Pyrennes training

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by vicmower, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. vicmower

    vicmower Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2007
    I have a 3 month old puppy which I hope will gaurd my chickens. Can any of you who have this breed performing this task well, give me tips on the training needed? I am particularly interested in whether I should socailize the puppy with people or pets other than the ones that live here.
  2. rooster0209

    rooster0209 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2008
    North Dakota
    Always socialize the puppy with other people & pets! Dogs can tell the difference between "bad" people and the good people that come to your farm.

    I don't have training techniques but I do know the problems with dogs who are not socialized with people outside of their family. I deal with it every day.
  3. mekasmom

    mekasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 9, 2008
    Pyrs and other LG dogs are neat because they have almost zero prey drive instinct. They (usually) never chase any other animal and never attack their own "flock". When they are very young, I would keep them out of the chicken house and pen for various reasons. Number one would be to prevent coccidia passing to the dog from chicken droppings. And number two would be to prevent rough "play" from the dog toward the hens. Pyrs are not herders, but they are protective of their flock. They don't usually show aggression toward humans, but will be more assertive to strange dogs and other animals.

    Unless you are planning on this being a pet that you walk around other people and take in public a lot, I wouldn't socialize it with other people or animals. This is a guardian. You don't want it to think of every other dog as a friend. You want that protective, distrustful behavior. That is what they are bred to be used for. We have both anatolians and pyrs. I do not want them to think of everyone and every dog as a friend. Pyrs are usually not people aggressive, so you may not have to worry about it a lot.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2009
  4. Patch of Heaven Farm

    Patch of Heaven Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    I also have a 3 month great pyr! I am hoping he will be a good guardian for my chickens! [​IMG]

    Last edited: Feb 20, 2009
  5. rooster0209

    rooster0209 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2008
    North Dakota
    I recently read a great book by Patricia McConnell, PHD about understanding emotion in you and your best friend. Patricia is a licenced animal behaviorist who also has a sheep farm in Minnesota, raises and breeds Great Pyranese. The book is called "For the Love of a Dog". Dr McConnell urges all puppies to be socialized with other people and other animals. She deals with the fall out when people dont
  6. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    Socialization does NOT negate the guardian instinct of an LGD. Nor does it stop the protection instincts of herders.

    It helps the dog be more confident and better able to determine friend from foe. It promotes a calmer more settled animal.

    It makes the dog more confident of the human at the end of the leash. Resulting in more understanding.

    Distrust, fear, territory and aggression unmitigated by socialization generally creates more trouble than manages it.

    They socialize a K-9 almost from the week it's born. It doesn't weaken it's protective nature it helps it define normal and abnormal, common and dangerous behavior.

    It is not in the nature of an LGD or a GSD to become labradors, socialization does not cause it. And socialization is calm, regulated positive exposure... NOT letting everyone cookie and maul the puppy. Positive does not mean having to accept hugs, love and cookies from every idiot that passes by. It means the dog is handled in public, in a way that leaves a positive impression and a good learning experience.

    Not socializing creates the dog that's a nightmare to take to the vet, that does become dangerous to people outside the family but who may even come frequently. Often creates a dog that feels it must LEAD and defend because you are incapable. A dog that is hard to handle when you must, on lead or in the car or at the vet or for an emergency.

    Some dogs do handle a lack of socialization better than others, but when they don't, they aren't easy for you, or any one else to live with. Some LGDs literally never leave the farm and when they do, they're absolute wrecks. That works if nothing bad ever, ever happens, if no emergency causes evacuation or disaster or rehoming.

    I understand making the flock the focus of the dogs life. But a well traveled dog that understands that all strangers aren't dangers, that is used to being handled for grooming, leash, vet. A dog who will trust you off site, on leash. Is a dog that will have a better life.

    Is a dog that could have a life off the farm if something happened. I tend to err on the side of preparing the dog for "what if" as well as what I expect.

    I've seen too many dogs die because they cannot adjust and that specific "niche" home they need doesn't happen to be available.
  7. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Socialization does NOT negate the guardian instinct of an LGD. Nor does it stop the protection instincts of herders.

    It helps the dog be more confident and better able to determine friend from foe. It promotes a calmer more settled animal.

    I disagree, A true LGD will NOT accept unknown animals in its territory, and "socializing" is teaching it to accept both animals and people.

