Question re: Pyrenees

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Three Cedars Silkies, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. Three Cedars Silkies

    Three Cedars Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 17, 2008
    Gainesville, Fl.
    We adopted a Great Pyreness/Yellow lab or Golden Retriever cross from the animal shelter during the summer. She is now about 11-12 months old probably. She's been a sweetheart but still a bit playful so we aren't trusting her with the chickens yet.

    We turn her out in the yard as soon as the chickens go up for the night...around 4:00 pm right now. In the last couple of weeks she has refused to come into the house when we go to bed. If it's very cold, she will scratch on the door around 4:00 a.m. to come in. We have tried to get her to come in but she refuses. She does apparently walk the perimeter of the yard and all around the coops all night long and will bark occasionally at whatever it is that she sees or hears.

    The problem is that the last few nights have been in the mid 20's and when we go out during the night to try to get her in, she is laying on the concrete patio and is obviously a bit cold. While I love that she is learning to protect her home and the birds, I hate her to be out in this frigid weather.

    I bought her a nice bed from Pet's Mart yesterday that is made of ripstop material and filled with a combination of polyfill and cedar. I plopped it down in front of the woodstove and she has been laying on it since. My plan was to keep her in at night until it warms up a bit and then put her bed inside the barn, but leave the door open so she can still roam the property if she wants to. We'll put one of the oil-filled radiant heaters beside her bed in the barn.

    Any other suggestions?? Also, at what age do you think we might be able to begin to trust her around the LF girls? She would never be with the silkies as they are in large coops with fenced turnout paddocks. Because she is a cross, I try to keep in mind the "other side" of her disposition.
  2. BlacksheepCardigans

    BlacksheepCardigans Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 11, 2010
    Southeast NH
    She sounds like she's doing her job. That patrol is the classic LGD behavior.

    Instead of making her stay in, why not put the new bed inside a dogloo or similar and letting her be warm outside? Pyrs don't need supplemental heat and both Labs and Goldens are built to last all day in frigid water. I can't imagine she'd need an oil heater if she has the ability to get inside a house or even to burrow into hay. As she matures, if she continues to follow the Pyr side of her brain she'll patrol all night and then sleep most of the day, not the other way around.

    My dogs are currently sprawled all over the couches - I am a complete inside-dog-house-dog-bed-dog person - but LGDs who are bonded to a flock are much happier if they're allowed to do their job and not made to come in.

    I'd let her hang out with the LF now, as long as you're in the vicinity and can watch her. If she's doing the right thing consistently for a couple of weeks and never chasing them, try one overnight. And so on.

    My current Cardigan puppies are the same age she is, and will FREAK OUT if they see me holding a chicken. They know they're supposed to be inside the barn, not out and about. But if I lean over and let them get to the bird, they just wash its face and feet and love on it and try to nudge it back in the right place. I'm still not letting them be with the birds unsupervised, and probably never will (their idea of a glorious time would be to take them out of the barn and put them back in the barn over and over and over again and the chickens would get exhausted), but I trust the puppies enough to let the dogs in the chicken yard when I'm there. If I ever saw them try to grip (bite) a chicken or if they were moving them faster than a walk it would be a totally different story.
  3. Three Cedars Silkies

    Three Cedars Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 17, 2008
    Gainesville, Fl.
    Thanks for your suggestions. One thing that we deal with here is the the daytime temps can be in the 70's or 80's and then it will drop into the 20's during the night when cold fronts come through. So the chickens and Bailey really don't have the time to acclimate to cold weather. Her coat is fairly thick, but more like a lab instead of a Pyr. When we go out during the night to check on her, she is very slow getting up and one night was slightly shivering, so I KNOW she is very cold.

    So perhaps we'll try putting her bed inside the barn with no supplemental heat, leaving the door open so she can roam freely if she wishes. In the meantime, I'll look for a large Igloo for her.
  4. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
    Great Pyreness can withstand very cold temps. If she has lab as well then she may still be OK. I would insure that she has an igloo or doghouse with straw that is small enough that her own body heat will keep her comfortable. The main thing is to keep them out from the cold winds! Our shepherd and cattle dog stay outside all the time but they they have an insulated dog house with a hound heater inside. Very comfy! Great Pyreness are a great guard dog!
  5. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    My 3 GP's stay outside, hubby tried to make a house dog out of the one, be he wanted to be outside with the critters. Gp's don't "mature" till about 2 years old, up to that point they are still a puppy in mind. Mine are very good with the animals, my female is the only one I have had to really watch. Both males are great, but there was a time they played "Drag the ducks by the tail" and had to be trained that they were suppose to watch the ducks, not drag them around with them.... [​IMG] Short intervals of supervised visits with the LF to help train her that these are part of her family, not feathery toys. Reward highly when she lays and ignores them. Mine love to lay in the hay and spend much of the day snoozing but are up on guard all night. They mostly sleep in or by one of the animals.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010
  6. Three Cedars Silkies

    Three Cedars Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 17, 2008
    Gainesville, Fl.
    We weren't sure if she would have a bent toward being a LGD but took the chance and it looks like she really does love her "job". I had her on a leash in one of the silkie pens when I was doing some work in there. They go right up to her but I felt like she was too interested [​IMG] She still is very playful so I think she may not be quite ready, but I am going to give it a try with the LF next week.
  7. greenfamilyfarms

    greenfamilyfarms Big Pippin'

    Feb 27, 2008
    Elizabethtown, NC
    Our 2 are very nocturnal - sleep most of the day, up all during the night. We have bought ours igloo dog houses, but the only time they use them is when it rains hard or when we have an ice storm. Otherwise, they are out and about. I've never seen them shiver or even act like they are cold.
  8. 2pinkmom

    2pinkmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2010
    My neighbor's GP used to sleep out on the deck all winter. I used to look out and see him covered in snow and happy as a clam. Even if your boy's fur is more lab than GP, he should be fine. Labs are designed to jump into cold water to retrieve shot ducks for their hunter. He probably finds the night air refreshing. His coat is akin to walking around in a parka.
  9. Mak

    Mak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2009
    Londonderry, NH
    My Lab is actually happier in winter than in summer. I think he feels cold when I bring him inside, but he's often perfectly content to sit in the sun outside the door, snow piling up on his fur, and just relax. Summer is another thing. He burrows under the porch (cooler, you know) and hides in the shrubs. He does have a nice insulated house outside and he uses it in the cold when he needs to. Those heavy dogs are made to be able to handle the cold. They don't feel it the same way we do. I know that, but I will still try to get him to come inside when it's really cold, just because I feel cold!
  10. Mountain Man Jim

    Mountain Man Jim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Our Pyr likes to lay on top of her snow mound. She truly is more comfortable in the winter. Though she lives a sheltered life, sleeping at night inside with the chickens.

    I personally would start chicken training ASAP. Typical LGD training is to almost raise the dog with their charge. This training requires constant supervision espically since about a year old the Pyrs seem to go through a teenage phase where they listen even less than normal.


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