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  1. #1
    Road Dawg

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    Default Moo's first week

    I brought Mooey home last Sunday night. He had basically spent his entire life in pen with other puppies and knew nothing of the outside world. He was skiddish of everything. He slept on the way home and seemed to bond to me and friends quickly. I've been desensitizing and trying to socialize him as much as possible and I've had mixed success.

    The good:
    He's coming out of his shell more and more. He isn't as afraid of random sounds. I've used all appliances other than the vacuum and he's fine. I can drop random objects on the floor and he could care less.

    He's acting more like a puppy and jumping and running around. He's kinda a plump goofball in this mode. I love it.

    He is super sweet with my elderly dad and his aids. They love having him up there and are willing to have him up there while I'm away.

    He's been great with everyone who's come over to the house. He may not come up to them initially but will eventually look for a little love. He's calm and doesn't bark when they come inside. (But see below )


    He'll let me do anything. I can pick him up, hold him like a baby, touch his paws anywhere. The only exception is the truck. I have picked him up to get in but he doesn't like that. He want's to do it on his own and actually can with minimal assistance now.

    He loves his crate and we both sleep soundly at night(thank God!)

    The Not so good
    He's showing some resistance. When we walk he'll stop and refuse to go any further. I'll give him a tug or just sit there and and wait and he'll eventually bound over and heel at my side.

    He won't poop or pee in front of me. He will sneak off and do it in spots I can't see. This includes both in and outside. When I catch him in the act I try to redirect him but I'm probably not helping(never yelling just trying to get him outside quickly). It's going to take a lot of time and a few wee wee pads. Though the doggie door might be the solution.

    He likes to eat dirt and pebbles. He just puked some up. I'm not sure how to rid him of this without making him fat.

    The ugly.
    He still is very leery of strangers. Today at the park a lady walked up to pet him as he was sitting on a bench and he growled a little. She was great and didn't react...neither did I. Eventually he got next to me and she did pet him at his level. She walked back to the truck with us(at my request) and he was very calm and accepting of her. But that initial growl made my heart sink(he's never growled at anyone .

    We went into town after that and I found a good spot where we could observe people, cars, and lots of activity. He was uncomfortable initially but I sat down on the sidewalk and he nudged up against me and seemed very calm and observant. I just lightly stroked him as he look about. He was not scared but just observant and curious. People would acknowledge us but no one tried to pet him....which was appreciated! An older gent talked to me and said "give it time" he'll get there. I'm going to do a lot more of this. Everyone has noticed that he seems very bonded to me which gives me hope I'll be able to provide proper guidance to get him through it. He has so much going for him otherwise. But I'd be lying if I wasn't a little worried about aggression.

    I think I'll mix it up. Town first then the park which he loves then home which he loves. Man, this is challenging.

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

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    It sounds like you and Mooey have had a great first week together! There is a lot here to be very proud of!

    I had to laugh at the part about his resistance on walks, because you could easily be describing Sebastian. When Sebastian does it, I say he’s “taking a break”. We both know that if he decides to take a break, neither of us is going anywhere until he is darn good and ready.

    The potty issues also sound pretty familiar. When he was a puppy, we lived in an apartment that had wood flooring downstairs, and carpet upstairs. He loved going potty on the carpet upstairs so much that I had to set up a baby gate restricting his access to the 2nd floor. I spent about six months sleeping downstairs on the couch with him. Still, I could just have taken him out, and if there was an opportunity for him to find a way to sneak upstairs and soil the carpet, he would do it!

    He also went through the phase where he would try to eat anything he found, whether it was supposed to be eaten or not. It was during that phase that he gave me a black eye when I bent over him trying to take an acorn out of his mouth. He jumped right up and smacked my eye with the bony part of his skull. Bad words were said. The worst thing I can remember taking away from him was the carcass of a dead blue jay. This was right outside a busy restaurant in the neighborhood, in plain view of all of the patio diners.

    As for the growl, well, that sounds pretty familiar, too. Sebastian went through a number of phases which seemed to be tied to his growth spurts, during which seemingly random things would really freak him out. Some of the things he reacted to were a guy with long hair, a woman with big, poofy hair, two people moving a mattress, a car parked on the wrong side of the street, a motorcycle parked on the sidewalk, a leather stuffed rhino in the doorway of a store, plants covered in anticipation of freezing weather, a restaurant worker waiting in the “wrong spot” for his ride home after his shift, a political campaigner with a clip board, a guy with a large styrofoam Sonic cup, I could keep going for days. To this day, he hates costumes of any kind which makes Halloween a pretty dull holiday at our house. For a while, he came with me to work every day, and one night as we were leaving, Sebastian was on alert about something that was going on at a really shady storage building down the street. While Sebastian was in alert mode, two guys were walking on the side walk behind us, and startled Sebastian. He went into full-on barking, snarling, and lunging mode, which scared the absolute daylights out of those two guys, whom I have never seen again. Sebastian is now 6 1/2, and while I am very aware of his shortcomings, I can say with full confidence that he is great with people of all colors, shapes, and sizes. The only way he would intentially hurt someone would be if that someone were trying to hurt someone that Sebastian wanted to protect.

