As the "new kid" on the block, your Great Pyrenees will need to be
introduced to everything about its new home. A proper introduction will help
ensure that your Pyr will become the guardian you want and need rather than a
"problem child" demanding too much of your time and effort re-training
and re-orienting it to do the work of guarding your stock. Throughout
the entire introduction process close observation of your animals' behavior is
critical as well as is immediate intervention if you notice undesired behavior.
It may be necessary to stop the process, let things get back to normal, and then
start over again.
If your new Pyr is a puppy. A natural tendency is to bring the cute little
thing into the house so it wonít be lonesome and afraid in its new
surroundings. DONíT DO IT! Your puppy has lived in a barn around goats since
birth. Your barn will not only provide a familiar environment for the pup but
will start from the beginning teaching it that its home is where your stock is,
not where its humans are.
If your new Pyr is an older dog, provide a secure place such as an escape
proof pen for its first night. Take it for a walk on a lead around the perimeter
of your pen(s) or pasture so it will understand the limits of its new area. You
may need to do this several times before the dog shows an understanding that
this is its new area to protect. Your sensitivity to the animal will help you
decide when the dog is ready to be released into its new area.
Although there are headings for the
different situations you may have, only the new elements to be considered are
addressed in each category.
There are several categories of "other
dogs" that may be associated with introducing your new Great Pyrenees.
1. Other Great Pyrenees. If your dog is a
puppy, your adult Great Pyrenees should accept the dog almost
immediately. You may have to witness a short explanation of "I'm
the boss and you're the puppy" but there should be no serious
If your new Pyr is a spayed or neutered older dog, you need
to introduce it to your Great Pyrenees already on site. Watch to
ensure all goes well. There may be a short alpha demonstration but
there should be no problems.
If you have an intact dog on site and your new Pyr is also
intact and the same gender as your on site dog , DO NOT PUT THEM TOGETHER IF
THEY ARE OLDER THAN A FEW MONTHS. You can try this after your new Pyr
has had a little time to adapt but do it carefully and be ready to separate
them if necessary. Same gender intact Pyrenees will often fight to
establish alpha status and while sometimes in younger dogs the fight is not
too serious, other times, especially with fully adult dogs, it can be a
fight to the death. If you plan on same gender intact dogs working
together, start with only one adult and let the puppy(ies) grow up with the
adult. There will still be fights as the pups go through adolescence
and become adults but the chances of lethal fights will be greatly
2. Other non-Pyrenees Livestock Guardian Dogs.
Never put same gender dogs together regardless of their reproductive status
unless you take the same precautions described for same gender intact Pyrs.
3. Pet dogs of any breed. Do not let them into
your stock yards, introduce them to your new Pyr, or encourage your new Pyr
to accept them. We strongly recommend total segregation of pets from
Familiar with Guardians
New puppy, Cara, learning about goats.
|If you raise goats, and the goats have been around
dogs before, youíll have very little to do in the way of introducing a
Bountiful Farm Great Pyrenees to his or her charges. Simply put the dog on a
lead and take it into the area where the goats are. Observe both the dog and the
goats and when they are all comfortable, release the dog and observe some more
to ensure everything goes well. The entire process may take as little time as
five or ten minutes but do not take that estimate for granted, stay there,
observe, and donít leave until you and the animals are at ease with the
situation. If the dog is mature, or close to it, that should be all it takes.
immature dog or puppy may become excited or exuberant about all these new
friends and want to sniff them all immediately. If this happens, and youíre
lucky, a mature goat will teach the pup some manners and decorum and that will
be that. If that mature goat isnít available, you need to take its place. When
you observe inappropriate behavior by a pup, immediately interrupt that behavior
by shouting harshly and/or exhibiting some form of threatening behavior of your
own. Make it short and to the point, stopping immediately when the pup changes
its behavior. If you observe this behavior from a pup, you need to ensure that
the pup knows it will not be tolerated. The closer you can copy its motherís
behavior in correcting it, the more effective it will be.
Lilly, a rescue dog, meeting her first
newborn kid after spending adaptation time at Bountiful. Note the
kid's dam standing peacefully by.
In any discipline,
immediacy is paramount. If you donít interrupt the behavior, thereís a good
chance that the pup will not know why youíre being "mean" to it. If
you believe that the undesirable behavior may continue, secure the pup in an
escape proof pen in the immediate area of the goats, preferably in a holding pen
close to the barn, and release the pup when you can
observe it until youíre satisfied that it will behave appropriately.
Unfamiliar with Guardians
If you raise goats that have no experience with dogs, you must protect pups
and younger dogs from them initially. An older dog will sense the fear and
hostility in the goats and treat them gently while avoiding any confrontations.
