I will eat you... unless you are in my pack.

by Ashley
(PE, Canada)

Cali after getting her flea medicine and bath. She does this every time we give her flea medicine.

Cali after getting her flea medicine and bath. She does this every time we give her flea medicine.

I found Cali through an online ad, listing her as a "farm dog" who didn't want to farm anymore. She was 1.5 when we got her, as a single mom with 2, I thought she would make the perfect fit. She went to live with a man when she was just a pup, who allegedly abused her (hence her mistrust of men), and returned to the original owner I acquired her from. Cali is nearly 7 now, and has adapted pretty well. Cali doesn't weigh nearly as much as she should, but is in better shape than she was when we first got her. She was a whopping 44 lbs. I tried everything to get weight on her, finally reaching a maximum of 68 lbs. She was originally sold as a "pure bred" great pyr. The barking has nearly driven me insane, but we've stuck through it and will continue to do so. After all - that leaf blowing down the street did look kind of intimidating!

The first year, or two... we definitely had some wandering issues. The kids let her outside a few times, the babysitter lost her, I've lost her. She's quite the great little escape artist! Living in a small town, I was quite worried that she would take herself for walks every now and again - but she never failed to return after a walk around the block the route that I taught her. She sure has a great sense of direction. When Cali was about 4, we got her a fur brother. I felt that she was getting bored, and needed a friend for when I worked and the kids were in school. At first, I didn't know how she would take to this little thing the size of her head pulling at her curled tail, nipping at her paws and denying her sleep - but Cali is pretty passive when it comes to Keenu picking at her!

It wasn't until we bought a bigger house, with a bigger yard that we really noticed how protective Cali was becoming of the family. She has only taken herself and our boxer Keenu around town since we moved here, and she abandoned him in a furniture shop parking lot.. Thanks Cal! She became a "garage dog" basically. When we are gone to work / school, both Cali and Keenu hang out in the garage to prevent Keenu's destructive behavior from upsetting the kids. I'm sure our daughter would be thrilled if he ate ANOTHER one of her monster highs... boxers.. sigh ;) . Cali prefers the garage, with the concrete floor to lay on; however it is necessary now to keep Cali in the garage when we have visitors.

Our once kind, and gentle Cali got a scare from the neighbor the first week we moved in. A pre-teen playing with our daughter, who had never met Cali was chasing our daughter around the yard when our daughter took off in the house. The pre-teen followed, only to be greeted by our big white fluff ball with teeth showing. Cali bit the boy. She has never been the same since. Our loving, and passive dog.. whom my kids lay with all the time, whom my kids can hang off and hug, and kiss has now protects at any means necessary. We're working on re-socializing her, and teaching her to trust people again. She's pretty headstrong, and in her mind she's doing the right thing by trying to protect her home and pack. We trust her with our children, they are her pack - but when other children are playing outside we have to take her in, just in case.

Cali is my life. She is part of my family just as much as my children are. We live in a small town, which is obviously not ideal for the typical great pyr but for our gal it seems to work just fine. She loves to laze around, and live the life of a house dog - though she thoroughly enjoys her walks, car drives, and beach visits. When she's not on walks, drives or at the beach.. Cali really just prefers to live her life alone, sleeping/resting on her blanket in the garage. She likes her solitary life, and avoids the chaos in our home. The kids, boxer, and birds get too annoying for her I guess, she just wants to retreat to her quiet, happy, cool place :)

Comments for I will eat you... unless you are in my pack.

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Jun 06, 2016

by: Great Pyrenees Club

Please, never let her roam on her own. She may be hit by a car or someone may take a dislike to her.

It's unfortunate she is living in the garage. They usually like to be outside in a securely fenced yard (minimum 5-foot fence) and watch over their domain. Ensure she has shelter, shade and fresh water at all times.

Know that Pyrs are not aggressive by nature. With proper socialization and training as pups (which it sounds like she didn't have), they will accept any guest you invite into the house. It's unfortunate but it's not something that can be remedied, now.

They prefer not to have to go into action but warn should anyone try to enter your house when you are NOT home. Their size and bark and growl, or stillness of their body is enough to deter anyone.

