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  1. #1
    Puppy (New Member)
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    Default 6 month old puppy advice

    Hello hello!

    Searching the internet for training tips led me to this forum, and I am so glad it did! I've spent a lot of time living around large dogs, especially guardian dogs who are in charge of a flock of animals, but am a first time owner of a breed this big. Oso is about 6 months old now (and about 60lbs), and I've had him since he was 10 weeks old. He is a Great Pyr/Border Collie/Aussie mix, with the coloring of a border collie but mostly the build and the temperament of a GP.

    So, he's reached the bratty age. In general he's very well behaved, he's been extremely well socialized and is great off leash, around dogs, around children and cats. Loves to chase squirrels, but that's something I can live with. My main concern is that I'm a 5'2", 115lb woman, and he's suddenly realized that he can pull me around. (For all those whose reaction is that I didn't think this through, I promise you, I did. I am not concerned about him possibly outweighing me, I'm just looking for advice on handling the transition now that he's harder for me to physically outmaneuver)

    I spent a lot of time establishing alpha position with him when he was little; he's naturally pretty submissive and is clearly a Pyrenees with a temperament for being a companion dog, he's very people oriented. But of course now that he's gotten a little bit older and a little bit bigger he's starting to rebel. The main trouble spots I'm finding are:

    -absolutely ignoring me about barking, even when have I have him rolled over on his back with my hand on his snout.

    -he's starting to ignore me more about coming back immediately when I call him and he is off leash

    -breaking his prey/herding drive. he's fine around cats, he's fine around people and kids, but you get him around certain dogs with fluffy tails at the dog park and he just wants to chase them and chase them and bite their tails. Some dogs think that's great fun, some dogs/owners hate it. It's not aggressive, he's trying to herd them, not hurt them, but once he gets fixated I have trouble breaking that fixation. It's the border collie in him, I know, but it seems like the prey drive is getting stronger, he used to respond to the "leave it" command.

    From reading the forum I'm pretty sure the response to the barking/stubbornness (and the herding for any other owners out there with a herding mix) is "welcome to the club", but any advice or tips on general training for the behaviors? Magical tricks?

    More importantly, any advice on how to reassert dominance now that he's testing his limits without having to resort to physical means?

    Thanks!

    -Laura

  2. #2
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) nick's spirit's Avatar
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    Welcome Laura & Oso
    Sounds like training with a pro is in your future.
    He has many traits that can be turned around, just will take some time.
    You might have to go back to square one.He must do what you want to do & when he does, it is "good boy..yes" & a tastey treat (hot dog,cheese, chicken) when he doesn't look at you or doesn't do what you ask it is "oops..let's try again" no treat. I have found that with my Aussies positive training works best, same with a Pyr but don't expect immediate response, they will take their time to obey, and they may not obey as you would like them to. Example, the off leash "come" you'lll find that most Pyr's will decide that if why you are calling them doesn't include fun, food, or what they want to do...they aint comin" He is still young and you can get control. Many people on this forum have had great results from using Barkbusters...you might want to see if they are in your area.
    Keep us informed...and stay "happy & positive"
    Nancy & Holly

  3. #3

    Flock Guardian (Moderator) Terry's Avatar


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    i know what your saying Nancy !!! Murphy is a very good boy BUT when he has something in mind he will just look at me when i call him
    Emma is also getting to the same stage,but we can deal with this as the pair of them are very loyal family members

    laura is Oso 'rounding' you up yet?

    gotta love it when we are walking and Murphy is in front of me then curls his body around my legs

    Terry

  4. #4
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Davey Benson's Avatar
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    That's quite a first post. I need to address it in parts.
    Welcome to the club lauranorth.

    I'll just throw out my opinion here, and other members can aggree or dissagree with what I say. I just formulated these opinions from my own personal experience with living with and training these breeds. You will probably already know most of what I say, but I will write it out for those who read this and don't know.

    Quote Originally Posted by lauranorth View Post
    Hello hello!

