Memphis - We're learning together....

by Marg

Just thought I would share our experience so far, with our 6 month old part bred Great Pyrenees puppy, Memphis. Although he is part bred, after seeing the descriptions and photos on your website, there doesn't seem to be anything else in him. Even your descriptions of temperament, habit, and intelligence fit
to a T.

He came to us at about 4 months of age from our son, who had adopted him for his family. Unfortunately, circumstances made it impossible for Memphis to stay with them, and he came to our Ranch out in the wilds north of Marmora. As over 60's, my husband and I have been retired for a while, have three fat Shih Tzu's a couple of house cats, and share our home with our daughter, her family, their part bred Great Pyrenees, and another Shih Tzu, their fat cat, and several sheep and one old geriatric horse. Well, you can see that Memphis has come to a (formerly) quiet, interesting home, but we didn't realize how 'interesting' he might be!

Scenario... excited family, cute pup, all gangly legs, beautiful eyes, build and colour. Immediately purchase VERY LARGE dog crate for inside house, till he's somewhat trained and familiar with our routine. Nice fluffy white dog bed inside crate, LARGE bag of special dog food (recommended by son), a VERY LARGE LEATHER COLLAR, a new expandable lead, 2 VERY LARGE metal dog dishes for food and water, several bags of VERY LARGE rawhide bones for those emerging puppy teeth... well, you get the picture. The Shih Tzu's wondered if the Shah of something had moved in!

Before long, we learned that Memphis is directly descended from Houdini. I taped all edges of the crate so he could no longer squeeze out through any of those... next, he magically appeared outside of the crate again, he'd somehow undone the latch to the door (there are two) from the inside, and squeezed out the corner thus loosened. Remember, this boy was already past 40 pounds at that stage. Next, I secured the top and bottom of the door to the crate with LARGE METAL CLIPS we normally would use on a horse lead. Again, Memphis appeared magically outside of the cage! OK now a LARGE METAL CLIP was attached to each of the latches.

You can imagine the time involved in doing these all up, and then undoing them again to let him out for a walk, or just to roam around the house... All those precautions, and yes, you guessed it... well, we just gave up, moved the crate out to the front verandah, in case he ever decides he'd like to use it as an outside bed, and leave the door open. I know that he has not entered it to date.

I have my kitchen back, the chair is back where it should be, and we have gone through the painful (for my furniture) process of getting him used to not eating furniture (almost there!!!), or demolishing various lovely ornaments, shoes, boots, or the smallest Shih Tzu, although I must admit, he's mauling and slobbering all over her in loving glee as a little sister. She, on the other hand, all 10 pounds of her, bosses him around with no uncertain manner. No dog bone is safe with her around!

At any rate, I had had enough. He'd destroyed the lovely fine wooden tables we had received from my mother in law, he has delighted in chewing chunks out of the delicate upholstered living room chairs that had also graced her penthouse in Toronto, and he has eaten or disfigured an innumerable quantity of ceramics and wooden decorations; so we decided to advertise him on KiJiJi, but almost immediately realized what a terrible thing that would be.

Here, even at his worst, he is disciplined with kindness, even though my teeth are perhaps clenched a little tighter than normal, I tend to growl at him, rather than shout, and I have a terrific glare perfected over the years of raising our three teenagers to adulthood. What kind of situation might this gentle, loving, giant of a puppy find himself in, if he had to re-establish himself all over again?

No, the ad has been pulled, Memphis is staying, and we'll probably get old, or at least older together. And, believe it or not, not a tooth mark or claw mark have appeared on any further pieces of furniture. Now, if only I can find a way to keep him out of my flower beds, stop him from uprooting the little bulbs as they sprout up, and maintain some semblance of lawn... ah well, perhaps we can pass it all off as a moonscape this year.

Just one look from those wonderful brown eyes, or a nudge from that coal black nose, and all is forgotten and forgiven. Oh yes, I don't think I mentioned, he's very well house trained. Not once has he made a mess on the carpets or anywhere else, although of course, I suppose I should be a little upset about the missing fringe on the sculpted wool area rug that he seems to like.

Thanks, whoever the Great Pyrenees owner is, who had provided the background for our boy, we just can't help loving him, and I think he kind of likes us too.

