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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brayjj View Post
    He did better today, on the road, walking close to eachother, but then all of a sudden he will just flip out and try to attack. I really don't get it. I know he's in a new location and is upset about things, but this type of behavior shouldn't be happening. My "First" dog is now worked up over the other dog having his mouth on him when he got too close to him, and all he wants to do is be friends and this dog wants nothing to do with being friends. I think it's a combination of being in a new situation and him "owning" us as his.
    From what you describe, it doesn’t sound so much like your Pyr boy is trying to protect you from your GSD mix as it sounds like your Pyr boy is scared of the GSD. Without being there to see their interactions, of course, it’s impossible to say for sure, but the type of behavior that your Pyr boy is exhibiting is not at all common for a an emotionally healthy dog his age who is adjusting to a new home.

    Have you taken your Pyr boy to the vet, yet? If not, that might be a good place to start. The fact that he doesn’t like to have his back end touched signals that it is possible that he could be experiencing pain back there. Or it could mean that he just doesn’t want to be touched back there. I would be very honest and thorough with your vet about the behavior you are experiencing so that s/he can performed an informed examination and array of tests. If there is an underlying medical condition contributing to this boy’s behavior, no amount of training, socialization, counterconditioning, or other behavior modification will have much of a positive effect on his behavior until that condition is successfully treated.

    While I do believe you that his explosive behavior does seem as if it is coming on suddenly and without warning, my guess is that he is actually giving off subtle signals that he is feeling uncomfortable before lashing out. These signals can literally be as small as a turn of the head, a flick of the tongue, or even a second or two of stiff body posture. If you are planning to keep this boy, it is imperative that everyone in the house learns to read the signals that your Pyr boy is giving off. Once you learn what these signals mean, you can begin removing him from situations that make him uncomfortable before he reaches his threshold.

    Threshold is a word that you hear a lot in behavior modification. It is the amount of stress your dog can handle before losing control of his behavior. You want to keep your Pyr boy under threshold whenever possible. Every time he goes over his threshold with a particular stimulus (in this case, your GSD), the more his aversion to that stimulus is reinforced. Also, a dog who is over threshold is a dog who is not in control of his actions. There is a chance that his outburst could end in a case of redirected aggression. Learning to read his body language will help with this.

    I agree with pjg8r that it is a good idea for you to consult a behaviorist to evaluate your Pyr boy and help formulate a treatment plan. Having worked with a number of different types of trainers and behaviorists myself, I would urge you to start by reaching out to someone on one of these two lists:

    http://www.animalbehaviorsociety.org...-directory.php
    https://www.dacvb.org/search/newsearch.asp

    The people on these lists can all be considered to be true experts in animal behavior. If your Pyr boy is capable of becoming comfortable in your home, these are the people most likely to give you the tools and techniques to help make that happen. In many cases, their rates are comparable to those charged by far less capable trainer-type behaviorists.

    There are two books that I highly recommend you read in the mean time: The Other End of the Leash, and For the Love of a Dog, both by Patricia McConnell. Both will help give you a better understanding of your dog’s behavior, the underlying emotions causing the behavior, and how your dog communicates - both with you and with other dogs.

    I also highly recommend the app Dog Decoder to help you learn to read body language.

    Should you and your family decide that your Pyr boy’s issues are more than you can handle, please know that no one here will judge you. Should you decide that rehoming him is in your family’s best interest (and his, too), I would urge you to see if there is a rescue organization can take him.

    Please keep us posted on your progress with him!
    Sebastian is on Facebook!
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  2. #12
    Road Dawg Brayjj's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by SebastiansMom View Post
    From what you describe, it doesn’t sound so much like your Pyr boy is trying to protect you from your GSD mix as it sounds like your Pyr boy is scared of the GSD. Without being there to see their interactions, of course, it’s impossible to say for sure, but the type of behavior that your Pyr boy is exhibiting is not at all common for a an emotionally healthy dog his age who is adjusting to a new home.

    Have you taken your Pyr boy to the vet, yet? If not, that might be a good place to start. The fact that he doesn’t like to have his back end touched signals that it is possible that he could be experiencing pain back there. Or it could mean that he just doesn’t want to be touched back there. I would be very honest and thorough with your vet about the behavior you are experiencing so that s/he can performed an informed examination and array of tests. If there is an underlying medical condition contributing to this boy’s behavior, no amount of training, socialization, counterconditioning, or other behavior modification will have much of a positive effect on his behavior until that condition is successfully treated.