Jun 06, 2016
Re : Garage
by: Ashley

She does have a yard to play in - she just prefers the garage to laze around on the cold floor, she gets too hot otherwise! She goes to wander outside, barks to be in, and refuses to stay in the warm house! That's just where she's most comfortable.

We certainly don't let her roam by herself, however they do like to escape and has on a few occasions :)

Jun 17, 2016
living with a Pyr
by: Anonymous

Your life with Cali sounds perfectly normal to me. Its clear you love her, just as she is. We really appreciate how you are sticking with her as your lives together evolve. All of her experiences from her early life to the present are cemented in her beautiful big head. They remember everything. You are staying aware of her parameters, and you're making adjustments to accommodate her as you go. You are to be commended for that.
I think Cali's protection experience frightened her. And now she's a bit unsure of were she stands with that. So she may have chosen to just stay in the garage by herself, so she doesn't have to make those decisions anymore. Not unlike many humans who also avoid certain situations according to previous experiences.
If I could make one little suggestion it would be to do all you can to encourage her to rejoin the family fold. Perhaps start by keeping the door open between the house and her safe spot in the garage. Staying separated overlong from the pulse of her family's life could easily cause her to permanently lose confidence in herself. And that would not be good. So do try to work with her for that. Gently. As you have been with all things so far, living with your Pyr.

Jun 17, 2016
Have you taken her to the vet
by: jeanette

Maybe she has a health condition. Thyroid or something. Just an idea

Jun 20, 2016
by: Ashley

Anonymous - the door is only closed to the garage if A) we aren't home or B) we have visitors that she isn't used to being around that may be fearful of her. I won't let her sleep in the garage, but sometimes during the night she will persistently bark until we open the garage door so she can be let in - but I won't shut the door. She's my protection, and I feel more comfortable with her roaming around the house freely. We had a few people over this weekend, so she had a lovely visit all weekend at my mother's who said, she just spent the whole day outside under the step. No issues, and didn't try to eat anyone coming in at her place! When she's at my mothers (which she is quite often when we go for extended visits), she just wants to be outside, laying under the step. In fact, she woke my mother up at 3:30 am Sunday morning so she could go check out the yard ;).

Jeanette - We had her checked out by our vet multiple times. She gets her shots, she's also pretty prone to ear infections so she visits the vet more often than most dogs I know. I may bring this up to our vet next time she goes in though, perhaps they could look into thyroid issues specifically!

Jun 21, 2016
Ear Infection
by: Donna

Here is some information on ear infections Ashley.


I'm glad things are going well, again.

Jan 24, 2018
Beautiful Dog
by: Anonymous

We adopted a pyr that my daughter found up in the mountains (probably a sheep dog) He is about a year and a half. We have had him 3 months and just had him neutered 3 weeks ago. We also have a 7 year old Golden. They get along great although lately they both get aggressive walking by other dogs. This morning my husband went out to get the paper and the pyr ran out and bit two little dogs who were on a walk with their ouwners. The woman picked up one of her dogs and our dog pulled it out of her arms. No damage luckily but we are scared of what could and can happen. We have socialized this dog a lot---long walks everyday plus the doggie park and he has been great until now. Would a shock collar work????? O

Jan 24, 2018
Shock Collar
by: Donna

Never use a shock collar on a dog. This will only create fear and confusion and potentially a more reactive dog. Use only positive-reinforcement on any dog.

You will need to work with your dog since he's doing this out of fear or simple aggression. Now you have two dogs and one works off the other. You will need to make sure your dog doesn't get out, again. Nor have him off leash at dog parks. In fact, avoid dog parks since people are not paying attention to their dogs and more serious things might happen.

It's great that your socialising him. Contineu this. However, the crucial socialization should have happened in his first 8 weeks of life with whoever bred the parents and then another 5 weeks with whoever had him originally. That said, one never knows the background of these dogs.

I would highly recommend you bring in a positive-reinforcement trainer to help you assess and manage your dog.

You might consider putting your question into the question section of the website:


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