    If you want a PET, dont get a breed meant to be a GUARDIAN​
  8. rooster0209

    rooster0209 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2008
    North Dakota
    Quote:I totally agree! I have a large dog that was never socialized outside of the shelter he grew up in. He distrusts everyone (sometimes including my husband) He is a BC/lab cross. He has nipped a few people on the back of the leg. He guards my farm, my chickens and my family...but the dog and I would be able to enjoy life more if he wasnt scared of everything and anything that is new...out of this fear...he bites. It is a nightmare for a vet visit. Finally the vet lifted him on the table and fear practically incopasitated him. He froze and shook terribly. It took me months to get him to like riding in a car. Its hard to drive when the dog is tearing thru everything to sit in your lap and shake like a leaf. My dog paces the floor if anything is out of his routine, even with people who come by alot. He is very unsure of himself in any new situation.

    For opinion, I would like to know if Buster socializes his dogs & pups with family & around? I know a bit about the heeler breed and they can easily become biters and become very very over protective, if they are not socialized
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2009
  9. Buster

    Buster Back to Work

    Thanks rooster0209.

    There are several things I tell people when they buy a heeler from me and they are relevant to not only heelers, but to working dogs in general.

    1) The dog must know that you are alpha and dominant to it. If you aren't the boss, you won't like the consequences.

    2) This dog needs a job! If you don't find a job for it, it will find something to do and you probably won't like it.

    3) Socialize the dog- If you want a well-adjusted dog, it should be comfortable around people. You don't want to worry that it will tear the leg off of anyone who stops in your driveway.

    I train my dogs to work cows. I had my concerns when I brought my current dog to our new place. She had never been around chickens before. I taught her that the chickens are MINE and she respects them and doesn't hassle them at all. Many people say she is the friendliest heeler they've ever met, but I send her out with my kids if they play in the yard because heaven help the poor fool who messes with my children if she's out there and I'm not.

    She absolutely adores people but doesn't like other dogs. I let her out when I free range because she runs off strays but doesn't mess with the birds.

    If someone pulls in the driveway, she lets me know, she doesn't bark her head off all day- rather, she barks to alert me. She's save me from a cow trying to trample me and my small boys from a pig that was trying to chase them down.

    Again, she has been well socialized, but that hasn't impeded her protective nature. She takes her cues from me and from her instincts. She's not a dog I have to constantly worry is a threat to innocent people (I'm in no way saying that she won't bite anyone, I'm just saying that she's predictable in her behavior).

    I hope this helps and doesn't come across as a rambling post. I have one other example but I need to go find the post so I can past it here.

    Socialization, combined with a job and knowledge that you are the pack leader, will make all the difference in a working dog.
  10. Rosalind

    Rosalind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2007
    Do a search for Mountain Man Jim's posts on training, he has some excellent advice.

    Socializing the dog is important. Unless you live WAY WAY WAY out in the boonies, and no one, but no one, including the mailman or the vet or a neighbor's kid selling Girl Scout Cookies, is ever going to set foot on your property, you MUST socialize a Pyr.

    My neighbor did not socialize her Pyrenees, because she believed that you do not socialize a guard dog. Two hard-bitten and irate joggers later, the town told her she could fence her property or have the dog euthanized.

    In contrast: My Pyrenees has been very carefully socialized, and he knows the difference between Bad Person/Dog and Good Person/Dog. When my neighbors walk their sweet-as-pie poodle mix past the house, he jumps around like a goof and tries to play (with a 20 lb. dog...yeah, it's interesting); yet when the neighbor with the big biting bugger of a Pyr walked her dog past the house, Charlie chased it across the street and held it at bay.

    The thing is, an angry Pyr is 150 lbs. of teeth and claws and extra claws. They are not just big, they are athletic and they can outrun a human. They are determined and don't heed humans 100% of the time, alpha or not. If a Chihuahua is unsocialized and bites people, well, maybe you'll need a few stitches. If a Pyr is unsocialized and bites, they will kill someone.

    Despite extensive socialization, Charlie has chased off the Evil Neighbor Dogs, foxes, coyotes, deer, rabbits, fishers, opossums, red-tailed hawks and raccoons. He's a very good guardian--out of the five or so chicken keepers in our neighborhood, I have lost about 4 chickens out of 26 to predators. In contrast, my neighbors have lost 30+ each--they regularly lose their whole flock. I'm the only one who has an LGD. Coincidence? I think not.

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