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sunshine laying.JPG Since Great Pyrenees have been bred for millennia to make split second decisions about the safety of their animals, they are quite independent and not prone to easily accepting direction from anyone, including you. Please do not expect your Great Pyrenees to act like a “normal” dog, although you can feel free to accept whatever affection your dog will offer whenever you come into its pen.

 



                                         

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Most Great Pyrenees will not willingly share his or her food with any other dog, (Sometimes littermates prove the exception, but don’t count on it.) Between adults these fights can be vicious and bloody (many start practicing food aggression as puppies while still nursing and eating milk soaked kibble), so please feed your dogs individually or provide two to three automatic feeders to allow your dogs some freedom to decide who eats where and when.

Great Pyrenees will guard their territory and their charges with little help from you. They will also guard their charges whenever and wherever they go so please have fences designed to hold your livestock. If you do not live in a high predator area, or your livestock herd is small, your dog may decide to increase its area of protection and move its borders beyond your property. We strongly discourage letting your Pyrs out of their area without a leash and we suggest you discourage their tendency to wander through conventional training techniques. We have found that electric fence will contain even mature Great Pyrenees who have a wanderlust as well as protecting your fences from excessive wear by the goats. FrankBentonville.JPG

Amy2.jpg (96656 bytes)If your Great Pyrenees is ever seriously ill and requires a general anesthetic, please insure that your vet is aware of the Pyrs’ special needs in this area. The administration of an inappropriate amount of general anesthetic will kill a Great Pyrenees.

Great Pyrenees who have their sexual organs intact probably will exhibit a dominanceDaisy1.jpg (57128 bytes) driven aggression toward others of the same gender who are also intact. As they become mature, these fights can become deadly so please keep intact Great Pyrenees of the same gender separated or trained from puppyhood to accept others.

Your Great Pyrenees operates on multiple levels to protect your herd. First, your Pyr will mark its perimeter and bark to warn predators to stay away; next he or she will confront a predator who ignores the warnings and give the animal a chance to run away; at that point, if the predator persists, your adult Great Pyrenees will kill it, die trying, or find a creative solution appropriate for the moment. There is no half measure in these dogs and they are extremely effective at what they do but they are not machines or programmable computers.  These dogs developed while working with their shepherds and the modern shepherd stills plays an integral part in keeping their stock safe.  Any LGD can be trained to be ineffective and any LGD can run into situations that don't fit its genetic instructions.  The most common of these is the neighbor's dog whom the Pyr meets through the fence when the dog is a new puppy.  Great Pyrenees do not generally kill puppies, they'll hold an unknown  puppy trespasser until the owner resolves the situation, but when they are constantly exposed to the puppy they will begin to accept it.  They'll accept it even easier if the pup is a Pyrenees cross.  When the puppy grows up and becomes a trespasser and a killer, it may be accepted and it will be up to the owner to handle the situation.  There were no neighbors with pets that killed stock in the Pyrenees Mountains during these dogs' development.  There are breeds that would kill these intruding pups immediately.  These same breeds have been known to clean out all the neighborhood dogs, even though they were often outside the fences that designated property ownership.  The lack of excessive aggression is one of the traits we value in the Great Pyrenees but it does mean there is always an active role for the owner/shepherd.

If you live in an area with a very high predator count or a high probability of lions, bears, or wolf packs you can expect a single Pyr to protect your herd or flock to the best of its ability; it will be effective as long as the predators have safer places to find a meal, but you will eventually have a dead guardian. Please use enough dogs for your situation. A note on dogs as predators: They are often wanton in their blood lust and either singly or in packs often disregard their own safety. A mature Great Pyrenees needs your help with a pack, a young immature guardian will have serious difficulty with even one big adult dog on a killing rampage.

 


Dan & Paula Lane
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