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Great Pyrenees are huge shepherd dogs that can make a great addition to the family. These dogs are known for their gentle and loyal temperaments. However, these dogs are also very smart, stoic, and independent. This trade can sometimes lead to behavioral issues. So, what do you do if you’re Great Pyrenees won’t listen to you?
In this article, we’ll talk about how to discipline a Great Pyrenees.
The best way to discipline your great Pyrenees is to immediately correct bad behavior. You’ll immediately want to tell them no and then ignore them. It’s also a great idea to positively reinforce good behaviors. Great Pyrenees are intelligent dogs and will quickly start to understand the difference between good and bad behaviors.
Before we get into how to discipline your Great Pyrenees, let’s address the issue of dominance.
You Don’t Need To Establish Dominance
Dominance may not have as much to do with training and relationships as we once thought.
Dominance has been debunked as a reliable training method with dogs. Dogs don’t misbehave to try and establish dominance with their human owners. And while dogs may consider you part of their pack, they’re not as concerned about who is or isn’t the alpha.
Since dogs are descended from wolves it was once thought that they operated in a fairly similar fashion. But, even alpha wolves aren’t necessarily to most dominant animals in the pack. Rather, alpha wolves are the ones who have done the most breeding. So, the pack around them is usually made up of their sons, daughters, and other relatives.
First of all, dogs don’t seem to operate this way. Secondly, even if your dog did see you as an alpha it wouldn’t be a sign of dominance as much as a show of your breeding prowess. So as you discipline your Great Pyrenees don’t worry too much about acting like the alpha, it really won’t make much of a difference in your relationship with your dog.
For more information about the alpha theory, read our article here.
Understanding Why Your Great Pyrenees Is Misbehaving
Since bad behaviors aren’t related to dominance issues, what other explanations are there?
It’s important to understand why your dog is missed behaving in the first place. They’re probably not doing what they’re doing for no reason at all. Once you can understand why your Pyrenees does the things that they do, you can start to correct the behavior.
There are two main reasons why your dog is usually misbehaving.
The first thing is simple miscommunication. We can’t communicate with dogs in the same way that we can communicate with other humans. While they can bark growl and use other body language they can’t understand our language. We can’t just tell our dogs that we don’t like when they chew on the table. We have to teach them and show them that it’s not OK.
Luckily Great Pyrenees and most other dogs, in general, are extremely observant. Our dogs watch us for clues as to what’s right and wrong, when they’re going to the vet, and what else might be happening in the day. That’s why a little communication goes a long way.
Boredom Or A Lack Of Stimulation
Great Pyrenees are pretty smart dogs. Not only that but they are a breed of working dogs. In the past, Great Pyrenees served as guardians of life stock and families. They were bred to work and did a great job. When Great Pyrenees don’t feel like they have a purpose they might become bored or anxious.
Boredom is one of those dangerous things that can cause some dogs to initiate destructive behaviors like inappropriate chewing and nonstop barking. Great Pyrenees have an incredibly strong bite force, they are jaws are stronger than both Rottweiler and pitbull jaws. If they decide they want to chew something they’re probably going to do a lot of damage.
Great Pyrenees barks are also super loud and it can be difficult to get your period to stop barking they’ve started.
Basically, you don’t want your Pyrenees ever getting bored!
How To Discipline A Great Pyrenees
It’s not always easy to discipline a Great Pyrenees. These dogs can be aloof, independent, and somewhat stubborn, which makes their motivation to please their owners somewhat low. Luckily, Great Pyrenees are intelligent so if you follow the rules below your dog should catch on to what’s good and bad behavior.
Keep reading there are three tips on how to discipline a Great Pyrenees.
1. Ignore Bad Behavior And Say No
When your dog does something bad what do you do?
Do you freak out and overreact? If so, you might be confusing your dog.
The best reaction to bad behavior is a quick and firm “no” followed by a long period of ignoring them. If you give your dog any sort of attention at all over bad behavior and they might take it as a positive reaction.
So if your great Pyrenees is barking, tell them no family and then ignore them. Once they’ve stopped barking you can go back over to them and give them the attention they might have been seeking.
Some of the ways that Great Pyrenees show love and affection are leaning on you, nuzzling you, and watching you. If you deprive your dog of these things when they act up, it’s a good hint to them that you’re not happy.
2. Reinforce Good Behavior
Another key step and how to discipline a Great Pyrenees is positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is the simple concept of rewarding your dog when they do something that you like.
Positive reinforcement can come in the shape of attention, affection, playtime, and of course treats. Just like most other dogs, Great Pyrenees love treats. Once you figure out what your dog’s favorite reinforcer is, you can use it to your advantage.
Reinforcing good behavior is one of the best ways to communicate with your dog and establish a good disciplinary system.
3. Act Immediately After The Behavior
Our last key step in how to discipline your Great Pyrenees is all about timing.
In training, communication is everything. Dogs don’t have very long attention spans and need to get immediate feedback on behaviors. Discipline timing is usually the big issue with potty training. It can be really difficult to catch your dog in the act.
