Adopting A Rescue

Things you should know:

242394_2378Have you ever wondered how an animal as beautiful and dignified as a Great Dane finds itself in rescue? Often, potential owners of these wonderful pets become so engrossed in “rescuing” the dog that they fail to consider the special circumstances surrounding them—or the emotional baggage they may carry. While the benefits of rescuing a Dane are many, it’s very important to be fully aware of exactly what “rescue” entails. So, how do these dogs wind up in rescue? Great Danes enter rescue for a variety of reasons. A few unfortunate Danes become homeless due to unexpected circumstances—a death in the family, changes in finances, changes in living arrangements. A few more come to rescue as true abuse and neglect cases. Most, however, fall under one broad category—poor human excuses. Examples include:

  • Mismatch: I didn’t know he would be so big! He’s taken over the couch and surfs my counter for food!
  • Destructiveness: He’s eaten my couch! And my front door! And the drywall…
  • Lack of Training: He’s uncontrollable! He knocks down my children, drags me down the street on walks, and clears the coffee table with his tail!
  • Housetraining: He poops in the dining room and lifts his leg on my ficus tree!
  • Aggression: He hates the neighbors, chases the cats, and attacks other dogs!

Please note that each of these conditions, including aggression, can be attributed to failure on the human side of the relationship, not the canine! Puppies enter our homes as blank slates. They know neither our language nor our rules of conduct. What they become is strictly up to us. We can do nothing about a mismatch.  Unfortunately, if a family buys a pup on impulse without being fully aware of its adult size and requirements, it’s the pup that suffers, either being given away, neglected in the back yard, or finding itself at a shelter. Destructiveness? Puppies and young dogs need to chew almost as much as they need to breathe air. Our job is to provide appropriate chew toys as well as instruction about what we consider to be an appropriate chewy. Our pets have no moral code that speaks up “Not mom’s shoes! That carpet isn’t for chewing!” Chewing is also a coping mechanism for our pets that allows them to deal with stress. Our extended absence during the workday stresses our pets. Dogs with separation anxiety chew to relieve their fear. Take a moment to think about what a stressed Great Dane could do to a living room during an 8-hour day. The problems associated with lack of training are wide ranging—leash pulling, jumping up, excessive barking, digging, counter surfing, etc. Honestly, none of these behaviors are a problem to the dog. Consider them from both viewpoints:

  • Leash pulling is rewarding because he gets to see and sniff new things—not because it’s fun to drag you.
  • Jumping up to reach your face is a standard and expected canine greeting—it’s not intended to ruin your hose and white blouse.
  • Barking is simply communicating—either voicing to the world that he’s lonely while you are gone or that a stranger has arrived. It’s not intended to give you a migraine.
  • Digging relieves boredom, occasionally yields treats, and always provides a cool respite from the heat. Nothing against your Rhododendrons and mums…
  • Soiling the house? Can you wait 8-10 hours? And at least that carpet doesn’t let it splash back on you…
  • Aggression? Isn’t that my bone? Aren’t I supposed to protect you from the mailman?

So, what does all of this mean when considering a rescue Dane? It means that very few rescue dogs will enter your home as the perfect pet. As with any relationship, a few kinks may have to be ironed out. Danes in rescue often keep their baggage hidden—very few come with complete histories. Rescuers can often only inform you of behavior they have witnessed in the short time they have known the dog. Dogs may not show certain behaviors until they arrive in their new homes and begin to feel comfortable. As an adoptive family, you must first be certain of your desire and ability to cope with your new pet. Do not adopt a rescue dog because you think you will bypass the horrors of raising a puppy. Consider your new dog to be that puppy with the blank slate—ready to become whatever you make of him. What that may be is strictly up to you. Here are some very general guidelines:

  • Be prepared to take the time to bond with you new pet. Take things slowly. Day one at home is not the ideal time to introduce Bones to all of the neighbors, go to the park, and make a trip to the groomer. In the first weeks, introduce new things slowly to avoid overwhelming him.
  • Create a safe haven for your pet, whether it is a dog crate, outdoor kennel, or safe room of your home. Your pet needs a place to be alone, as well as a safe place when you must be gone.
  • Train your pet! Teach your pet clearly what your expectations are. Be a leader—dogs are programmed by nature to either be led or to lead themselves. Gentle, positive obedience training will strengthen your leadership and will result in a happier pet.
  • Expect mistakes. Accept mistakes for what they are—mistakes.
  • Consult pet experts when in doubt. Great Dane Rescue will help you find an answer for your question or refer you to someone who can.

Please carefully consider your choice of a rescue Dane—before you fall in love and bring one home. With the proper commitment to bonding, training, socialization, and love, you will nurture a wonderfully rewarding relationship.


How to adopt:

  • Submit your Application
    • Click here to fill out the application.  You must save the application and then print to email or fax to the rescue.
    • Applications are based on an approval process focused on the best interest of the dog.
    • Vet Checks and/or Reference Checks will be completed
    • Home Inspection will be completed. (Our adoption range is limited to a 3 hour drive one-way.)
  • Once approved, there will be a recovery fee.
  • Complete the adoption contract. You must review and agree to the terms and conditions of adoption.
  • Take your new friend home!

For more information on Adopting a rescue dog, please email us at


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Ph: 704-697-9706
Fax: 704-498-4944