    Chester, my non-pyr, has always been weird with new people. There are people that he loves a bit too much (he will exhibit signs of Separation Anxiety when they leave his sight, even if I am standing right there and the person is someone he has just met), and people that he fears. We have been working on his fear for the last few years, and his progress has been nothing short of miraculous.

    I am really looking forward to learning more about Mooey’s personality, and hearing about your adventures together!
    Sebastian is on Facebook!
    www.facebook.com/SirSaintSebastian

  3. #3
    Road Dawg

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    Thank you that gives me comfort. My friend who was with me when I get him came to visit tonight. Moo gave him a light growl at first . But after some time we were all playing on the floor. I was violating him frequently showing his belly etc. with my friend present and he was good. I'm really hoping I can get him out of this while he's young. There were some deer in the back and he got scared but I started barking at them and he came by my side and started doing the same(after being scared). Hopefully he can sense the difference. When I act indifferent he seems to (somewhat).

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

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    Ah, it's time to say this: take a deep breath, relax, you are overthinking this...
    You are not going to mess him up. You are doing fine and so is he.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
    He's showing some resistance. When we walk he'll stop and refuse to go any further.
    All of my pups went through this. Very normal for his age. You are looking at it from YOUR point of view, not from his point of view. First, he is a baby. Second, the world is new to him, especially yours right now. Third, he has survival instincts that you need to respect and work with, not against. He's not doing his to spite you. It's a learning process for him. There is nothing "bad" about this reaction. He's being rational. LOL, to be entirely honest... to say this is a "not so good", it's you who is being irrational.

    The poo and pee issue is also part of the survival instinct. Poop and pee are used by adult animals to mark territory. A baby animal like Mooie isn't going to want to invade the territory of others. He's also instinctively wanting to hide his scent from potential threats to him. That attitude will change as he grows. Again, we went through this with all of our pups.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
    He likes to eat dirt and pebbles.
    Age related. He'll grow out of that. Human babies go through the same thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
    he growled a little
    He's communicating with you of the situations he's not comfortable with. It's your job to get control of those situations. If he's telling you he doesn't like stranger going right up to him, then you need to learn to stop people from doing that. This is what I was saying about your having his back. He's a baby so he needs to know that he can trust you to protect him. Also, he's from working LGD lines. It's not unusual for these guys to be more wary of their surroundings. It doesn't mean he would become aggressive, just that you need to recognize it and work with him.

    When someone wants to interact with him, don't let them approach him directly. Let him watch YOU interact with the person first so that he can see that you are comfortable with the person. He will take cues from you. Also, the general rule of thumb is always let the dog come up, not force attention on them if they don't want it.

    For the time being take him to places where he can see people but not be mobbed by them. Give him time to get used to seeing people and how people act. Never force him to acknowledge humans if he's not doing so voluntarily. Your job is to educate him on what to expect from normal human reactions. Eventually he'll learn that humans are ok for the most part and learn to assess first and not react first.

    My Ren was extensively socialized starting a 3 months. But Ren is from show lines where they are bred to be people friendly. My Bro before him was totally different. Bro's father was a working LGD, his mother a retriever mutt. Bro inherited a lot of the LGD aloofness. He had little interest in humans who weren't me or my husband. So I spent a lot of time teaching Bro how to co-exist peacefully as a urban dog.

  5. #5
    Road Dawg

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    Thanks all. Good advice.

  6. #6
    Road Dawg

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    We've had a great couple of days. Mostly I'm learning to be a better guardian for Mooey but he has also made a ton of progress. He's made great strides in potty training and also socialization. Took him to a friends house and he settled in and mostly slept on the floor in the middle of eveyone. Also took him to a quite Agway and he seemed quite comfortable with the people there. No one really paid attention to us and that was perfect. Despite the rain my good friend who knows a lot about dog behavior has an 11 year old Labodoodle that's a perfect mix of calm and playful met us at the local park where moo is very comfortable. My friend is 6'9" and his dog is also pretty large but they're both very calm souls. I decided to let Mooey off his leash for the first time. He jumped around and ran his tail off. He kept me in site but did cover a good distance away at points but when I called him would come running and get lots of praise and a treat. My friend got him to take a treat from his hand and Mooey played with his dog Dillon very nicely.

