Why Do Great Pyrenees Wander And Roam? (Explained By Vet Tech)

Why Do Great Pyrenees Wander

If you’ve ever spent time around a Great Pyrenees, you know that these dogs love to roam. When they’re outside, it seems like they need to check every area in the yard. But, when these dogs are indoors, they tend to be super calm and nap all day long.

So, why do Great Pyrenees wander and roam?

Great Pyrenees are known wanderers and there are good reasons why they do this. Great Pyrenees were bred as livestock guardian dogs whose job was to protect flocks of animals. When Great Pyrenees wander, they’re just doing their job. Plus, these dogs are super independent and usually do exactly what they want to like roaming.  

In this article, we’ll explain just what motivates Great Pyrenees to wander and roam. We will also talk about some ways to prevent this behavior from escalating and to keep your pup in your backyard.

Why Do Great Pyrenees Wander?

It can be hard to explain a dog’s motivations behind its interesting behaviors. We all know that some dogs like to dig, some dogs like to chase squirrels, and others like to wander. But why is this? Why do certain dog breeds do certain things?

Most of the explanations for dog behaviors today have to do with their past, and why they were bred in the first place. In the case of the Great Pyrenees, so many explanations for their behaviors come from the fact that they are guardian dogs.

Reason 1: They’re Livestock Guardian Dogs

Livestock guardian dogs are a special category of dog. Livestock guardian dogs are dog breeds that stay with flocks of small animals for their entire lives. Unlike herding dogs, livestock dogs’ main objective is to protect the animals that they’re watching. So, these dogs aren’t very fast because they don’t need to actually herd the animals there watching.

Traditionally, a typical day in the life of a livestock guardian dog would involve a lot of watching and patrolling. They’re pretty relaxed but always on the lookout for danger. They’ll travel around the boundaries of a property so that they can give everything a good look and listen. Even though many livestock guardian dog breeds aren’t working dogs anymore, their instincts are strong.

Great Pyrenees are hardwired to roam and wander because that’s what their ancestors did for thousands of years to ensure the safety of their flocks and families.

Reason 2: They’re Independent

Another reason why your Great Pyrenees might wander is that they’re independent.  Among other things like stoicism and gentleness, independence is one of the defining traits of a Pyrenees’ personality.

It probably won’t surprise you to find out that the Great Pyrenees’ independence comes from their breeding history. As guardians, Great Pyrenees would need to spend hours at a time outside and alone with their flocks.  They know how to do their own thing and don’t always take kindly to instructions.

The independence of Pyr can cause them to wander and roam a lot. These dogs aren’t afraid to be alone or to test their limits. This can make it very difficult to allow these dogs to be off-leash. It can also explain why your dog feels the need to roam and wander around your entire property.

Reason 3: They’re Bored

If your Great Pyrenees is wandering a little too much, they might just be bored. Great Pyrenees need plenty of mental and physical stimulation every day.

Even though these dogs are low energy, they’re very intelligent. They need plenty of action during their days to stay happy and content. Even though Great Pyrenees are very independent they’re also very social animals.  If they’re alone for long periods of time, they’ll definitely want to wander off.

We’ll talk about ways to keep your pup entertained below. But just remember, even if your dog isn’t bored, they still might wander because that’s just who they are.

Reason 4: They’re Anxious

One sign of an anxious dog is the need to wander and escape.

Separation anxiety is a problem that can affect any dog at any time. While some breeds are predisposed to anxiety, certain situations can set off your furry friend.  Separation anxiety may be something that your dog develops. Separation anxiety describes a phenomenon when your dog becomes destructive and nervous as soon as you’re out of sight.

One of the dangerous behaviors associated with separation anxiety is wandering. This anxiety can cause your dog to go further than they usually would go from home because they can’t calm down.  In serious situations, your dog might try to hop over a fence to escape and go looking for you.

Great Pyrenees aren’t anxious dogs in general, but it’s possible that excessive roaming could be caused by stress and anxiety.

How To Keep Your Great Pyrenees In Your Yard

A lot of the things that explain why Great Pyrenees wander and roam are natural and instinctive. Great Pyrenees are guardian dogs and even if your dog isn’t a working dog, they still have the instinct that one. When your dog starts to wander, they may also try to escape your yard.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this video of a Pyr jumping a chain link fence with almost no issue!

So, how do you keep an Great Pyrenees in your yard?

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to prepare for a roaming dog. That way, you won’t have to go looking if your dog wanders a little too far.

