View Full Version : 0 to Catastrophe in Nothing Flat!

03-08-2011, 10:34 PM
Not quite sure how to write this. Boy do I wish I had seen this myself. I'm going to tell this like DH told it to me and let you all tell me what it means.

DH took Maya for a walk, went out the back gate, left it open and then came in through the front door. Not realizing that the gate was still open he let Maya in the back yard with a bone. 15 minutes or so later, she started to bark at some dogs on the bike path, he called her back, she came to the back door and then went back into the back yard. At this point the dogs were at the gate and Maya realized it was open. She ran to it, flipped one of the dogs and held it by the neck. Maya did NOT bite down on the other dog's neck, nor did she shake it. DH pulled Maya off of the other dog and as soon as he went back to his owners away from the gate, Maya calmed right down and without fighting DH went back into the back yard.

I am trying really hard not to over-react, but I'm in tears right now because I'm so afraid of what this may mean for Maya. She didn't hurt this dog, but what about the next time. I can't quite get my head around how this dog who gets along with everyone can do this in the back yard. Other than callin her trainer, which I have done, I don't know what to do, or what to think.

Help me make sense of this please.

03-08-2011, 11:03 PM
Okay help me understand. Maya stopped a strange dog from invading her backyard with a minimum amount of force. Is that what I'm understanding?

On edit: Another question... Was DH within Maya's 'protecting' perimeter?

What kinds of dogs... happy go lucky?, toy dogs? big dogs?

03-08-2011, 11:13 PM
Hmmm, it doesn't actually sound that bad from your description. I know first hand how upsetting it can be when you see (or learn of) your own dog acting aggressive toward another for no good reason. But in this case it seems to me Maya was actually doing her job as her breeding dictated. To Maya, that dog being right at her gate uninvited while it was open would have been seen as an challenge/trespass to her territory. What she did was a preemptive strike to make sure the intruder dog understands she means business to protect her turf. She had total bite control so it was really a warning not full out aggression. That's the good news. The less good news is had that other dog met up to her challenge, there could have been a fight. But overall the amount of self control she showed is positive in my opinion. I don't see this as catastrophic at all. Look at it as an unexpected, but valuable, opportunity to learn more about Maya, particularly as no one was harmed.

03-08-2011, 11:23 PM
Maya is a Pyrenees mix so she is going to do her job even if she is only half pyrenees. Who knows what else she is, maybe she has another livestock guardian breed in her blood or a husky who knows. What we do know though is she is for sure part pyrenees so, it is her job to protect her house, her flock and the things in that area. Strange dogs are not suppose to be in her area without yours or DH's permission in her eyes.

I have Monty and Missy both of which have guarding instincts in their blood. I have had one incident with Missy and Monty flipping out on a raccoon that was in our yard without our permission trying to catch fish and steal fish food. So when we let them out not seeing Bandit (yes I named him.) they wigged out him and ended up putting him on a waterfall rock and then he got scared and fell into the pond thankfully no one was hurt including Bandit. The point is I had never seen my two dogs flip out like that before. They wanted him out of their property and they wanted it done now. Maya pretty much gave a warning bark just like mine did and when they didn't listen made it clear to them that, that is her yard with her flock and he isn't allowed.

Another example for you is Monty my shar pei gets left in the house when we are gone. Well before we got Missy he would bark like crazy needless to say my Dad was tired of his barking so he tried to come into the house while we were gone and yell at Monty to shut up. Monty was not okay with him being in the house without our permission so Monty started to bark, growl and tell my Dad to leave. This is the same man the dog would run to when we are home and leaves hickies all over his neck but, because we weren't home and Dad was angry Monty didn't want him in the house so he backed my Dad who was a big man out of the house. When I got home I got in trouble for it and told that Monty can and will do what he has to, to protect what he feels belongs to him or his family.

Maya probably felt like she was protecting you, DH and her house. She gave them a warning vocally and when they didn't listen she told them by pinning him and letting him know she wasn't going to let anything happen while she was on duty. I am not saying it is the best thing in the world to happen but, as a pyrenees mix she has it in her head that she has to protect what is hers. I honestly don't think she did it due to the bone, though that is probably why the dog was trying to get into the yard in the first place. She did it cause no one allowed that dog permission to enter her yard and so she felt she had to protect it.

