While obedience training is always important, it is crucial with large breed dogs as the potential risk of misbehaving dogs increases exponentially with their size. Many large breed dogs are unaware of their size and weight, and if poorly trained, they can easily accidently cause damages or injuries to themselves or others.
1. Start early, be consistent, and develop clear rules.
The earlier you start the easier it is for the dog to accept training and understand your commands. Consistency helps the dog understand what you want and what to do, and changing what you want may confuse them. Clear rules also help the dog understand what to do and what is not allowed.
2. Positive reinforcement always works better than negative, and establishes a good relationship between you and your dog.
Dogs are sensitive and if they feel threatened they can lash out. It is better to teach them good habits, rather than fight bad ones.
3. Giant dogs can reach food on tables and counter surf, making them able to knock things over or eat things they shouldn't.
The best way to prevent this is to start early in training them that counter surfing is not allowed and showing them that human food is not for them. While there is a time to be a pack leader, you need to be the rule-setter. Remember to always be consistent, especially with puppies. If you say "no" once, you should always say "no" in that situation.
4. Teach them how to walk well on a leash.
Dogs have an instinct to pull on the leash to chase animals and cars or follow strong scents they catch. Reward your dog when they heel and walk well with treats. If you have difficulties teaching how to heel, try making them sit, or stop walking until they heel. Giant breed dogs are strong enough to pull you off your balance and even drag you, so it is essential to teach them good walking manners.
5. Do not allow them to jump up on people or objects.
Giant breed dogs can hurt or scare people by jumping on them, or break or damage objects. Like smaller breeds, when excited, poorly trained giant breed dogs may want to jump up. It is important to halt this behavior. Instead of getting angry though, reinforce a different behavior. For greeting, teach them to sit and shake visitors. For excitement, such as other dogs, cars, or outside stimulus, teach them to sit or lay down.
6. Enforce sitting and staying as a normality.
Keeping calm and sitting can help your dog in bad situations. If they get in the habit of sitting and staying when excited, people will feel more comfortable around it, and your dog isn't at risk of hurting themselves, someone else, or breaking something. It will help with bathing, at feeding times, in public, and with guests.
7. The crate is a good place.
Don't put your dog in their crate when they're bad, as they will associate it as a bad place. Make it their den, with toys and pillows, and make it a fun place. Then, when they have to go in for when you go to work or out, they'll be comfortable and content.