Just thought you might like to hear about a part bred almost success story.....(In just the two months we have had him, he is now upward of 60 pounds)

Comments for Memphis - We're learning together....

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May 04, 2011
Typical Pyr pup
by: Frank

Love the story. Sounds like you have an escape artist there. Some Pyrs are very good at escaping. Welcome to the wonderful crazy world of Great Pyr puppy hood. Hang in there. The payoff is worth every minute of it.

Sure would love to see a picture or two.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

May 06, 2011
Great Pyr Puppy Memphis
by: Cheryl

What a great name for your Great Pyrenees!
Ah yes, puppyhood...all 2 crazy years of them! He will test you, and test you, and test you. Just be consistent and he'll turn into a wonderful fella almost overnight.

The best command we use for our Pyr is "OFF" issued in a deep voice. He knows that means it's not his and he leaves the item alone and walks away. The only destruction in the house was a chewed windowsill and a ravaged baseboard when he was left inside the house while I worked in the gardens without his "help"!!

I'm glad you're keeping him and working with him. They are so intelligent and figure things out very quickly. Hang in there!

May 14, 2011
going through it in Phoenix
by: Anonymous

Glad you kept him. I almost gave up ours also. He is just about 6 months now. We are putting him in for some dog training. We love him,but he is still a challenge.

They are hard dogs to train,but seem very worth it when they are done. He can't jump on the couch,but finally can climb on it. Good luck with your puppy.

Sep 03, 2011
Marvelous Memphis
by: Martha

What a wonderful read! Memphis sure does sound "textbook Pyr puppy".....but it does get better. Much better. All the hard work and consistent training does pay off...

And since he is still quite young, perhaps hand signals could be introduced as part of his training? Pyrs are very smart dogs (don't let their stubborn nature fool you!) As you found out, Memphis is brilliant enough to Houdini his way out of the crate repeatedly. He would take to hand signals fairly quickly is my guess. Hand signal training worked wonders with our female pyr puppy. She seemed to need the extra challenge of learning another "language" keep her from boredom (trashing the house and property).

Please provide an update soon and to echo Frank's comments, some pictures would be great.


Oct 12, 2011
Update on Memphis
by: Marg Kitchen

Well, here we still are, Memphis and the family. He's really become a wonderful boy, (although I must admit, when company comes, I tend to try and cover exposed furniture stuffing with doilies, towels, blankets, whatever). I view the chew marks on chairs and tables as something like merit badges (for me, not him) since each tooth mark is a reminder of our journey to the level of 'good dog....!!!!!****.

Memphis is our main burglar and wild critter alarm and deterrent. Unfortunately his is still figuring out 'friend or foe' so it's sometimes a little dicey when newcomers drive in. He is not threatening, more defensive than anything, but that's hard to tell as his size has increased, as well as the sound of his bark. Hopefully, he will come to realize that his presence is enough.

The large crate we originally purchased for him is now a very expensive kitten crate in the barn, and his large blanket/pad has suffered from various stuffing openings and rearrangement of outline.

I think one of the funniest sights we've had is when I woke up one morning, to see two of our Shih Tzu's in their little round beds in our bedroom, and Memphis had tried to curl up in the third Shih Tzu bed. At least we were sure the bed must be under him somewhere!

Our squirrel, mole and chipmunk population is now pretty well non-existent, with barn cats learning quickly that his approach may mean serious injury, not out of a desire to maim, but just because he's so big and energetic.

The sheep herd more or less tolerates him in their midst, but he is still learning that he should not take one down and come back up to the house with a mouth full of wool. Really not good form, and if he does not learn soon to be more gentle, we may lose a lamb. Of course, we are working with him on that one.

A neighbour has sold us the few sheep he had left (he's a senior and has to cut back activities), and had complained that the coyotes had killed off some of his lambs the past year. We are further back in the bush, but haven't seen even one coyote or fox or wolf for the time Memphis has been here.

I hope that he can stay with us, the only alternative might be if he goes back to our son, with a change in his living location. Might be tough prying Memphis away, as much by his choice as ours. We shall see. Meantime, I will try to upload a few photos if I can figure out how.
Best to all you Great Pyr enthusiasts.

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