Boundary Training

Boundary training is an interesting technique that can help you keep your Great Pyrenees in your yard. At its root, boundary training is pretty simple. Here is a quick how-to for this type of training.

The first thing you’ll need to do is create a visual barrier around your yard. If you already have a fence, that works great. However, if you don’t have a fence, you can try using something, like flags, a ditch, or a curb. It doesn’t have to be an expensive barrier, but just something that your dog can understand.

Next, you can walk your dog around the barrier on the leash. While you’re walking them, don’t let them cross over to the other side. After a few times around the edge of your property, let your dog cross over. When they do, be ready to discipline them by saying no, or even using a squirt bottle. Even though Great Pyrenees are very independent they can be disciplined and trained.

After you’ve disciplined, your dog, for crossing the boundary, reward them for coming back into your yard. You can reward them with treats, play, and praise. I want to repeat this process until your dog starts to understand that roaming outside of your property result in a negative response while staying on the property results in a positive response.

Just like any kind of training, you’ll have to keep this up to maintain the behavior, especially since Great Pyrenees can be stubborn.

Appropriate Fencing

Fencing is a hot topic in the Great Pyrenees world.

It’s a common issue for Great Pyrenees to try and escape their properties by jumping the fence. As we know, these dogs like to wander, and the fence won’t always be enough to stop them. Appropriate fencing is so important in keeping your dogs safe and uninjured.

For fencing, you have to think about your dog going over and under the fence. And remember Great Pyrenees get really big so your fence is going to have to match their size.

To keep your dog from jumping over a fence, there are endless solutions. One of the things that you can buy to put on the top of your fence are coyote rollers, backward, facing mash, and even just a height extension. Many of these items can be bought in stores or you can try to DIY something yourself.

To keep your Great Pyrenees from digging under a fence to escape, the best solution is usually going to be chicken wire. Basically, you’ll need to dig down into the ground below your fence and place the chicken wire into the hole. Once you cover up the hole, you won’t be able to see the wire. If your Great Pyrenees tries to dig out under the fence, they’ll hit the chicken wire and will stop digging.

Appropriate fencing is so important for dogs who like to roam.

Mental Stimulation

The last thing that you can do to keep your dog from leaving your yard or farm, is to provide them with mental stimulation.

Great Pyrenees are working dogs and need something to occupy them during the day. Even if you have your Great Pyrenees in an apartment, they still need some sort of stimulation throughout the day.

Mental stimulation can be just about anything for your dog. Providing puzzles, activities, and socialization are very mentally stimulating activities. Even letting your dogs smell, new smells is good for their mental health.

And of course, without exercise, your Great Pyrenees is not going to be mentally or physically stimulated. So, make sure you get them outside for enough time every day.  All of that should help reduce the amount of time your dog spends roaming and wandering.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hopefully, we have answered most of your questions about why are Great Pyrenees, wander and roam. Now, we’ll answer some other popular related questions.

Do Great Pyrenees Come Back Home?

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your Great Pyrenees will come home when they leave. As we mentioned above, Great Pyrenees are independent dogs. While this can be a plus in some situations, it also means that they’re very comfortable on their own.

If your dog, for some reason escapes your yard, you’re going to have to start making some calls and looking for them. This is not a breed that’s guaranteed to come back home, or to even come back to you when they’re light off the leash.

How Far Will A Great Pyrenees Roam?

Unfortunately, it seems like a Great Pyrenees will roam endlessly.

These dogs are slow and steady and can walk all day, they can travel miles in just a few hours. Because of their comfortability with being alone, they might wander all day.  Sadly, an Great Pyrenees will wander very far.

Do Great Pyrenees Stay On Property?

If we haven’t already answered this question above, let’s drive it home and say that Great Pyrenees do not always stay on property.

Even though these dogs are guard dogs, they’re not rooted in place. These dogs love to wander and check the perimeters of their areas and even the areas beyond. Ideally, your great Pyrenees would stay on the property to keep an eye on you, your family, and other animals, but these dogs have a mind of their own, and will really go anywhere that they want to go.

Final Thoughts

For the most part, Great Pyrenees wander and roam because that’s what they were bred to do. These livestock guardian dogs are most comfortable spending their days outside, walking their property, slowly and taking periodic naps. However, a great Pyrenees that roams excessively could be bored or anxious.

To make sure you don’t lose your doggie always try and train them to let them know where the boundary to your property ends and begins. Build your fencing up so that they can’t dig out or jump over it. And make sure to keep them mentally and physically stimulated throughout the day. Even though your Pyrenees is hardwired to disappear, you can teach them not to.

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