People have been wildly interested in Penny since the day we brought her home, but more recently, people are interested in how she’s been adjusting to life with a baby.
Since my post about things to consider before owning a Great Dane has been one of my most popular, I figured I’d follow up with some expectations to have when adding a baby to your Great Dane’s life. And really, who doesn’t love pictures of big dogs and tiny humans?
1. Expect initial disinterest. Danes are known to be giant scaredy cats, but Penny takes in to a whole ‘nother level. I fully expected her to freak out over a new baby in the house, but she was more disinterested than anything. She absolutely ran away when we first got home from the hospital, but I’m certain she was spooked by the car seat…not the baby.
2. Expect rebellion. Oh my dear sweet Jesus. Once we brought Jack home, it was like Penny was replaced with a brand new puppy. She was eating off the counter, going to the bathroom in the house, and acting like a crazed Tasmanian Devil (she actually put a hole in a wall from running around the house and taking a corner too quickly…) For a month or two, she completely regressed from all the training and progress we’d made over the previous two years. It was frustrating and exhausting to say the least. Many tears were shed.
3. Carve out quality time. I’ve said it before, but Danes are velcro dogs and highly sensitive. They crave attention and physical contact; both of which can seem like limited resources when you spend your entire day caring for a new baby. (Don’t worry, a Dane will be sure to let you know when she’s in need of some TLC.)
Obviously, Penny got bumped down the totem pole when Jack was born, but we could have absolutely done a better job of easing that transition. I think we could have avoided most of our problems in #2 if we had been more mindful of Penny’s needs (other than the basic food, water, bathroom bit.)
4. They really are gentle giants. Penny stands at over 3 feet tall and weighs over 100 pounds, but she is beyond delicate with Jack. Clearly, I would never leave them together unsupervised, but those two babes cuddle and nuzzle each other as if Jack was Penny’s own puppy. It’s the most precious thing.
5. Go on as many walks as possible. Great Danes are dogs who need 20 – 30 minutes of activity every day in order to be wiped out. On days when we get in walks with Penny, she’s much more content, well behaved, and patient with Jack. It’s well worth the extra effort!
While I’m sure most of these tips can apply to most dog breeds, I can only speak to my experiences with a Great Dane. As always, I have to say that Great Danes are such a special (dare I say, delicate?) breed, so please do your research before owning one!