Many young Pyrenees dogs are trained to guard sheep by association with other mature livestock dogs. It is best to train a Pyrenees with another Pyrenees, as their guarding behavior and bonding instincts are different from most other dog breeds, and an appropriate model for behavior is another Pyrenees that has already become established in a flock. To bond with sheep, several mature sheep that are not easily intimidated are generally used in controlled environments, such as smaller pens with the young Pyrenees, to allow bonding to take place.
Millie has been really amazing.
We tied her when we first got her at age 10 months with the 2 month old goats. She did great and is now off leash.
We will take them out of the fence during the day and stake them to graze our perimeter.
Lately we have noticed some aggressive behaviors with her to them. I am not 100% sure if it is only around her food. I am trying to watch. Should we re-tie her for an amount of time to control her interaction?
Hello Georgia, That depends largely on what type of aggression it is. If it's resource guarding, then that would be addressed the way you would address a dog resource guarding around another dog. In that case, I would recommend hiring a private professional trainer to help you in person. If the aggression is prey related, then that is a lot more serious. Tying her might help but you may need to use a soft silicone basket muzzle on her while doing it, to keep your goat safe. Either way closely monitor her reaction toward the goat. I suspect that she is responding to the goats the way she might would to other dogs. Now that she is older, her desire for dominance, and things like resource guarding, possessiveness, protectiveness, or fear aggression can all surface. Between one-to-two years is when I see the most temperament related behavior issues. Those things are often present in younger dogs but do not become obvious to owners until mental maturity and hormones change, even in fixed female. I would suggest hiring a very experienced trainer to come and evaluate her reactions to get an idea of what is going on, so that you will better know how to address it. If you want to include more details on the aggressive behaviors and exactly what she is doing and when, then I would be glad to help further. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
Our pup has been running with the full flock for 3 months but has recently started chasing and bothering the lambs.
Hello Sandy, Look into high quality remote electric collar training. Check out the YouTube channel I have linked below. The trainer is James Penrith and he does a lot of work with electric collars, also known as e-collars, and livestock chasing. Since you want Bindi to still be able to be with the flock, you want to use what's called a "Working level" stimulation. A working level stimulation is a stimulation that is low enough to simply get your dog's attention and show your dog that you are extremely consistent even while not with her. You do not want to use a high level of correction to teach total avoidance. High levels of correction with chasing behaviors are only used for dogs who need to never go near animals. Use only a high quality e-collar brand for this. A collar with at least thirty to forty levels, and ideally at least sixty to one-hundred. Dogtra, Sportdog, Garmen, and E-collar Technologies are all reputable brands. Do not buy a cheap collar. They can be dangerous and ineffective. A good quality collar will let you set the collar to a very low stimulation level. E-collar technologies and Sportdog would be the two brands I would most recommend for your purpose. See if there is a trainer in your area who is very experienced with using e-collars on "working levels" and hire that person to teach you. You can learn some of what you need online but e-collars are best taught by a professional. Here is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrI7sJTnP64 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Thank you so much for your response. Part of our problem is that she exhibits these behaviors when we’re not there to correct her. Today I actually put an e-collar on her and have watched from a distance. Any suggestions what to do for correction when I’m not there to push the button? She is a great dog and only exhibits this behavior from time to time, but she is hurting lambs with her play.
Was this experience helpful?
We are thinking about getting this dog to live outside and protect our 4 miniature equine from coyotes or bark when a stranger comes unannounced. But this dog has essentially been a family pet that sleeps in the house at night.
Is it likely to take a lot of training to get her to live outside in the horse corral and protect them?