That is my two cents on the matter.

03-08-2011, 11:27 PM
I dunno, I heart her right away, and you should treat her for not being aggressive, she did a great job, and now it is your turn by locking the gate, now you see you have a protective yet submissive dog, so now you know to lock in case you get an intruder that maybe a fighter? hug her, love her , and teach hubby to close the fence!! she did a pyr job nicely!

03-09-2011, 12:24 AM
Okay, I can see what you are saying. One hell of a shock (pardon the language) though to find out what my sweet young thing is capable of. I do recognize the amount of self-control she showed (thanks Jewel), particularly with the bite inhibition.

Texaskat, I didn't ask what kind of dog it was, and DH is asleep right now, but somehow I got the impression that it was a larger one. When she dashed for the gate, DH was apparently on the back porch, about 40 or so feet away - probably still within her protection zone.

Tsunibear, I'm glad no-one got hurt too. Raccoons can be mean can't they?

Lilmamamudd, I take your point about the lock. We have a clip on both gates, but that was just so that Maya never learned how to open them. A lock would ensure that no human opens the gate and that might be called for now. In the interests of learning more, I'm curious, you called her protective and submissive. Where do you see the submissive in all of this?

Is there anything that I can do to take the heat off of the gate area for Maya? I recognize that open gate means invasion, but I'd love for her to see the fence as the edge of her territory so that anything on the other side of it is just no issue. Man, this guard dog in the suburbs thing just keeps getting more complicated!

03-09-2011, 02:29 AM
In a roundabout way, I hoped (once you'd been able to take a deep breath) that you came to understand that Maya acted exactly as Pyrs do. They only show as much force as necessary and they tend to be able to judge the 'threat' level pretty accurately. If it was a smallish dog, I expect Maya would have used her paw instead of her mouth. A largish dog -- it wouldn't have been enough to make her point.

Take a really long look at Jewel's avatar (the pics of her Pyrs under her name). That's typical of Pyr pinning behavior. Those of us with 2 Pyrs (or more) see it all the time -- mostly in play. I'm not at all suggesting it was 'play' but it IS common behavior. That Maya showed the restraint she did -- not biting, not shaking -- means that she was in control of her impulses -- and that's to be commended.

Pyr's seem to believe they own everything they can see from their 'home base'. Dogs don't understand (or believe) in property lines. Fences aren't inherently significant to them (except as obstructions) I'm not sure there is anyway to explain "on this side of the fence, it's yours.. on that side of the fence it's everybody else's".

I'm glad everyone is okay -- even if your nerves are temporarily shot. Give Maya a hug and put a lock on the gate.

03-09-2011, 03:27 AM
after reading all this i just clicked in about what Murphy did friday?

had to meet a fella at the cottage but he only has a car so told him i would pick him up at a designated spot in my truck.

i have met the guy before but Murphy had not and when we met at the parking lot everything seemed fine..

BUT then it happend!! :( after i got Murphy out of his normal front seat spot and in the back seat the fella got in and Murphy immediately showed teeth and was right up against the back of the guys neck,i have seen this in Murphy with Emma but never thought of him doing it to a human?

i was thinking the worst right then and luckily the guy didnt panic and kept still as i put my arm up between the pair of them. then just as quickly Murphy showed aggression he went back into his 'happy place' and they were buddies for the rest of the trip :o

MeandMayaDog, i keep forgetting how extremely protective/territorial these dogs are? :rolleyes:

as when its just me and them, its all fun...


nick's spirit
03-09-2011, 10:14 AM
she was submissive in the fact that she did not fight hubby when he called her and brought her back into the back yard. An out of control, agressive dog would not have had the mind set to do this.
Hope you have had a chance to calm down, look into Maya's eyes and realize the confident, loving and protective girl you have.
As un-nerving as the situation might seem at the time, I think she did very welll in letting the other dog know it is her property to protect & she will do it in a confident & firm manner.
Don't let Maya know you are concerned about this episode, she may read your body language as fear and that she needs to be even more protective.

Nancy & Holly

03-09-2011, 11:11 AM
Thanks everybody! I am getting such a consistent message from absolutely everybody! You, her trainers, other dog people. It's pretty clear that I just need to take a deep breath and slow down about it all. And I have a bit.

