Every Dane I’ve ever known leaned. It seems like something inborn into the breed. I met a woman who had rescued a Dane and asked her why the dog had been surrendered by the original owners; she said, he leans, and they didn’t like it! Well, duh. This ought to go in every Great Dane breed information book and on the GDCA site: Danes lean on you. Hard. Spread the word.
This presents problems as you learn to show stack your dog. I suppose in terrier breeds people have dogs that bark, and I know some toy dog handlers who struggle to keep their pups from licking the judges–every breed has quirks that have to be dealt with when teaching the stack. With Danes, it’s the notorious lean.
When I first started stacking Kunga as a total newbie, I didn’t even notice he was leaning onto me until the class instructor told me to “get that dog off your leg!” But Kunga LIKED my leg and liked to be glued to it. It was a process to get him up on his own four feet and put even weight on each. This mostly involved stepping back quickly after setting his front inside leg (show side), so he couldn’t lean the outside leg on me and move that inside one. The quick step-back surprised him at first, and caused him to stagger the first time I did it as he leaned to his right, expecting me to be there. (This was highly amusing to the other people in the class.) He got over this soon enough, but to this day, if he’s tired or bored in a specials ring, he’ll start his lean, just to test me.
I’m glad to say, I’m always there to give him loving and a back stop–outside the ring.