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Great Pyrenees advice needed

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

We lost a few chickens to a teenage mountain lion a while back and decided to get a dog to protect from all the predators. After much research and consideration we chose to adopt a 5 year old male Great Pyrenees. We had fenced in a few acres of yard using 6 ft deer fencing, thinking he'd have plenty of room to roam. Well that dog can break out of just about anything! He went under, over and through our fencing, let us know about every weak spot, and eventually (after months of doing fence repairs each day) we gave up while planning our next step. During that time he became king of our valley, roaming and barking and almost getting hit by a car twice on a sharp blind corner at one end of our land. We fenced in more of our yard so he could sit on our porch, which is where he seems to want to be but he still would break out if we left. So we surrendered to an electric collar that gives him a shock when he goes under the fence. We hoped we'd only have to do it a few times, which seems to be the case.


But we want him to be happy inside the fence. He is a good protector but is pretty uninterested in the chickens. We'd like to get him a companion animal but are torn between getting a puppy (so as to raise it around chickens so they won't eat them) or some sheep. He had a dog friend at his previous home, but how do we know they will get along if we adopt a new one? Would sheep keep him company? I know a few of you here have some Great Pyrenees experience and maybe some advice.....


He also has taken on a bad habit of barking all night...not sure what to do about that.....

post #2 of 8

I have a Pyr mix, but she is a house pet, certainly not a working Pyr. Most everything I have read have said that electric collars and Pyrs do not mix. I think they're too determined to patrol their territory. I have also heard that they are known to be barkers, but I have a farmer-friend who has a few working Pyrs and hers only bark when they are warning an animal or warning her of a threat. Did your Pyr work on a farm before he came to you? I hope you find some answers here!

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

He did work on a farm but guarded chickens, not sheep. Funny thing is he rarely barked at all the first 4 months we had him. There are a lot of animals and birds in our little river valley, but I wish he did not have to bark at every one!


The reviews I read on the collar said it worked pretty well. I seems to be very effective so far. It beeps before it shocks and he runs away from the fence the second he hears the beeping. Which is great cause it breaks my heart to shock him....but finding him dead on the road would break my heart more.....


I wonder why the last owner REALLY got rid of him...I can't believe his breaking out of the fence began here....but maybe he was happier having a dog friend there....

post #4 of 8

I hope you don't have any neighbors near enough to hear his nightime barking. 


We have neighbors up the road from us that have alpacas.  They got a Pyr to help pprotect their flock.  I assume the dog would have helped, had it not been such a wanderer.  I can't count the number of times I had to phone them and say that he was in our yard (we're about a half-mile away).


Also, he barked.  Barked.  Barked.  BARKED.  All.  The.  Time.  He barked when they were home.  He barked when they were away.  He barked at the alpacas.  At birds.  At squirrels.  At air.  At grass.  He barked when he heard their closer neighbors talking in their own beds, at night, in the Summer (their windows were open because it was hot).


Their closer neighbors ended up moving away because the Pyr owners are bad pet owners that refuse to take any responsibility for their dog.  The people that bought their place have the same complaints about that damned dog barking.


Our valley is such that sounds from their place funnels down to other farms.  So, in turn, does their dog's barking.


When approached about the barking problem (even when we, and others, have called them after midnight), their reply is, "Oh, he's doing his big boy bark to scare away predators and protect the alpacas."  They never "get" that the dog annoyed everyone in earshot, despite repeated complaints.


The dog was, interestingly enough, killed by a cougar. 


But, not on their property, protecting their animals.  He was 3/4 a mile away, visting another ranch down the road.


The replaced it with an Anatolian that is just as bad banghead.gif


I have their number on speed-dial and, though annoyed at being either kept awake or being awakened, delight in phoning them in the wee small hours, between midnight and 7:00 am, when their dog has been barking for more than 5 minutes straight.  When they answer, I hang-up.  So do the other neighbors in the valley.


It hasn't stopped their ignoring their dog, but it does make for more satisfying sleep... 

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Wow! That sounds about where we were headed. Fortunately the electric collar has solved our problems with him wandering and we don't really have close neighbors. We are bordered by the river on 3 sides and a small mountain on the other. One neighbor who is only home a few days a month. We are starting to shift him from the front yard to the back yard when he barks and it seems to stop him. Except when the moon is full.

post #6 of 8

A Pyr should be happy with some sheep or goats to guard if there is a barn they could all sleep in at night. Or if you can lock/secure the chickens in a coup at night perhaps the dog just wants inside and that would keep him quiet. Since he roams I would lock him up at night for his own safety. Sorry I don't have any better advice.

post #7 of 8

IMO, the best "guard dog" that money can buy is a donkey. They will make quick work of ridding the land of coyotes, mountain lions, feral hogs, etc. The hee-hawing is something that you have to put up with if you get a vocal one, but it has been my experience that once they are settled into a routine, there is less of it....mine only ever did it if I was late to feed breakfast and they would "whistle haw" for 5 minutes before letting out the full blown hee haw. Terribly hilarious.


As far as the barking goes, well, that's sorta what they have been bred to do. But, if you are letting him roam the property all night and he is just going from one innocent critter sighting to the next and causing a great fuss over each and every one, I would move him to the barn or the porch, someplace where he is secure and wont be overstimulated by every little night critter that scampers through the yard. If his sole responsibilty is to protect the flock of chickens, I would create a place for him in the same place where your flock sleeps....like building a shelter for him next to the coop or in the barn where they roost. That way if a predator comes near them, he is there (his bark should be enough) but at the same time he isn't left roaming the whole lot to disturb everyone else.

post #8 of 8

ready for this? my English Setter is the best flock guard EVER. yes. he's a bird dog and you'd think he'd chase and flush all day long but he hangs out with the flock (13 hens, 2 roos)  and looks out for them. they drink from the same water quite often. It is a sight to be seen!! I would never recommmend a setter as a GD of course, it just worked out that way for us LOL. we adopted him at 3, we are his FOURTH! but forever home~ he is noww almost 11 going on 8 months :lol. what he has in issues and neurosis he totally makes up for in gentleness and loyalty. we have 4 acres, our flock freeranges most days as long as Bogie is out as well. we too have an electric fence for the dog, tough it is radio powered from a pod, not underground. he too responds to the beep but has develoed quite reliable recall over the years.

I second BabyFirefly on a donkey guard, a close freind that lives up the road from our farm swears by hers for guarding her flock, sheep, etc. not to mention they are funny, wonderful pets.:)

To the OP, it sounds like your Pyree would benefit from another dog friend. Does he seem to need more interaction with your family? Some dogs are happy to hang on their own but many will find a way to be a 'nuisance' when bored or unstimulated, barking, digging, chewing etc.

I know so many swear by breeds for guarding and I know that is warranted by experience but I have also found dogs given a job, trained apropriately can surprise us.



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