The other thing that was brought up is that this other dog must have been off leash in order for this to have happened. I'll check with DH, but that makes sense. So while we have to be more diligent with that gate (and there may be some hardware that I can find that will make it self closing) they should have had more control of their dog too.

The fence is chain link. Do you think that Maya would relax more in the back yard if she couldn't see the bike path beyond it?

03-09-2011, 11:47 AM
ok i give up?? what does DH stand for?? :rolleyes:


03-09-2011, 12:05 PM
ok i give up?? what does DH stand for?? :rolleyes:


OMG . . . Terry, thank you so much for asking!!! I have been wondering the same thing, but thought I was the only one who didn't know what DH stood for. Can't wait to see the answer! :)

03-09-2011, 12:06 PM
Not sure.. it could go either way or not have any effect at all. Dogs depend on their senses of smell and hearing as much as eyesight.

It would also depend on the dog. Does she bark at everything on the bike path now?

Scout and Gypsy now have a routine for barking -- at least about anything directed towards the front of the house (we have a 6ft privacy fence in the back). Inside or outside in the back yard, if Scout barks at something towards the front yard or street (he's the 'alerter'), we'll all go to the front door to 'check it out' (Gypsy does the 'checking').

She stands just inside the open front door, sniffing and listening and LOOKING outside for what's going on. If it's nothing significant, she'll turn back inside (and seemingly 'report' to Scout) that it's all clear.

I think the LOOKING part is as significant as the sniffing and listening part.

It's much more difficult to get them to quiet down in the backyard when something is going on in an adjacent yard -- I think partly because they can't SEE that that what's going on isn't threatening.

Lou Lou
03-09-2011, 12:44 PM
OMG . . . Terry, thank you so much for asking!!! I have been wondering the same thing, but thought I was the only one who didn't know what DH stood for. Can't wait to see the answer! :)

Tee hee! It means Darling Husband. :p I wondered the first time I saw it too!

The more I talk to people who have Pyrs the more I realise probably everyone who owns one has had an incident similar to this one even maybe if they didn't fully understand it.

We had an "incident" with Ralph not long ago where he "told off" an aggressive dog who took at shot at me. I was totally shocked over it, much like you were because I didn't think my sweet little guy was capable of being so protective. I had only ever seen him as a goofy playful puppy. But like Maya he took charge, but wasn't aggressive about it. He stuck right by me and escorted me to safety. He was ticked about it though! He chuffed the whole way home! :p Like the others have said she was protecting her home and family but didn't cross the line into injuring the other dog. It was a stern warning to the other dog to back off.

I'm just really glad this forum is here for people to discuss things like this. Being able to see it through the experience of the more knowledgeable owners has helped me immensely. I'm sure that an incident like this or like many other people have had could easily be spun as seeing the dog as aggressive and ending with the dog being given up or worse.

Davey Benson
03-09-2011, 01:37 PM
Oh and here all this time I thought we were talking about David Hasselhoff... :o

03-09-2011, 02:31 PM
Well there ya have it!! no wonder i didnt know what it meant?

i haven't heard that said in 20 some years of marriage :o :D


nick's spirit
03-09-2011, 04:56 PM
I'm sure Mrs. Terry has other "pet" names for you!!!

03-09-2011, 09:42 PM
I'm just really glad this forum is here for people to discuss things like this. Being able to see it through the experience of the more knowledgeable owners has helped me immensely.

You've got that right LouLou. Thank you all for helping me keep (regain) my head.

Does she bark at everything on the bike path now?
No, she is fairly discriminating. She barks at very few people, and some of them are more along the lines of 'Hey I know you, come and pet me!' She does bark at most dogs although there are some that she doesn't even seem to notice.

I'm sure Mrs. Terry has other "pet" names for you!!! And I'll bet that some of those names are even printable! :)

Some more questions:
Underground fencing has been suggested to keep Maya farther from the fence. How well does the collar work with the huge pyr ruff? Is this going to help reduce the protectiveness around the fence or just move it further into the yard?

Does anyone know of anything like an outdoor scat mat that might work as a self correction for paws on the fence? I'd love to eliminate that completely.

03-09-2011, 10:13 PM
This is a really good podcast about dog-on-dog aggression, with a detailed discussion of the reasons. It's a big relief to find out that it's very common, and the dogs rarely do each other any injury. He talks about how to train dogs to greet each other peacefully.