    While I do believe you that his explosive behavior does seem as if it is coming on suddenly and without warning, my guess is that he is actually giving off subtle signals that he is feeling uncomfortable before lashing out. These signals can literally be as small as a turn of the head, a flick of the tongue, or even a second or two of stiff body posture. If you are planning to keep this boy, it is imperative that everyone in the house learns to read the signals that your Pyr boy is giving off. Once you learn what these signals mean, you can begin removing him from situations that make him uncomfortable before he reaches his threshold.

    Threshold is a word that you hear a lot in behavior modification. It is the amount of stress your dog can handle before losing control of his behavior. You want to keep your Pyr boy under threshold whenever possible. Every time he goes over his threshold with a particular stimulus (in this case, your GSD), the more his aversion to that stimulus is reinforced. Also, a dog who is over threshold is a dog who is not in control of his actions. There is a chance that his outburst could end in a case of redirected aggression. Learning to read his body language will help with this.

    I agree with pjg8r that it is a good idea for you to consult a behaviorist to evaluate your Pyr boy and help formulate a treatment plan. Having worked with a number of different types of trainers and behaviorists myself, I would urge you to start by reaching out to someone on one of these two lists:

    http://www.animalbehaviorsociety.org...-directory.php
    https://www.dacvb.org/search/newsearch.asp

    The people on these lists can all be considered to be true experts in animal behavior. If your Pyr boy is capable of becoming comfortable in your home, these are the people most likely to give you the tools and techniques to help make that happen. In many cases, their rates are comparable to those charged by far less capable trainer-type behaviorists.

    There are two books that I highly recommend you read in the mean time: The Other End of the Leash, and For the Love of a Dog, both by Patricia McConnell. Both will help give you a better understanding of your dog’s behavior, the underlying emotions causing the behavior, and how your dog communicates - both with you and with other dogs.

    I also highly recommend the app Dog Decoder to help you learn to read body language.

    Should you and your family decide that your Pyr boy’s issues are more than you can handle, please know that no one here will judge you. Should you decide that rehoming him is in your family’s best interest (and his, too), I would urge you to see if there is a rescue organization can take him.

    Please keep us posted on your progress with him!
    Thanks, we have talked about the possibility of fear. With him being in a new place and all. But he is over the top aggressive. From the start, just upon seeing our dog, not an offical meeting, he flipped out and got scary fierce. We didn't expect it.

    I will look into those resources. Our other dog is now stressed out by the encounters and he is now showing aggression towards our kitten. Our dog has never been aggressive at all! I've never seen it. But I see that how badly he's stressed out now is causing it, so I can see that stress could cause the other dog to be aggressive too. I don't think my dog even knew he could bite things, but since the pyr has bit him, he is acting really upset, still wants to be friends, but today is aggressive with the kitten by growling at her, and our dog has never growled at anything before...

    So basically now, I have two dogs who are stressed out.

    Thanks for all the advice.

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

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    Brayjj....I think I would also call the Great Pyrenees club in your area...tell them you are trying to work with this guy, ask if maybe someone could come out & evaluate him & give you some ideas on how to work with him.

    As SebastiansMom said....rehoming is not a shameful action....sometimes things don't work out as we would like them to

    and yes.....please keep us informed on how things go for all of you

  4. #14
    Puppy (New Member)

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    Hi, I have a 1/2 Great Pyrenees 1/2 lab mix and he's got an oddball personality. He loves getting in bed and being around people, but always pushes you away with all his paws like he's trying to stretch. He uses his paws a lot. Have you guys experienced any of that with your dogs? Also, any nervous behavior? He doesn't shake but gets scared easily from loud noises.

  5. #15
    Road Dawg Brayjj's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by nick's spirit View Post
    Brayjj....I think I would also call the Great Pyrenees club in your area...tell them you are trying to work with this guy, ask if maybe someone could come out & evaluate him & give you some ideas on how to work with him.

