Your dog Karona - named after the sun, not the beer - is a Great Pyrenees known for his barking. He barks when people enter, he barks when something goes by the window, he barks at other dogs, he barks at everything! You are trying to redirect his behavior and get him to quiet down, but it seems like no matter what you do, Korona still barks. You begin to wonder if this is just a part of him. Does it have something to do with this breed? Is there a root to this behavior that goes back in history? You also wonder what you can do to prevent Korona from barking up a storm at anything and everything - even his own shadow.
The Root of the Behavior
The Great Pyrenees is an ancient breed. There’s evidence of Karona’s ancestors dating back as far as around 1800 BC! Shepherds used these dogs in the Pyrenees Mountains in France. Their original job was to protect sheep by blending in with their white fur and then barking loudly to scare off predators. Great Pyrenees dogs were essential during the night to protect the sheep from many nocturnal predators. Not only was the breed a great sheepdog, but Great Pyrenees’ were also used by farmers to guard and protect crops. They would intimidate other animals who were tempted to mess with their owners’ hard work. Although Karona doesn’t defend your sheep or crops, she does protect you. And thousands of years of watchdog skills are embedded into her nature, so it is no wonder she is a little on edge.
Although Karona’s barking - for the most part - sounds normal, it still does not help you when company comes over or with the shadows outside. Because of this, there are some steps you can take to prevent some of the barking. Keep in mind that It might be difficult for Karona to gain an outside trainer’s trust since so much of his barking’s purpose is to warn strangers away from the home. Some barking at night might just be Karona’s way. There is an interesting modern-day case about allowing a Great Pyrenees to bark: The owners of the Elderberry Farm Alpacas in New York submitted a request to the state’s Agricultural Protective Unit making sure they would not receive a violation when their dog barked to warn off alpaca predators at night. The department concluded with an appropriate pun that “from a noise perspective, the use of a Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dog to protect the Kolasa/Bennett property, as described above, is sound.” But you probably aren’t going to be buying alpacas anytime soon. Too bad for Karona, but try to provide her with space to run and the exercise she needs.
Encouraging the Behavior
You can also help Karona out by eliminating any visuals through your windows. This can be done by utilizing curtains and shades so that Karona does not freak out when he sees something outside. Obedience training is always an option to keep unwanted behaviors in check, but realize that the Great Pyrenees was bred to be left alone with sheep and bark when he sensed danger. This independent streak, although useful to a shepherd, can make it difficult for modern training. If you do choose to train Karona to lessen his bark, be persistent, consistent, patient, and offer a lot of praise.
When he barks at something unnecessary, you can shush him each time, and when he remains quiet, you can reward him with a treat. If you go this route; hopefully, the increments of quiet time will expand. Some good news for owners is that that Great Pyrenees usually don’t bark as much as puppies until they develop their guard dog skills and the recognition that the world can be a dangerous place. Karona is capable of derailing predators through a whooping bark and remains a watchdog protective of his territory; this does make you feel safer at night. After arming yourself with a few facts from history, it’s becoming clearer why Karona barks so often. And you think you might just buy some earplugs.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Based on your current situation and needs, and how annoyed you are by Karona’s barks, there are some solutions to help you out. One option remains to keep your Great Pyrenees in at night. This will not only contain Karona’s sound but also keep him in a comfortable place without too many shadows or predators (hopefully there are no predators in your house) to bark at. Another option is to utilize his skills. If you own a ranch and sheep, use him for herding, or if you’ve always wanted some chickens for their eggs, get them, because you have a perfect guard dog to keep them safe. You can also make sure to exercise Karona mentally and physically. Not only can you do this with walks, but you also could let him run around in a safe fence-in area. One concern for Great Pyrenees is that owners commonly give up this breed to shelters because sometimes they are unaware of the excessive barking. Karona has a lot to offer and with proper care, stimulation, and a plan to utilize, contain, or lessen her innate barks, she can make a great family dog.
You have accepted that Karona will never entirely stop his barking ways, but you have found techniques that lessen how much it annoys you. You started bringing him inside each night, utilizing your shades on your windows, and even allowing him outside in your fenced-in area to run around and tire himself out. You are making more of an effort to stimulate him with mental and physical exercise and have started to enjoy some doggy puzzles. You love Karona whose name means sun, and would never give him up, and in spite of his excessive barking, he continues to brighten your days.