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  1. #1
    Puppy (New Member)

    Prospective Great Pyrenees Owner

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    Default Advice before adopting a rescue

    Iíve read and read the last couple of days, but figured I would ask to make sure he gets a good home. A little background, we lost our Great Dane about six months ago and just started looking at shelters this past weekend. A Great Pyrenees wasnít on our radar but we immediately fell in love with a 1-2 year old that is needing a forever home. We spent a few hours with him and put him on hold until tomorrow so we can make an informed decision and be certain we will be a good fit for him. We will obviously adjust to him as an individual, but as a breed......
    1. We have a couple of fenced acres and we have goats. Shelter volunteer made it sound like he should ďliveĒ with the goats. All of our dogs have been indoor ďpart of the familyĒ pets. What does the breed prefer? What is best for them?
    2. He is neutered and we will fix any other dogs we get, will it be an issue introducing new dogs later on? Do we need to be alert of other dogs when he is around his goats?
    3. He has an almost sinuous walk, a lot of extra side to side on his back end. Is it normal or is it something we need to get the vet on ASAP?
    4. Anything else you think a potential Pyrenees owner should know? I donít think we cannot adopt him at this point, but we want to be a good home for him, in the past Iíve done months of research on breeds before moving forward so any help from the experienced owners would be nice since this is happening faster than expected.

  2. #2
    Road Dawg Brayjj's Avatar

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

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    We adopted one back in the summer and these are the things we found.

    So far he can not be off leash. He will take off. That's a common thing with this breed it seems though some people on this board has great success with theirs being off leash. My husband isn't a huge fan of the 11pm in the middle of a snow storm leash walks to poop but we are learning to adjust. We were used to dogs being off leash and potty on their own.

    I will say ours prefers to be outside more than inside. He enjoys inside but he LOVES outside more than any dog we had. It seems they need a job or atleast ours and he loves keeping watch. He would probably love hanging with the goats.

    They are stubborn dogs that may need extra patience. We wanted to re-home ours but couldn't.
    He had a lot of aggression towards our other male dog. Things are better but not resolved. Just as I was typing this he went to attack our other dog because he thought he was doing something he shouldn't be. He wants to guard and be in charge. The previous owners told us he was great with dogs but in our home and the stress of moving he was not.
    Outside of our home so far he's been great with other dogs but on his tuff, not so well .

    Ours is a mix by the way of another guardian dog as well.

    I'm sure others will have lots to say. I hope things go well. Another thing I wasn't prepared for either was the shedding. Not that that would stop me but we get his hair in our food at times. It seems to float everywhere!

    They are loveable dogs!!!

  3. #3
    Puppy (New Member)

    Prospective Great Pyrenees Owner

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    Thank you for giving me some insight and your experience. I have read about their tendency to roam, luckily our back yard is fenced so we can let him go. Are both your dogs male and are they fixed? I’ve read that helps with the aggression. Also were they both adults when introduced?

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

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frogg View Post
    1. We have a couple of fenced acres and we have goats. Shelter volunteer made it sound like he should ďliveĒ with the goats. All of our dogs have been indoor ďpart of the familyĒ pets. What does the breed prefer? What is best for them?
    Not all of these guys are suited to be full time LGDs. Some prefer to be the humans than livestock. If the shelter people don't know the history of this dog, they cannot know for certain whether he is a working LGD or not. Also, if this dog has not been exposed to livestock, you're going to need to take it slow with him as he might chase the goats.

