Explore is a philanthropic media organization

Carlene White trains 7-week old pups to be service dogs.

Carlene White trains 7-week old pups to be service dogs.

Getting Danes Ready to Work

By Carlene White, founder of Service Dog Project

There are hundreds of service dogs that could well deserve national attention of an American Kennel Club award, however our Great Dane “George” was chosen. It had a lot to do with the fact that his partner is a 48 pound cute little girl named Bella who now walks because of George.

For a variety of reasons, we now have donated over 110 Great Dane balance dogs to put people back on their feet walking. The part which I think bears some study, is that our strange training gets these Great Danes fully trained, (or preferably educated) passing all Assistance Dogs International tests and out thinking and working in the real world by the time they are 1 year old. Could this process be used with Labs and Golden Retrievers?

We start their training by the time they are 3 weeks old. When they have nursed for a bit so they are not very hungry, we introduce one pup to one dish of a goats milk/ground up puppy food gruel. We would never shove their face in the food but we assist with a spoon – a lift and lick operation – until they understand there is a bowl of food there somewhere. They often put one foot in to be sure. By 4 weeks they are eating out of their individual bowls very nicely. After they have had a meal, we serve desert, some canned food on a spoon, one at a time, say their name and serve the food, very soon because there is no competition for food, if we hesitate, the pup will naturally sit and look up waiting for more food to appear, and it does. The trick now is to produce the spoonful exactly when the butt hits the ground.

By 5 weeks we can add pups so there are 2 or 3 pups sitting waiting. By six weeks, 5-8 pups with no excitement, they know what is expected, sit and wait. At that point it is possible to take the entire litter out for a walk controlled only with a can of food and a spoon, tapping the can will tell them all to fall in line and we go for a walk, stopping every once in a while for a sit down and snack. We talk to them, we do not give commands, they listen carefully for that slight tap of the spoon on the can, which eventually becomes a very quiet “come on gang, pay attention”. We can then swap from spoon and can to small biscuits.

Once we have absolute control over the entire litter, we start to break it up, introduce a leash, which is never tightened, a couple of tugs and immediately release. We talk to them constantly; the two tugs on the leash for attention is left over from the two taps on the can, “hey listen to me and think”.

By five months, the harness “on” becomes a switch to work mode. “Get in the car and go somewhere” to look at new things while walking exactly the speed of the person by whom they are handled by. Add a few elevators, shopping carts and critically the one step on the stairs, up and down, plus the rest of generic life, with consistence and strict obedience to harness on and off rules. By the time they are 7 months old they are beginning to look and act like serious dogs, at least when in harness. Take that harness off, feed them a few treats and they will roar around like a normal kid when school lets out. By a year old when the harness is on, they are looking and thinking about whose feet are where and why. They are ready to work.

During this time they have basically lived in and around the various kennels and fields. We do let volunteers take them for occasional overnights but we do not want the pups to become too attached to anyone.

We do not go along with the puppy raiser concept. In my experience a dog can sometimes spend the rest of their lives looking for the persons who raised them.  The “oh how happy they are to see you” seems often to be “finally you are back in my life, can we really go home now?”  Then when they don’t the tail drops in submission and the joy is gone.

No dog leaves our driveway until they will follow the person all over, away from their friends and trainers, without a leash. They have to love to work.

There are a few concepts to discuss. One very primary lesson is we rarely use our muscles to “control” a Dane, is called “plan ahead” because eventually they will out weigh most handlers anyway. We talk to them, we never drag them around with a tight leash, and we never give our treats when we are actually teaching them to work. Once the harness is on, no treats lots of praise and no free time. The harness is a switch on and off duty. A normal chain training collar and 24-inch leash is what is used. The dog in harness is immediately next to their handler, never wandering.

Many taller Danes are not known for their physical courage, so another critical aspect is they have a play yard which involves stairs, with open backing, ramps, rocking horses and mannequins to get them used to someone standing still staring at them. Their sleeping quarters involve either steps or a ramp to a raised sleeping loft with bedding. It is much warmer on their lofts, they can see out windows and they get practice climbing the stairs to get there.

We breed our own style of Danes, which are shorter and heavier than the typical show Dane. The concept is best explained by comparing a basketball player to a football player. We need the football player type Danes for balance work. There is an old Amish saying that “in a work animal the leg should be ½ the height.”

We do not breed related Danes, often importing new bloodlines from European kennels. I realize pride goeth before a fall, but we have had no hip dysplasia or bloat since I started this in 2003. Regarding age, the the dogs I put out in 2004 needed to be replaced in 2014, after having worked for 10 years. We have had a few earlier deaths for specific causes like cancer.

Service Dog Project trains and places Great Danes with people who live with Multiple Sclerosis, Friedreich’s ataxia, and veterans with disabilities.

  • AJAY-NY

    Love this but the label is wrong, those are not 7 month old pups :)

    • Stephanie Marie

      Says 7 weeks now. Did they fix it?

      • shnzermom

        Carlene White trains 7-week old pups to be service dogs.

      • AJAY-NY

        I guess 😉

  • Kate Richardson

    Needs to be amended for the one *single* case of bloat that recently occurred …quickly spotted and immediately treated successfully.

  • Debbie G FL USA

    This says it very well, the only thing she didn’t say is how much love each one of the puppies and older dogs get every day ! I think that has a lot to do with it too, they are so loved and in turn they want to please everyone!