    As SebastiansMom said....rehoming is not a shameful action....sometimes things don't work out as we would like them to

    and yes.....please keep us informed on how things go for all of you
    Thank you so much for your encouragement. So he is doing much better on walks. These dogs can walk side by side and touch, during walks now. All bets are off once we attempted to bring them inside last night. Pyr went crazy as soon as we were inside and jumped my dog. We quickly yanked him back and regained control. Is it possible he has already claimed the house as his? He even kept sniffing my other dog on the walk.

    We have decided to keep them completely seperate (Jewel gave us the idea of a reset) and not try the house meeting for an entire month. My husband and I both agreed to walk them together every night when he's home for about a mile or 2. Then we part ways and go into the house at different doors. We keep the one dog downstairs and one dog upstairs.


    Do you think keeping them apart all this time and then trying again would help? When my dog was jumped he lost it and showed his teeth back at him. My dog has NEVER showed his teeth at anything. We quickly ended the session and got them both out of there. I think he just had enough.
    We want this to work, so giving it a month. I did email a bunch of rescues in my state asking questions for help and ideas, but haven't heard back. We want to give him a chance and figure a month is a good time for him to relax a little in our home.
    I do feel badly if we did something wrong with introducing them, but we always just let our other dog meet dogs straight out, and never had any problems...

    We left pyr loose briefly in the field yesterday in the middle of our yard (we have 6 acres) and he even ran up to our dog and sniffed him and was fine... so that is why we decided to try to enter the house with the dogs.... but he couldn't handle it at all. Watching them walk together on the road, you would have NO idea we are having this problem...

    I've done a lot of reading on this topic, wow, I now really feel differently about people who rescue dogs and have many in their home at one time. They are amazing individuals. My daugher who is 14 is feeling a little stressed out by all this, and I said well atleast you know you aren't cut out to have a dog kennel then... haha...

    Thanks for all the kind help.

  6. #16
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) nick's spirit's Avatar

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    Brayjj...I admire your dedication & endurance in trying to get these two to live in harmony....just don't push your senior dog to his breaking point

    I hope one of the Pyr groups gets back to you and helps in any way that they are able

    Another thought I had....wee have another member on the forum who had a dog that was aggressive...she found out that the dog was not quite right in her brain wave area....hopefully she will jump on & let you know her experience

    thanks for keeping us up to date...and please..don't stress out you, your family or your good ole dog over this

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brayjj View Post
    Thank you so much for your encouragement. So he is doing much better on walks. These dogs can walk side by side and touch, during walks now. He even kept sniffing my other dog on the walk.
    Where is he sniffing? if he's reaching to sniff over the head/shoulder/body, that is not necessarily a good thing. That kind of sniffing can be a form of intimidation. If he's sniffing toward the back end with ears relaxed and shoulders low and relaxed, that's the better kind of sniffing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brayjj View Post
    do you think keeping them apart all this time and then trying again would help?
    You can only try and see. But when you decide to try them indoors again, I'd maybe break it down to baby steps. To restart, have them do their walk, then when you get back to the house, keep both dogs on leash, walk the GSD into the house first, go as far into the house and out of sight. Then bring the pyr in then turn around walk him out right again. Then walk the GSD out and put them up as you via separate doors. This exercise is getting the pyr acclimated to using the same door and trying to convince this guy that being inside the house with his new brother is really really just not a threat. Do this several times over a few days, then if the dogs are not visibly stressed, increase the "difficulty" by walking the GSD in followed by the pyr where the pyr can see the GSD's back end. Walk in the house, then turn the pyr around and walk out with the GSD following behind. Eventually you want to be able to walk them both in on leash, stay a moment, though keep them clearly apart, and walk out. Baby steps. You don't want to do the re-intro by doing that you know are trigger points.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brayjj View Post
    I do feel badly if we did something wrong with introducing them
    I don't know that things would have been that much better even if you tried it a different way. This dog's reactions are not normal. It isn't caused by introducing him to a non-aggressive dog like your GSD.

  8. #18
    Road Dawg Brayjj's Avatar

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    Well, he sniffed his back end, I don't think he has sniffed over the shoulders, but I will look for that.
    On the walk last night, they were actually nose to nose on the road, because both dogs pulled to smell where a cat had ran from... and they were literally touching faces and no reaction, but when they have gotten that close, in the house, that's when he would attack. Interesting that was last night.

