Not every dog is a good match for a family and not every family is a good match for a dog.
With that said, Willie and his family are meant for each other. And, as it should be, he is a member of the family. Here is an update from his family:
I just wanted to send you an update on Willie
He is doing so well here. He has really fit in as a member of our family.
He is such a great dog. He is running and playing with kids outside every day. He jumps around and crouches down and barks at them while they all run around. He is so funny to watch. What a personality.
He waits at the front window for our oldest son, Cooper, to get off the bus. When Willie sees him he gets all excited, and even barks a bit because he knows he is going for a run. Cooper goes for a run everyday after school and now he has a running partner with Willie.
There was no issues with him getting use to Lou Lou. They get along very well.
Every night Willie does his rounds to check on everyone in bed before he goes to bed himself.
We are so very happy to have Willie here with us.
This was Willie's story:
Willie is about 5-6 years old and a Pyr/Akbash cross. He came into rescue three years ago and was subsequently adopted out. Unfortunately, things came to a head with the resident intact male who has taken a dislike to Willie. A situation like this can never be rectified so, sadly, his people have to give him up.
Willie is a gentle, quiet boy who gets along with cats, and other dogs. We do recommend, as we always do, that if he is to be placed with another dog that it be a female. He would be content to be the only dog.
He loves to run around the backyard and play with the other dogs, Vizslas and Cairn Terrier.
As is typical of most Pyrs, if provoked and/or attacked by another dog he will fight back. He must go to a home who has done their homework on livestock guarding dogs and understand they are not a cuddly poodle but that their job is to protect their flock (humans included) first and foremost. That said, they will accept anyone you invite into their home.
He is standoffish until he gets to know you and trust you, as is typical of the breed. He is fine with children, however, children must respect dogs. No sitting on them, ear pulling, hitting them or following them around. See the link below on Children and Dogs.
It is believed that he was abandoned and abused before he came into rescue.
He doesn't like thunderstorms and will pant and stand close to you.
He must have a securely-fenced yard of at least 5-feet, or, as Pyrs do, he will go off on his own investigating mission and is hard to catch. This is typical of the breed.
He loves being brushed and will lay at his people’s feet when they watch TV.
Anyone who adopts a dog, such as Willie, must understand that it takes at least three weeks for any dog to acclimatize to his new surroundings and people before allowing a resident dog to approach him. A new dog must be given time to adjust to the routine. This is standard procedure to a dog going into a new home. They are extremely stressed and need time to trust their new people and other pets.
It is preferred his prospective new owners come to meet Willie on his own turf in his familiar environment.
He likes to go for walks and walks well on leash.
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.
If you want a pup, always talk to a reputable breeder. That is, a breeder whose dogs are registered with a recognized kennel club, who will interview you thoroughly, allow you to see where the dogs live and the pups with their mother. A breeder will only breed their bitches two maybe three times in their lifetime. They will followup with you to ensure you have neutered and spayed.
They require a good weekly grooming with a slicker brush and comb 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.
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.
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.
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 have been used for years 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.
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 amongst other reasons.
A Pyr is not for most people.
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:
Great Pyrenees Club of Southern Ontario
We never want to see these dogs fail so it's important that children learn how to behave with dogs and parents never leave their children alone with a dog. Here is a link on that subject:
Best Dogs for Children