What were they bred to do?
For many hundreds of years they guarded the flocks from attacks by wolves and bears and from so called 'brigands' who might try to steal them. These days all the wolves have gone from the Pyrenees but the bear has been reintroduced so the EU now subsidises the shepherds to both buy and keep the dogs in the mountains.
What is their temperament like?
As with all breeds there is good and bad but the vast majority of Pyrenean's if brought up properly have very good temperaments and are well known particularly for their love of children.
How much do they eat?
During their main growing stage from around two months until they are fully grown at around twelve months they are very big eaters and must be given plenty of the right sort of food whether a mixed diet or a proprietary complete food is used. When fully grown however they eat comparatively little.
Do they cast their coats a lot?
The short answer is YES and more frequent grooming during this period is very important.
Why do they have dew claws?
Most breeds have dew claws at birth and they are removed when puppies are a few days old but with Pyrenean's having double dew claws on the back legs is a sign of breed purity so they are never removed. However they must be kept from growing too long by regular cutting. Breeders will explain about this.
Do they have a lot of health problems?
Pyrenean's are a very healthy breed overall, as with a lot of breeds some develop hip dysplasia but this is not a major problem in the breed.
How long do they live?
The average age is about ten years but some live well into their teens.
How much exercise do they need?
Regular walking will keep any dog (and owner) fit and healthy. The Pyrenean is very adaptable in this respect they
love a good walk but it is not advisable to go too far with them until they have fully matured.
Do they need a kennel to live in?
This depends on your personal circumstances, the majority of Pyrenean's live happily within the home environment others have outside kennels, but if the Pyrenean lives indoors it is always useful to have a room that is “dog free” your friends and relations might not be as keen as you are on having a big hairy dog trying to sit on their knees!
Do they bark a lot?
Most Pyrenean's are quite perceptive and will only bark at unusual sights or sounds but there are some that just like to bark!
Are they easy to train?
They are easy to “house train” but they are not the sort of breed that you let run free and expect to come back instantly whenever you shout or whistle. A lead is your best friend when you take a Pyrenean for a walk! Puppy training classes are put on in most areas, you can usually find details at your vets surgery. In addition there are many books and CDs available on the subject.
House Training – where do I start?
Praise and reward when he goes in the right place. Spend a whole weekend supervising your puppy you will be surprised how quickly he catches on. Remember to use a crate or a confined area that can be easily cleaned out when you are not monitoring him.
Will I know when he wants to go out?
As a rule he will need the toilet quite quickly after PLAYING – EATING AND SLEEPING. Take him to the preferred area – he may sniff the ground and turn in circles. Remember to praise quietly and on some not all occasions reward with a treat. If he is not ready take him back indoors and try again 15 minutes later. Be consistent and reward good behaviour to simplify the task.
Shall I punish him if he has an accident?
Definitely not – clean up quietly and calmly. Toilet training needs – patience / persistence and lots of praise.
What about through the night?
It will generally take a puppy until they are 14 weeks to manage throughout the night. Make sure he has been out shortly before bed – confining him to a crate or confined area – as dogs really don’t like a messy bed area.
Remember if you leave the back door constantly open – to the dog it is hard to guess the area you want him to go. Shut the door and when he shows signs of needing the toilet then open the door.
Newspapers can also delay training – for the dog it is an indoor toilet.
Remember – Supervision – Consistency and Praise works best.
How do I stop my puppy biting me?
Your puppy needs to know biting hurts – Every time he mouths your hands or clothes yelp loudly. Immediately turn
away as if to nurse your wounds, and ignore your pup. After at least 20 seconds interact with your puppy again, repeating the above should he try again. This process may take 3 or 4 weeks. At this point your pup will have learnt that any pressure he puts on you at all is not acceptable, follow the same procedure even if he is very gentle – finally this will teach him that he cannot bite you ever. If your puppies behaviour becomes excitable when using the above training – following a firm ‘No’ take him to his confined area to quieten down. Be consistent, it may take lots of repetitions before your puppy understands that biting is not fun.
Do not play rough and tumble games and don’t use toys that encourage grabbing and pulling.
Stealing – Why does my puppy do this?
For Fun! He is lying in the lounge – he chews his dog toy – No reaction! He wanders over to a television clicker and starts chewing – Yippee – the whole household is now jumping up and down and chasing me around the garden. Remember – that if you decide an old slipper is acceptable to play with, and you leave out your best shoes – they will be eaten next – He can’t tell – which is which. DO NOT give chase – Praise when playing with his ‘dog’ toys.
My puppy guards his food
Removing his food from him whilst eating is a perfect way to teach him to guard it – How would you like your ‘Fish and Chips’ removed part through.Feed your dog in a quiet area – free from other family pets and children bothering him. Guarding problems can generally be easily fixed – ask your vet to recommend a local trainer in your area.
How do I stop my puppy jumping up?
Start with your family and friends – Each and every time your dog jumps up, turn your back and fold your arms. Do not talk, touch or look at your dog. Once all four feet on the floor then you may treat and praise him. This needs to be consistent – If one family member allows him to jump up –your training will fail. Visitors may say they ‘don’t mind’ but please encourage them to do as you ask. A Pyrenean MUST NOT jump up at anyone.
Sometime my dog has this crazy half hour – what should I do?
Many ‘puppies’ experience a ‘mad half hour’ they run around the furniture, Run round and around – it is common following meals and quite often in the evening. Try not to laugh – keep the family quiet – and remove to another room or crate for a couple of minutes.
Puppies/ Dogs need plenty of interaction with people / other dogs and everyday life – the more of this experience they can receive before they are 12 weeks is proven to be hugely beneficial. However, it is never too late to train. Remember, that if you stroke a dog that runs behind your legs – or comfort a dog that hears a car that back fires etc. you are praising negative behaviour. As soon as your dog is acting in a normal confident manner – then praise him. Your puppy needs to be confident.
Follow your vets vaccination advice before you take your puppy out in public areas. Join a puppy party / dog training group – interaction is invaluable.
REWARD the POSITIVE and IGNORE the NEGATIVE – it really is
the most effective way of training and eliminating negative
What are the advantages of joining a breed club?
Members of our club receive a monthly newsletter where you can ask for and receive advice about your dog. The Club has a shop with many Pyrenean items for sale, in addition to the newsletter it publishes the International Magazine which is circulated throughout the world. The Club holds three shows a year and has Members Days etc in many parts of the country.
What if my circumstances change in the future and I have to rehome my dog?
Hopefully this won’t happen but if it does your first action should always be to contact the breeder, as a last resort the Club runs the Pyrenean Rescue service which will help you to find a new home and in extreme circumstances house the dog until this can be achieved. Details of dogs currently in need of new homes can be found on the Club’s Web Page.
PUBLISHED BY THE PYRENEAN MOUNTAIN DOG CLUB OF GREAT BRITAIN
FINANCED BY THE LEGACY TO THE CLUB FROM MRS NANCY RICHARDSON