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  1. #1
    Puppy (New Member)

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

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    Oct 2018

    Question Great Pyrenees Bit Mother - Put Down??

    So my parents (not myself, I have moved out) own a Great Pyrenees, he is around 1 year old. They have had him since he was a puppy, and got him from a farmer (they live in a very rural area). I spent some time around the dog, and he has a very sweet personality. However, I have always rather doubted my parents' ability to properly train him, and he never had great behavior, from what I saw anyway. (Things like pulling at the leash when walking, not following commands, etc.)

    Today I got a phone call from my mother that the dog bit her. I couldn't quite follow parts of her story, but from my understanding it went something like: she had to leave to run errands, wanted him to go into the mudroom while she was away, he growled/nipped her, she backed off, then she really needed to leave so she tried again and he bit her arm and wrist. She said he really went in, the puncture wounds were 1.5" deep, blood all down her arm. I can't recall if there was bone/food involved or not(He has been food aggressive in the past). She went to the doctor, no ligament damage or broken bones, just antibiotics and painkillers.

    So now she says they need to put him down or find a rescue. Is it really necessary to put him down?? The thought makes me quite sad, he seemed like a very sweet dog, and quite frankly I think it is more poor training from my parents than anything else (ie, I do believe this situation was preventable). I understand them not wanting him in the house anymore given that they also own several small dogs and have small children (big age gap between us), and honestly I don't think they should've ever gotten a Great Pyrenees- they are wonderful dogs but I don't think my parents are responsible owners.

    Could you please offer any advice here? Do you have any recommendations for rescues for the dog? They live in Minnesota if that helps at all.

    Thank you so much!

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

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

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    Mar 2009
    Walla Walla Washington


    Midwest....sorry to read about this incident, however with you not being there to see exactly what happened it is very difficult to say anything...I do believe that your parents should try to find another place for this Pyr, as I am sure they are afraid of him now, and he will pick up on their hesitation & fear...and can possibly interpret that and try to assume to be the responsible one in the family (in other words the one to make decisions, since he may start feeling your parents are incapable of making protective decisions)
    there is a rescue in Minnesota, not sure how close they are to your's called NorthStar Great Pyrenees Rescue, try this phone number.... 612-379-0010

    please let us know what becomes of this boy....any chance the original breeder/owner would take him back?
    call a veterinarians office, find out if they have a behaviorist that could go over to your parents home & evaluate this guy

    the last thing....breathe....sometimes things aren't always as bad as they seem at first...adrenaline rushes, thoughts get confused, emotions get heightened

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

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

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    Oct 2012
    Dallas, TX


    I am so sorry to hear this.

    Here is some information from National Pyr Rescue about surrendering a dog. I believe that the article contains a link to their Surrender hotline.

    How many times did the Pyr try to bite your Mom the second time she tried to force him into the mud room?
    As for the puncture wounds, is 1.5Ē an actual measurement, or was that an estimate? If it was an estimate, who made the estimation? The answers to these questions may be the best way to determine what happens next.

    The article I am going to link to was written by the late Veterinary Behaviorist, Dr. Sophia Yin. It talks about the Dunbar scale, a system of measuring the severity of dog bites, created by Dr. Ian Dunbar. I hope you will read it, and send it along to your parents. I do not envy the terrible decision they have to make.

    From what you have written, I do believe that todayís bite could have been prevented, but Iím not so sure that training was the issue. It is perfectly normal for a one-year-old Pyr to pull on the leash and not obey ďCommandsĒ (I have come to call commands cues or requests, because Iím not commanding Sebastian to do anything he doesnít want to do, TBH). They have been selectively bred for thousands of years to do their job without human assistance or interference. Because of that, it is very rare for a Pyr to obey humans blindly, the way most breeds will (think retrievers, German shepherds, border collies, etc). They also donít deal well with being forced to do anything they donít want to do. That dominance-based, Alpha-male training that you see on certain TV shows, and splattered all over the worst corners of the dog-related internet? It doesnít work on Pyrs, and can lead to the dog developing dangerous behaviors.

    This dogís resistance to obeying cues is also likely a product of his age. Just like humans, Pyrs tend to go through obvious behavioral changes during adolescence. Just like humans, they turn into bratty teenagers, complete with that openly defiant, ďdonít-wanna-canít-make-meĒ attitude that I will admit I had for fear too many years. At right around a year old, this Pyr is the rough developmental equivalent of a 12-year-old boy. EEK!!! At that age, Sebastian was absolutely diabolical. His terrible behavior peaked when he was about 18 months old, and started to improve around his second Birthday. Heís 6 1/2 now, and has calmed down to the point that he is actually pleasant to be around.

    I hope your Mom has a speedy recovery, and wish your family peace and healing while your parents have to make this terrible decision. Itís a situation I wouldnít wish on anyone.
    Sebastian is on Facebook!

  4. #4
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) mikelg84's Avatar

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

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    Apr 2017
    Ann Arbor, Michigan


    So sorry to hear about this, midwest.

    I hope your mom recovers fast and the dog can be re-homed. I'm in favor of second opportunities and I believe that with the right training and patience, it's possible to teach a Great Pyr what is right and what is wrong. Hoping for a second home that will find the time to understand what your parents' Pyr is going through.

    Good luck.

  5. #5
    Puppy (New Member) dana_and_spyro's Avatar

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

    Join Date
    Nov 2018


    Sorry to read this, and I hope your mother will get better soon.
    From my experience, even friendliest dog could bite - accidentally or not, but there must be the reason (illness, overprotective behaviour or so) . But you'll never know what happened, since you weren't there. Your parents probably would not do this, but you can take your boy to behaviorist. He's young enough to be trained. If you can't take him, then try to contact the breeder as Nick's spirit already said.
    Try to save him and give him a chance.

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