    I'm starting to think this is a bit of fear related. Can a dog be so fearful they just attack right away? He seems to be a big baby. My husband was playing with the kids and my son was barking and my husband barked back, and the Pyr literally flipped out and pooped and peed a little, he got that scared. Last night when my husband was working in the garage, he got scared again and was almost shaking and tried to run but I had him on the leash downstairs, so he wasn't going anywhere. I'm noticing a lot more than average fear in him.

    I do have a few other questions that maybe someone can answer. At night, when we take him out, he will not potty. I have read that they are bred to be nocturnal, but it's like his hearing is increased and he just keeps looking back and forth, back and forth, and kind of nervous like. We've yet to get him to go potty when it's dark out, before bed. But now as we are getting to know him we noticed this is his pattern... with it being dark out... Like he is way more alert.

    Yesterday was a scary day for us. He is now refusing to come in downstairs because he wants to be upstairs, but can't because of the situation and he quickly, leaned down and slipped his collar. It was so quick! He looked at me and took off. We tried tracking him for over 1 mile and anytime he saw us he ran further. We were all completely soaked because this is all wetlands with deep creeks. Then he took off in the other direction, and that is open farmland. He was completely gone, couldn't seem him anywhere. I called my husband to get him to come home from work, and loaded up the children, after they changed into the van to go drive to try to see if i could see him and then call someone (But wasn't sure who I would call)... I had the van door open to go grab something and I look and there he stands.. He was extremely nervous and worked up and wouldn't have come to me. Praise God that the van door was open and he jumped into it. Now I completely understand when I've read that if a pyr is off leash, he might run off. The previous lady did say he used to run off for hours at a time and come back, but being in a new place, I honestly thought he was gone forever and had no idea what to do. I guess because we've walked him back and forth on our road, and around our property so many times, he knew to come back?? I was beyond shocked. This won't happen again as I'm going to go get him a different collar, or maybe harness?? Not sure, so he can never do that again. He's such a strong dog!

  9. #19
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    I am so glad that you were able to find him quickly, and that he is home safe with you now! I use no-pull harnesses with my two, and despite their best efforts, neither of them has been able to slip their harnesses, yet.

    Given the behavior you are describing, I would say that fear is a likely culprit.

    When they go potty, they put themselves in a physical position (squatting, standing with lifted leg), that leaves them vulnerable to potential attack. You know how some dogs will stare at you while they are “in the act”? It is widely believed that they are making sure that you “have their back” while they are doing something that leaves them unable to make a quick getaway.

    As for the unexpected reaction to your husband barking? That sounds like fear-based behavior, too. Chester, my Lab mix, is my fearful boy. He has been set off by things as seemingly innocuous as me showering in the “wrong” bathroom, and Sebastian barking on a windy day. He completely destroyed a remote one day when my water heater flooded the kitchen and he got scared. On another occasion, he completely shut down out of panic. I looked around to see what he was reacting to, and moments later, saw a woman driving in the distance with her back windows rolled down. In the back seat was a golden retriever with whom Chester had had an altercation the day before.

    Fear-based behavior is often irrational, and often seems explosive and as if it has come “out of nowhere”. The day Chester was set off by the wind was the first windy day after we’d had storms so severe, the tornado sirens went off. Because I knew what to look for, I knew that the wind was making him nervous. Sebastian started barking, and Chester started engaging in behavior that looks like play, but is really insecure bullying behavior. Sebastian gave Chester a Pyr Paw “correction” to the back, and suddenly, Chester went completely stiff. He turned his head away from Sebastian, and his hackles started to raise. Fortunately, I knew that those signs meant that a Chester attack was imminent, and was able to redirect Chester’s focus with a cookie.

    This is why I recommended the Patricia McConnell books. Had I not read them, there is a good chance that I would not have been able to read and diffuse that situation correctly. Chester tends to hold grudges, so had he attacked Sebastian that day, I’m not sure I would have been able to keep him. All three of us would have been devastated.