    Searching the internet for training tips led me to this forum, and I am so glad it did! I've spent a lot of time living around large dogs, especially guardian dogs who are in charge of a flock of animals, but am a first time owner of a breed this big. Oso is about 6 months old now (and about 60lbs), and I've had him since he was 10 weeks old. He is a Great Pyr/Border Collie/Aussie mix, with the coloring of a border collie but mostly the build and the temperament of a GP.
    Wow, that's quite a mix of personalities. I have both a border collie and a great pyrenees, they are two different dogs, and they have two completly different personalities. It would be interesting to observe how your dog behaves. Border collies are herding and cutting dogs, and Great Pyrenees are NOT. Border collies live to please the shepherd, and they love to work around other livestock, Great Pyrenees just love to be livestock, and protect their herd.

    Quote Originally Posted by lauranorth View Post
    So, he's reached the bratty age. In general he's very well behaved, he's been extremely well socialized and is great off leash, around dogs, around children and cats. Loves to chase squirrels, but that's something I can live with. My main concern is that I'm a 5'2", 115lb woman, and he's suddenly realized that he can pull me around. (For all those whose reaction is that I didn't think this through, I promise you, I did. I am not concerned about him possibly outweighing me, I'm just looking for advice on handling the transition now that he's harder for me to physically outmaneuver)
    Good luck with physically out manuvering them. My two Great pyrenees absolutely take my breath away with what they can do. When they decided to go somewhere, they will come/go galloping and their mass and force is just awsome. I might have to hitch a plow up to them someday to work my garden. LOL

    My cousins were over last night and even they commented on them. "wow, where did they go? They were just here a second ago" I pointed off in the distance to the east... and pretty soon you could hear their bells rinning as they come tearing around the west side of the detached garage back into the side yard. I told my cousin what I have read from here in the past, "there's a reason they call them diss-a-pyrs"

    I'm a 5'10' 190 guy, and the two of them could take me out for a brisk drag if they so desired. What you need to work on, is making this dog think what you want them to do is their idea! They will seem stuborn, like a mule, but I have come to find that the way the reason and think things through is completely different than other breeds of dogs, and you really have to aproach their training differently. I used to raise hogs when I was younger. They actually share some of the same personality quarks with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by lauranorth View Post
    I spent a lot of time establishing alpha position with him when he was little; he's naturally pretty submissive and is clearly a Pyrenees with a temperament for being a companion dog, he's very people oriented. But of course now that he's gotten a little bit older and a little bit bigger he's starting to rebel.
    That's going to be an issue. I learned that the hard way with my first Great Pyrenees. Great Pyrenees aren't necessairly submissive. They are mellow, but they have a very strong will. Don't take their gentleness for granted, or as a sign of weakness.

    You are most likely correct on your observation that he is starting to rebel, if you are imposing your "dominance" on him, he will thwart your every attempt through passive resistance if not out right rebelion. That will result in making the two of you extreamly exhasborated.

    There are some training techniques that work well with training Great Pyrenees, redirection of their energy works well, as well as ignoring them for particular offences. (some things can't be ignored, but sometimes ignoring works way better than turning red in the faces, and ranting and raving when they chew up something you didn't want them too) This is where I recomend advice from someone with more Great Pyrenees training than I have.

    Quote Originally Posted by lauranorth View Post
    The main trouble spots I'm finding are:

    -absolutely ignoring me about barking, even when have I have him rolled over on his back with my hand on his snout.
    Ya, good luck with that. If he has a lot of Great Pyrenees genes in him, he may get to a size where he will roll you over on your back and grab your snout. Also Great Pyrenees are known for their vocalization skills, and if you want a quiet dog, you might have to give this one up for adoption.

    Quote Originally Posted by lauranorth View Post
    -he's starting to ignore me more about coming back immediately when I call him and he is off leash
    Food is an excelent motivator. Great Pyrenees are not known for bounding over to you the second you call like a rat terrior, or a collie. However, since your dog is a mix.... it will be interesting to see which mental family he will take after. I just wouldn't be too shocked if he shows some of those great pyrenees tendencies.

