Ready to commit

by Peter Stager
(Maryland USA)

OK so I have done my research and I am now sure I am ready for my great Pyrenees. I have had other large breeds and I know I will provide a good home. Because of all I read I have decided I want to try to rescue one. So now I would like to as how do I go about finding a great Pyrenees from rescue? I think I want a male what is the biggest difference between sexes. Can anyone recommend a good rescue in the Maryland area.I have a nice size fenced in yard, all the people around all have barking dogs and I will have a doggie door. But he will be and inside dog with outside privlages. Any advice is welcome. I have sons 14 and 16. My wife is excited to have a big fluffy family guardian.

Comments for Ready to commit

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Apr 05, 2016
by: Donna

Congratulations on your decision, Peter. Here is some information but just a quick reference for you to confirm this is the breed for you:

Crate-training is the best thing you can do for your puppy/dog. For an older dog, it would be just if the dog has anxiety or is destructive in the house. Of course, you do not leave puppy/dog in there for hours on end. They have tiny bladders. Puppy/dog would stay in there at night and when you are not home. Again, you can only leave puppy in their for maybe three hours at the most. When you get home, take puppy outside immediately to relieve himself.

The crate keeps pup safe from chewing on things he shouldn't and that could harm him. It is his safe place when he wants to get away from the hustle and bustle. Make sure he has some toys in there and a raw bone on which to chew

Before he ever goes in it, make sure he has had enough play time and exercise to sleep. In fact, you can train them through repetition to 'go to your house' and they happily go in there while you leave the house for a short period or go to bed.

NEVER use it as punishment. Never punish dogs. Always use positive-reinforcement training.

I know you have done your research but I'll send you this, anyways:

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:

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:

Google rescues in your area. National Pyr Rescue would be a good place to start

My experience with male and female Pyrs is that the males seem to be a little 'dopier' for a lack of a better word but don't be fooled. They are still sharp. The females are very sharp, too. They both have great qualities.

Your rescue-to-be sounds like he'll be a very lucky dog.

Apr 05, 2016
Hunting down a pyrenees
by: Ed A from NJ

Peter, sounds like sound advice you have gotten and I know you read this site.if you are ready now I just seen today on face book big foppy rescue has an adorable baby male with a badger color patch over its left eye. This is the same rescue I got big Beau from eight years ago. The lady who runs the Tennessee sector has a couple Pyrenees of her own and is pretty knowledgeable about the breed they do work with national Pyrenees rescue also. It sounds like your ready and if so you are embarking on one of the best experiences of your life.please give this site one more good read they are accurate on the pros and cons of this breed.good luck and I hope you find a beauty.

Apr 05, 2016
Adoption information
by: Peter Stager

Thank you Donna for some very detailed information.

I am also wondering if you could tell me the normal or average adoption fee for this type of dog and does she play into the fee.

If the dog is young will be be neutered and is that safe if he is a male.

Does early neutering effect size. Is there something I should be looking for as a red light when dealing with a rescue?

I am a bit nervous because after reading some of the neutering pages there seems to be some truth to problems with early neuter.

At the same time having him neutered is very important to me since all I have read it makes sense to neuter I want him to have the best life possible and though I have a six foot fence it seems they want to roam and I do not want him bringing home any surprises.

I have never had one of my dog escape but it seems I need to beef up security with these guys. Please give me any guidance on these issues. I want him to be heathy and with me for a long time my last dog a golden did fine neutered at 8 months when my vet felt he was ready. He lived to be 15 but did have mild hip problems and arthritis.

Apr 05, 2016
Non-identification of GP dogs
by: Anonymous

Good luck finding an adoption agency that can accurately identify GP dogs. Agencies do their best, but are often incorrect because they are forced to guess.

When we adopted our GP from a reputable adoption agency, they told us she was a combination of Irish wolfhound and malamute, but her DNA test came back 75% Great Pyrenees and a 25% mix of three other breeds, none of which were the two identified by the rescue agency.

I'm not throwing shadows at rescue agencies; I really appreciate them! However, I am saying that the GP you adopt from them may or may not be a GP.

Apr 06, 2016
by: Donna

Every rescue agency is different as far as fees goes. Note that the fee simply helps a rescue recup some of the costs for medical for any dog they bring in. It certainly doesn't recup all.

Usually, most rescues will neuter as soon as the dog comes in simply because that dog is there because someone didn't neuter/spay and an irresponsible breeding happened. They don't want this cycle to continue.

You might find the occasional rescue (a smaller rescue) who, with pups/young dogs, be co-owners with the adopter of the dog until such time as the dog is ready/mature enough to be neutered/spayed. The rescue will ask you to provide proof of neuter/spay via the vets invoice. They will also call the vet's office to ensure it is done.

Here is great information on potential outcomes for early spayer/neuters:

You cannot usually detect red lights with rescues unless you're able to visit the foster or place in which they are kenneled. There should be an adoption contract you sign so that should anything go wrong or if you have to give the dog up for any reason, the dog goes back to them.

An adoption handbook is sometimes issues to help you integrate your new dog in with his family.

Yes, having secure fencing is important not only to ensure unwanted pups, but also from being shot by a farmer, being hit by a car, stolen, the horrors of dog fighting rings or being poisoned. Not to scare you but it's a reality.

Once your rescue becomes accustomed to his home and yard, unless he is stressed, he'll have no reason to attempt to dig out or climb the fence. 3-weeks is about the time frame the dog will take to show his true colours. 9 months is when the dog has totally bonded to you and you trust and respect each other.

Your Golden did great for 15. I think having mild hip problem and arthritis had nothing to do with neutering at 8 months. He lived to be a good age.

I recommend feeding raw diet. It's the purest form of food. This link will take you to a 3-part series by Dr. Karen Becker.

I also recommend reading up on vaccinations, heartworm/flea/tick medications. Google Dogs Naturally. It has much really good information.

Knowledge is power.

Apr 06, 2016
Rescue hunter tips
by: Ed A from NJ

Here are a few tips I think can help you to get the dog you want. First some rescued are breed specific like the national Pyrenees rescue. They deal with this breed all the time and would probably have better insight to the breed. Big Fluffy rescue in Tennessee has a lot of experience with this breed and the women running it is a Pyrenees owner with good feeling for them. Always look for the double dew claws they are a good indicator as to breed. Also there heads have a different shape the the masstiffs do. More angular and wolf like in shape. Don't forget coloring a little on the head or over the tail. Cream, tan or grey. Since you need to era on the side of being safe go with if it's black take it back. The age thing is tricky, I think the younger the dog the better chance they know more about the history. However full size will be easier to identify. The reason they are "Great Pyrenees" is because they are bigger then the rest of the white guard dogs. Last do not obligate yourself to any dog until you meet it and get a chance to sped time with it. Fall in love first so you will never be disappointed. And now my hot tip. I find all three of my Pyrenees have has extra long front toes. I know it sound weird but over the past 6 years as I have gone to the shows and meet other Pyrenees it seems to hold true. It is almost like the should be wearing sneakers. I can't swear to it nor have I ever seen it mentioned anywhere but it is just from my own observation.but just because I have to know I have has all 3 of my rescues tested and all 3 came back with DNA correct for Pyrenees. Honestly they told me it was possible Buttercup may have had a little collie back a few generations in her. I know the puppy big fluffy has right now is a dead bang Pyrenees. Good luck and please keep us posted. Your saving a life so God bless you.

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