Amazing creatures!

by Sherry
(Chicago, IL )

Bringing our Maui Bardot to her forever home!

Bringing our Maui Bardot to her forever home!

Wow! What amazing creatures they are! Loved all the versions but especially Jonathan's and France's!

We have a rescue Pyr mix who we are presently working on socializing in our home as she has become aggressive to any guests. We will meet with a specialist this week to help us. We have socialized her with other dogs and she does fine with almost everything outside of our home. She becomes very upset and barks and growls ferociously when anyone enters the house besides family.

Our vet has said that she is acting out of fear probably due to her experiences her first few months of life. She was rescued from a high kill shelter and they think she was 4-5 months old at the time. We love her to death and I am very hopeful that we can help her to not be so afraid.

Comments for Amazing creatures!

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Aug 26, 2015
by: Donna

Pyrs are amazing, indeed. Mixes can be an issue in some cases since wires can cross in their brains and this becomes apparent as their characters come through.

Or, as a 5-month old, she was not socialized properly and does have fear with which you can work. I'll assume you are having a positive-reinforcement trainer come in to help you out.

Or, I don't know how old she is, but as your dog gets older, she has become more proprietary of her home. This is more difficult to work with.

Here is some good information for you by Dr. Sophia Yin, world-renowned vet behaviourist.

Good luck with her and thank you for adopting!

Aug 27, 2015
little darlin'
by: Anonymous

Look at that face!! What a sweetie! Kudos to you and your family for committing to her as they are AMAZING (there's that word again)

As Donna has mentioned, its very important to work with a POSITIVE reinforcement trainer. To not resort to quick-fix training methods. Your pup's early life has not been a positive experience for sure, so now she is protecting her new and happy space from intruders.

Doorway greetings are always a time when her human's energies are elevated...we are delighted, after all, to see our friends. Your pup will feel this rise in your energy and as far as she knows, the visitors must therefore be a threat. And she acts. Good and positive reinforcement training now, will help give her confidence as she matures and learns more about life. A good trainer will know how you can help her to learn the difference between her families happy "greeting energy", and her family in true danger. Amazing that she, as a baby yet, would jump in to defend you. It would be wonderful if you could find a calm, older dog who is without issues, as companion for her.

Our Pyr pup is twice the size of our older dog, but the communication between them (very intricate, calm and correct) is teaching our pup how to act appropriately and when, in a perfectly natural way, dog with dog. Our pup is 1/4 Bernese, was not a rescue (lucky him!), so we have no issues from a previous life or inherited tendencies as would cause a problem. Even so we very much appreciate and encourage our canine nanny.

Good luck with your beautiful baby girl. From here on its just time and consistent, positive training and loving companionship.

Aug 27, 2015
My Maui girl
by: Sherry

We believe she was born in January or February of 2014 so she is about a year and a half old. We have socialized her with other dogs and people since we adopted her. She goes to daycare twice a week to help burn off her energy and socialize and she does very well there. They love her and have even told me that she is very helpful with the newer dogs coming in, welcoming them.

Our issue is mostly in our home where she becomes very upset if anyone comes in other than us. We have twins who are in college and she has acted unsure of them when they come home as well sometimes barking and growling at them until she is around them for a while. Her aggressive/fear seems to be progressing as she gets older and her technique is working because she is bigger and sounds very mean. She also gets pretty aggressive when she sees/hear things from the outside sometimes. We walk her and she does okay with that and usually okay with people when she is outside.

We are meeting with a specialist tomorrow to help us work with Maui so that she is not so afraid and reactive. We will definitely be using only positive reinforcement with her! It kills me that she is so fearful and feels the need to react. I want her to be happy and well adjusted.

Thank you so much for the information. We have not had anyone over at our house, partly because we don't normally when our kids are at school and partly because I am afraid her next step is to bite someone and I want to handle the situation correctly so that doesn't happen. As far as her barking/growling out the window, I tell her no and call her away to her bed or kennel where I tell her it is okay and praise her for listening to me. She seems to respond to this, maybe not right away but does let me pet her once she listens and comes and lays down by me.

I have to admit that when we got her I had no idea that her reactions (of course, they were on a smaller scale) were due to fear and unfavorable experiences in her first few months of life... It was not until our vet called our attention to it that I indeed saw what he described.

