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  1. #11
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) snow0160's Avatar

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    Thank you for the explanation on obedience. I do remember having that exact problem with teaching Sahara new tricks. At least, for now, Kit seems like a super well-adjusted dog and have zero phobias. She is superbly confident and is afraid of nothing. I think Sahara had a lot of fear related aggression. Kit seems super mentally well adjusted lol. I wish I have her confidence.

    I'm gonna download that app you recommended! I'll definitely be more active. Thank you so much for letting me know.

    Puppy nails!
    I have more question since you've also had poodles. Lucky has very soft feet. Kit will slash me from giving me a high five. I taught her paw and now she paws at my leg and it cuts me and breaks the skin. She isn't even pushing hard it is just because she is a bulkier dog. She doesn't even do as much pawing as Lucky but it is just more damaging. We trimmed her nails but there really isn't much room. I don't remember having any of these problems with Lucky was her age. LGDs have much heavier feet and as puppies they also got the sharp nails. Did you guys also have this problem?

    Bloat

    Should I get the same surgery for Kit because I thought GDV is more of a narrow and deep chested dog. I did some research on pyrnees and gastropexy. Almost no cases reported but I don't know if it is because LGDs are just rare.

  2. #12
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) snow0160's Avatar

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    Update on Forum runner. Sigh* It crashes and seems to have no ability to upload photos like tapatalk at least on ios. I need my $2 back LOL.

  3. #13
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    training: It all depends on what your expectations are. A pyr can learn to adapt to its human's world perfectly well without ever going through structured obedience training. It just needs to learn the rules and boundaries of what are expected of them. When one talks about difficulties in training a pyr it is usually in terms of how pyrs are slow to respond to obedience commands when compared to other breeds. I don't believe, however, that formal obedience training is necessary - it all depends on the dog.

    My first pyr came to us when she was 10 months old. I never put her in any training classes and I didn't bother formally training her myself. I never even taught her the basics of sit, down, or stay. But she had a very good understanding of being a part of our family and our lives. We took her everywhere with us and she got along with the world very well.

    I didn't bother doing any sort of structured training with Bro until he turned a year old. But Bro was a half pyr with the personality from his retriever/aussie side so training was totally easy for him. Very easy. Bro competed in agility and earned several titles.

    Bijou was enrolled in her first puppy class at 8 months which was just for socialization. I enrolled her in CGC class before she turned 2 but we dropped out because there was no way she would have passed. Bijou was a high spirited dog who had poor impulse control. She started agility classes at 17 months. Training Bijou to for competitive sports was a very difficult road. It was at least 10 times more difficult to train Bijou than it was to train Bro. Pyrs simply do not respond to commands automatically because they are not wired to do so. It took pounds and pounds of the most high value treats (including meatballs made from imported French pate... I ate more a few of those myself...) to convince Bijou that it was a good thing for her to do what I requested. Pyrs don't respond to commands readily because they are wired to assess the environment they are in on their own, and if they do not see a need for them to do as we ask, they won't do it quickly. I spent quite a bit of time working with Bijou to convince her that I was THE MOST INTERESTING BEING IN THE WORLD to her, and thus she wanted to do activities with me. When she died at 6, she had several titles in agility, was titled in obedience, and had her CGC.

    With a LGD, when they are asked to comply with a command, their instinct is to check their surroundings to make sure that there isn't something else more urgent they must deal with before complying with whatever you ask. It isn't about "stubbornness." They are wired differently.

    Thus it all depends on what level of training you are anticipating with Kit. If you are expecting her to be a good family companion and be able to go to places with you and behave in a civilized manner, that may just take a lot of repetition of taking her to places and using toys or treats to mold her behavior. This is all I have done with Ren to this point. He is naturally a laid back, calm puppy and thus not much work was needed to get him used to what we expect when we take him out in public. He's been going to restaurants with us since he was 4 months old and thus he knows he has to lay down quietly while we eat. He's used to getting a lot of attention since he was very young and thus he's not fazed by gaggles of people crowding him. Thus Ren has already learned a lot just by our day to day activities how to behave civilly with the world. None of it is about formal, structured obedience type training. We simply show him what we wanted in a given situation and stuck with the same expectations each time. Ren knows what lay down means, but sit is not an exact science with him yet. "Stay" is not a concept that we specifically taught him, but something that he kind of learned along the way during our daily life.

