bikes ride by, and experience the sights and sounds of cars, garbage trucks,
strollers, skateboards, remote control cars, etc. Once your puppy has had all of his/her
vaccinations, be sure to take him/her for walks in places where they will be
exposed to these things.
- Go for a ride in the car once a week. Even if it's just around the
block, make sure your pup gets used to being in the car.
- Go out at different times of the day/night. This sounds silly, but
everything looks different at night.
- Put on hats, sunglasses, and bulky winter coats around your puppy.
- Expose your puppy to water in a fun and exciting way - playing with
water from a hose, in a kiddie pool, or even the bathtub while making it a
fun game will make bath time easier when your dog out-weighs you.
Once your puppy has had the full set of vaccinations recommended by your vet,
you can start exposing them to new places and pets. Visiting friends houses (especially if they have friendly pets) is a great way to get your puppy used to
new things. Walks at a local park, trips to PetSmart, and enrolling in obedience
classes are other great ways to socialize your puppy. Think about anything your
puppy is not exposed to in your home that they are likely to be exposed to in
someone else's home or in a public place, and get them used to these things.
Some great danes and mastiffs have a higher prey drive than others, so
interaction with small dogs and cats should be supervised so proper behavior (no
chasing or pouncing) can be encouraged at a young age.
what not to do
- Don't hit your puppy or allow any one else to hit or otherwise hurt or
scare your puppy.
- Don't allow kids to be mean to your puppy - no pulling on ears, tails, or
fur, and don't let them tackle your puppy.
- Don't allow your puppy to play with dogs you don't know or dogs that are
- Don't coddle your puppy if he/she is afraid of a new or strange
situation or person. Encourage them to be outgoing and accepting of new
- Don't let your puppy behave in ways you won't want them to behave when
they're huge. Jumping up on people, tackling kids, biting, chewing on
furniture or plants, and dragging you
behind on a leash should be gently discouraged.
- Don't tie up your puppy and leave him/her alone. Tying up a dog can lead
to aggressive behavior.
- Don't allow your puppy to play on slippery surfaces, jump or run for
long periods of time - these may be a
potential causes of hip dysplasia or joint/bone problems.
- Don't feed your great dane or mastiff puppy regular puppy food, and don't overfeed your giant breed
- Don't put your cute little puppy out in the backyard and forget about
him/her, then expect them to be a well-behaved adult.
- Don't leave your puppy alone in your yard if you have a pool. Puppies
can fall in, and if they are unable to climb out on their own may drown.
- Don't give your puppy chocolate, caffeine, or drugs other than
prescribed by your vet, and check to make sure you don't have any toxic
plants in your yard.
exercise & giant breed puppies
Exercise is important, but don't over-do it. Not only will proper exercise
provide your puppy with an outlet for all of that energy, it helps them develop
muscle tissue which supports those heavy giant breed bones. Taking your great
dane / mastiff puppy on a short walk every day can also help to establish a
"pack" bond between you and your pup, and will begin socializing your puppy to
familiarize him/her with different people, places and situations. If your puppy
has not been fully vaccinated, you may want to avoid public places until
all shots are complete. Short games of fetch on a soft, non-slippery surface (carpet, grass)
or practicing to walk on a leash around the house or backyard are a great
alternative. You should not force your great dane or mastiff puppy to exercise
if he/she does not want to or tires out. Jogging or allowing giant breeds to
jump (from furniture or out of the SUV) is also not recommended until adulthood,
18-24 months. Read more about this on our
Giant Breed Growth page.
Most puppies loose the disease immunity they receive from their mother's milk
some time between 6 and 16 weeks of age. Typically, vets recommend a series of puppy
vaccinations every few weeks in an effort to minimize unprotected exposure to
disease, but since there's not an easy way to tell when the vaccines take over
and begin working, the safest plan is to avoid taking your puppy anywhere other
dogs may have been until he/she has received the full series of puppy shots
according to your vet's recommendations.
Adult great danes and mastiffs are huge dogs and can easily overpower any owner if they are not properly trained and socialized.
It is crucial that every great dane and mastiff masters a minimum of a few basic
obedience commands. We like clicker training for puppies - check out
Kokopelli Dog & Puppy Training.
Giant breed dogs that have not been properly trained tend to be banished from
the house and receive little attention or exercise since they are so
unmanageable. This in turn leads to destructive behavior like digging up your
lawn or chewing up plants, or can lead to signs of separation anxiety like
constant barking or chewing. Sadly, many great danes and mastiffs end up in
shelters or at rescue organizations simply because no one bothered to teach them
basic manners in the beginning and things spiral out of control. By enrolling in
an obedience class now, you can learn how to teach your dog to behave properly,
walk gently on a leash, and follow commands such as "off" and "sit" which are so
important when they are giant adults.
There will be times when your puppy must allow strangers to touch them - for
being examined by a vet. You can make this easier on your pup by gently touching
their feet, opening their mouth to check teeth frequently. If you expect to show
your dog, begin stacking your puppy and get him/her used to being placed in
certain positions for short periods of time. Gently rolling your puppy over onto
his/her back places the puppy in a submissive position - this signals to them
that you are in charge. Depending on the personality of your puppy, they may
need this reminder daily. Placing your puppy on his/her side and requiring them
to "settle" or lay still for a few seconds (gradually increasing the time as
your puppy gets older) can be a helpful command when it's time for nail trimming
or other grooming.