I have been reading a lot to try to understand and help her. Any help/suggestions/articles you can provide would be awesome! We love her and want to do everything we can to help her be a happy, well-adjusted girl! Sorry this is so long.

Aug 28, 2015
guarding versus fearful
by: Tressie

Another perspective to consider, rather than fear is that she may have a strong guarding instinct. So she is guarding her territory (your home) and/or the residents.

It may certainly be fear based but if its increasing, more likely she's hard-wired to guard. I don't know what her mix is, but my St. Bernard has the same traits, in fact identical. She was a stray so unsure as to her history. She is very reactive to human males with a few notable exceptions, my vet being one.

We have done a great deal of work with input from positive reinforcement trainers/behaviourists, but there comes a point where I am the one who has to change and get real.

If I am expecting company I keep her confined to another area of the house, and tell visitors not to disturb her. I tell her its okay and let her know I am taking responsibility for looking after things and she settles down.

If its someone I want her to accept, we go through a process of my introducing the visitor while the visitor gives her treats across the gate. If she accepts that and settles down, then I allow her to approach the visitor, and I give the visitor instructions on how to behave, i.e., arms at sides, standing still, presenting sideways, allowing her to sniff them. If she continues being agitated we stop all interaction.

My daughter and 12 year-old grandson visited this past summer. Both volunteer at their local SPCA on weekends walking dogs, so know how to behave around reactive dogs. It took a couple of days of careful interactions before she accepted my daughter. However, she was never completely comfortable with my grandson (recall she's male reactive) and hence, interactions were minimized and closely supervised by me.

Some would ask, why keep a dog like that? Easy answer, because I love her dearly and vice versa, and I accept her for who she is.

I came to terms long ago that her nature is to guard, and I work with that, rather than trying to change something that is hard-wired, I am the one who has to change my expectations and adjust my behaviour accordingly.

Working with a positive reinforcement trainer will go a long way - if you do the work. But it won't change her basic nature if she has a strong guarding instinct.

There is no rule anywhere that states dogs and guests must interact.

Aug 28, 2015
by: Anonymous

First god bless you for saving this little lost soul. Every puppy is born pure just like babies. They are like clay they are what they experience. With a seasoned trainer any dog can be rehabilitated. One of the most positive tools in your bag of tools is love add a good helping of calm consistent training and you will see her through her early traumatic live experience.

There is nothing wrong with mixed breed dog that thinking is just silly! They are no better or worse then a pure bred. Would it help to know what they are mixed with of course. But a $60 dollar DNA test could put you closer to understanding.

I have 4 pure pure breed dogs 2 rotties a Pyrenees and a newfie and they are all sweet as a peach. They are all treated with love, respect and postive reinforcement. As far as corrective action a firm voice and ten minute shunning is as harsh as it ever need to be. No neck pinching or physical discipline of any type.

Aug 28, 2015
Tabula rasa
by: Tressie

Just a quick comment or two. While its true that puppies are born pure (of heart and mind), they aren't completely a blank slate i.e., tabula rasa. Genetic predispositions and centuries of breeding for particular traits do come into play and should be considered to the overall picture of any particular dog.

Some things are just hard-wired, for example, barking in Pyrs. Others are more genetic tendencies, which can be activated by environmental influences. For example, a dog who is innately high strung or shy, may be more profoundly affected by an event and become fearful than a dog who is more laid back.

My St. Bernard does not trust human males, I have to assume that her past experiences were a culmination of negative experiences from more than one human male, and that it was over time. Given her personality, I don't believe one bad episode with a human male would have generalized to include all human males as untrustworthy.

I think it is important to make the distinction, between hardwiring versus genetic tendencies (inherited from her parents) influenced by environment, in order to work with the presenting behaviour effectively or adjust our expectations/behaviours accordingly.

Aug 31, 2015
thank you
by: Sherry Blonde

Thank you so much for all the encouraging words and advice! We have devised a plan after seeing the specialist and understand that is may be a slow process. I think it is good that we are dealing with it at a younger age and am hoping for the best. The specialist did suggest starting her on a low dose anti-anxiety, anti-depressant to help her and therefore assist with this training/learning period. Has anyone had experience with these?

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