    The first time my prior female saw a sheep, she was 2.5 yrs old. She was very excited to meet them. They were not excited to meet her. They ran from her and she chased not because she wanted to hurt them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frogg View Post
    2. He is neutered and we will fix any other dogs we get, will it be an issue introducing new dogs later on? Do we need to be alert of other dogs when he is around his goats?
    It depends on the particular dog. Some hardcore LGDs are not be very tolerant of other large dogs around their charges. Also, same gender aggression is not uncommon with LGDs. You didn't say whether you have other dogs right now, but typically it is better to have opposite gender pairings with LGDs. I have noticed mine can react to dogs with standup ears, like GSDs. I think perhaps the standup ears resemble coyotes or wolves. Not saying they won't get along with dogs with standup ears, just something to k

    Quote Originally Posted by Frogg View Post
    23. He has an almost sinuous walk, a lot of extra side to side on his back end. Is it normal or is it something we need to get the vet on ASAP?
    Correct hips will not sway side to side. Swaying hips suggest the structure is not entirely correct, but it doesn't automatically mean the dog has hip dysplasia. Dogs with hip dysplasia don't always have the swaying walk. My current young adult walks with a swaying back side. I noticed it as soon as we got him at 8 weeks old. He's two now. His back end is not the strongest because he also has straight hocks. But he seems to be doing fine, he jogs with me and is in agility training. Though it would certain be prudent to have your vet look over the back end so you know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frogg View Post
    4. Anything else you think a potential Pyrenees owner should know? I donít think we cannot adopt him at this point, but we want to be a good home for him
    It sounds like you guys have a good home setup for a pyr. One other thing is pyrs bark. That and roaming are the biggest reasons they end up in shelters. But if you are not set on having the pyr as a 24/7 working LGD and live outside with the livestock, you can alleviate an issue with barking, if the dog proves to be a barker, by keeping him inside during the night so not to make neighbors mad.

    What else... ask the shelter people if they've exposed the pyr with other dogs. If not, see if they are willing to put another dog with the pyr to see if it is tolerant of other dogs. Also, ask if they've tested him for resource guarding issues bc food aggression isn't uncommon in the breed.

  5. #5
    Puppy (New Member)

    Prospective Great Pyrenees Owner

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    Thank you!
    We donít currently have another dog but are picking up a St. Bernard/Great Adanís mix next weekend, the people who got it donít have the space and have to give her up. At the shelter we spent a long time with him and he played well with a smaller female dog.
    All they know is he was surrendered because he roamed and was aggressive on someone elseís property.
    I was worried about the hips, he doesnít have good sleeping conditions for a dog his size at the shelter. Itís not super pronounced but we will make sure the vet checks him after we pick him up.
    Thank you guys for reaffirming what I have read. I felt we could provide him a good home and I think we are making as informed of a decision as we can. I look forward to chatting with you guys about things as we adjust to this new addition.

  6. #6
    Road Dawg Brayjj's Avatar

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frogg View Post
    Thank you for giving me some insight and your experience. I have read about their tendency to roam, luckily our back yard is fenced so we can let him go. Are both your dogs male and are they fixed? Iíve read that helps with the aggression. Also were they both adults when introduced?
    Both were adults. Well the pyr is 1 and our other dog 3.

    Our dog was not neutered yet when they met so that could have played into it. The first time he saw him from a distance he didn't like him. He attacked him their first meeting. We couldn't even keep them in the same room. Took a long time to get where we are. Still not perfect.

    I agree with Jewel. Ours came to us with food aggression. Food causes attacks. It's so bad that if he thinks the other dog found food he attacks. Like today when I typed my message my daughter said the other got sniffed at the table snd boom. If we correct the other dog by saying uh uh the pyr now knows he's being bad amd wants to discipline him.

    Our case is different than most. But wanted to share.

    Ours has a lot of fear. He's just a fearful dog. So part of gis aggression in the beginning was fear based but I will honestly say I don't think it will ever go away. We manage them. We had an opportunity to re-home him to be a full time lgd but it didn't seem like a good fit. He's people driven and although is good with livestock, he wants to be with you if you are outside. Plus her fencing system wasn't the best so he would have escaped very quickly.

    It sounds like you have a great set up. They are a different kind of breed. But I know once you fall in love it's hard to give them up.

    I agree with the barking. Their hearing is also very good-looking better than our other dog and they smell things more intensely I believe. He can smell a skunk miles away and goes crazy.

    We love our guy.

    Do you know how he walks on a leash and if he likes the car? Or anything about this past??

