Large Breed Dog Training – Professional Dog Training Tips


If you’re a large breed dog owner or
you’re about to become a large breed dog owner, you may face some unique challenges
with your large breed dog training. So today I’ve enlisted the
help of instructor Steve, who’s a professional dog trainer and a
multiple large breed dog owner with lots of experience training,
the largest of the large breed dogs. That’s all in today’s video.
I’m Ken Steepe, I’m Steve Walsh and this is Skye
welcome back to McCann Dogs. In our facility we help more than 500
dog owners every single week to overcome their dog training challenges. So if
this is your first time on the channel, make sure you hit that subscribe button
so that I can help you to have a well behaved four legged family member. So looking forward a little bit with
your large breed puppy training, what sort of things are you going to
do unique to large breed dogs that are going to prepare them for this
great size? Yeah. You know, one of the things that has been really
important that I’ve learned this, this is my fourth Wolfhound,
that I learned quite quickly is, is getting them comfortable
with my hands on them, getting them comfortable with
me doing whatever I need to do, whether it be for grooming,
for trimming nails, for lifting them up if they got injured. All of those things are important to
really establish with them while you can still lift them. Sure. Okay. This
dog is much stronger than I am. If I want to clip a nail
and she doesn’t like it, there’s nothing I can do to force her. So getting her comfortable with my hands
on her, getting her comfortable with me, picking up a,
upon opening up these toes, doing all the things that I need to
do and she goes, okay, not a big deal. I’m getting her comfortable with me
placing her in a down position at the vets on the floor, have a look at
her abdomen, all of that stuff. If I can get them comfortable with it now, it’s so much easier as they become
adults because they’re bigger. And stronger than us, they can, we can’t
force them to do anything. Right. Um, and I don’t want it to be about that.
I want to make it relaxing for them. I want to make it comfortable for them.
I want to make them confident, not only in my handling, but in the situation that
they’re in and their trust in me. And that starts right from the moment
that we, that we get the home. Yeah. I think that’s such an important thing
and I think it’s something that we often overlook. Um, as you know, we’re teaching puppy owners and puppy
owners don’t really see the value of some of the handling exercises. And I can totally understand having
seen Skye grow up that, uh, you know, you really do need to spend extra
time making her comfortable when, when she’s more manageable size because
she did get really big in a really, really quickly as far as training. What other things are you going to work
on with your large breed dog? Um, well, all of the stuff that we would do with
a, with the smaller dogs, you know, they, they learn the same way that, uh, that
some of the smaller dogs do. I mean, I have border collies. I’ve
had whippets, uh, as I said, she is my fourth Wolf Hound. The
practices are the same, but you know, their ability to work as quickly
isn’t the same. I’m also, their ability to repeat things isn’t
the same. You know, she’s a big dog. She’s not going to do things 10
or 15 times. So when I do things, I like to break it into shorter sessions.
Um, let her be successful two or three
times, “Hi Girly”, and then, uh, let her kind of wander off
and have a little rest. Yeah. So if we break it into a little
bit more shorter sessions, she can be a little more successful
and stay focused. She doesn’t, she’s not interested in doing
things repetitively like
some other breeds may be. Right. And a lot of larger dogs, you
know, we don’t want to push them too hard. Yeah. Especially during their growth
and development. So things like walking, I’m not going to take her for big
long walks right off the bat. Yeah, we’ll do little bits and pieces more
about teaching them to walk than actually walking them different places.
That’s really interesting. And it is unique to large breed dogs. One other thing that you might as
well get used to being sat on. Yes. I’m about to, I’m about to be shoved
over there even though they are big. I have no problem with them
being a lap dog. It’s fine. You just need a bigger lab.
You did mention something that was, I thought it was really unique. You mentioned to me something about
the stairs that maybe some of our other large breed dog owners have
heard as well. Yeah. Um, the common notion is that with our,
you know, especially large or giant breed dogs that
we shouldn’t let them do stairs until they’re fully developed or adults,
you know, these puppies are really
awkward when they are young. They’ve got giant paws and legs
that go everywhere. And it’s true. You don’t want them freely
going up and downstairs, um, and possibly hurting themselves
by slipping and falling. You know, there’s a lot of momentum when these
dogs, go ahead. First downstairs, I will tell you this story that I made
the mistake of with one of my first wolf hounds that I heeded that, I did not have them do stairs
until about a year and a half. Um, and then when I decided I
want them to come upstairs, he had no idea how to do the stairs
and took a lot of time because he was already really, really big.
And I, the way my house is, I sort of have like five
steps up to the one level. So I was using food to
try and lure him up. The problem was he could walk up all five
steps with his front paws and keep his rear paws on the ground floor.
Right. So it really took a lot to convince
them to use all his paws. So yes, I very much support not letting,
um, larger dogs do sets of
stairs on their own, but I spend time now,
I’ve learned a ton. I teach my puppies when they’re
young in a very controlled manner, how to safely navigate stairs
versus freely run up and down. And that’s just as simple as
making sure I have a leash on them, having some really great food and maybe
I start with the two steps down off the deck or I find a couple of steps
somewhere outside and really think about getting them aware of their feet
and really doing it nice and slow. Rewarding every step. She’s actually
my best at going downstairs. She’s very calm and she takes things
one step at a time, which is fantastic. Cause of course I got a five
year old son in the house. Sure. I don’t want 130 pounds a puppy crashing
through everybody so she can quite safely navigate down and
he sets of stairs. Yeah. And that brings to mind when you
mentioned that you have a son at home, um, introducing your dog to your other dogs,
you know, having a family members
included in the training. Let’s talk a little bit about that
with these large breed dogs. Yeah. So like anything else,
I need to set them up for success, but also taking into account their size