    I do anticipate enrolling Ren in agility in the future followed by obedience at some point. Having had the experience training Bijou, I know not to have expectations and to let him guide me on how we should proceed.

    nails: these LGDs have big strong paws and they are wired to use them. I used to get bruises from Bijou clawing at my legs. I am obsessed with nails and like my dogs to have super short nails. So I dremel as close to the quick as I can get away with. But I would note that Bijou had super short quick and so I could keep her nails extremely short. Ren too has pretty short quick. That is typical of show bred dogs. Show breeders like pretty round feet with short toes. Bro on the other hand had long toes and long quick so it wasn't possible to trim his nails very short. So the only suggest that comes to mind is if you are not trimming Kit's nails close to the quick, you might want to do that.

    GDV: This is something you will have to decide for yourself. I don't think there are any definitive research indicating the surgery is a must for pyrs but that doesn't mean not do it either.

  4. #14
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) snow0160's Avatar

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    Jewel and Sebastian's mom. Your experiences are invaluable!! You guys have so much experience and I have so much to learn. Thank you so much for taking your time with such a detailed description. I truly enjoyed your stories with each of your dogs. Some of your stories reminds me of my own training with Sahara. It has been a long time and sometimes I forget Kit is of the same breed because puppies all have that happy energy. I've never actually competed in anything but I have taken Lucky to a local AKC club class. It was a pet tricks class and it was very fun because it wasn't really about competition. I have since hired a really wonderful trainer who trains PTSD dogs for veterans. She currently works with a mastiff and has worked with Pyrs before but never a Maremma. I look forward to the training with Kit and hopefully have more stories to share. I love the photo section of this forum.

  5. #15
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Truth be told, I didn't really notice Sebastian's nails being an issue for me when he was a puppy. My guess is that it was largely due to the fact that I was doing so much battle with his teeth. For months, I was his favorite chew toy, and my arms and legs looked like I had become a professional cat wrestler.

    With the gastropexy, Sebastian arrived at his rescue with Parvo, and I suspect that the disease did some permanent damage to his upper GI tract. On several occasions, he has gone to the Emergency Vet suffering from a Paralytic Ileus - his small intestine stops contracting and fills up with gas. After the second trip, the doctor at the Emergency Vet suggested that I look in to having the gastropexy performed. I talked to both his regular vet and the owner of his rescue about it, and they both agreed that for now, the risks of the anesthesia outweighed the potential benefit of the surgery. If there is a time that he is going to have something done that requires general anesthesia, I will consider having the procedure done on him then.

    I think the gastropexy question would be a good one to ask your breeder, as she is far more knowledgeable about the breed and her lines than I am.

    Jewel brings up a very good point about training. I did formal training with Sebastian because I enjoy it. Sebastian did not enjoy it as much, so we stopped. For me, training was a great way to get to know him better and strengthen our bond. When I think about it though, formal training probably didn't play a very big role in shaping his adult behavior. He was not trained out of any of his bad puppy behaviors - he simply grew out of them - including going potty in the house. Outside of having him sit for treats and before he goes outside, I don't really use his training on a regular basis. Even with all of that training, he will completely ignore every word that comes out of my mouth when it suits his purpose. I'd still say that as an adult, he's naturally pretty easy to live with most of the time.

    Chester, wasn't trained in class settings, but I did a lot of work with him on my own. I use his training all day everyday. He is not skilled at making good decisions, and needs a lot of input to stay out of trouble. Fortunately, he really enjoys training, and is a very cooperative boy. I shudder to think what he would be like to live with if he hadn't been trained.