    Quote Originally Posted by lauranorth View Post
    -breaking his prey/herding drive. he's fine around cats, he's fine around people and kids, but you get him around certain dogs with fluffy tails at the dog park and he just wants to chase them and chase them and bite their tails. Some dogs think that's great fun, some dogs/owners hate it. It's not aggressive, he's trying to herd them, not hurt them, but once he gets fixated I have trouble breaking that fixation. It's the border collie in him, I know, but it seems like the prey drive is getting stronger, he used to respond to the "leave it" command.
    THAT is a Border Collie thing. Good luck with that one!

    Quote Originally Posted by lauranorth View Post
    From reading the forum I'm pretty sure the response to the barking/stubbornness (and the herding for any other owners out there with a herding mix) is "welcome to the club", but any advice or tips on general training for the behaviors? Magical tricks?
    Sorry, I've got nothing...

    Quote Originally Posted by lauranorth View Post
    More importantly, any advice on how to reassert dominance now that he's testing his limits without having to resort to physical means?
    Well, you could just beat him... over and over, to assert your dominance... oh whoops you said without resorting to physical means... then I would say nope.

    If this one has the mental make up of a Great Pyrenees, he already knows that he is smarter than you, you will have to trick him into doing what you want him to. You won't domminate a Great pyrenees, at best you can mentor them, you can tutor them, you might trick them, you can care for them, you can be an advocate for them, but they just live with you, they aren't domminated by you. If you think you can dominate them, you will quickly learn what a strong will a Great Pyrenees really has. Best of luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by lauranorth View Post
    Thanks!

    -Laura
    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx

  5. #5
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Tsunibear's Avatar
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    If Missy is doing something I don't want her to be doing for example barking and I tell her to stop and she keeps going you best believe I have my "Can of Doom" out and I am shaking it. The minute she hears that she stops barking sits down and waits for me to put that can away.

    I cannot help you with the come when called thing seeing how I can't seem to get Missy to do that all the time either, heck we have made improvements in that department but still have a long ways to go. If I am lucky she will come when I call her name about 50% of the time. I have been able to get her attention so I can call her again by using a dog whistle but still it is hit or miss there.

    Missy will still randomly pull on her leash but she knows not to push her luck on the leash because I will put my foot down when it comes to pulling Mommy. That won't fly she too big to be getting away with that one and she knows it.

    I thankfully don't have to worry about herding when it comes to Missy seeing how she is a Great Pyrenees/Bernese Mountain Dog that just isn't really there for her. She does like to "guard" her flock and she would pull a cart if I let her but I don't know how to train that part of her.

  6. #6

    Flock Guardian (Moderator) Chicag0_Red's Avatar


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    The only problem I can readily address is the TugBoat imitation. The best thing I know of to reduce the pulling is one of the "pinch collars".

    They look horrible, but, are much better on the animal (and safer) than a choke or slip collar; too.

    _Red

  7. #7
    Puppy (New Member)
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    Wow! Thanks everybody!

    Alright, someone explain to me this dominance training vs no dominance training standpoint. When Oso was little I was working with a woman who had previously raised cattle-dogs, and she was very big on the alpha role, flipping them over kind of method, and it seemed to work with him. However, there seems to be a general consensus on this board that dominance training is nonsense. Is that for dogs in general, or just for GP's? Why? I'm fascinated.

    Regardless, if I've got to throw those ideas out the window,that's totally fine with me. Davey, you're right on when you say that it ends up with me just being exasperated (Oso seems like he just has a grand old time), and me trying to assert myself just sends him from passive resistance to outright rebellion.

    Nick's Spirit, yes, I've pretty much been going back to square one in the past couple of weeks, and going to positive training instead of fighting him, and that seems to be doing the most good. Carrying treats everywhere I go, redirecting him when he's misbehaving, giving him praise every time he does something good and pretending like it was all his idea to begin with.