and you know, what can happen with them. Um, when she was about a year old, she
was a 105 pounds. Uh, my, you know, my older border Collie
right now is 29 pounds. Uh, so even though this dog wanting to run
and play and dogs get along swimmingly to have an uncoordinated hundred and
five pounds of dogs in an yeah. Yeah. That happens. It’s
like a wind tunnel. Yeah. You
look like that inadvertently. Knock over a smaller dog or a small child.
Ego can create some problems. There are some responsibilities that
we have with these larger breed dogs because, you know, if they
bumped into something, they’re
gonna knock it over. Yeah. Um, you know, family
members that, you know, that maybe you’re a little
bit old or you know, if this dog throws a hip into them, then they’re going to be knocked over
and you have to be conscious of those types of things and, um, be
mindful by managing it. Firstly, making sure you have a leash on the dog
and then helping train them how to greet people properly in a mannerly fashion.
Yeah, I really liked the idea of using a
house line in with the large rates. Certainly House leashes
helpful. Yes. Yeah, and I would say qualify that
with leash because again, if you just put a little light line on
a dog that’s 70 or 80 pounds, sure. Um, that’s not something you
can be easy to hold on to. But going and getting a good wide
leash and cutting the handle off, it can be a great way to sort of, you
know, easily gain control of them safely. Not something I would recommend
stepping on a leash very often. But that’s an important
thing to keep in mind. Oftentimes with a young puppy you can
step on the house line or House leash and that sort of prevents them from moving
forward or having a little flyers making the.. You’ll notice we’re
both petting an end here. Neither of us have to
reach and just loving. There aren’t many videos we have on the
channel where we can both pet the same dog. And I think she was trying to get on
top of us. Yes exactly. Um, so, you know, with little puppies we may be able to
simply step on a leash or a line and prevent them from going anywhere.
But with a bigger dog, have you want them to say,
sorry, she’s sniffing and Cameron nose to
nose. Oh, we want to be aware of that. And you know, I might want to plan ahead a little more
and have that leash on that line in my hands, uh, and help them sort of navigate
those situations a little more safely. Sometimes people will mention to us
that, oh, you know, my dog’s a Dane. He doesn’t like to listen our,
oh my dog’s that an x breed. And sometimes I feel like,
um, because the larger breed dogs require
a little different approach that some people have lower expectations
of their dog training results, but we know that, um, you can
maintain those same expectations. Talk a little bit about the differences
while you’re maintaining those same high expectations of your dog. How would you approach it a little bit
differently with dogs that are this big? Yeah. Any of the large or giant breed dogs
and oftentimes it comes with hounds and people say, Oh, it’s a hound. The
hound doesn’t learn, you know, all the dogs learn the same way. But if
we keep in mind helping our dogs, um, success rate,
setting them up to be successful, they can learn just the same as any
other ones can and we can keep those same high expectations.
When I asked her to lie down, I expect her to lie down quickly and I
will help her achieve that. But I don’t, um, excuse it by saying, oh, she’s
going to lie down when she feels like, or a big one, especially with the bigger
dogs, especially when they’re growing, which can take a lot of energy. We ask them to sit at our side and
oftentimes those dogs will sort of slumped down and slide into a down position.
You know, I can very clearly direct them back
into a sit now taking into account their body at that point.
You know, I would make sure I get a little bit
of resolution on that set and make sure that they are sitting on a loose leash. I might then to help them because they
are giant breeds asking them to lie down. But it is all about setting the
expectation. And On your terms. Exactly. That’s really important
takeaway for you from that. So even though we take into
account the size, the growth rate, all the things that come
along with giant breed dogs, we can still have the same and make sure
that it’s all about the direction that we’re giving them and helping
them to achieve that. Yeah. And you also talked a
little bit earlier about um, you know how you might not get the same
longevity in a training session and I think our large breed dog owners really
do need to keep that in mind that their short, their training sessions should be short
and sweet and to the point and full of as much successes they can have. Because you might not have
the same longevity you might
have with a Toller or a Border Collie dog of that
breed. Yeah. You know what? And you know that’s an important
thing to keep in mind along with the expectations. But I will tell you this
dog here, she’s my best frisbee dog. Yes, yes. This is an official. So the sec, are we going to be so that whammo
doesn’t monetize this video is sir, um, you know, one of the things that I have taught her
because she loves to chase is to catch a Frisbee disc. Yes. Um, and she is probably my best
dog at catching a disk. Now I can’t do it for 20 minutes, right?
She gets about three or four good throws. Um, she tracks the frisbee really will
and she catches it and brings it back, but that’s it, right? So we’re not
going to go out for an hour. You know, I don’t expect her to do it repetitively, but I still have that high
expectation that she runs. She catches it and brings it right back
to hand. Um, and that’s another thing, you know, just a simple
retrieve. Oftentimes I hear, Oh, it’s a hell hound or it’s this or it’s
that. It’s never going to retrieve. Yeah, it is. Yeah. You just need to unlock that. You need to make some value in and
oftentimes it’s not about the item itself, it’s about you. Right. And if
we can build value for you, all of that translate through,
whether it’s a giant dog or a little dog, I love that approach. I love that, uh,
idea. Uh, and we often talk about in, in classes,
you know, we might be using something like food
as a resource that the dog immediately finds valuable or maybe it’s toys
for your dog at home, but, uh, we’re going to shift that value
from these things onto you. And there are some unique ways that we do, and on this channel we have lots
of videos that talk about that, but I’m really shifting some of that
value over to you can be even more important when you have some of these
great big, large dogs. Yeah. Well, and especially, um, a dogs
like this at our sight hounds, they’re bred to run things down.
That’s what they do. And that’s another thing that
you’ll often hear with WIP. It’s great hones other things. You can never let them off leash because