Hello Clenden, Opal might be able to adjust to life outside, but the main issue is whether she was raised with sheep or not. Many flock guarding dogs learn to protect and view the sheep as litter mates because they grow up with the sheep outside - as if they are a member of the sheep flock. Because the Sheep are all the dog knows as family, she believes they are her family and thus wants to protect them. A dog that has not been raised with sheep or at least exposed enough to them to be bonded to sheep will not necessary protect them while in a pen with them. Some will even chase and bother the sheep. As a regular outdoor dog, who will simply be on your property and not expected to stay with the sheep, she might be a good coyote deterrent because Pyrenees do have a natural territorial-ism and protection instincts, but if your property is large, she might be protecting one end of it from intruders while a predator is on the opposite end of your property attempting to kill a sheep. A true livestock guardian dog needs to stay with the animals, and that only happens if the dog is bonded to the animals - sheep. Since she is used to living with people, she may also experience anxiety when she is not given human interaction. She could likely adjust fine to sleeping outside at night, but if you expect her to be away from people the majority of the 24 hrs in a day, especially when she is awake, that might be difficult for her and cause anxiety for her...Essentially she views people as family - the way you want her to view sheep as family, unless she was also around sheep all the time, then she might view people and sheep as family. Ask the current owners what her exposure to sheep is. If she has no experience with sheep, then she might be better off in another pet home. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
We are having problems with predators killing our sheep and are considering getting a Great Pyrenees to be a flock guardian, the sheep are put in a barn at dark and ,therefore safe at night. We would like to bring the dog in at night so we and the neighbors can get a good night sleep and not be subjected to all night barkathons. Would this work?
Hello Paula, Typically it is recommended that a guardian dog sleep with its flock as part of the bonding process, but there might be individuals who have done what you are wanting to do successfully. If you do bring the dog inside at night I suggest crating him and not giving a lot of interaction or play, so that coming inside is primarily sleep time and not time to bond with humans - you want to limit bonding with humans to just training and basic care generally, so that the bond with flock is greater than a bond with people. Also, be aware that there is the chance that he may experience separation anxiety because many livestock guarding dogs get extremely attached to their flocks and worry when not with them. This is less likely to happen if you start out crating him inside instead of the barn, but those first few weeks are also the prime time for him to be bonding with sheep. I would ask other farmers what their experience with livestock guarding dogs and sleep arrangements are and what their opinion are on whether the dog can sleep inside would be. If some of them have done that before and had a successful livestock guarding dog still, then it would be worth learning from them. A good place to ask questions is a farmer, homestead, or livestock type forum online. https://www.homesteadingtoday.com/threads/guardian-animals.68514/ Here is a link to a blog also. It has some useful information about their experience with guarding dogs. I find when it comes to these matters it's great to talk to those who are actually working with and living with the livestock guarding dogs and have tried different things with varying measures of success, and learned what actually works for them. https://www.uptownsheep.com/pyrenees-faq.html Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?
We had an incident today with my husband and GP. We recently got goats and my husband, daughter and dog were in the barn. The dog had knocked something over, my husband went over to pick it up and told the dog to "get out" My dog was backed against the wall when my husband walked over. The dog started barking, growling at him very aggressively. He did run outside as my husband kicked him while running past and.the dog continued to bark/growl.
My husband has never really cared for the dog. Yells at him for barking, throws rocks at him etc.
The dogs behavior is not ok! But he has never acted like this towards me or my kids. I cannot risk him ever doing so. Any advise appreciated.
Hello Christine, What you just described sounds like fear-aggression. It won't change unless your husband stops doing things like kicking, yelling and throwing rocks because you need to be able to address the underlying fear in your dog, on top of teaching better obedience for management. To improve the situation your husband would need to work on building the dog's trust and respect for him by practicing obedience with him, tossing him treats when he behaves calmly around him, and being calmer around your dog. When the dog does something he doesn't like, the dog needs to be proactively taught calmly what to do instead (such as a Quiet command for the barking) instead of yelling. I know that is much easier said than done, but the your husband's frustration is probably related to the dog's lack of training partially - Your husband doesn't have a way to tell the dog "Out", "Quiet", "Down', "Stay" and other commands that make living with a dog easier, so he yells. The dog working for your husband doing obedience while your husband is calm will help establish respect without increasing fear. This would likely need to happen with a long leash, a trainer, and possibly a muzzle because of the amount of distrust there is in their relationship right now. As the dog improves, your husband will need fewer of those things to continue the training. I also suggest teaching an e-collar Out command so that you can separate the dog from the goats or other areas as needed without your husband having to approach. Check out the article linked below on teaching Out. Because of your dog's fear aggression and lack of socialization around people I suggest hiring a trainer to help you teach this. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Great Pyrenees are naturally protective guard dogs, that's why they make good livestock guardian dogs. If your dog not only doesn't have a relationship of trust and respect with you guys, but also views your husband as a 'predator' due to bad encounters he has had with the dog, then the dog is likely going to naturally want to keep your husband away from those he views as his family (the flock and possibly you and the kids). It is never okay for a dog to guard family members from each other, but to change that your dog needs to view your husband as a trustworthy leader and member of the 'flock' and not a predator. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?