8 Most Common Great Pyrenees Behavior Problems (Vet Tech Answers)

Most Common Great Pyrenees Behavior Problems

For as much joy as they bring into our lives, dogs can be very difficult sometimes. Behavior problems vary amongst individual dogs. But in many cases, you can predict what sort of issues your dog might have by taking a look at their breed. Certain breeds are more prone to certain behavioral issues.

In this article, we’ll talk about the most common Great Pyrenees behavior problems.

Some common behavioral problems for a Great Pyrenees are loud excessive barking, stubbornness, and wandering. These dogs can be possessive, aggressive, and sometimes incredibly lazy. Plus, Great Pyrenees are nocturnal and might keep you up at night with their constant chewing.

Let’s talk about these problems individually, and why they’re common for this breed.

8 Most Common Behavioral Problems for Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees are one of the oldest dog breeds in history. Fossils of the Pyr’s ancestors date back to the bronze age. This breed of dog was raised to guard livestock in the mountains.  Since they’ve been around for so long, their personality traits are pretty set in stone.

Many of the behavioral issues you’re fine with Great Pyrenees are linked to their livestock guardian job. Even though it may seem like you won’t be able to avoid these bad behaviors, there’s always something you can do about it. With each of the issues below will talk about a simple solution. Then, after we finish discussing behavior problems will talk about how to discipline a Great Pyrenees.

1. Barking

One of the biggest cons of owning a Great Pyrenees is just how much they bark.

Great Pyrenees bark a lot. There’s really no getting around it with this dog breed. That’s because it’s literally in their blood. Pyrs have a reason to bark and be so loud when they do. Because these dogs were bred as livestock guardians, their barks needed to be loud both to alert shepherds and to scare the predators away.

Just like any other dog, Great Pyrenees can also bark out of fear, anxiety, excitement, or to get attention. Though barking may seem unavoidable for this breed there are some things you can do to at least reduce it.

One of the best ways to prevent barking is to keep your Great Pyrenees indoors at night. We’ll talk more about it later, but Great Pyrenees are more active in the evening than during the day. They’re on alert for threats and will bark if they hear anything outside. Keeping them indoors will help them stay calm and help your neighbors get a good night’s sleep.

2. Stubbornness

Another common behavior problem for Great Pyrenees is stubbornness.

Stubbornness is one of the personality traits that this breed is known for. Now, Great Pyrenees aren’t always stubborn, but they often do what they want regardless of what you are asking them to do. This behavior issue is definitely some white breed related because Great Pyrenees are such independent animals.

In the past, Great Pyrenees would spend days at a time alone with just their flock animals. They made decisions on their own and didn’t need anyone else’s input.  But, there are other reasons why Great Pyrenees can be stubborn as well.

Some of the reasons why Great Pyrenees can be stubborn are that they’re too smart, they don’t understand what you’re asking, and they mature more slowly than other dogs.

While there isn’t a cure for stubbornness, there are definitely a few things that you can do to help. Obedience training is huge in getting your dog to listen to you and not act stubborn. Obedience training sets up a healthy communication system between you and your pet. Training will also show your pet that they get rewarded for listening to you instead of being stubborn.

As we know, training will also help with many other behavior issues your Great Pyrenees might have.

3. Aggression

Aggression is a surprisingly common behavior problem for Great Pyrenees. For some people, it’s hard to believe that these gentle giants can act aggressively. But, since these dogs are technically guardian dogs they have an aggressive streak. This aggression usually isn’t shown around the house. Most times Great Pyrenees will act aggressively in an unfamiliar situation or place.

Aggression is a serious behavior issue for such a large dog. These dogs have an incredibly strong bite.  The force of their bite pressure is actually stronger than that of a Rottweiler or a pitbull.

The best way to deal with aggression is to socialize your dog as soon as possible. Socialization involves introducing your dog to new people and animals in a safe environment. Good socialization ensures that your dog understands that strangers aren’t a threat and that there’s no need for aggression in most social situations.

4. Protective/Possessive

Being protective or possessive might sound the same as being aggressive, but these behaviors are slightly different.

When a Great Pyrenees act protectively, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be aggressive. However, it might be a precursor to aggression and it’s definitely a behavior you should look out for. Being protective is part of this breed,s natural state. It’s something they’re born to do and they can’t always help themselves.

Protective behavior becomes a problem when your dog starts protecting a certain family member over another. They might try to get in between two kids during playtime and act possessively over one.

You can see in the video below just how protective Great Pyrenees can be. This pup is not even afraid of taking down a bear to protect his flock.

Protective and possessive behaviors can’t really be stopped. However, you can control the reaction of your great Pyrenees when they get into protection mode. Through training, you can let them know that barking is OK, but growling and biting are definitely not acceptable behaviors

5. Wandering/Escaping

The list of behavior problems for this breed seems to go on and on. One particular problem that many Pyrenees owners have experienced is constant wandering and escape attempts.