they have such strong prey drive. That may be the case, but
uh, just like, um, you know, a border collies have strong herding
drive now we can discourage them from herding things.
We don’t want them to, I can discourage this dog from chasing
things that I don’t want her to write, but again, starts with that
relationship with us first. Now, as a professional dog trainer, you have both professional
and some personal experience
with some of these giant breed. Yeah, I, you know, I didn’t
start being a dog trainer. I um, just got an Irish wolfhound
I’d always wanted one. I can’t actually tell you why I wanted
one, but I just thought they were really, really cool.
And I quickly figured out that to, when you have an animal that’s basically
the size of a small pony living in your house, there’s a few little things that you can
do to make life a little bit easier, um, from everything from,
um, where they sleep at night to how they
get around to what you need to do with them at the vets and other
things in their lives. Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about that. So if maybe one of our perspective
large breed dog owners is thinking about getting a large breed dog, what sort of things are they going to need
a that are unique to the large breeds? Yeah, well we need to think
about all parts of their
life. And first things first, do you know it’s not just
about the food or the ball. Um, it’s about what the eventual size
of the dog is going to be. No Sky, actually I will tell you is the
smallest we’ll found that I’ve ever had. Most of my, I’ve always had male,
she’s the first female I’ve had. Most of the males have
been quite a bit bigger. I’m still quick fit but just
a little bit bigger overall. So little things like where
do they sleep at night? Um, how do you contain them when
they are puppies? You know
what about a year old, uh, these wolf hounds will be a hundred
plus pounds of Ganglia pupping sure. So there are not a lot of great stuck
in sort of comfortably contain them. So do you have a place in your house where
you can contain them with some gates? Because management is key when
we know we can’t supervise. Um, how do you get them to and from things,
you know, if you’re driving a little
Toyota car right now, you’re not going to be fitting one
of these in the back, back seats. So having a van or an SUV or something
to help them get around and SUV is, even though they’re great for space of
can actually also be proved difficult for them to drag breeds because
of the high step in height. So maybe ramps or other things that
uh, um, can help them with that. Does your vet,
if you’ve researched one yet, do they have the capabilities to do some
of the diagnostic work on some of the bigger dogs?
You know, most of that offices don’t have a
table at this dog can fit on it. And I’ve had situations where dogs have
had to be x rayed and I’ve actually had to go in and hold half the dog because
we can only fit half the dog in the x Ray table. Wow. So lots of things like that
that you really have to think longer term, not just little young puppy. Right. Now
you mentioned briefly about uh, you know, management,
some management ideas. We know that I’m crate training
and we often suggest for, you know, some breeds that are
certainly smaller than sky. We’ll bring that puppy in
their first night’s home with
their, in their new home, into the bedroom. Would that be something that you can still
do with one of these large breed dogs? We can, you know, how many are creating
the bedroom is a great way. I’ll admit. Now every puppy that comes into
my house sleeps in my bedroom. Um, mainly because I don’t want to get
out of bed to quiet though at night. I want to be able to reach
down and reassure them
without getting into bed with them and causing a fuss without having
to really wake up the puppy that everything’s okay. But do note
with their growth rate that, um, that will have to be a
pretty frequent change of, creates these guys gain about
five pounds a week. Wow. That’s literally what their growth rate
is for at least the first eight months. That tends to slow down at about a year,
but they grow till almost two years. So, you know, there’s a lot of
stages that they go through. So even though we can start
from just like the little dogs, there are a few more steps along
the way to get them to adulthood. I guess maybe for our prospective
large breed puppy owners, you know, where are they going to get information, suggestions about what they
should feed and what is, should their expectations be for
quantity? Yeah. So like anything else, your breeder or a breed club, uh, um, is a great spot to go for
general information. Um,
I will have him, breeders, I’ve got several quantum of, I’ve got
several here that are excellent, uh, um, breeders and have,
are they’re really great resource for me. I know exactly what they’ve
been feeding all the way along. I know how much to expect.
They’ve also been in the breed for years. These are not sort of new breeders. Um,
and with the phenomenal growth rate, there’s, there’s some things to take
into consideration that
you wouldn’t necessarily know. Um, we really try and slow down
their growth a little bit to prevent, um, things, getting, getting dogs getting
sore, I’m growing pains, interests, or even just things
developing a little bit wrong. So we’re very careful about protein
levels and some other things. So your breeder or the recovery is an
excellent place to start for that thing. Um, a lot of your vets do have some great
information, but they may not be, um, uh, as in tuned to the breed
specifically. Sure. Okay. So each giant breed is a
little bit different field, whether it be Danes or
are a lot of our burners. We see a lot of brown and
Burmese mountain dogs these days. A lot of those large breed dogs here,
you know, a good breeder will be an excellent
resource for that. As far as quantities. I will tell you what the
phenomenal growth rate, it’s quite an investment in financially
yeah. To feed one of these dogs. Yup. You know, when she was a puppy
growing at her highest rate, she was eating 10 to 12 cups of
kibble a day. It’s amazing. Yeah. So three times a day it was,
you know, two to three um, uh, cups of food per meal per day. Yeah.
No, she’s leveled out a lot more now. She’s still very fit. Um, I like
to keep the dogs nice and fit. So she is on about four cups a day right
now in terms of commercial food. Um, so it’s, uh, it’s a lot. Yeah, it’s a lot, especially if you’re feeding some
really good high quality foods, which we generally recommend as well. Talked a little bit about handling
training for your large breed dog, and if you’d like to learn
about more handling training, click that card right there. We hope you feel a little
bit more prepared for your
large dog breed to welcome them into your home. And on that
note, I’m Ken. I’m Steve in. This is sky high be training.