  • Stanlygirl

    Wonderful write-up, Carlene! This is SDP in a nutshell, except for, as Debbie said, the love lavished on every one of the dogs from Carlene on down to the newest volunteer.

  • Denise

    what an enjoyable and informative article. LOVE the photo of all those puppies sitting attentively focussed on Carlene. The photo tells the story of what the training does.

  • http://pamelaatkinson.net Pamela A., CA

    What a wonderful article. SDP dogs do amazing work!

  • godfrey.dianna

    I got paid 104,000 bucks last year by doing an on-line job at my house and I was able to do it by work­ing in my own time f­­o­­r few h on daily basis. I used work opportunity I stumbled upon from this website i found online and I am so happy that i was able to make so much extra income. It’s very newbie-friendly a­­n­­d I’m so grateful that i discovered this. Check out what I do…http://regular74.com

  • http://secure49.com Same Willis

    I got paid 104 thousand dollars in 2016 by working from my home a­­n­­d I was able to do it by wor­king in my own time f­­o­­r few hours /daily. I used an earning model I was introduced by this company i found on-line and I am happy that i made so much extra income. It’s really newbie-friendly a­­n­­d I am just so grateful that I found out about this. Here’s what I do… http://statictab.com/5rq2qty

  • http://secure49.com Vernon Hill

    I profited 104 thousand bucks in 2016 by doing an on-line job at my house a­­n­­d I was able to do it by work­ing part-time for 3 or sometimes more hrs /day. I used work model I found on-line and I am happy that i made so much money. It’s so beginner friendly and I’m so happy that i found this. Here is what i do… http://statictab.com/6mairvf

  • http://secure49.com Gabriel Cole

    I’ve made $104000 last year by working from my home a­­n­­d I did it by wo­rking part time f­­o­­r several h each day. I used a business model I stumbled upon from this website i found online and I am happy that i earned such great money. It’s beginner-friendly a­­n­­d I’m so thankful that i discovered this. Check out what I do… http://statictab.com/dntj48t

  • adrian.priest

    I’ve earned 104,000 thousand dollars previous year by working online from my house and I manage that by working part-time for several hours on daily basis. I used a business model I found online and I am amazed that i made so much money. It’s really beginner-friendly and I’m so grateful that i discovered this. This is what i do… http://statictab.com/gpfvgtj

  • marthajogle@mail.ru

    I got paid $104000 in 2016 by working online from my house a­n­d I did it by wor­king in my own time f­o­r few hours every day. I followed an earning opportunity I found online and I am amazed that i earned so much money on the side. It’s really user-friendly a­­n­­d I am just so happy that i found this. Here’s what I do… http://statictab.com/gpfvgtj

  • Pingback: catit flower fountain

  • Pingback: windowsvslinux

  • http://secure49.com Johnni Franklin

    I have profited 104000 dollars last year by working on-line from my house and I did it by wo­rking part-time for several hrs /daily. I’m using a money making opportunity I came across from company that i found online and I am so thrilled that I was able to earn so much money on the side. It’s really beginner friendly a­n­d I’m so happy that I found out about it. Check out what I did… http://statictab.com/r2tyhgi

  • Pingback: motu patlu

  • Pingback: buy quality backlinks

  • Pingback: hampton bay track lighting

  • http://secure51.com Rosie Riley

    I was paid $104000 in 2016 by working from my home a­n­d I was able to do it by wo­rking part time f­­o­­r several hours every day. I was following an earning model I found on-line and I am so happy that i earned so much money on the side. It’s really newbie friendly a­­n­­d I’m so thankful that I found out about this. Here’s what I do… https://twitter.com/StinnettMargar1/status/835382203185967104

  • Pingback: penis enlargement

  • Pingback: Skrota bilen ersättning

  • Pingback: click here to find a lawyer

  • Pingback: Dicito

  • Pingback: economics tuition

  • Pingback: buy legal steroids

  • Pingback: Free UK Chat

  • Pingback: ICQ Chat Rooms

  • Pingback: http://www.gedget.ae

  • Pingback: check this out

  • Pingback: Skrota bil

  • Pingback: is motor club america scam

  • Pingback: Best Best Online News in the World

  • Pingback: Best Best Online News in the World

  • Pingback: Best Best Online News in the World

  • Pingback: GVK Biosciences

  • http://secure93.com Tyler Peterson

    Creating wealth on the net can be as super easy (or possibly as quite hard) such as getting you a good return off-line. While a large number Marketing and advertising teachers declare to surely have a hidden knowledge process making immediate dollars, the simple truth is, it does not have any way one can turn out to be wealthy person as soon as possible by just clicking a key or even getting a couple of ebook. Getting cash using the web demands some hard work as well as perseverance. If you currently are willing to commit the amount of time and consequently efforts involved, there are a lot of options for generating high paycheck on line.I am attaining $10000 or maybe many more per thirty days through this project.Here’s the secret to earn an income although the others are longer term ideas for making money >>>>> http://ouourl.com/4rfy

  • Pingback: GVK BIO

  • Pingback: professional photographer in birmingham al

  • Pingback: http://www.modnatorba.com/products-page/marki/page/8/?view=list

  • Pingback: waste services warren

  • Pingback: Switch Energy Supplier

  • Pingback: Best Online News