Why Are Great Pyrenees So Stubborn? (Vet Tech Explains)

Why Are Great Pyrenees So Stubborn

If you’ve ever spent any time around a Great Pyrenees, you know that these mountain dogs can be strong-willed. They tend to do what they want, when they want, and don’t always care what you have to say about it. Some people even go as far as to call these gentle giants stubborn. In some cases, stubborn can seem like a mellow word compared to the mood of your unphased Great Pyrenees.

So, why are Great Pyrenees so stubborn?

Great Pyrenees aren’t always stubborn, but they can be. When a Great Pyrenees is stubborn, it usually stems from their intelligence, independence, or immaturity. Sometimes, the stubborn attitude can come from a lack of good communication between you and your dog when they just don’t understand what you’re asking them.  

Before we jump into the reasons as to why a Gret Pyrenees might act so stubborn, let’s talk about whether or not this breed is truly stubborn, or if they’ve been mislabeled.

Are Great Pyrenees Always So Stubborn?

If we said that Great Pyrenees are always stubborn that just wouldn’t be true.

It’s a common misnomer that one of the traits of this breed is stubbornness. Rather, more appropriate traits of this breed that lead to stubbornness are independence and intelligence. Your Great Pyrenees might become stubborn if they disagree with you on a decision you’ve made or if they want to do something different. In that case, these dogs can definitely be considered stubborn.

However, in many cases, Great Pyrenees aren’t necessarily stubborn. With good communication, Great Pyrenees can turn her independence into a good thing, not a negative trait.

That being said, your individual great Pyrenees might have a stubborn streak. Or, they might have gotten used to living life the way they want to and now that you’re trying to train them they’re acting extra stubborn. So, let’s talk about some of the reasons why your great Pyrenees might act stubborn.

Why Your Great Pyrenees Might Act Stubborn

Usually, if there’s a change in your dog’s behavior, there’s a good reason behind it.  Figuring out what is causing your Great Pyrenees to act stubborn can help to ease the tension between the both of you.

Reason 1: They Don’t Know What You Want

One of the biggest reasons why Great Pyrenees or dogs, in general, might seem so stubborn is that they don’t know what you want.

Dogs can’t communicate in the same way that we can.  They don’t understand the full extent of our languages, even though they seem to have many languages of their own.  When we ask our dogs to do something we’re also asking them to understand what we’re saying. Dogs form an understanding of what we’re asking through training and repetition. There’s no way for us to explain to them what we want other than by teaching them.

So, if you’ve never taught your Great Pyrenees to stop barking when people enter the house how would know that that’s what you expect them to do? You can’t expect your dog to understand what you want unless you’ve taught them. And beyond that, you can’t expect your dog to do what you want unless they’re motivated.

The first step in listening is understanding what you’re asking. A dog that doesn’t know what you want me to come off as stubborn or aloof because they’re just not sure what to do.

Reason 2: They’re Too Smart

On the other hand, your Great Pyrenees may be ignoring you and acting stubbornly because they’re too smart for their own good. Actually, Great Pyrenees are known to be so intelligent that they can be more difficult to train than slower dogs. While intelligence is definitely one of the pros of owning a Great Pyrenees, it can also make things more challenging.

Great, Pyrenees were bred as working dogs. They were originally guardian dogs that needed to make quick decisions in order to protect their flocks. These dogs needed to be able to think for themselves in tricky situations. They also needed to be able to ascertain whether something was a threat or not. Naturally, these dogs are smart and can make decisions on their own.

When smart dogs are understimulated, they may engage in rebellious and destructive behaviors which could include something simple like ignoring your commands. So, stubborn behavior could just be a side effect of a smart dog who has chosen not to listen to you.

Reason 3: They’re Independent

Another thing that explains why Great Pyrenees are so stubborn is their natural independence.

As we mentioned above, Great Pyrenees were bred as livestock guardian dogs. These dogs were accustomed to going about their routines all on their own. They might only see their owners once a day. This lifestyle created a fiercely independent dog that loves to wander without the confines of a leash or fence. Their independence also makes them less inclined to listen to instructions.

Some Great Pyrenees are more independent than others. Their personalities vary by individual and can change based on upbringing. Even if your Great Pyrenees isn’t independent, you might notice that they’re more aloof than other dogs. They seem to do just fine all on their own.

The independent streak in some Great Pyrenees can come off as stubborn since these dogs are perfectly happy to continue doing exactly as they please.

Reason 4: They Mature More Slowly Than Most Dogs

The last thing that can make it seem like Great Pyrenees are so stubborn is that they mature more slowly than other dogs.

Great Pyrenees are a giant dog breed. They grow and mature much more slowly than smaller dog breeds. Great Pyrenees aren’t considered adults until they’re at least 2 years old. So, up to that age, you should expect that they’ll act out.

Young Great Pyrenees will act like teenage dogs and defy their owners for longer than many dog breeds. Their minds haven’t fully matured yet and so they’re still testing limits. Young dogs can have stubborn streaks and it just so happens that the Great Pyrenees streak is longer than most.

How To Start Training Your Great Pyrenees

One of the best ways to avoid a stubborn Great Pyrenees is to start training them young.

The most important training technique to keep in mind is probably positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is a reward system that lets your dog know when they’ve done something right and rewards them for it. It’s easy to start teaching a positive reinforcement program to puppies at any age.

To start, you’ll want to find treats that motivate your dog. Then, when they do something good like respond to their name or come when called, you can reward them with a treat.  Soon, you can start pairing that treat with a sound like “good dog” or a click.

That’s a great foundation to help build communication between you and your dog and avoid any stubbornness in the future.  Your dog will understand that when you ask them to do something, there should be a reward when the behavior is completed.

If you’re interested in practicing this with your dog, the video below might help you get started.

Training Classes

Of course, if you’re having trouble with puppy training it’s never a bad idea to get your puppy enrolled in classes.

Obedience classes can make a world of difference and give you and your furry friend the guidance you might need.  Even though Great Pyrenees are known as gentle giants, they have an incredibly strong bite.  Training classes will help socialize your dog and prevent any aggression in the future.

How To Discipline A Great Pyrenees

Even though disciplining a stubborn Great Pyrenees might seem impossible, it’s simple. This is one area where your dog’s intelligence really helps. Great Pyrenees are pretty easy to discipline.

The most important thing to keep in mind when disciplining a Great Pyrenees is that you act to correct bad behavior immediately after it has occurred. The less time there is between a behavior and a consequence the easier it will be for your dog to understand your intentions. This should help to make them less stubborn in the future.

For more information on how to properly discipline a Great Pyrenees, read our article here.

Final Thoughts

Great Pyrenees can be so stubborn. They’ll refuse to come when called and continue to do what they were doing. This behavior can be attributed to personality, but more often than not it’s a breakdown of communication. A stubborn Pyr might just not know what you want. Or, they might be too young mentally to put two and two together.

whatever the case is, don’t just assume your Pyrenees is stubborn because they’re smart and independent. These gentle giants can be some of the best listeners in the dog world when trained correctly.

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