    Walk at the park


    You know your in deep when a video of your dog peeing makes your day. lol
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiS15liqJ6E

  7. #7
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) mikelg84's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
    We've had a great couple of days. Mostly I'm learning to be a better guardian for Mooey but he has also made a ton of progress. He's made great strides in potty training and also socialization. Took him to a friends house and he settled in and mostly slept on the floor in the middle of eveyone. Also took him to a quite Agway and he seemed quite comfortable with the people there. No one really paid attention to us and that was perfect. Despite the rain my good friend who knows a lot about dog behavior has an 11 year old Labodoodle that's a perfect mix of calm and playful met us at the local park where moo is very comfortable. My friend is 6'9" and his dog is also pretty large but they're both very calm souls. I decided to let Mooey off his leash for the first time. He jumped around and ran his tail off. He kept me in site but did cover a good distance away at points but when I called him would come running and get lots of praise and a treat. My friend got him to take a treat from his hand and Mooey played with his dog Dillon very nicely.

    Walk at the park


    You know your in deep when a video of your dog peeing makes your day. lol
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiS15liqJ6E

    I love these videos! I think you're doing a fantastic job at slowly socializing your dog! And it looks like potty training is going well. I used to have a treat ready for Pippa every time she peed in the yard. Great memories!

  8. #8
    Road Dawg

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    So we're now wrapping up week two and this little guy has made so much progress. He's continuing to come out of his shell and act like a silly puppy. He's still a little shy but is getting much better. His confidence is way way up. We went to the vet's office last thrusday and I was a little worried. But I kept feeding him a constant stream of kibbles and let the staff give him some too. He let the vet and her assistant do a physical, take his temp(which would be awkward for anyone) and took a vaccine shot like it never happened. He pranced out of there and hopped in my truck happy and content. I was so proud. We're still working on stuff. His potty training is coming along. He let me know that he had to go out and when he did went right away. Most of his training issues are the result of me not knowing what I'm doing but I'm learning. He's really, really smart.

    I put pepper spray on the pebble areas he likes eat from and that seems to have slowed him down though I have to be diligent and pluck various items like wood chips, pebles, (anything really) out of his mouth. At night we play on the rug and he's loves his toys and chasing balls.....though he's iffy on returning them. He also likes to steal my clothes and chew on them. He likes chewing on me too(playfully of course) but that's fine although he's got some big, sharp puppy teeth.

    I had called a local trainer last week and he has a background in police dog training and uses an e collar. Although he explained his reasoning that turned me off. I think I might be able to provide all he needs as he's so sensitive and smart. There's a ton of good info on how to train dogs using positive methods. And I don't want an obedience champion, just a happy dog and can that go around with me and be ok with other people and dogs. I definitely think he's got that going if keep on track. Someday I'd love to see if he could be a therapy dog for the elderly. He's got this calm, regal presence about him. I think he'd be great.

    Every morning we get up with the sun and do a short hike. 50% of the time he's off leash and has been doing well with keeping with me and coming when I call.

  9. #9
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) nick's spirit's Avatar

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    Mark...sounds like he's a typical puppy...and you are paying lots of attention to him....great team work!!!

    I agree with your feelings about the trainer...let Moo be a puppy....that doesn't mean you can't start slowly teaching him manners, you've already got him asking to go outside!!!

    the off leash thing....that may change as he gets older & more confident & inquisitive....be prepared!

    these days micro chipping has become more reasonable....might not be a bad idea to investigate getting him chipped if he isn't already

    Thanks for the update...hope you boys continue to enjoy one another and strengthen your bond!

  10. #10
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    Very happy for the two of you that things are going well! I think it's fine to do without the trainer for now. Not knocking the trainer's ability, but Moo is 4 months old and is not out of control. He doesn't really NEED a protection dog type trainer. The e-collar training doesn't surprise me. It is all the rage currently. Around here people send their dogs off to be trained and they all come back with e-collars. I am an old fashioned I'll work with my dog myself type of person...


    Also, some of these LGDs are very sensitive. Take my Ren. Ren is in agility training now. I didn't enroll him in agility until he was about 16 months old. I took time to teach him how to learn before I started him in class. His training is all reward based. He's at a stage where then can do short sequences now and knows how to do the weave poles. But for example, if he did the weave poles wrong and I call him out to do over, he gets discouraged and would just stop working. I have to throw a party to get him back working. Pyrs are not dogs with high drive that just want to repeat things over and over. If they don't see any reason for performing commands, they just won't do them. The police dog type training is usually focused on repetition and expectations of prompt compliance, neither is natural for the pyr.


    As to off leash... I also used to let Ren off leash when he was young on the river trail which is shielded from traffic. The last pics of him at the trail were when he was about 8 months old. Shortly after that we stopped going on that trail because it got hot and the trail has little shade. When it was cool enough to go again, Ren was over a year old and I no longer trusted him to be off leash. I am not afraid he'd run off. But he had matured to the point that if he saw another dog and wanted to go visit, he would just go and respond to recall only when he decided to. I am not worried about him picking a fight because he doesn't, but people don't appreciate a giant hairball running at them...

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