  7. #7
    Puppy (New Member)

    Prospective Great Pyrenees Owner

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    Not a lot on his past. We walked him and he is 100% a gentleman on a leash, stays right by your side and no pulling or even trying to chase and join other dogs. As soon as he was off the leash he was off like a shot to play. He was great with the kids as well. I asked about food and other pet aggression and he hasnít shown either. The lady we got some of our goats from has a couple of herds of goats and several Pyrenees and Iíve been waiting to hear back from her, all hers all full time LGD and she is going to help us out. I really appreciate the community here taking the time to help ease my concern.

  8. #8
    Road Dawg kcphilaflyer's Avatar

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

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    We are now the proud owners of 2 males after knowing nothing of the breed just over 2 years ago. Both are rescues, we got the first one in April 2017 when he was about 4 months old, had been dumped with his sisters at 1 month old. He is the sweetest dog and is actually now a certified therapy dog. We got the second one last October. He was actually just going to be a foster. Similar case, he was found wandering, full of fleas and dirty and needed a home fast. We weren't sure how they would get along, both being males at right around 2 years old. We kept one in the kennel and the other out for a couple weeks before we allowed them to be out together. I think that adjustment time worked because they turned out to be great together. After we saw that we had no choice but to adopt him.

    They are a wonderful breed, ours are fine for the most part being around other dogs, they go to doggie day care and are great, sometimes on walks they get a little guardian in them and bark up a storm if we pass another dog, but on neutral ground it's not a problem.

    The butt shake walk seems to be a thing, especially with Zeke, our taller one, maybe it's just the long legs, but it's really funny to watch, especially with his tail feathers. Ours are not allowed off leash, just not worth it. As far as the goats, can't help you much there but like others mentioned, it depends on their personality, if their parents were working dogs, etc. Both of ours are content hanging around and guarding us while sleeping by the fire place.

    Zeke and Murphy
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  9. #9
    Puppy (New Member)

    Prospective Great Pyrenees Owner

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    We picked him up today and he is adjusting great. He has already decided that our 3 year old daughter is his responsibility it seems as he follows her around nonstop. He seems to have a very relaxed demeanor and is being extremely cuddly and affectionate. After he gets time to adjust we will see how he does with our other animals. Thanks again for all the advice.

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

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

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    I adopted/rescued Casey (the pyr in my avatar) from a farm in Central Texas when he was 8 months old; both of his parents and several of his littermates are working LGDs. I knew NOTHING about the breed and learned almost everything I know about them from this forum. He was intact when I adopted him, and I already had a male Mini Dachshund who was neutered, so Casey was neutered ASAP. He's never shown any aggression toward my little dog or people, other than when he has gotten into the trash can and resource guards his treasure (I've dealt with that by keeping the covered garbage can in the laundry room). He did well around goats and other dogs (but not chickens), and now he lives indoors. You probably don't have the same extreme heat as we do here in Texas, but Casey wouldn't make it here as an outside dog.

    I also keep Casey on-leash when I take him outside the yard; he gave me a couple of good scares when he took off running at 18 months old for the sheer joy of it; although he returned to the farm both times after being chased by me and two farm hands, I never want to take the chance again. He goes to the dog park frequently to burn some energy, as well as 2-3 walks a day, and he loves going to doggie daycare, the pet store and other public places where he is usually the center of attention (this is true of the breed - he can never have too much adoration or too many pets). There was a period of time (around 2-3 years) in which he started to become aggressive with other large males; that seems to have almost disappeared and he seems to have mellowed a little in his fifth year.

    The barking is an issue; he barks loudly and often, so living in an apartment or anywhere else with shared walls will never be possible for me. He has just this year become more responsive to a hand signal and verbal command of "enough," and I try not to take him out after 9-10pm in order to keep the peace with my neighbors.

    Thank you for adopting and saving your pyr's life; I have come to love the breed (even though I'm now on my fourth vacuum cleaner!). Two questions for you: Have you named your boy yet? And do you have pictures? Please keep us posted on your journey with your new family member!

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