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  1. #1
    Puppy (New Member)

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

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    Default Great Pyrenees Food Issues

    Hello, I'm new here, but am looking for advice on how to end a long running quirk of my Pyrenees. My family got our Great Pyrenees, Hiro, roughly three years ago as a rescue. I don't know what his specific age is, maybe 6, but I've had an issue with him from day one that has recently gotten worse. We leave out a bowl of food for both dogs we have, and that seems to be the issue. Hiro seems to believe that I want to steal his food and has spent the past years knowing exactly how I walk down the stairs and getting up to walk over to the food after growling. This didn't bother me at first as it didn't hinder anything in my daily life, and he would usually even walk up to me afterwards and look for affection. Recently, he has gotten a bit more agressive/stand-offish with his habit. He seems to bark and hold his ground a lot more than he used to, blocking entry ways to the basement in the process as he doesn't get up anymore. We seem to think that some teenage boys messed with him in the past, which seems correct, as now that my brother is in 7th grade he has started to act up with him. No one else in the family seems to get the same treatment, nor does the other dog, it is only me and my brother. What makes it weirder is that he only seems to have an issue within our house and with the food, when the food is out or he is in a different location (such as grandparent's house) he doesn't seem to care about anything around him.

    Also, he doesn't seem to be playing. He seems genuinely angry when I walk down as he gets a really gruff face.

    I don't know what I should do. Should I try not having a food bowl out (neither seem to really eat it), or is there a way to solve this without changing the area, but rather the behavior. He is a really sweet dog, but this has been a troublesome issue that seems to be escalating more now, probably because of the brother.

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

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

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    Oct 2012
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    Default

    Welcome to the forum!

    It sounds like your sweet boy is resource guarding his food. I would recommend not leaving food bowls out for him to guard. Instead, I would advise that you and your family start feeding him and your other dog twice a day, in “safe places”. If your dogs are crate trained, perfect. Let them eat their meals in their respective crates. Otherwise, I would feed them separately in an area or areas In which they can be enclosed until they are finished eating. The layout of your home may determine this. With my two, Chester, my non-Pyr eats in his crate, while Sebastian eats wherever he darn well pleases. When Sebastian is either done with or has lost interest in his meal, the bowls are taken up, and Chester is released from his crate. This way, there are no misunderstandings between “brothers”.

    I would also recommend that you and your entire family start your dogs on the Nothing In Life Is Free (NILIF) Protocol, if you haven’t already. If you Google NILIF, there is a wealth of information on the internet. This can also help you and your brother establish yourselves as benevolent leaders in the family.

    I don’t want to embarrass you, there is nothing to be embarrassed about, but if you and your brother are both adolescent boys, it is possible that your Pyr boy is reacting to the heightened testosterone the two of you are experiencing at the moment. Dogs can literally smell these things, as embarrassing as they are. Sebastian can tell when I’m having my “Lady Moments”, and always has to get a humiliating extra sniff or two in. My thoughts are that if you and your brother can get in on the NILIF action, that may be able to help with this.
    His territorial behavior at your house, but not your Grandparents’ makes sense, as dogs aren’t great at generalizing. What is “his”at your house, may not be “his” at their house. For this reason, people training their dogs for competitive dog sports such as Obedience, Agility, Rally, and more, will practice with their dogs at a number of locations to ensure that the dog understands that “sit” in the back yard carries an equal weight to “sit” in an entirely new location. I would encourage your whole family to carry high-value treats with you, and practice NILIF wherever the dogs may go with you.
    FWIW, NILIF will help Hiro and your other dogs learn that the good stuff comes from you.

    Please let us know how it goes!
    Sebastian is on Facebook!
    www.facebook.com/SirSaintSebastian

  3. #3
    Puppy (New Member)

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

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    Apr 2019
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    Oak Forest Il
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    Quote Originally Posted by SebastiansMom View Post
    Welcome to the forum!

    It sounds like your sweet boy is resource guarding his food. I would recommend not leaving food bowls out for him to guard. Instead, I would advise that you and your family start feeding him and your other dog twice a day, in “safe places”. If your dogs are crate trained, perfect. Let them eat their meals in their respective crates. Otherwise, I would feed them separately in an area or areas In which they can be enclosed until they are finished eating. The layout of your home may determine this. With my two, Chester, my non-Pyr eats in his crate, while Sebastian eats wherever he darn well pleases. When Sebastian is either done with or has lost interest in his meal, the bowls are taken up, and Chester is released from his crate. This way, there are no misunderstandings between “brothers”.

    I would also recommend that you and your entire family start your dogs on the Nothing In Life Is Free (NILIF) Protocol, if you haven’t already. If you Google NILIF, there is a wealth of information on the internet. This can also help you and your brother establish yourselves as benevolent leaders in the family.

    I don’t want to embarrass you, there is nothing to be embarrassed about, but if you and your brother are both adolescent boys, it is possible that your Pyr boy is reacting to the heightened testosterone the two of you are experiencing at the moment. Dogs can literally smell these things, as embarrassing as they are. Sebastian can tell when I’m having my “Lady Moments”, and always has to get a humiliating extra sniff or two in. My thoughts are that if you and your brother can get in on the NILIF action, that may be able to help with this.
    His territorial behavior at your house, but not your Grandparents’ makes sense, as dogs aren’t great at generalizing. What is “his”at your house, may not be “his” at their house. For this reason, people training their dogs for competitive dog sports such as Obedience, Agility, Rally, and more, will practice with their dogs at a number of locations to ensure that the dog understands that “sit” in the back yard carries an equal weight to “sit” in an entirely new location. I would encourage your whole family to carry high-value treats with you, and practice NILIF wherever the dogs may go with you.
    FWIW, NILIF will help Hiro and your other dogs learn that the good stuff comes from you.

    Please let us know how it goes!
    I asked my mom about it last night, and she doesn't like the idea of them not having a food bowl out. She thinks I should try giving him treats when I come down as my sister's baby sitter did that for awhile and has gotten him to ease up on his guard dog habits.

    To answer the house question, we do not lock up the dogs whatsoever. Both can freely roam the house all day and there is a dog door to the backyard. Our house structure is 4 floors (basement, entry, dinning, and upstairs), but the one his food is on is the entry way floor in the small laundry room by the living room. He typically lays in the three way area in which his food is straight down one side, and the other two sides are the doors to the house (backyard sliding glass door and entry) with each having very visible windows or being a sliding glass door. He also lays right in front of the basement door doing this. He may also lay on the suedo-second floor in the room in the middle of entry and dinning (a stair leads up to it from the entry on the right side, and the floor leads up to the dinning going left from stair.)

    Also, he doesn't really have obedience problems or any issues with the other dog. He actually seems kinda dependent on the other, I think he's scared we'll leave him if the other isn't taken along. Zoey and Hiro don't seem to fight for food, even when he's guarding he will allow her to eat. His whole demeanor makes me believe that the problem is less a trait for dominance but rather some sort of trauma. Our guess is that some teenager had to have taken his food at some point or treated him poorly (he was a rescue with no real backstory after all), so I would think the solution is to gain some sort of trust rather than be the alpha.

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