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Great Pyrenees are super lovable, fluffy, and all-around great family dogs! But, like all breeds of dogs, they do have some quirks! If you want to adopt a Great Pyrenees, you might be wondering whether they are loud dogs. If you already own a Great Pyrenees, you could be curious if your dog’s level of barking is average.
So, do Great Pyrenees bark a lot?
Yes, all Great Pyrenees bark a lot, although this can vary among individuals. Great Pyrenees bark instinctively, and they bark due to fear, excitement, guarding, intimidation, and a few other things. With proper training, you can reduce excessive barking and it won’t be an issue between you and your furry friend.
There are many good reasons why Great Pyrenees bark! But, it can get out of hand! Keep reading to find out why these dogs bark, and what you can do to manage it!
Great Pyrenees Have A Long History Of Barking
To better understand your Pyr’s woofs, let’s take a look back into the past.
This breed is one of the oldest recorded breeds and fossils have been found that date back over 3000 years ago! Naturally, they have a long and interesting past.
Originally, Great Pyrenees were bred to guard flocks of sheep. Mostly, Great Pyrenees lived high up in the mountains, which is where their name comes from! These dogs spent their lives living with and protecting their animals.
Pyrenees stayed outdoors day and night, winter and summer, and were well equipped as guard dogs. One of the most instinctual reasons that Great Pyrenees bark is to keep predators from approaching their sheep.
In addition to extra loud barking, Great Pyrenees have many other special traits from being mountain dogs. Great Pyrenees have a stark white, double-layered coat that kept them warm in the mountains, (and is also one of the reasons why they shed so much). They also acquired their beloved double dew claws to help them navigate the rocky, icy terrain they often walked over.
For a brief moment, Great Pyrenees served as the companions to the royal family in France. When these dogs don’t have a flock to protect, they may start to see their family as something that needs to be protected instead.
Understanding their past should help you to understand why these dogs just have to bark sometimes! In addition to their instincts, there are many reasons that Great Pyrenees will still bark today!
5 Reasons Why Great Pyrenees Bark A Lot
Remember that Great Pyrenees used their voice to warn predators to stay away from their flocks. This might leave you wondering why your pet is barking now when there aren’t even any sheep around! Well, these dogs still have plenty of reasons to bark. Here are 5 common reasons that Great Pyrenees will bark.
Barking because of fear is normal for any dog! This can happen occasionally if your dog is startled by something! It’s kind of the equivalent of us gasping when something catches us off guard.
However, if your dog is fearful of everyday objects, that’s something that should be addressed. Barking at inanimate objects because of fear is not healthy for your Pyr. One way to avoid this is by desensitizing your pup to whatever is scaring them. This is a long but fruitful training process where you reward your dog for staying calm when they’re around something that usually causes them fear.
We will talk more later on about ways to reduce barking in your Pyr, but keep in mind they will probably never stop barking completely!
This might seem obvious if you read our background information, but Great Pyrenees will bark when guarding or protecting something.
Great Pyrenees are guard dogs, and if they see you as something to protect, they might take their job very seriously. This can vary from dog to dog. You can tell that your Great Pyrenees is barking to guard you if they are barking at something or someone and has their back towards you.
There is no doubt that a Great Pyrenees’ bark can be intimidating! It’s usually loud, assertive, and continuous.
Intimidation goes hand in hand with a Great Pyrenees acting as a guard dog. Dogs bark to intimidate other dogs, other humans, and sometimes other objects that they see as a threat. Great Pyrenees will use this tactic as a way to avoid conflict.
In the same way that we might avoid someone on the street who looks intimidating, dogs will also avoid other dogs that look or sound intimidating. As a guardian, it helps to be able to keep predators away with just a woof!
Usually, when a Great Pyrenees barks from excitement, it’s not for too long and is easy to manage.
Dogs will bark when they are excited to go for a walk, while playing, and before getting food. This is pretty normal as barking is one of the primary ways that dogs can communicate with us! They want to tell us that they are happy and excited to do something!
Great Pyrs will bark from excitement but the compulsion isn’t as strong as the three categories above. It’s much harder to tell a Great Pyrenees to stop barking as a protector since it’s in their blood!
