How to Train a Great Pyreneese
A Look Back into History
Great Pyrenees are gentle giants that are sure to attract many due to their bear-like appearance and striking white, fluffy coats. It's very easy to fall in love with these fellows; they are beautiful and are blessed with an affectionate demeanor and propensity to provide unconditional love. While they look like fluffy pillows you could cuddle all day, these dogs are serious working dogs with a history as livestock guardians. Don't let the cuteness of a Pyr puppy sway your good judgment! What did their main duties entail? They were selectively bred to protect flocks of sheep from predators and strangers in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. From livestock guardians owned by peasants, Pyr were later utilized by the French nobility to guard their estates. Their bulky presence and instinctive guarding instincts made them excel in this task; indeed, according to the Great Pyrenees rescue of Chicago, "Great Pyrenees are a guard dog by instinct, not by training! "
With a history of being selectively bred to guard flocks of sheep and goats and working on their own with little to no human guidance in the middle of isolated mountain valleys, it's natural for this breed to have an independent streak, which can add a few challenges to training. Yet, this doesn't mean they are difficult or impossible to train. They just need to know what's in for them. Those who believe their dogs must obey in a militaristic manner just "because I said so" or looking for a dog with a natural willingness to please will be disappointed with this breed. Skip this breed as well if your ultimate goal is to put titles on your dog. Yes, it is possible, but generally this breed doesn't excel in the obedience ring. According to the American Kennel Club " Because they were bred to work independently and make decisions on their own, Pyrs may not be the star of the local obedience class". In the next paragraphs, we will look at some tips and ideas for successfully training a Great Pyrenees.
Be patient and consistent...
Great Pyrenees Training Tips
Obedience training is a must with this large, strong breed. Bulky as they are, they must learn not to jump on people. They must also learn basic obedience so they can be better under control on leash and when meeting people. There should be no place for strong, physical corrections for this breed, or any other breed for this matter. A dog should not need to learn out of the fear of punishment. Following are some tips to help you successfully train your Great Pyrenees.
- Look for a trainer who specializes in positive reinforcement training and recognizes each dog as a unique individual.
- Consider that Pry are lethargic dogs, and as such, execute commands very sloooowly. Be patient.
- Use lots of praise and invest in high-value treats.
- The down and come command are the most difficult commands for this dog, but most learn these after some practice.
- The sit-stay and down-stay instead are the easiest commands to train as these dogs are naturally calm.
- This is a breed who should always be on leash due to its tendency for wandering. A Pry that doesn't come when called is not being spiteful or stubborn; rather, from his perspective he has more important stuff to do.
- Motivation, motivation and motivation is what you need to help your Pyr succeed. Don't be shy in giving loads of praise and using high-value treats.
- Keep sessions short and sweet. And always end them on a positive note.
- Don't bore your Pry with tediously long training sessions and repetitive commands. Ask for different commands and add treat variety into the mix so to keep him on his toes.
- Proof your training by changing environments. Ask for sits in the home, and then move to the yard, then on walks, around people, around other dogs etc.
- This breed tends to become bored and destructive digging and barking when left alone in the backyard. Pyr thrive when they live with the owners inside the house.
- Socialization is a must so the Pry can learn how to behave around strangers. Without careful socialization, the Pry may become suspicious of everyone. Aggressive behaviors are not part of the Pry's temperament, according to the Great Pyrenees Club of Southern Ontario. Indeed, according to the breed standard: "Although the Great Pyrenees may appear reserved in the show ring, any sign of excessive shyness, nervousness, or aggression to humans is unacceptable and must be considered an extremely serious fault."
- Take your Pry on daily walks. Keeping him too long indoors or outdoors may lead to destructive behaviors.
- Barking in these dogs is instinctive and natural; they were selectively bred to bark to send predators and intruders away from the livestock.
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A happy recall is possible even with independent breeds
Great Pyrenees Natural Guarding Behavior
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