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New-to-me LGD terrified of people - HELP!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by GirlDreamer, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. GirlDreamer

    GirlDreamer Hatching

    Oct 20, 2013
    We got ourselves a 5-month old Great Pyrenees to guard our Turkeys and other livestock during the night...
    We had a goal to train the dog properly to be our LGD, this is our first time owning a large dog.

    We met the couple at Petco, in the parking lot to get the puppy, they had him in a tent like carrier in the backseat for their 3-4 hour drive - he got sick on the way, not really sure about how the trip actually went for him. It took a good 10 minutes to get the big guy out of his carrier and into our car, we took him home and started a very long process of getting him back out of the car and walking to the barn. He didn't eat the first night, but the next morning ate his food.

    It's been exactly a week of each day having the same behaviors - doesn't come out of the barn to go to the field - then vis-versa, even on leash, eats very little, shakes like I've never seen, and cowers in the corners, running from us at every chance. He seems more afraid of me, maybe that's because I'm a woman? He's not quite as timid when it's just my fiance out there with him.

    We've spent time just sitting in the field with him, we go down there to toss some scratch at all the birds around him, he sees that we're good to them, but is still just as cowardly as he was when we brought him home. He doesn't seem aggressive at all, not to us, not to our animals.

    Is he just missing his friends and family?
    Is this just "all in good time" and he'll be over it?
    Does it really take this much time to win the dog over?
    What's up with his complex towards women?
    What can I do to earn his trust without spoiling his training?

  2. Redyre Rotties

    Redyre Rotties Songster

    Jul 8, 2009
    North Carolina, USA
    It sounds like this puppy has either a genetically flawed temperament, or that he missed critical early socialization lessons, or both.

    A puppy behaving like this at 5+ months will never reach his full potential. In addition, IMO, a large breed dog like this that is so fearful at this age may be dangerous later due to this weak and fearful temperament.

    I'm sorry not to have better news for you, but IME, puppies like this never regain a normal temperament.
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    [​IMG] Even LGD need a certain amount of socialization as puppies. My guess is that he was minimally handled and/or socialized his entire life. Now he has been moved to a new environment and he has nothing/nobody to 'lean' on. The heck with spoiling his training - work on gaining his trust. If he were mine there would be constant interaction, and I would work on winning his trust with food and attention. The task that you are facing will be very uncertain as to outcome. Couple the lack of socialization with potential genetic behavorial problems, and this is an animal that may become potentially dangerous when he matures. Good luck.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
  4. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
  5. chisNchickens

    chisNchickens Songster

    Apr 16, 2011
    You didn't mention if you have told the breeder what is going on...I would be expect my puppy-buyer to contact me ASAP.
  6. farmchick897

    farmchick897 Songster

    Jun 20, 2010
    For a happy ending story.. My folks found a puppy hiding under a bush once (farm area, very rural). It screamed with every touch so they took him to vet thinking he was injured. Vet said he was not and the behavior was typical of a puppy who was not socialized (probably born under someone's porch) and that it was not worth the time involved or he may never be normal and recommended he be euthanized. My folks brought him home, stuck a dog house on their porch where he hid for 3 weeks. Only came out to eat and go bathroom when people were not around. It took months and months to become that dogs friend but he is now 7 years old and the smartest, most loyal dog they have ever owned. So, don't give up.. Give the puppy a chance to trust you.
  7. SunnySkies

    SunnySkies Songster

    May 13, 2012
    I got two GPs myself a few months ago. They were younger than yours when I got them, but...it was apparent the breeder was very hands off with his dogs. The little female was extremely shy...we had to haul her out from under the car in the shed where the dogs were sleeping. The boy came out to see us then went back in. There was no bounding up, tail wagging, none of that. No training had been done at all. The first week or two, they were hesitant, shy and quiet.

    LGD breeds are different than other dogs. They are not always outgoing and happy to see everyone. Many have a watch and wait attitude, and it doesn't mean they are poorly bred or abnormal..it is sometimes just how they are.

    While they are LGDs and live outside 24/7 to guard the birds, I did want them to be socialized with people a bit. As a vet, I have had the unfortunate experience of needing to handle several LGDs that were hardly touched..it was miserable for everyone. So I have allowed a little more handling than is perhaps recommended, but I have my reasons. I spent a lot of time just gaining my girl's trust; it took a few weeks. And now she is a great dog for my family to be around, yet I know the dogs can and will defend against predators...I have seen them do it already. The boy has turned into a big hairy goofball, but I have no doubt about his ability and willingness to work.

    However....I see a problem here. Your dog is 5 months old. The real window of opportunity for socialization closes at 12 weeks. Does this mean your dog will never be trustworthy for you? No. He might come around to a few people, but he could be difficult to dangerous to handle for anyone else. I doubt he will ever be an outgoing, life is a laugh a minute type dog. Whether or not you can live with that depends on your goals.

    I think I would decide my goals. If it is to have a dog out with the stock 24/7 and you never need to handle him, this dog might work out well for that purpose once he bonds to your stock (what stock did he have previously?). But it would be better if he can respect you. So I would work on that and not worry too much about training right now. Spend lots of time out there, just working in the barn and pasture with no pressure on him. Go out and give him treats and speak kindly to him when it is time to work the animals. Play with him at feeding time. Just hang out with him. If you need a family-safe dog (yep...lots of little kids and their friends here), or you have people on and off the property constantly (our situation), or close neighbors (us too), or have a high turnover of farm employees, this dog might end up being a liability, unless you could park him out on the back forty with his sheep and have a veterinarian willing to see him there on the farm.

    The other issue is he was taken away from his animals. And while that sounds silly, it isn't. Mine know their birds. When I got a few new adult hens recently and cut them loose after a 4 week quarantine, the dogs followed the new ones around until I told them to leave it. He might really be missing his livestock. It is very, very difficult to bond a dog to birds (in fact, he should not be out there with the chickens unsupervised, but in an adjoining pen, just to protect the birds and vice versa. Don't leave babies with babies) which could also be complicating matters since they aren't his birds and maybe he wasn't raised around turkeys, for instance, but goats or sheep. Mine love their birds and want to play with them, a behavior that only appeared after they had completely relaxed (and one I put my foot down on pretty hard!).

    He may not have been exposed to women, which might be why he isn't crazy about you.

    I love our Pyrs. I have tons and tons of dog experience but had only worked with LGD breeds at the hospital, but I really like them far, far more than any other dog I have ever had before! They are not easy dogs to deal with, and training...um...yeah. I count it a coup that mine have learned sit, stay, how to walk on a leash and leave it, as Pyrs think for themselves and are not easy to train..

    I sure hope he works out for you.

    If you have not, contact the breeder. They may have some ideas to help ease the adjustment for you. Also, there is a good FB page for LGDs if you are on FB.
    2 people like this.

  8. Trefoil

    Trefoil Songster

    Dec 7, 2011
    I am not familiar with LGD's. That said, it is possible that this puppy was abused. A "red light" for me is that you picked him up at an arranged neutral place. Did you see its parents? Did you see where & how it was raised? How did it act at home? My first step would be to arrange to see where & how it was raised, that will give you a good idea whether its a temporary adjustment problem,enviormental, genetic, or just what is going on and a better idea how to deal with it. Again, I know nothing about lgd's, but dogs I know.
    1 person likes this.
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    this. Maybe the former owners can help you out.

    And what Sourland said.
  10. WooingWyandotte

    WooingWyandotte Crowing

    Apr 25, 2011
    Nor cal

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