Containment

by AW
(Idaho)

We just got a Pyr puppy. He is 10 weeks and in our garage right now. We live in the country with subdivisions about a mile away and after reading I am worrying about our dog wandering when he is older. Our house is on 2 acres with 100 acres of farm land around us that we own. We don’t want to fence our yard but my husband did want to fence a 4 acre pasture for animals in the future (maybe cows). We also have a large chicken coop and run with 20 chickens. Would it be feasible to put our dog in the pasture? Will he be ok out there by himself? What do I need to be concerned about? This is our first dog.

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Jan 03, 2018
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Big bite
by: Ed A. From NJ

Taking on a Pyrenees as a first dog is a big step but don't worry to put a pyrenees out by himself with no fence you won't have it long. These dogs have a wanderlust like no other. If you have chickens you want to get him socialized very young or they will be on the lunch menu. Please start reading about your beautiful baby now. Great pyrenees are wonderful but hard for first time owners. I truely wish you the very best of luck. Hiring a positive-reinforcement trainer to teach you is highly recommended.

Jan 04, 2018
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by: Great Pyrenees Club

You want to get him out of the garage unless it is well lit with natural light and electric lighting. Make sure he has bedding.

You need to socialize and have him handled by many many different friends of yours. Without this, he will not accept new people as he matures.

Start your training now. Bring in a positive-reinforcement trainer to show you how to manage him before he gets too big and unmanageable. It's so important to train him while he is young.

You need to put in some fencing in for him. They must not run loose or he will disapyr. These dogs were bred to watch over livestock on their own with no human intervention. They are not obedience dogs. Never tie these dogs out or use invisible fencing. They need full range of their area so fence in 50 x 100 or larger with at least 5 foot fencing.

Start showing him the chickens now, on leash, so he gets used to them. He will not be ready to be on his own with the chickens for at least 1.5 years. He is just too young right now to be left alone.

If you want to put in the barn, great. Make sure he has access to the outside, and shelter with fresh water. And, near the chickens so he gets used to them. They will seem like toys at this point in his life.

Make sure he has toys to play with.

Make sure to neuter him at the appropriate age so about 1 to 2 years old. You don't want any unwanted puppies should be get out of the yard.

Make sure to microchip him so if he does get out, a vet can scan him to find out where he lives. Also have ID on his collar.

Here is a summary of them. Please read carefully:

They are beautiful dogs with great temperaments given the right breeding, socialization, care including diet and training. Dogs are a lifelong commitment.

BARKING: 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.

CONTAINMENT: Pyrs love to hang out outside and their instinct is to wander. Therefore, they require at least a 5-foot secure fence in a large yard in which they can play, run and watch over. Some have been know to scale any height of fencing. 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. And, no electric collars or invisible fencing.

DIGGING: They dig holes in your garden to stay cool in summer so you’ll want to set aside some garden for them.

DIET: Raw is the species-appropriate diet. They eat 2%-3% of the ideal body weight. The breakdown is about 50% edible bone, 35% muscle meat and 5-10% organ meat of beef, chicken, rabbit, deer etc. Do not feed what they are guarding. Start them out on one protein until they are used to it and gradually add another. If you need to feed kibble, ensure it is of high quality and preferably the baked kind. Raw food primer.

DOGS: If you want more than one dog in the home or working, we always recommend two dogs of the opposite sex. Two males or two females do not always see eye-to-eye and fights will ensue in most cases, but not all.

EXERCISE: They require regular walks, of course, so they get out and see the world to keep them interested in life. They must be leashed because they will wander. Again, they have been specifically bred 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 training, they will be good on a leash.

GROOMING: Working and companion dogs must be groomed. 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. NEVER have their dew claws removed. This is a barbaric practice. Simply keep the dews trimmed.

They molt twice a year and shed all year round so your vacuum stays full. NEVER shave a Pyr. Their coats keep them cool in summer–they lose their undercoat, leaving just guard hairs–the guard hairs protect your dog from sunburn and insulate him against heat, as well as allowing air to circulate to keep the skin cool–and warm in winter–their undercoat grows close to the skin to keep your dog warm and dry. This system only works if you groom your dog regularly. If you don’t like grooming, take your dog to a master groomer. If you don’t want to, this isn’t the dog for you.

TRAINING: 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. Always use positive-reinforcement training. It will lead to aggression. Dr. Sophia Yin and Susan Garrett are great website resources.

It’s important to work with 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 to 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. If you are not ready to train a dog, this is not the dog for you.

To train a Pyr is not like training some other breeds. 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.

TRAINING FOR LIVESTOCK: There are a few who just want to be a companion dog. Most are natural guardian dogs of livestock. Yes, it is instinct. However, you must introduce your dog to any livestock slowly. This means leashing your dog to you as you work about the animals and barns so they get used to them. When you are not there, keep them safely away from the animals yet still in sight of them. Fowl can be difficult for dogs because of how they move but it can be done. It will take at least a month for a Pyr to get used to the animals, maybe less. You’ll know when they are ready, and the dog will take it from there.

WHY ARE THEY SURRENDERED: 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. There are also those whom people want to surrender for aggression but we do not take those dogs in. These dogs usually come from farmers, backyard breeders and pet shops (puppy mills) where genetics are unknown by the ‘breeders’. Combine this with lack of socialization and handling by many many different people in the crucial first thirteen weeks of their lives, and by the time they start to mature, aggression can set in.

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:

https://www.great-pyrenees-club-of-southern-ontario.com/Great-Pyrenees.html

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:

https://www.great-pyrenees-club-of-southern-ontario.com/bestdogsforchildren.html

Jan 11, 2018
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Re: where to keep your dog.
by: Craig

I would highly encourage fencing in your 4 acre lot asap; this will give him lots of room and keep him safe.....they wander and are not always "street-smart".
Once you have a secure yard for him, build him an insulated dog house - 3ft by 4ft and 30" high is plenty, with the opening to one side. Face the entrance away from prevailing winds. He will love his home and only need to come in during extreme weather, unless of course, for family time.

Good luck!

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