    While you are reaching out to rescues, I have some resources I would like to pass on.
    Here is a list of contacts affiliated with National Great Pyr Rescue:
    https://nationalpyr.org/contacts

    Here is a rescue here in North Texas that evaluates dogs to see if they are suitable to adopt out to working environments. Those who would fare better in home environments are adopted out as pets to carefully screened homes. The owner is familiar with a wide range of LGD breeds, and has personal experience with some of the more reactive breeds (Karakachans fall into this category). I’m pretty sure she has a few Komondorok (also a pretty reactive LGD breed) right now. I also know that she has had at least one Maremma or Maremma mix recently.
    https://www.bluebonnetanimalrescue.org

    The owner of this rescue also moderates a Facebook group called the Livestock Guardian Dog Rescue Network.
    https://www.facebook.com/search/top/...scue%20network
    Sebastian is on Facebook!
    www.facebook.com/SirSaintSebastian

  10. #20
    Road Dawg Brayjj's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by SebastiansMom View Post
    I am so glad that you were able to find him quickly, and that he is home safe with you now! I use no-pull harnesses with my two, and despite their best efforts, neither of them has been able to slip their harnesses, yet.

    Given the behavior you are describing, I would say that fear is a likely culprit.

    When they go potty, they put themselves in a physical position (squatting, standing with lifted leg), that leaves them vulnerable to potential attack. You know how some dogs will stare at you while they are “in the act”? It is widely believed that they are making sure that you “have their back” while they are doing something that leaves them unable to make a quick getaway.

    As for the unexpected reaction to your husband barking? That sounds like fear-based behavior, too. Chester, my Lab mix, is my fearful boy. He has been set off by things as seemingly innocuous as me showering in the “wrong” bathroom, and Sebastian barking on a windy day. He completely destroyed a remote one day when my water heater flooded the kitchen and he got scared. On another occasion, he completely shut down out of panic. I looked around to see what he was reacting to, and moments later, saw a woman driving in the distance with her back windows rolled down. In the back seat was a golden retriever with whom Chester had had an altercation the day before.

    Fear-based behavior is often irrational, and often seems explosive and as if it has come “out of nowhere”. The day Chester was set off by the wind was the first windy day after we’d had storms so severe, the tornado sirens went off. Because I knew what to look for, I knew that the wind was making him nervous. Sebastian started barking, and Chester started engaging in behavior that looks like play, but is really insecure bullying behavior. Sebastian gave Chester a Pyr Paw “correction” to the back, and suddenly, Chester went completely stiff. He turned his head away from Sebastian, and his hackles started to raise. Fortunately, I knew that those signs meant that a Chester attack was imminent, and was able to redirect Chester’s focus with a cookie.

    This is why I recommended the Patricia McConnell books. Had I not read them, there is a good chance that I would not have been able to read and diffuse that situation correctly. Chester tends to hold grudges, so had he attacked Sebastian that day, I’m not sure I would have been able to keep him. All three of us would have been devastated.

    While you are reaching out to rescues, I have some resources I would like to pass on.
    Here is a list of contacts affiliated with National Great Pyr Rescue:
    https://nationalpyr.org/contacts

    Here is a rescue here in North Texas that evaluates dogs to see if they are suitable to adopt out to working environments. Those who would fare better in home environments are adopted out as pets to carefully screened homes. The owner is familiar with a wide range of LGD breeds, and has personal experience with some of the more reactive breeds (Karakachans fall into this category). I’m pretty sure she has a few Komondorok (also a pretty reactive LGD breed) right now. I also know that she has had at least one Maremma or Maremma mix recently.
    https://www.bluebonnetanimalrescue.org

    The owner of this rescue also moderates a Facebook group called the Livestock Guardian Dog Rescue Network.
    https://www.facebook.com/search/top/...scue%20network
    Thanks! I've yet to get an email back from anywhere I've contacted, but I am sure they are busy.
    Today the dog growled at me. I wanted to check his belly to see about a rash the previous owner told me about, and he growled. He did not want me seeing it. After he growled it was like he knew instantly he did wrong as he tried to "cuddle" me afterwards... I was not sure what to do here, but I got up and walked away after saying NO.
    Yesterday I worked a long time on the underneath of his ears. He had huge knots and mats of fur under there. The previous owner had shaved him for summer so as that is growing back in, I thought it was a good idea to fix the mats and knots slowly... I read that it's not good to shave them unless necessary, is that your experience??

    Anyway, yesterday's walk went okay. I'm just intimidated a little about the growling to me today. He tolerated all that ear grooming with nothing of a growl, but I want to look at his belly and growl!

    Thanks for all your help. I will defintely be reading those books, even if this doesn't work out, at least I will have more knowledge!

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