15 thoughts on “Large Breed Dog Training – Professional Dog Training Tips

  • Hey ken I love your videos I subscribed to your channel after watching the live with Gone to the SnowDogs and your videos have helped me learn training techniques

  • If you have arrived here because you're preparing to bring a puppy home, check out this playlist all about Getting ready for a puppy as well as Puppy Training: https://youtu.be/X4jeJ9W_wm8?list=PL7BBgLulhermagHI8TGO2ztwcdGN_MNQb
    As always, Thanks for watching! ~Ken

  • we have an adorable pit boxer mix and his frizbey is his pride and joy. not important and hes only like 70 lbs. but hes cute

  • I’m enjoying your channel! Lots of great tips 👍 not sure if you could answer this question or appreciate to post .. any opinion on pet insurance ,do you carry insurance on your dogs ?

  • If your dog doesn't listen try wispering to them . My Siberian loves I when im wispering to him he does everything right now when i wisper. 😁

  • Steve sounds like a very compassionate trainer. He really cares about the dog. Thank you for your knowledge and help!

  • I have a Great Pyrenees/St. Bernard mix who is four and a half months old and she is already stronger than I am. I am having trouble controlling her while on the leash. She is supper friendly so I want to keep her from jumping on people. This is my first large breed dog and I want to be successful. I want a large dog I can be proud of.

  • You’re making me very glad that I’ve taught my 10 week old Bernese mountain dog how to do the stairs. That buddy can run up and down the stairs with the paper in his mouth now! He doesn’t go alone, he can go up and down now, needs some help when it’s rainy, and he has his confidence with the stairs! A little clumsy but so good’

  • Hi Ken, thank you for this video! We got an Irish Wolfhound, Pinto, a month ago and we adore him! BUT, he pees every five seconds in the house. He doesn’t have a UTI, just took him to the vet. He just has parasites which we are treating. I was taking him out every ten minutes, but it was hard to work like that. We tried crating, but he screamed for hours. I’m so lost. Is it because he is a large breed? Any suggestion is very much appreciated!

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