If you get home and see an accident you should never take your dog to the spot and tell them no. It’s very confusing for them because they can’t connect the event that happened minutes or hours ago with the disciplinary action happening now. The only way to help your dog make the connection is to act immediately after you see them have an accident.
This is true for all training. A quick response is the only way to help your dog connect the dots. You’ll want to discipline them immediately after bad behavior and reward them immediately after good behavior. So when you discipline your Great Pyrenees, always act fast.
How To Discipline A Great Pyrenees Puppy
Disciplining great Pyrenees puppies can be confusing. Although these puppies are large, their brains still aren’t fully developed. That means that most training sessions will need to be short and sweet.
For the most part, very young puppies will benefit the most from socialization and positive reinforcement. They don’t have all the tools needed to start making the connections for more complex disciplines.
Here are some ideas for how to start training your Great Pyrenees puppy.
Once you get your puppy on a good path of socialization and positive reinforcement you can start to discipline them in the same way as your adult dog.
How To Train A Great Pyrenees
Training is one of the most helpful tools for disciplining your dog. Training is basically the establishment of a communication system between you and your free friend. Here are a few ways that you can start training with your Great Pyrenees.
1. Start Them Young
Though we just mentioned that puppies do have shorter attention spans, it’s important to start training as soon as possible. Training doesn’t have to be something complicated like rolling over or playing dead. It can be as simple as teaching your dog its name. You can start doing this from day one and continue the training from there.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks but it’s easier to teach a new dog new tricks.
2. Stay Consistent
Consistency is key and training and discipline. Consistency will help show your animal that you mean business. For every action of theirs, they get the same reaction from you. This will help motivate and encourage them to perform good behaviors and hopefully keep them from performing any bad behaviors.
Once your dog can expect that you’ll be upset when they start barking, it should start to lessen that behavior.
3. Keep Sessions Short
If you’ve just started training you’re a great Pyrenees you’ll want to keep the training sessions short. It can be really confusing to try to teach your dog multiple new tricks in one day.
While Great Pyrenees are smart they’re not exactly geniuses. You can get overwhelmed or forget what you’ve taught them. y keeping training sessions short you keep your dog engaged and motivated. Plus, you don’t want to give your dog too many treats in one day so long training sessions really just aren’t practical.
That being said remember that training is happening 24/7. Even though you may have ended your training session should still be prepared to reward and discipline your Great Pyrenees throughout the day.
4. Socialize Them
We’ve already mentioned how important socialization is. Great Pyrenees and all other dog breeds should be socialized as part of training. Great Pyrenees especially need socialization if they’re living alone, because they usually do best living with other dogs or animals.
During socialization, dogs learn how to interact with other dogs and people. Not only is it important if you want to take your dog to the beach or the park, but it’s essential and preventing aggression.
Unsocialized puppies may turn into unsocialized or even aggressive dogs. The easiest way to deal with aggression is to prevent it. But if you’re trying to figure out how to discipline your already aggressive Pyrenees, keep reading.
How To Deal With Aggression In Great Pyrenees
Great Pyrenees are protective by nature. This has a lot to do with what they were selectively bred for. Thousands of years ago Great Pyrenees were used to guard flocks of livestock and human families. These dogs make great guard dogs because of their size, large bark, and strong bite. Though they’re usually calm but a threat will change their temperament quickly.
Owning a large breed dog comes with a certain responsibility because if they lose control they could really hurt something or someone. So, how do you deal with and discipline aggression in your Great Pyrenees?
1. Identify Triggers
Your first step will be to avoid anything that triggers your Pyr’s protectiveness. This could be a territorial thing or something as simple as a dog running up to your family at the park.
To identify triggers, you can observe your dog for signs of aggression. Are there certain situations where they raise their lip or growl? If so, you can be sure that those things trigger your Pyr’s protective instincts.
2. Avoid And Control Triggers
Once you know what sets your Great Pyrenees off, you can try to either avoid or control those situations. It’s always best to prevent aggression before it happens.
If you know your dog doesn’t like other dogs running up to you, stay out of no-leash areas. Or, if your dog is territorial, try introducing them to guests outside of the house or yard.
3. Reward Your Great Pyrenees For Good Behavior
Finally, you’ll want to start rewarding your dog for ignoring triggers. If your Pyrenees is able to stay focused on you while a trigger is around, that deserves a reward.
Remember training is part of discipline and you can’t really have one without the other. So, if your furry friend held back a bark or a growl when they met a new dog, make sure to let them know they did a good job.
Great Pyrenees can be very independent dogs. They want to do what they want to do and it can be hard to get through to them. Discipling your Great Pyrenees is a long game that requires you to immediately tell your dog no every time they do something wrong. Even though you might want to overreact, the best thing to do after something bad has happened is to ignore your dog.
Positive reinforcement and training will also help you to discipline your Great Pyrenees. If your Pyr has shown some signs of aggression, try to correct those as early on as possible. The little things make the biggest differences in discipline training! Hopefully, this article has given you a solid foundation on how to discipline a Great Pyrenees.