Is Brutus guarding me or am I protecting him?

by Nancy
(Venus, TX USA)

I have now had my Brutus for 3 years. He is now a 147 lb, 7 year old neutered, lazy male. I've posted before that he was 3 when I adopted him from a neighbor when Brutus refused to go back to his owner's home. His previous owner just told me I could have him, so I had him checked out, chipped and he has been mine ever since.

His first 4 years of life was spent totally outside guarding nothing but a couple of chickens and his previous family. When I adopted him, he became a totally inside family pet with nothing to guard but us and his front yard territory.

We have confined him to the front yard which is about a half acre. He is on an electronic collar. He is as behaved as a Pyrenees can be. He has never jumped on anybody or anything, never been aggressive even to neighboring pets that come into our yard. He won't even lick us or anyone else. He just thinks everybody is supposed to love him and therefore demands to be petted by anyone coming into the house or the yard.

He knows that I am his "main person". My question is this. He follows me to any room in the house that I might go into. He wants to go outside with me any time I go out the door. But he is absolutely terrified of gunshots, thunder, fireworks or an loud noises that sound like those things. And he hates birds, flies and bees with a passion. So when there are gunshots or fireworks anywhere in the area that he can hear, he is desperate to get back into the house if he's out. If he's inside, he will retreat to our bedroom.

His previous owner also says he doesn't know why. Anyway, because of these tendencies, I can't figure out if he is showing that he is protecting or guarding ME when he follows me around...or is he wanting me to protect HIM? I don't see him as my protector or guardian dog. If I ever needed protection, I think Brutus would just wanted the enemy to pet him. I love the big brute.

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Feb 02, 2016
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the good life
by: Anonymous

You're very lucky to have been "adopted" by your Brutus. He chose you because with you he feels complete. How good is that?
So because of that, there are 2 things he does with you consistently. (1) he stays close because of he is a guardian and he cannot do otherwise. His bloodlines have programmed him to follow the herd wherever it goes and that is his deepest responsibility. His subtle and respectful contact with visitors is his way to assess their character and intent, because your safety is paramount in his world. (2) he stays close to you because he feels best when you are together! He chose you, after all. And that's a beautiful thing to experience.
The startle response at loud noises is also a pretty common thing, for animals and humans both. He may have had a bad shock from a loud noise as a pup...the things they learn in the first 4 weeks of life usually stay with them for life. When he shows fear just sit with him quietly. Do not pet him or make soothing noises with your voice. Body contact and your calm, unconcerned presence will sooth his rattled nerves and may (given time) teach him there is nothing to fear. Are you then guarding him? Maybe. He trusts you completely after all.
And if (as guardian) he has to face a threat, Pyrs do tend to pair up and be a team. So it's important for you to not become anxious for him because he's fearful of the thunder. He just reads your anxiety, which then increases his threat vigilance level to atmospheric proportions(no pun intended) So, continue taking care of each other and to enjoy life with your lovely Brutus...you have the best!

Feb 02, 2016
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You couldn't be more wrong
by: Ed A from NJ

I read you post a out Brutus long ago when I still had Beau. Don't take Brutus's mild mannered personality as anything more then good training. Trust me for sure he will respond if he feels you are in real danger. Beau was not fond of load noise but on two occasions when I truly was in danger Beau responded very aggressively. First time I was in a dog park when a large Akida atacked me. Beau would have killed him if me and his owner did not pull us off the downed dog. The second time he chased a their to Tue fence line when he was breaking into my naibors home. The guy beat him to the fence by a hair even with a huge head start. Believe me when the time comes Brutus will be ready.

Feb 02, 2016
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Protecting
by: Donna

If you are the only one around, I suspect he is just watching over you. It's just the way it is.

Get the electronic collar off of him and fence your yard. Electronic collars are cruel and can do great damage to a dog.

Pyrs are wanderers. That is why they are used to watch over livestock. They wander with the livestock. They are not eager-to-please dogs.

Feb 02, 2016
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Protecting
by: Donna

And, make sure you neuter him so there are no unwanted puppies or wanted puppies. The shelters are full of unwanted Pyrs and other dogs who desperately need homes.

