Training Frank... by Hand

by Martha
(Barrie, Ontario)

Since Nana's stroke, Frank is even more protective of her

Since Nana's stroke, Frank is even more protective of her

We spent about 2 years researching before we made the decision to get a female Great Pyrenees. We had a female German Sheppard who made it to 16.5 years old and when she passed away, we decided as a family to start on a journey for another dog.

We had two breeds in mind; The Great Pyr and the Standard Poodle. We spent 18 months going to local dog shows and visiting breeders. We travelled over 600km all tolled. We "interviewed" breeders, spent time with the dogs, spoke to owners, and compiled our research. It was a great experience for all of our 5 kids and also for my husband and me. It was unanimous: we were all partial to the big white Mountain Dog.

So we dug deeper. And we heard it all - excessive barking, digging, over protective, shedding, nocturnal, oh, and did I mention the barking? However, the consensus from all the owners, and breeders, was that if we could honestly accept the "negatives", and work through them; the rewards of having a Pyr enriching our home are worth it.

Our family made many trips to the breeder before Frank’s litter was even conceived. We got to know the parents, uncles, and aunts of our dog as well as the breeder and her family.

Once we got Frank home the bonding and training started. My first mistake was thinking she would be easy to train. My second mistake was assuming that the reason she was hard to train was because she lacked intelligence.

Training my Pyr puppy was very challenging. I had to reinvent the techniques I had used so successfully with our German Sheppard. Initially, Frank was not responding the way I wanted to one-word verbal commands. She seemed to need more. I had to be more creative.

The number one thing I discovered was never to underestimate this breed! They are truly independent thinkers. They know their job and are focused on it. If I was going to have any success training Frank I had to tap into her natural instincts.

One thing I noticed was that Frank the pup, was constantly watching us. She was observing everything. Like a guardian dog, she physically moved along with us and became part of our daily pattern. She picked up our routine right away. After less than two months with us, she seemed to know more about us than we did about her. Those eyes kept following me around until I finally clued in that maybe I could communicate with her better on a visual level.

I am probably considered a laughing stock to any dog obedience academy, but teaching Frank hand signals was the answer for us. We have a Pyr who is trained to obey the following hand signals: Sit, Down, Stay, Shake a Paw, Shake the other paw, Up, Way up(hug), Wait, Stop, Let’s go, Watch the kids (you are in charge), Who’s there? and Come over here. (Not conventional commands I am sure, but they work for us.) Frank will do ANYTHING for a tasty morsel and we have capitalized on it big time! I am curious to know if any other Pyr owners out there use hand signals with their dogs.

Life with Frank isn’t all rosy. She’s fairly well trained, but there are some things we just have to live with. We have had our share of craters in the back yard and dog run... I call them “built-in dog beds” because when Frank is done digging she flops down in the hole and lies there with her tongue hanging out. And, of course we deal with Frank's continuous "alarm system". One bark = “Hey, I heard something.” Two more barks = Are you listening? That noise is still there.” Three = “Look, you had better go check it out because I am still hearing it!” Frank, like all Pyrs, loves to communicate to everyone that she is ON THE JOB.

NEWSFLASH: If you do not want a guard dog, don’t opt for a Pyr.

By the way, there is one hand signal that Frank does not always obey. It’s the one with my index finger up touching my lips as I say “SHHHHHHH!!”

Comments for Training Frank... by Hand

Click here to add your own comments

Apr 17, 2010
thanks!
by: Anonymous

This story has been inspirational in my training my Pyr cross. I have him in obedience (he's huge already at 5 mos)and have started factoring in hand movements as part of the training. He's taking to it great... as long as he gets a treat after. At home, I've started using "shhh" with my finger to my lips and he gets it!! Yay!
Thanks again.

May 07, 2010
Stick with it!
by: Martha

Hello Anonymous!

Stick with the hand signals and I'll bet you will be thrilled with your success!

I wish I had researched "real" dog hand signals before I started with Frank though. I think a few of mine own "original moves" make me look ridiculous! Or so I have been told! LOL

Good luck and if you can, please keep everyone posted on this website.
:)
M

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Tell Us About Your Great Pyr-Revised.








Breaking News

  1. Jake

    Sep 16, 18 08:01 AM

    Best guess: Pyr/Leonberger mix Companion dog Children: Over 16 due to his size - guess of 95 pounds Cats: Probably be fine but proper introductions and

    Read More

  2. Diet

    Aug 30, 18 08:05 AM

    What age do you switch from Puppy food to Dog food with a Great Pyrenees ?

    Read More

  3. Daisy

    Aug 28, 18 08:15 AM

    Angel and Daisy came to us because someone did not do their research. They wanted dogs they could just let loose and expected them to hang around the home.

    Read More

  4. Angel

    Aug 28, 18 08:14 AM

    Angel and Daisy came to us because someone did not do their research. They wanted dogs they could just let loose and expected them to hang around the home.

    Read More

  5. Dew Claws - Single or Double

    Aug 27, 18 10:47 AM

    Is it a bad trait to have 1 or 0 dew claws on the back paws?

    Read More

  6. Milo walks fence line why does he do this ?

    Aug 26, 18 08:18 AM

    Milo walks fence line at the dog park. He is serious and dedicated in his attitude. If he meets any dogs that are submissive in thier personalitys .

    Read More

  7. Lion roar and wolf howl

    Aug 26, 18 08:17 AM

    We live in the country with Gabriel (Pyr) and Patches(mix). They are our much-loved house companions and guardians. Nothing passes their notice unannounced.

    Read More

  8. Pyrs are the best

    Aug 26, 18 08:16 AM

    I have a 9 mnth old pyr..sir lennon n his pal lily a 8 mnth old boxmas.a huge black bear came onto the property n my pyr still a pup barked n growled like

    Read More