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  1. #1
    Puppy (New Member)

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Charlottesville, Va, USA

    Default Problem training my 10 month old Pyr

    I got Stella when she was 9 weeks old & started training & socializing her right away but at 10 months old she still doesn't listen! I have training collars & even a shock collar. She's around 90 lbs. & it's dangerous when she runs & tries to jump on my 3 yr. old granddaughter (obviously!) or anyone else for that matter. She tries to "play bite" too which is totally unacceptable! We're at our wits end & very frustrated. She also chews & eats everything, including rocks!!! She has plenty of toys & gets lots of attention since I'm home with her everyday. Does anyone have any advice for me, please??? I can't take her to obedience classes as I don't have a car right now. Some days I feel like I'm losing my mind & starting to feel a disconnect with her. I love her very much but don't know how much more of this behavior I can take. Please help!!!

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

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Dallas, TX


    I hate to tell you this, but Stella sounds pretty normal for a 10-month-old puppy of just about any breed. Don’t let her size fool you. She is very much still a puppy, and will be for roughly the next two years. That doesn’t mean that she will be the handful that she is right now every day, it just means that they tend not to reach mental and emotional maturity until they are around three years old.

    That doesn’t mean that all is lost until then. There are definitely things that you can (and should) do in the meantime to make her easier to live with.

    The very first thing I recommend you do is get rid of the shock collar. Shock collars require absolutely precise timing in order to get the dog to associate the behavior with the shock. A vast majority of the trainers I have met do not have the expertise to use a shock collar safely and effectively. Improper use of shock collars can lead to some serious behavioral issues down the road. Since Stella is having problems with pulling and jumping, I would try a no-pull harness on her. I think the Freedom Harness would be a good one for her, with the Easy-Walk Harness coming in a close second. I use both harnesses with my dogs.

    The second thing I would advise you do is get your hands on the book “How to Behave so Your Dog Behaves”, by Dr. Sophia Yin, and read it. Pay special attention to the first half of the book, where she discusses the science of training and behavior. The second half tends to focus more on training techniques, and is also great, as long as you understand that a Pyr is not likely to respond to cues (what normal people call “commands”) as quickly or as enthusiastically as the breeds Dr. Yin was used to handling. Unlike many breeds, Pyrs and other Livestock Guardian breeds were developed to protect their flocks without the input or interference of humans. They have an instinctual NEED to think for themselves and make their own decisions. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t trainable. They are very smart and learn quickly. They just need to know that what you want them to do is in their best interest. They are far more motivated by earning rewards than they are avoiding punishment.

    There are two concepts that I think you will find to be helpful, as well. The first one is called “Nothing In Life Is Free”, or NILIF for short. Dr. Yin refers to it in the book as Earn to Learn, and other people call it the Say Please method. This is how we establish ourselves as the benevolent leader. The idea is that as humans, we are in control of the resources - Food, treats, toys, petting, play, access to outside, you name it. If the dog wants those things, she has to earn them by performing a task, such as sitting politely. Some dogs require more strict NILIF than others. For example, Sebastian only really has to sit for treats, access to the front bedroom, and access to the yard. Chester has to sit for those things, too, but for meals and certain toys, bones, and chews, he has to go to his crate and wait patiently.

    The next concept is Four on the Floor. With this, the dog learns that she is ONLY going to get attention when she is calm, and has all four feet on the ground. She can be standing, sitting, or lying down, but if she wants attention, she has to be calm with all four feet touching the floor. Honestly, this one can be a bit easier said than done sometimes, as it requires the patience to ignore the unwanted behavior while rewarding the good.

    Finally, it sounds like Stella is a high-energy puppy who would benefit from more exercise. How much exercise is she getting, and of what kind? A lot of us have dealt with high-energy pups, and should be able to give you tips on how to drain off some of that excess puppy energy.
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