Millions are euthanized every year because there are not enough homes to go around. Pregnant females are dumped, puppies are left in dumpsters, etc.

Feb 03, 2016
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Fear of loud noise
by: Donna

I'm sorry. You have had him neutered and chipped. Good work.

He isn't lazy. He is, in fact, far from lazy. IF he had a job, he would work hard. He is, like Pyrs are, low energy which is what is required for guardian livestock dogs. He still needs his walks and hikes etc. That keeps them motivated and interested in life.

Still, get that electronic collar off of him and fence your yard.

Some dogs just have a fear of loud noises. Make sure he has a space to go when it starts. If he likes to go in the closet, give him free access and put his bed in there. Close the door just enough so that when he is ready, he can come out. The fear will never change.

If he is following you around when the loud noises start, he has fear. He is trying to tell you that and is panicked. So, take him to the closet.

If he is actually drinking a gallon of water daily, he needs to go the vet to have his liver function checked out.

Feb 05, 2016
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Right is right
by: Ed A from NJ

Donna could not be more right about the electric fence and shock color.from your other post I know you love Brutus so I want to share this with you. My friend had a shock collar on his dalmation on the lowest setting. The first problem was when the dog seen rabbits he would chase them through the fence and take the shock then when he came home he would sit in the street and not come back in the yard. One day when I was telling him it hurt the dog fur or no fur he said it wasn't bad so on the lowest setting we put it on my friends wrist. Now he was a 6'3" weight lifter. He rsn for the fence as fast as he could. When he screamed and fell to the ground the collar was never seen on the dog again. When they say the shock can be adjusted you should ask yourself how much shock you would feel good with. These are truly inhuman. Please get rid of it.

Feb 05, 2016
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gadgets
by: Anonymous

We have no experience with electronic collars, so my question would be...could the collar be indirectly activated by a lightening or thunder burst? Does your dog wear the collar just outside? When a storm is imminent, are you proactive soon enough to let him come in and released from his collar? Their sensitivity is acute, so the only way to find out if the collar's the culprit for his fear is for you to wear it yourself during a storm. Seriously. It may be an eye-opener.

Feb 06, 2016
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correction to electric fence
by: nancy

Brutus is not on an electric shock collar! He is on a remote control training collar. He never gets shocked!! He gets only a beep sound from his collar if he goes across his boundary and that's only when I push the button from my remote control device. He is trained to the sound...not a physical affect to his body. I very seldom have to use the sound on him. Just occasionally I can see him standing at the boundary line asking himself "should I or shouldn't I cross this line." there have been a few times he has chosen to use his independent thinking and decided to cross it. One beep sound brings him directly back to the front door.

Feb 08, 2016
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Collar
by: Anonymous

Could you tell me the name of the collar you are using. Thanks

Feb 11, 2016
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collar by Anonymous
by: Nancy

The collar I use for Brutus is PetSafe PDT00-13625 Elite Big Dog Remote Trainer.

Feb 11, 2016
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Thanks
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much I will look it up.

Feb 17, 2016
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Protecting
by: Anonymous

My baby does the same thing, except I'm the only one he follows. He watches after me and believe Iit or not I rescued him from a place where he would've been put down, he loves children but only tolerates my dad. My neighbor was drunk a couple months ago, and he came up knocking on my door trying to get me to give him a jack to fix his flat tire. I refused, I told him he was drunk and could borrow it in the morning, he continued to insist I let him use it. I asked him politely to leave, since it was about 3 a.m. he tried to stop me from closing the door, and next thing I knew my big gentlemen was between us, growling and showing teeth. He does this cute "smile" with his upper lip but he looked scary, I knew he was protecting me. I have never regretted the day that I rescued him, and I would do it a million times over.

Feb 19, 2016
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protecting
by: Anonymous

You got a good one! I have never been put in a position to test whether or not Brutus would actually come between me and that test. Guess I shouldn't wish that on myself either. Just glad he loves me as much as I love him.

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