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  1. #1
    Old Dawg (Senior Member)

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

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    Default Is dedication to routine and high intelligence a breed trait?

    Max continues to delight the entire family, friends of the family, and every stranger he's met so far at 9 months old. I have noticed that he REALLY likes for things to go in a predictable manner. For instance, around 8:30, Max would like my husband and I to turn on the TV so he can lie at our feet while we watch, and he kind of mopes if we do something else and mildly concerned. He prefers to get in and out of our car through the back driver-side door, if you open a different door for him, he just looks at you like "that's wrong" and doesn't go through. Also, my 10 year old takes Max out to potty and then feeds him breakfast every weekday morning. Max is fine with weekends being different, but this week when my son has been at his father's house and I have let Max out to potty and fed him breakfast, Max has been restless and seemed confused by this change. My last dog acted amazed at everything that happened her whole life, so this expectation of patterns kept is new to me. Is this a breed trait?

    Also, Max is the smartest dog I have met. I understand pyrs won't be on a list of smartest dogs because of their independent spirit, but Max seems to understand more complex things than my previous dogs who were on that list. Like if I say a family member name in a sentence to Max, he looks at that person. I told him to come in the bedroom, I wasn't going to crate him, and he came in. Or if he makes a move to do something he's been scolded for (like eating tree ornaments or licking the dishes in the sink), he will stop and look at the person who scolded him and then change course. Or if someone says, "I am going to Target/the gym/grab lunch," he will run to the front door like a request to come with...and in the car, when we pull into a parking spot or get back within a block of the house, he gets ready to get out of the car.

  2. #2
    Old Dawg (Senior Member)

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

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    I've noticed my guy is also very connected to routine. It's to the point that anything different is a new experience and he can be a little tepid or downright nervous. This includes going down the basements stairs(which he hasn't done) or a change in routine. I do notice when I give him praise before doing something it really helps him deal with change. I believe a dog has to be intelligent to really cue in on subtle changes in routine. One problem with having me as an owner is my routine changes all the time so he'll have to adjust and I'm trying to figure out a way to get him to sort of get used to me showing him a change that is ok.

    Max does sound super smart. He just likes what he likes. If he were a person he'd only order his favorite thing at the restaurant. Why try something you don't know you'd like?

  3. #3
    Old Dawg (Senior Member)

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    Yes, we definitely have an opinionated dog, but then we have a whole houseload of opinionated people, too. I have been surprised that Max hasn't found much to fear, we totally changed his universe from outdoor farm to suburban house at 4 months and he took it all in stride.

    Our aussie girl we lost this fall was comically the opposite of Max in this way. She was surprised and delighted to learn she was having dog food for breakfast, every single day. She would hear a car in the driveway and run back and forth among doors, so excited that someone was coming. When Max hears MY car in the driveway, he goes to the laundry room door, but husband's car he goes to the front door (I park in garage and he parks in driveway). Known cars get a tail wag, unknown cars get a big bark.

  4. #4
    Old Dawg (Senior Member)

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    Today the kids went back to school after the holiday break, and Max was clearly glad to see his routine come back. He had an extra spring in his step when we did potty break and breakfast at the correct times in the correct order with the correct family members. And he was watching the front door 15 minutes before my son's buddy usually comes over to meet up for the walk to the bus stop. When the buddy arrived, Max was absolutely beside himself with joy. He barked like a lunatic, tail wagging like crazy. The buddy was amused at Max's reaction, he lives next door and they see each other almost every day

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

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    All of my four are obsessive about routine. It's interesting to watch how change affects the different individuals. I try to keep some semblance of their normal routine even when I have to change some things but any change is clearly not to their liking. They want predictability at all times! My two with more "cosmopolitan" temperaments do better with change but the other two that are not quite so outgoing, are clearly distressed and worried when we have to change things. I think LGDs, due to the nature of the work they have done for so many years, are a lot smarter than many other breeds. They are often thought of as stubborn or slow but once you understand how to speak THEIR language, it is clear they are just speaking and understanding things well beyond what we tend to expect from our canine family members... I've had to resort to spelling things I don't want Rona to comprehend. I have no doubt that if I continue spelling, she will soon be able to crack the code for spelling too!

  6. #6
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Shaggys Mom's Avatar

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    WOW, it HAS to be a breed thing! Ever since we had adopted Sir Moose, (and with all our previous dogs) the ceramic water dish (ld crock pot linter) sat on the mat on the left, the food dish on the right. Well, he was suck a SLOPPY drinker and sloshed water up on the side of the cabinet that one day I reversed them.. He watched me put his food dish down on the left side instead of the right side of his water dish, and he took a couple steps forward, stretched his neck, sniffed, looked at me, then at his food dish and then back to me. Another step and looked at me, but would not walk the final couple of feet to his food dish. Just stood there looking at me. I switched them back to the old way--he went right to his dish and started eating; He did not want them changed around.

    Another thing, after Hurricane Harvey clean up started so many yard had piles of tree limbs, etc out on the side of the streets for months. Jerry walked Sir Moose every morning once things were cleared enough to be safe--but still huge tree limbs, cut up trees, etc piles of trash on the side of the road. See, we were suppose to have limbs, trees, brush in one pile and stuff like fences, wood or shingles, etc in another. If mixed, it was not picked up as two different types of trucks were used. But some people didn't pay attention and piled it together and ti remained until separated. Well, one their walks around here (some streets lie ours has sidewalks but all those behind us and on out in the country do not) Jerry and Sir Moose would walk around those huge piles of limbs & trash. Some remained for 6 months or so. Finally, after all were picked up, when they reached those houses where the trash hade set out so long, Sir Moose would go out into the middle of the street like it was still there---even tho it was not. It had gotten to be such a habit in those 6 months that he thought he was suppose to go out and around that yard! He never again walked a straight path on any of his routes.

    I guess when the piles were there he had to go around and then decided that was what he was suppose to do, so even when gone, he swung out into the street. Jerry use to laugh at him about that. Also, he wanted to get into the car on the side behind the passenger seat and get out on the side behind the driver's side. I do think they love their routine. One other thing. After he was diagnosed with liver disease I made his treats and he got two every night at bedtime. And he was upset if he only got one and would follow me around sniff, looking for that 2ed one.
    Jerry and Moose

  7. #7
    Old Dawg (Senior Member)

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    My guess is that these dogs have to be sensitive to changes in their environment in order to protect the flock, herd..etc. My guy want's to exit through the same door and get in the truck the same way. Anything different requires some getting used to. He's not to bad but I notice he is not a fan of change. He approaches it with caution. He tries hard to figure out if it's good or bad. It has to be a breed trait. The good thing is when he gets in to a routine that you like he'll look forward to it. He gets his kong before I go to work and I put him in his crate until lunch. We do our walk in the morning and just before I leave he knows that treat filled kong is coming his way and he looks forward to it which gives me some peace of mind.

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