Joining a pack

by Tricia
(Waynesboro TN USA)

I currently own a Lab, a burmese mountain dog, jack Russell and ausstralian shepherd all rescues.
I live on 22 acres, with horses and ducks. Thinking of adding a young GP to help my Burmese.
Burmese is a young male.
Thinking of female GP pup.
Yes or bad idea.

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May 04, 2016
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by: Great Pyrenees Club

I take it your Bernese is a guardian of your horses and ducks. Yes, a female Pyr should work out fine with proper introductions.

You don't say what your Lab is but I suspect he/she doesn't interact with the working dogs. It's never recommended to introduce a dog of the same sex, especially a Pyr, to another same sex dog. It can work out in some cases but not a good idea to chance it since as the pup matures, so does their personality.

Make sure you go to a reputable breeder to ensure your pup is being bred for sound temperament and health. Make sure you see the parents and that the pups are in the house. Make sure the pups have been properly socialized and handled by many people in its first 8 weeks of life which is so crucial in its development. And, make sure the breeder interviews you thoroughly so they know their pups are going to a good home.

I'm sure you've done your research on the Pyr but here is an abridged version:

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 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. Or, they ended up going to a backyard breeder or farmer and ended up with a dog who was aggressive because of bad breeding. Or, they forgot they travel a lot or a baby is on the way and they just don't want the dog, anymore.

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

Enjoy!

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