The last reason a Great Pyrenees might bark is for attention.
If you find that your dog is mostly barking at you when you’re sitting on the couch or when you’re not engaging with them, they might be asking for attention.
The best thing to do in this situation is to not reward your dog by giving them attention! If you do, you will start a cycle that encourages them to bark when they want you to play with them. Instead, reward them after they have stopped barking and play with them then!
Do Great Pyrenees Bark More As Puppies?
Is your Pyr still a puppy and already barking a lot?
Well, you better keep your eye on them because barking usually only gets worse as dogs age!
Like many other things, barking developed as puppies get older. They become faster, stronger, and unfortunately louder. My puppy for example never barked when he was little. Now, he is 7 years old and has decided to start barking at the doorbell and other seemingly random things he never cared about before!
If your Pry puppy is already very vocal, make sure to take steps to reduce barking ASAP. Or, you could end up housing the neighborhood nuisance!
4 Ways To Reduce Barking In Great Pyrenees
Luckily there are endless ways to reduce barking in Great Pyrenees, and dogs in general. these strategies take some work, but the payoff is priceless!
The next 4 strategies are things you can do, in general, to reduce barking from your Great Pyrenees.
Provide Physical and Mental Stimulation
One of the reasons dogs bark more than they should is because they are bored.
They still might be barking out of fear or excitement, but if they don’t get enough activity in their day, that barking will be greatly increased! Providing your dog with mental and physical stimulation will get them tired and content by the end of the day, and they won’t feel like they need to overreact to something by barking nonstop.
So, how can you provide this sort of stimulation for your dog every day?
Physical stimulation can be given to dogs by taking them for a walk, a run to the dog park or just by playing with them! Anything that gets their bodies moving will help them to stay more relaxed for the rest of the day.
To stimulate and tire your dog out mentally, you can try letting your dog sniff new smells. You can also give your dog puzzle feeders or treat puzzles.
Keeping your dog’s mind and body active will reduce barking throughout the day.
Socialize Your Pyrenees
Socialization for dogs is so important!
This will make the difference between your dog barking at every dog they see and them just giving another dog a sniff and a tail wag.
Socialization starts as early as possible. Before your puppy is fully vaccinated, you can introduce them to other dogs that you know are vaccinated in a controlled environment. This is a great way to get them used to other dogs in the first few months of your life.
As your Pyr grows older, don’t keep them isolated. Let them go to a dog park, or at least let them sniff other dogs while they’re on walks. If you have a friend or a neighbor, even better! The more your dog interacts with other doggies, the less likely they are to bark every time they see one.
Keep Your Dog Indoors Overnight
Another way to reduce barking overnight in dogs is to keep them inside overnight. This video shows some insight as to why Great Pyrenees in particular might be problem barkers at night.
Some dogs naturally bark more often at night. Dogs bark more at night because they are responding to nocturnal animals, they are warning off predators, and they might even be bored. If you want to learn more about why dogs bark at night, click here to read our article discussing the topic!
The best way to reduce this barking, especially for the whole neighborhood is to bring your dog indoors at night. Many Great Pyrenees owners even report that a bedtime routine helps their dogs get ready for sleep time. By keeping your dog indoors, you reduce the noises they hear and their overall responses to predators.
If you have a loud Great Pyrenees one of the worst things you can do is leave them outside all night, even if they might want to stay out there!
Train Your Great Pyrenees
The last way to reduce barking in your Great Pyrenees is to be diligent in training with them.
Training can be done by you at home, or you can get help from a professional! There are endless resources available now for dog training. You can even hire help remotely, online!
Training is not a quick fix. Actually, it’s more of a lifestyle once you start. But, if you put in the work you can greatly reduce your Great Pyrenees barking. And, you will have a dog that listens to you when you need them to do something (or to stop doing something).
Since we can’t cover training in just a few paragraphs, keep reading to learn how to train your Pyr to stop barking so much.
How To Train Get A Great Pyrenees To Stop Barking
So now that we’ve talked about why your dog is barking, and how to reduce barking, you might be asking, “how do you get your Great Pyrenees to stop barking?”
