Bad behavior inside

Hercules is our 8 month Pyrenees's. He is loving and well adjusted except when he comes in the house. He comes in like a lion, herds our other dog away from us, climbs up on us if sitting, and snaps & barks at us. We have 12 acres, go for walks, he has a buddy in our other dog and we have a fenced area around our house of about 2 acres. We have recently found we have bears, panthers along with coyotes on the property. He has also started barking ferociously at night, I'm sure because of the animals. But we are getting little sleep. Can you help us? We love him but are hoping we can redirect these behaviors. We understand he only responds to positive reinforcement, but what we are doing has no affect on him.

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Jan 05, 2017
Poor behaviour
by: Donna

Start by not letting him on the couch unless asked. Have you taught him how to stay, sit, down, off and on? He needs to learn how to listen to you through positive-reinforcement training.

Does he come from a recognized registered kennel club breeder so he has had the crucial 8 week socialization and handling by many many different people followed by more from you for another month? This is so important. It worries me that he is snapping at you.

Do not use the crate as punishment but do crate train him. Don't let him out at night. He can sleep in the crate in the house and when you're not there (no more than three hours). He's still too young to ward off predators by himself. The coyotes may be able to get him.

Barking is what the Pyrs does to deter predators. Without that bark, there isn't much of a deterrence. They are nocturnal, as well, so you'll have to take some time to switch him around so he sleeps at night.

Here is information in brief on the Pyr:

Crate-training is the best thing you can do for your puppy.

The crate keeps pup safe from chewing on things he shouldn't and that could harm him. It is his safe place when he wants to get away from the hustle and bustle. Make sure he has some toys in there and a raw bone on which to chew

Before he ever goes in it, make sure he has had enough play time and exercise to sleep. In fact, you can train them through repetition to 'go to your house' and they happily go in there while you leave the house for a short period or go to bed.

NEVER use it as punishment. Never punish dogs. Always use positive-reinforcement training.

In short, here are some of the things to be expected from a Pyr:

They are beautiful dogs with great temperaments given the right breeding, socialization, care including a species-appropriate diet and training.

They require a good weekly grooming to keep them mat free and their skin healthy (hence, pain free from the pulling of mats as they move), and cutting their nails including their dew claws every couple of weeks to a month.They molt twice a year and all year round so your vacuum stays full. NEVER shave a Pyr. Their double coats keep them cool in summer and warm in winter. If you don't like grooming, take your dog to a master groomer.

Their instinct it to wander. Therefore, they require at least a 6-foot secure fence in a large yard in which they can play, run and watch over. No tie outs for these guys. It can lead to aggression since they cannot fully watch over their territory. If they are out all day, as they usually prefer, they need shelter from the elements.

They bark more than most dogs and neighbours do complain. That is a common reason for people surrendering their Pyrs (they didn't do their research). Their bark is what deters predators and it is instinct to them. That and marking their territory. To take away their bark is to take away who they are. The barking can be managed but it takes time, patience and consistency with positive-reinforcement training. If you don't like barking, they are not the dog for you.

They dig holes in your garden to stay cool in summer.

They require a lot of socialization as pups onward with people and other dogs. They also require positive-reinforcement training (a trainer who shows you how to work with a clicker). Pyrs, nor any dogs, take kindly to any kind of punishment. It will lead to aggression. Dr. Sophia Yin is a great website resource.

It's important to work with the dogs as if in a dance and you are leading. Rewards for good behaviour and redirect for unwanted behaviour. It's up to you to make them a good canine citizen. When engaging a trainer, ensure they use positive-reinforcement training and show you how to manage your dog. Never send a dog away for training. You are the one working with the dog, not a trainer.

To train a Pyr is not like training some other dogs. They are not eager-to-please and just as soon walk away from you than do as you say. They were bred by man to be used as guardian livestock dogs because they do not require human intervention to tell them how to do their job. Lots of patience, consistency and time is required to work with them. If you want an obedient dog, this is not the dog for you.

They require regular walks, of course, so they get out and see the world. They must be leashed because they will wander. Again, because they are so good at wandering they have been used to wander with sheep as they watch over them. It's suggested to use a front lead harness which will cut down on any damage to the spine should the dog pull although, with a little work from puppyhood, they should be good on a leash.

There are those in need of a home because someone didn't realize they would get so big, bark so much, leave so much hair in the house, wander, and require work, amongst other reasons.

It is very important to do your research on any breed before deciding if they are a good match for your family. Please start here:

Regarding dogs and children. We never want to see these dogs fail so it's important that children learn how to behave with dogs and that parents never leave their children alone with a dog. Here is a link on that subject:

I would suggest you find a positive-reinforcement trainer to come in to assess the situation and give you a plan to work with him.

Jan 06, 2017
by: Nashville

Our rescue Russell would sit in front window and bark and bark. He would bark at night and in the yard.
For window - I would sit near him and every time he stopped barking, he got a turkey hot dog bit. It took a few days, but he stopped doing mostly.
For night parking. Close all the blinds and drapes.
Find a spot for him in a unwindowed room. IN this case, our master closet makes him quiet.
Backyard barking. If he barked, I would go out and take him in. Now, all he has to do is see me at the window and he stops and goes and sleeps under a tree.
If he does bark, I usually go see because it's something important.
My two cents.

Jan 09, 2017
nature vs nurture
by: Anonymous

Hercules needs to learn some better habits. Sounds as if he becomes overwhelmed by his own guardianship genes. He has no herd to protect, so he is protecting you. In the house. The snapping and excitement a sign he has become overwhelmed by his own activities. He's a pup. It happens.
You can start by reducing his uncontrolled acceleration of vigilance while outdoors. If you can, curtail unleashed free time outdoors. Monitor his level of excitement. He does not know that he doesn't have to be over the top, yet.
You can encourage him to control his natural tendencies by teaching him good habits.
Teach him that the door into your home is where his outdoor activities cease. Period. If this means a calming downtime on the doormat just inside the door, do that. Feed him his supper there. That's his reward. Freetime indoors must always be '4 feet on the floor, no wrestling, no watchful pacing from window to window, just a calm demeanor'.
It is his nature to be vigilant at night. So, bring him inside in the late afternoon at the same time every day. This will encourage calm behavior. Close the windows and the curtains to reduce stimulus. Bring his bed into your bedroom at night. Close the door. Sleeping together reduces anxiety. If you decide to crate train, bring his crate into your bedroom, too.
He won't stop barking immediately as you begin teaching him self-control. It takes time. We have been teaching our Pyr good habits by living good habits since he came into our home at 8 wks. He's almost 3 now, and all our work is paying off. One of my friends had a habit of softly saying "Peace, Gabriel" while cradling his face between her 2 hands. Works a charm. We do that all the time now, just because....
Good luck. Hope this helps.

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