03-09-2011, 10:30 PM
I believe Terry uses the underground fence on Murphy and Emma and it seems to work. As far as the protectiveness goes that is just going to make her protect a tighter quarter. Unfortunately you can't take the guard dog out of the dog, she will always protect what she feels is her flock and property.

I have not seen an outside SCAT mat so that would eliminate that one. As far as making it where no one jumps on the fence the only suggestion I can think of is to make it a hot fence...and that isn't nice to anyone. :(

03-09-2011, 11:01 PM
Fascinating podcast. The discussion of testosterone peaking at 18 months (then decreasing) was something I hadn't known before.

03-10-2011, 01:45 AM
I believe Terry uses the underground fence on Murphy and Emma and it seems to work. As far as the protectiveness goes that is just going to make her protect a tighter quarter. Unfortunately you can't take the guard dog out of the dog, she will always protect what she feels is her flock and property.

best thing i could have bought for our 2 :)

but we have never heard Emma cry and we know Murphy's pain tolerance is alot lower than hers? just the other day i heard him yelping out back and when i ran to see what the matter was he had his back leg up :( ended up either Emma bit him? or it might of been the snowballs i cleaned out of his toes? which has happend before :o

like bear stated about closing Maya's zone, Murphy will only go about 15ft max to the zap line which is great here as they have about a 2 acre play/guard area but that would make a normal backyard very small for a pyr or even make it that they wouldnt want to step out the backdoor?

if Maya cant get over the fence i wouldnt bother spending the money on the underground fencing...


03-10-2011, 05:49 AM
Well there ya have it!! no wonder i didnt know what it meant?

i haven't heard that said in 20 some years of marriage :o :D


I always thought it was "Darn Husband"....Hmm may have to think twice about using it now :cool:

BTW we had an invisible fence for our gang for 8 years on an acre of land. The pyrs always respected the territory it was my shepherd that caused us to put a fence up... He started jumping "over" the invisible boundary to chase a black cat that was driving him nuts. He can jump about 5 feet straight up no problem. As you can see from my pic; Winter does not run let alone jump so she was fine with it.

03-10-2011, 12:28 PM
Dh, DD, DS, they use em for all the mama forums like babyfit etc, I was going to say about the fence, in the winter the snowbank evens out our fence and the only way I could keep my last dog's paws off the fence was to cut thats plastic tubing and make it so it spins, so everytime he put his paws on it, it would spin back at him and he would basicially fall back down, it worked until he got too aggressive.. I used remote collar on him for his barking, since I was home all day it was easier for me to correct him, as a head shake can cause the bugger things to go off, I have never tried invisible fencing, but my friend recently pulled his out as his shephards would get out regardless.How about training her not to go near the fence? I taught emma that, I watch her constantly when she is out due to the tards who moved in a few doors down, and when she would get to close to the fence or my bush I would bang on the wall, or say ugh, so now after a few months of that, she checks the window b4 she goes anywhere :P

03-10-2011, 05:24 PM
This is a really good podcast about dog-on-dog aggression, with a detailed discussion of the reasons.

From Maya's mom's previous postings, Maya sounds like she's very well socialized and is able to get along with dogs at her doggie daycare without any problems. The description in that podcast is more like my male dog Bro, who is reactive because he's insecure.

I think the incident with Maya had a lot to do with the fact that the gate was open. Maya apparently didn't realize it was open at first, when she realized it was open and the dog was THERE, it was clearly something out of the ordinary and totally unexpected, and she reacted instantly and instinctively.

The invisible fence can help keep Maya physically inside her yard, but it will not help with her reactive issues. If your objective is to have her NOT to react to other dogs, that will need to be dealt with by classical conditioning/behavior modification, not by physical restraint.

There were two things from the incident that are very significant. First was her not using her teeth which you already recognized. Second, perhaps even more important, was her coming back to your DH when he called her. I know that if Bro had flipped a dog, he would not be responsive to my calling him off just like that. Bro is reactive like the podcast described, and as described, he's not intent on injuring or killing another dog, but once he is engaged, he becomes too agitated to let up on command. Maya's maintaining responsiveness under that circumstance would appear to be very promising for you to be able to teach her a proper way to behave. Perhaps you want to do some desensitizing exercises with Maya with the gate open.