A panicked or dog-fearing goat will attack a Pyr and can injure them badly. The
Pyr will not fight back and if the dog doesnít understand it is endangered, it
will not know about avoiding attacks until it learns by experience. Our pups
have never had to deal with this situation and will need to be protected. We
recommend securing the pup in an escape proof pen in the center of the goatsí
area. The goats can make the adaptation to the presence of a dog and you can
take the dog among them on a lead until you see that everyone has accepted the
situation. Even then, providing an area where the pup can escape an attack is
prudent. The goats should adapt fairly quickly, within hours or a few days at
the most. Again, you need to be sensitive to the attitudes of your animals and
observe their relationships.
Quick, Simple Method
Use a rectangular pen about twice as long
as it is wide. Put the herd in the pen first and let them get
comfortable with it. Then, with your dog on a leash, enter the pen at
one end and you will see all the goats run to the far end of the pen.
(That's why you shouldn't use a large pen) Walk you dog generally toward
the goats but not in any kind of purposeful manner, just amble along
that way. Watch the goats and they will become more nervous the closer
you get. When you determine that they are ready to panic and scatter
soon, turn yourself and your dog away from them and sit both of you with
our backs to the herd and pay no attention to them. As you ignore them
they will calm down again. When they are calm, slowly rise and again
walk you dog in a non-purposeful manner in the general direction of the
goats until you see them ready to panic again. Then sit down with both
you and the dog turned away from the goats. They will, once again, calm
down after a period of time that you ignore them. Rise and again walk
slowly in the general direction of the goats and sit again with you and
the dog facing away from the herd when they look about to panic.
Depending upon on long the field, how big
the herd, and how well you show no interest in the goats and get your
dog to do the same, after some repetitions of these actions, you and the
dog will be sitting in the middle of the goat herd. DO NOT acknowledge
the goats, continue to ignore them and have your dog do the same.
Eventually the goats will come around to find out what you and the dog
are doing. In the process, they will introduce themselves to the dog and
learn to be at ease around him. Most generally, this introduction is not
total but it does stop the panic when the dog is around and the
individual goats will accept the dog totally at a much faster rate.
Other than Goats
Neon, a daughter of Clark and
Sunshine, allowing an alpaca cria to introduce itself .
|If you have animals other than goats, there is a chance your new Great
Pyrenees will consider them as predators initially. Take your Pyr in among the
animals on a close lead and explain that these are its new charges to guard.
Make sure it understands that you expect it to take care of these strange new
critters. In this case, the escape proof pen in the center of the herd is a
virtual necessity. Your Pyr will live in close proximity to its new charges
until everyone seems to accept the situation. If your stock has not been around
dogs and shows aggression toward your Pyr, once again, pen the dog in the center
of the herd, taking it out into the herd on a short lead regularly until
everyone is accepting of the situation.
And Other Fowl
We don't know how they decide but some Pyrs want to chase
chickens and others don't. If this is important to you, let your breeder know in
advance and insure they will select a dog for you that shows little to no
interest in chasing chickens. You still, however, need to pay particular
attention to introducing your dog to your fowl if they will come into contact,
or for that matter, if you plan for your LGD to be guarding fowl. When the dog gets to
your farm, have some chickens penned so they are available to you and set the
dog in the pen with them. Explain that they are to be treated as animals
to be guarded and stay with the dog to ensure it leaves the fowl alone. Repeat
this process until you have confidence that your dog understands. Leave
the dog for increasing periods of time and then begin again with short periods
of time during which you leave the dog unmonitored. Remember that puppies will
be puppies and never count on the pup being on its best behavior all the time. If
you have free range chickens, after penning the dog with some chickens for a
short time, arrange for chickens to be in the stock area where the dog will be
living. Be alert to its reaction to the birds as well as your other stock
and correct any tendency you see for chase behavior. With any undesirable
conduct, early detection and fast, interruptive action are the most important
factors in stopping this behavior before it becomes a major problem. For
more more information on introducing your LGD to chickens click on
For Future Stock But None Are Present
If you are starting a stock operation and want a Livestock Guardian
Dog to protect them when they arrive, make your
arrangements to receive the stock and the dogs at about the same time.
If you must acquire one before the other, get the stock first, then the
dogs. Great Pyrenees, and all LGDs, need to be "with" their stock, not
locked up alone and waiting for them or treated as a pet until the new
animals arrive and then expected to turn into an LGD. Getting your
Livestock Guardian Dog early is asking for problems.
Dan & Paula Lane
Copyright © 2002, 2006 [Bountiful Farm]. All rights reserved.