    I'm not sure about working with a pro. Honestly, it's very hard for me to tell what is normal puppy behavior that just crops up as they get older and you deal with it/train them, and what is problem behavior that he should be out of by now. He's making progress, and honestly his behavior isn't very difficult, but if it doesn't get better or he stops being responsive I'll definitely be consulting somebody.

    The barking. Ha, Davey. Seriously. I don't mind it, he actually doesn't bark very much. He's a dog, he's going to be vocal sometimes. It's not often, I'm just astounded that it seems so completely impossible to get his attention while he's doing it. He barks, I say "no". He looks at me, keeps barking. I grab his nose, he keeps barking. I nudge him over, he looks at me, keeps barking. I realize the way I said it earlier sounded harsh, but really it's just hilarious. He's completely nonplussed, acts like he's thinking "Yes yes, okay, roll over, uh huh, oh you want to talk to me, hold on just a second I'm barking at that thing over there, then I'll get back to you, gosh you're making this difficult, can't you see that cat?"

  8. #8
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) lilylove's Avatar
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    the barking thing is cute the way you describe it, that's exactly how they are!
    mom yeah i get it but look...i'm busy with this right now!

    i'm glad you love your dog so much!

  9. #9
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Davey Benson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lauranorth View Post
    Wow! Thanks everybody!

    Alright, someone explain to me this dominance training vs no dominance training standpoint. When Oso was little I was working with a woman who had previously raised cattle-dogs, and she was very big on the alpha role, flipping them over kind of method, and it seemed to work with him. However, there seems to be a general consensus on this board that dominance training is nonsense. Is that for dogs in general, or just for GP's? Why? I'm fascinated.

    ...
    For me, it is really just an issue with my Great Pyrenees. Some people would say it goes that way for all dogs. But my border collie and my blue heeler are stock dogs, and they did really well with me playing the "alpha" roll. They learned their tricks and routenees extreamly quickly with me getting down on their level and working with them. Within about a month or so I had the Border collie seperating and sorting the way I wanted her too.

    The Great Pyrenees are just not going to asorb that sort of training, it will just roll off of them like water off of a duck. I don't know what it, but it is the way their brain is wired.

    Also not every GP is a barker. My first girl was, but it took her a while to find her voice, maybe about 6 months or so. Currently my boy is, and boy is he ever, but his sister is not. They are 7 months old now, and Polar Bear just barks at everthing he doesn't think is right, or belongs. Sissy, just watches on and never voices an opinion. (unless she sees me when she's in her back yard and she wants out, then she will sing a little bit for me to let her out, she's got me wrapped around her curly tail.)

    I sure hope you enjoy your GP mix as much as I have mine.
    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx

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    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar
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    I am all for sticking with positive training. Dominance rolls typically do not work with prys, and, with a pyr mix that you describe as showing submissiveness, dominance roll would not help if the dog is already "soft".

    There is no magic trick in training pyrs, or any dog. If you want a solid recall, you must work on it, over and over and over. What you are describing sounds like your pup is losing focus on you. At 6 months a puppy is gaining confidence, strength and curiosity, and so he is finding other things more interesting than you and your calls. A dog will not obey if he is not paying attention to you. You want to train him to focus on you, give you eye contact, when you call/ask for it. By gaining focus, the dog will then be much more responsive to a variety of commands, perhaps including breaking him off from herding other dogs.

    I have a pyr mix too. He is 1/2 pyr with aussie, retriever and who knows what else. He has herding drive and much higher prey drive than the pyrs. He is also more responsive and willing to please and thus easier to train. Interestingly, he is the only one that shows submissive gestures to us. Neither my first pyr nor my current female pyr exhibit submissive body language.

    As for the barking, when Bijou first found her voice at about 6 months, there were a few times where I couldn't get her to shut up no matter what I did -- including holding her mouth shut with my hands and she continued to bark with her mouth closed. She outgrew that So, I think your pup will probably scale down on the barking thing after a while.

    I would encourage you to work on his focus on you using positive enforcement. It is a very typcial pyr trait to ignore anything that he finds unpleasant. So, use whatever that interests him, whether it be a toy or food, teach him focus. Good luck! Post pictures???

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