It is important for giant breed dogs to receive special care while they are young to promote healthy growth and friendly temperaments. We have some areas to focus upon while you’re giant breed dog is just a pup.
Health and Nutrition
Puppies are in their growing stage. Large breed puppies in particular experience the greatest amount of growth in a short period of time. Their joints, muscles, and bones are all forming and expanding at the same time. As a result, giant breed puppies have voracious appetites and require three meals a day of special food specifically designed for their growing needs. Check with your veterinarian about the proper diet and amount of food to feed your big pup.
Large breed puppies have lots of energy! Support your puppy’s need for exercise by engaging in various activities. Throw a ball around on a non-slip surface like a carpet or a grassy backyard. Teach your dog to play with chew toys. Because your puppy’s teeth are coming in, he or she will be likely to start teething on anything that will relieve the discomfort of new teeth growth, including your hands and ankles. Discourage this behavior of turning your forearm into a chew bone by putting a toy in his or her mouth every time your pup attempts to gnaw on you. Take your dog on a walk around town which is a wonderful bonding experience for you and your puppy. However, do not allow your baby pooch to come in contact with any people or other dogs if your puppy has not yet completed their vaccination series. It is also important to make sure you don't over-exercise your puppy. Try to avoid letting your puppy jump on and off beds, or into and out of cars. Since their bones and joints are still forming, too much exercise or exertion can cause long term damage.
Handle With Care
It is very important to adjust your large breed puppy to the human touch. This should not be difficult since it’s probably impossible for you to keep your hands off your adorable pup anyway! Make sure to touch your dog’s paws, their face, and open your puppy's mouth to check out their teeth. Though this might seem strange, it is an important step that will make grooming experiences and vet visits much easier.
Not only should you make your dog comfortable with the human touch but you should make sure your young puppy has lots of new experiences within the first couple of months in their lives. Familiarizing your dog with situations that seem strange and unfamiliar will help alleviate fears that could develop later in life over things as simple as skateboards and the sound of thunder. Bring your dog on trips in the car so he or she is accustomed to the sights and sounds. When your pup has completed their vaccination series, allow them to socialize and interact with other people and non-aggressive dogs. The more people, dogs, and situations your four-legged family member experiences as a puppy, the less mysterious and frightening life will be for your sizeable canine. Even dogs the size of Clifford can have fears!
Teach your pooch basic obedience commands like sit, stay, and come. It is very important to teach large breed dogs these simple commands when they are young. Therefore, when they grow larger and stronger you have already established control and your giant breed dog won’t overpower you. Don't allow your puppy to engage in behavior that you will later regret when he/she more than doubles in size. Jumping on people or pulling on the leash will not seem nearly as cute when your giant breed puppy reaches the size of a small horse and is capable of dragging you and an entire sleigh down the sidewalk. Unless you are Santa, the heel command will become your best friend! Learn it and use it!
What tips have YOU found helpful when raising your large breed dog?