    It is my understanding that Maremmas are generally somewhat more biddable than Pyrs, but of course, it lies on a spectrum within each breed. You are likely to know more about where Kit lies on that spectrum in a few months.
    Sebastian is on Facebook!
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  6. #16
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) snow0160's Avatar

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    I love how you rescued Sebastian. I found the rescuing experience really rewarding. If we weren't going to have kids, I'd probably go with another rescue. I remember a friend rescued a dog with paro puppy a few years back and the process was very scary for them. Kit was not that different from Sebastian because she was a huge biter when we got her. I was her giant chew toy during our 3 hour drive from the breeder to the airport. The only reason she stopped was because she found someone funner to mouth with: Lucky! Horray for me because she learned he would mouth back whereas people aren't for chewing. I think it was a massive blessing to have Lucky. One could say I got Lucky! (I have a lot of bad dad jokes and it is bad) Sometimes when she is tethered to the sofa she will try to nip at Lucky's feet. I try to run by very quickly because I didn't want her to paw at me. What is really funny is that all of my animals (3 other dogs) also run in the same fashion. They would all scuttle very quickly past her because she is a handful. She also broke her good pee free streak this weekend and peed on our bed. Good thing I got a mattress protector. I got it after I rescued our pug puppy 5 years ago. This thing has come in handy.

    I am not kidding that even when she steps on me it hurts a lot. Her feet are so different from the light feet of a poodle. I saw on wikipedia that poodles were used to hunt truffles so they were bred to have light feet. I remembered when I first got Lucky I was like wow it doesn't hurt when big dogs step on me. I think I forgot what it was like when Sahara pawed me. Sahara is like Kit and enjoys pawing at you if you stop scratching her. I used to think of it like her way of saying "More Please!" I do remember Sahara apparently temporarily blinded her previous owner's sister for 6 months with her paw action. Kit's heavy feet and sharp nail combo made me very thankful Kit is not a jumper.

    I didn't realize Maremmas are more bidable. I've always heard Pyreneese was the easist to handle and train out of all the LGD. I wonder if it has to do with there being fewer Maremmas in the US used as companion dogs. You know I think you might be right because I keep seeing people using them as pets in Itlay.

  7. #17
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Sebastian didn't start jumping until he was between 4 and 5 months of age. Fortunately, it wasn't long before he figured out that jumping on me was far more fun than jumping on strangers. I have taken a paw to the face a few times, but he hasn't managed to blind me yet, despite the two black eyes he has managed to give me.

    Sebastian is also likely to be the last puppy I bring home from a rescue. Don't get me wrong, I love him with all of my heart, and don't have a single regret about bringing him into my life. It's just that the more I have learned about dog behavior these past few years, the more I started to realize how lucky I am that he ended up being the dog that he is. Bringing home any puppy is always going to be a bit of a gamble, but bringing home a puppy whose early life and parentage you know little to nothing about is a bit too much of a gamble for me. My next dog will either be a rescue dog over the age of three with a suitable temperament, or a puppy from a well-researched breeder. I hope I don't have to start thinking about that for a long long long long time. I am quite happy living with Sebastian and Chester.

    In a very broad, general sense, a Pyr with the correct temperament does have traits that make him better suited for family life than temperamentally correct members of certain other LGD breeds. When I say temperamentally correct, I mean correct for the breed. Biddability and ease of training are not amongst those traits.

    In a broad, general sense, Pyrs have a less aggressive protection style than many other LGD breeds. They tend to be fairly low-energy as far as LGDs go, and prefer to use as little energy as possible in protecting their flocks from potential threats. They are good at assessing the situation, determining if their flock is, in fact, being threatened, and using just enough energy to scare the threat away. They will start by trying to scare the threat away with barking and posturing, and escalate their behavior only when absolutely required. Some other breeds don't use the same discretion. They see someone (Human or non-human) in their territory, and they immediately react. If the perceived threat does not immediately retreat, the dog is likely to resort to violence much more quickly than a Pyr. The more aggressive protection style is great if you have livestock in an area where large predators are known to hunt. It's not so great when you live in a city or suburb.
    Sebastian is on Facebook!
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  8. #18
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) snow0160's Avatar

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    Your post reminded me that after Sahara died I literally called more than 20 breeders (including international breeders in other English-speaking nations ie Australia and England) including the president of the Maremma Sheepdog club of America. She told me where she got her Maremmas and that is how I found Kit's breeder. Most Maremma breeders in America don't sell to pet households because they want to preserve their working behavior. Some of their dogs have never gone indoors. If you ever wanted to get a buddy for Sebastian that is a Maremma Sheepdog and Kit remains as good as she is now, I know a breeder I can recommend.

    I found your facebook page on your signature. I have a fb account for my doodle named Lucky. I posted in the latest birthday post. What cute photos!

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