Great Pyrenees are notorious wanderers. There are four main reasons why these gentle giants love to roam. As livestock guardian dogs wandering is one of the behaviors that they were bred for. Part of doing a good job was running the property line and making sure there were no threats. Great Pyrenees also wander when they’re feeling bored, anxious, or independent.

Wondering isn’t necessarily a behavior problem unless your Pyrenees doesn’t come back. Or, if you live in a neighborhood, you might notice that your great Pyrenees tries to escape your property to make the rounds. Obviously, this isn’t something that you want your dog to do.

One of the best solutions to this behavior problem is boundary training. This message will help to teach your dog how far they can go, and when they need to stop wandering. Building an escape-proof fence will also help keep your dogs in your yard. And, of course, providing your furry friend with mental stimulation, will keep them from wandering so far.

6. Giving Up While On A Walk

As far as livestock dogs ago Great Pyrenees are pretty lazy. These aren’t really ones to run around the yard all day. You might find that one of the behavior problems you’ll run into with Great Pyrenees is that they give up while on a walk. They’ll just lay down mid-walk and let you know they’re ready to go home.

Of course, this has to do with more than just your Great Pyrenees relaxed temperament. Great Pyrenees don’t need tons of exercise every day. About 40 minutes minimum is enough exercise to keep your great Pyrenees happy and healthy. On top of that, the 40 minutes doesn’t need to be strenuous exercise and can be a simple walk around the park or playtime at home.

Great Pyrenees might also give up while on a walk because it’s too hot outside for them to be comfortable. Any temperature above 70°F can be potentially dangerous for a mountain dog like a Great Pyrenees. If you’re walking your dog in the heat and they stop, that’s not really a behavior problem. It’s more of a mistake on your part and you should do everything you can to get your dog to a cooler area.

7. Inappropriate Chewing

Inappropriate chewing is a behavior problem that many dog owners deal with and Great Pyrenees are no exception.

Because Great Pyrenees are used to being outside during the day, their minds can start to wonder if kept indoors for long periods of time. If they don’t have something to keep them occupied, they might start to chew on something they shouldn’t. Great Pyrenees can chew on things like door frames, bed posts, and, of course, shoes.

Luckily, inappropriate chewing is a pretty easy problem to solve. Redirection is a great strategy to use in this situation. Simply redirect your Great Pyrenee’s inappropriate chewing to a chew toy that’s made for them. Make sure that you supervise them when they’re using the chew toy for the first few times to make sure they don’t break off any pieces or swallow the toy whole.

8. Nocturnal Sleep Schedule

The last odd behavior problem you might notice with Great Pyrenees is that they have a different sleep schedule.

Because of how active this breed is at night many people consider them to be nocturnal. Great Pyrenees don’t have any special adaptations that many nocturnal animals do like night vision or enhanced hearing. However, they naturally stay up and alert when it’s dark out. It’s a very instinctive behavior.

This nocturnal sleeping schedule can become a problem when your furry friend hears something outside. They’ll get up, growl, and maybe even bark. This can be upsetting and distrustful if you sleep during the evenings.

One way to get your Great Pyrenees on a normal sleeping schedule is to keep them busy and active during the day. You’ll just want to teach him like a little kid that you’re trying to get tired, so they sleep through the evening. You can also make sure to keep your great Pyrenees indoors at night so that they feel more relaxed and can sleep easier than if they were outside.

How Do You Discipline a Great Pyrenees?

For all of the problematic behaviors that Great Pyrenees have, there are solutions to all of them.

Proper discipline is so important in controlling unwanted behaviors. It’s not impossible to discipline a Great Pyrenees. You just need to be focused and consistent.

If your Great Pyrenees is doing something you don’t like you want to ignore the behavior and say no as quickly as possible. Timing is everything in discipline and acting quickly will let your pet know that what they did was wrong.

On top of that, you’ll want to immediately reward your great Pyrenees when they do something good. That just gives them the motivation to do the right thing instead of the wrong thing. Again, timing is important so when they behave well reward them quickly.

Great Pyrenees are pretty intelligent dogs and should start to understand the behaviors that you don’t want them to do. Stay consistent so there’s no possibility for confusion and you should see results from your disciplinary actions soon.

Final Thoughts

Most dog breeds have a long list of common behavior problems. Labrador retrievers will eat just about anything they can get their mouths on while huskies will howl dramatically if left alone. The trick is finding the dog breed with behavior problems that you feel you can manage or accept.

Great Pyrenees have quite a few common behavior problems that are mostly linked to their job as livestock guardians. Great, Pyrenees can be stubborn, aggressive, and overprotective. They are known to wander, bark, and refuse to go on walks. Great Pyrenees commonly chew on inappropriate items and will wake you up in the middle of the night.

Remember that even though these are common behavior problems, for this breed, not all individuals will act the same way. If you’re willing to work on your Great Pyrenees with these issues you’ll likely see results and maybe even see the behavior disappear completely.

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