View Full Version : Giving my puppy a job to do

07-06-2012, 01:48 PM

I have a 10 month male Great Pyrenees puppy who is so bright and playful. He has done well with basic obedience and is very well-behaved. I have no complaints.

We live in a city, and he has a small yard. We go on walks every day and to the dog park about three times a week. We go hiking in the mountains just about every weekend (especially if it's snowy!). He doesn't seem to have any pent up energy or be lacking exercise, but I understand that Pyrs need a job to do. My trouble is trying to think of a job for him.

At first, I considered training him as a therapy dog, but he's definitely not into it. He's somewhat introverted; he really doesn't like being petted very much. He'd rather just hang out with people than have them touching him. We socialized him well, and he will tolerate petting, but he doesn't really like it (shows calming signals the whole time - yawning, looking away, blinking slowly, and eventually tries to get away from it.)

Things he likes include playing ball (except for the bringing-it-back part), hide-and-seek, hiking, running at the park, barking, digging, and napping. Any suggestions from that list as to what kind of job I can train him to do?

nick's spirit
07-06-2012, 07:18 PM
Welcome robinandoso!!
sounds like your boy has a full schedule!!
and good that you recognize that being a therapy dog isn't his "thing" right now.
as far as a "job" he will one day surprise you doing his "job" which is guarding his "flock"....you & your family. Whether it be by blocking someone, barking at something or just putting himself quietly between you & a percieved threat.
unless he is going to actually have a 4 legged flock to guard I don't think it is really necessary to give him a job unless you feel he is a very active Pyr. Which by your description doesn't sound like it!
It doesn't really sound like he cares if he has a job.....and your definition & his definition of the word "job" may be totally different!
I would say let him be a puppy & maybe on your walk in the snow you can try putting a pack on him to carry.
I have had 3 Pyr's and the only job they have ever done was to let us know about intruders, threats (real to them), protecting & loving us.

Nancy & Holly

07-07-2012, 09:55 PM
Thank you for your advice!

We played a longer and more challenging game of hide-and-seek tonight (my husband puts him in a sit-stay while I hide; then he tells Oso to "go find mama"). And he really seems to enjoy it when it's more challenging (trickier hiding places). And it totally wore him out, mentally more than anything. I guess problem-solving games like that are kind of like a job, but fun for a puppy.

And, yes, he definitely is a barker. He's everybody's alert system. Today, he let me know that the neighbor's dog had gotten out. Which was great, because we live on a busy street, and we were able to get the little dachshund back home safely. Oso literally leads me to the window and stamps his feet until I look out to see whatever it is he thinks is awry (be it a lost dog or the neighbor coming home at the "wrong" time or someone working on their car....). I guess you're right -- he totally does have a job!

nick's spirit
07-07-2012, 10:34 PM
I find it interesting that you say "he stamps his feet"...because Holly is the first Pyr we have had that does that!!!
Our bedroom is one floor up from wher she likes to sleep, and when she is ready for us to get up she will sit at the bottom of the steps & step from front paw to the other front paw...tapping out her message....get up!!!!
Robin, just read your post to bunnymum & I have a question or 2....
have you had a Pyr before...what is your backround with large dogs???
love to know more about you & Oso

07-07-2012, 11:11 PM
Uh oh! Why? Am I giving horrible advice?

Oso is my first Pyrenees. And my first giant breed.

While raising him, I've been researching constantly (books, articles, internet, training techniques, animal behaviorism, latest research, history of the breed, etc.), socializing constantly (places, dogs, farm animals, people, cities, lakes, mountains, road trips, etc.), and taking him to training classes, socialization classes, and one agility class (but I didn't like the trainer -- she was very Dominance Model, which I think is dangerous). I also give him alone time and let him build up a little tolerance to boredom being in his crate with water and some toys. Sometimes he sleeps, sometimes he chews, sometimes he just sits and waits. But it gives him down time and lets him know that he doesn't always have to be entertained, and that I will always come back for him.

I work with juvenile delinquents. So my discipline philosophy with Oso is similar to how I work with the kids. It's mostly love and modeling calm, accepting, respectful behavior, but the boundaries are clear, firm, and absolutely consistent. I am absolutely in charge of what happens next, so I don't have to nag or rant or threaten. I also have fun and play with both my kiddos and my dog, because that's how relationships are strengthened - truly having fun together, not treating it like a chore.

I've found that Oso responds well to me being calm and chill, which I am, almost all of the time. When I have yelled "NO!" on very rare occasions, he knows it's serious! I have tried to build our relationship on trust - I never ask him to do anything dangerous or totally against his instincts, I never hit or hurt him, I don't lecture or scream, I pay attention to his calming signals and don't push him past him threshold, I recognize when he makes a good choice and praise him. I take his concerns seriously, like when he barks, I go to see what it is. Then I tell him "Thank you." And he gets all happy and goes back to lie down. It's a collaboration, really. We look out for each other.

And I love him ridiculously. <3

nick's spirit
07-07-2012, 11:23 PM
I think Oso has found a "great" companion in you & hubby
people who can read signals & know that relationships are based in trust!
I really look forward to hearing more about your relationship with Oso

not sure if you've heard...but once you have experienced life with a Pyr....another one might be in your future....can't have just one!!

07-07-2012, 11:48 PM
My husband made me promise "just one at a time" . . .

For now, it's just Oso and Kitty. (Oso's favorite creature on this earth.)

07-08-2012, 04:16 AM
I hope your Oso and kitty have become the best of friends as Bella and Spaz have.They are so cute together.Spaz is in his teenage hood right now and Bella is very tolerant of his actions usally directed at her lol. They are usally always together even while sleeping.

07-21-2012, 10:44 PM
So, nick's spirit, you were right! Oso has found a job in our house!

He has become the biggest tattle-tale.

About a month or two ago, he went counter-surfing. He got in trouble for it, and he hasn't done it since. But yesterday, our cat was up on the counter, and Oso alerted us, barking and leading us into the kitchen.

We praised him for it, so now tattling is his new favorite game. Anything that anyone gets reprimanded for (ever) is now subject to Oso's watchful eye. Which is pretty impressive, since he would have to be incredibly observant to notice these things, as we almost never raise our voices for any reason.

He told on my husband for leaving the light on in the kitchen. Barking and looking at the light switch until he went back and turned it off.

He tattled on the cat for drinking out of the toilet.

Luckily, though, once you go to look and see whatever someone is doing wrong, he just smiles and trots off, letting you take over management of the situation.

Crazy dog.

nick's spirit
07-22-2012, 03:47 PM
Ha!! love it!!!
Oso the tattle tail!!
guess he could have chosen another "job", like back yard excavator or couch potato
and you have also found out the best way to help quiet them down is to acknowledge what they are barking about, tell them "good job it's okay now"
and obviously Oso knows that he has performed a job...well done to all of you!! :)

07-22-2012, 07:09 PM
He tattled on the cat for drinking out of the toilet.

Crazy dog.

:eek: Thats a good one Robin :D