Everything is a threat

by Talishia
(Charleston SC)

She is so attached to this baby, you wouldn't believe!

She is so attached to this baby, you wouldn't believe!

Let's start with this; I was told she was a Lab/Shepard who was done growing. Nope. What I have is possibly the most stereotypical Great Pyrenees on earth, and she is maybe a year and a half. She is so loving and sweet, but then another dog, even a small pup approaches our 3 month old and suddenly she is snarling and barking and lunging. As soon as she is between the dog and the baby, it is instantly different. She resumes sniffing and playing with the other dog. I live in town, I need to break her of this without her completely giving up protecting the baby. I was not equipped for this kind of dog, but she is here and we love her! We just need to work on that. Please help! I want to take her to obedience classes, but there are other dogs there and I really can not predict how she will act. It seems when I introduce other dogs she immediately goes into beast mode, but once she sees the baby is safe is a sweet little angel again and loves other dogs. All of those dogs however, have stood down.

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Aug 22, 2016
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Guardian dogs
by: Donna

Is she a rescue dog? or did you get her from a backyard breeder?

There isn't much you can do. She is protective of the baby and so she should be. That's what Pyrs do. You can't change what is instinct to them.

Have a positive-reinforcement trainer come to your house to show you how to manage her and work with her. That is, there is only reward for good behaviour and re-direct for unwanted behaviour (redirect being you want to take her attention elsewhere through positive words and treats).

Know that Pyrs only listen if it's worth their while. They were bred to be independent thinkers since in their real lives, they have to wander out with the sheep and watch over them without anyone telling them what to do.

Work with her and her instincts. You can't change who she is.

Aug 24, 2016
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follow upto last comment
by: OP

She was a rescue. at the shelter she did great with the other dogs, even my own when I brought her in. It was as if she didn't believe she had anything to protect so I didn't see this coming. I just don't want this otherwise sweet dog to get out and tear apart another dog. It only seems to be with the baby around that she acts this way... but I am new to this, as my other dog does her best to be friends with every living thing she comes across.

Aug 29, 2016
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tricky situation
by: Anonymous

Your dog is young and so has not yet learned to tone the degree of her reaction to 'threat'. You have encouraged her to 'love' your baby, and so she has taken that task on pretty seriously. For a young female guardian dog, babies are irresistible. If you have another baby, she will guard both babies as if they were hers...she is born to do this. You have allowed her that guardianship...its pretty special after all...so now she is serious and on task. Hard to change this, if it can be done at all.

If she seems a bit obsessive in her guarding, it may be because neither you or your other dog help her at all when a 'situation' seems like it may occur. She has learned its all up to her. A Pyr's reaction time is lightening swift. Her awareness of your surroundings is very precise and acute. She was born with this ability and you cannot change this.

This is a tricky situation. A harsh vocal reaction from you will have no impact on her and it may cause her to accelerate. Re-direction training only works if you can control what happens well BEFORE the situation occurs, and require for you to be on task 24-7, as your dog is. You have not had her long enough for her to trust you with sharing guardianship yet.

Someone else may have a better suggestion than I do. But I would recommend that for the time being you avoid those situations where she may come in contact with other dogs while she's with you and the baby. When you are all together make sure that space is a peaceful, non-confrontational space. As your child (her possession now) grows and begins to have more autonomy of her own life, your dog's obsession may ease, or become an even bigger problem. 'Her' baby will want to be with other people...think about that one for a while.

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