It’s a bit of a trick question here because, for the most part, you’ll never be able to stop your dog from barking completely. In a way, that’s like asking a human to never yell, or exclaim something. It’s not practical.
Don’t worry! Even though you can’t stop barking you can redirect your dog’s barking. By doing this, you can teach your dog when it’s appropriate to bark and also when they should stop.
Here are some steps you can take to start training your dog to bark when you want them to!
Identify Why They’re Barking
The first step in the training process is to figure out why your dog might be barking!
This could be overwhelming a first, so we suggest that you start with the time when your dog barks the most.
Try to take note of what’s happening at that moment. Is your dog scared, are they being protective, are they just over excited? It’s possible that you get your answer within a day.
Once you understand what is setting your Pyr off, you can start to work on that specific situation!
Show Them They Don’t Need To Bark In That Situation
Now that you know why your Pyrenees is barking so much, you need to help them understand that it’s not necessary to be so loud!
In the training world, we refer to this step as desensitization. We mentioned this earlier but essentially this step involves taking something stimulating and making it non-stimulating. The best way to do this is by positively reinforcing your dog for good behavior while they’re around this trigger.
To make it more simple, here’s an example.
Let’s say your dog always barks at a vacuum. I know my dog in particular hates Roombas and any other robot vacuums. To start desensitizing him to robot vacuums, I would just get his used to being around the vacuum while it’s off. I would set the vacuum in the middle of the living room and maybe even put treats around it!
Then, I would start to turn the vacuum on for short time periods. I would give my dog treats while the vacuum was on.
Finally, I would turn the vacuum on as normal and make sure my dog had treats while it was running.
Now, this might sound like a lot of work, and it is! It is a process that takes days to months depending on how reactive your dog is to something. But eventually, you will have a dog that doesn’t react to the thing that was making them bark before. They might look to you for treats or attention, and that’s great! Then, you can move on to the next step of the training process.
Redirect Your Dog
Redirection is the next phase of training your dog to bark when you want them to!
Now, instead of just asking your dog not to react to a certain stimulus, you can redirect their bark to something that is more appropriate.
One of the best times for your dog to bark is when they’re playing. This bark is usually non-aggressive and communicative in a positive way. So, if your dog seems like they want to start barking at their “vacuum” again try playing fetch or tog-of war with them.
This can redirect their energy to something positive and teach them that barking is okay for playing, but not for the “vacuum situation.”
The number one rule with training is that you stay consistent! Consistency is how you teach your dog that you do or don’t like something.
At the most basic level of training, treats mean yes and no treats mean no. Even if that’s all you do you can still teach your dog what you do and don’t want them to be doing! Consistency means always giving them a positive reward for doing something right. This is why we mentioned above that training is more of a lifestyle than anything else.
This guide is by no means extensive and if you do have a problem Pyrenees, you might want to get a professional trainer to help you sort everything out! Rember that his long process was just for one stimulus and your Pyr could be reacting to 100 different things throughout the day!
Why You Shouldn’t Use Bark Collars
At first, it might be tempting to “treat” your dog’s barking with a bark collar.
our biggest issue with bark collars is that they are non-discriminatory. This means that your dog will receive negative feedback for any sort of communication. A lot of the woofs your Great Pyrenees makes are excessive, but some of them are essential. When you use a bark collar, you don’t allow your dog to say anything.
Not allowing your dog to bark at all can eventually lead to depression and anxiety. Dogs need to be allowed to express themselves or they will find some unhealthy way to do it that doesn’t involve barking. They could start digging, jumping, or even biting to express themselves if they are wound up. And since Great Pyrenees have an incredibly strong bite, you don’t want that! At that point, you would have created a whole new problem for yourself.
Great Pyrenees are a breed of dog that barks often, and loudly! If you live in an apartment and you’re worried about upsetting neighbors, this breed might not be the best pick for you!
However, there are plenty of ways to reduce barking and teach your dog not to bark in certain situations. Hopefully, you found something useful in this article and you’re able to identify, mitigate and train away the reason why your Great Pyrenees is barking!