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  1. #1
    Young Dawg (Member) new's Avatar

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    Default First dog: a pyr- What to expect?

    Hi,

    I know its not recommended to have a Pyr as a first dog but here we are. She was so cute that we couldn't resist and honestly didn't know anything about them earlier. Here's the current scenario:

    1) I have two kids (10 year old son and 3 year old daughter) and I work from home so the puppy is never alone. Though, my husband travels so he's not around her much.

    2) Got the puppy (Winter) when she was 7 weeks and 3 days.

    3) We have her for the past one week.

    4) She's already house broken and has the best laid back temperament which is great for my family. She doesn't like to walk on leash but we're working on it.

    5) She tries to nip when super excited but stops when we say "No".

    6) She's getting close to my son (10 years) who walks her couple of times a day, as its his summer vacation and he's home, and spends a lot of time playing and petting her and both the kids give her food/water and also feed her by hand while taking food out of her bowl when she's eating. I also take her for walks 4-5 times a day. After every walk she sleeps for couple of hours. I'm always around when my daughter plays with her to make sure she's safe.

    7) We're socializing her with children and adults on our street and also take her to parks/trails.

    8) Will start her professional training when she turns 10 weeks (petsmart or petco).

    So far, things are going great but after reading many threads on this site and other articles online, I'm kind of worried as its not an easy breed and specially as a first dog with small kids at home. I also got scared when I read about the aggression and adolescence behavior from 6-18 months.

    I wonder if I can get some recommendation on how to prepare my family and her for each other. Also, what else shall I do to make sure Winter accepts us as her family.

    Thanks a ton!

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  2. #2
    Young Dawg (Member)

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    Congratulations on your new puppy! She is very cute and it sounds like your family is really enjoying her.

    We got ours at 7 weeks, and did a bunch of socialization with her as well... to the point that she is now overly socialized and we actually had to send her to good dog camp for a couple of weeks. She was going to need to be kenneled while we moved anyway, to be fair, so we figured we’d just do the training while we’re at it.

    It will be a journey with your pup, and you will get so many different pieces of advice. I read several books by Patricia McConnell as recommended on this website, and this was great advice. It is wonderful insight especially if this is your first dog!

    The training may not be very satisfactory right now beyond the basics and that’s ok. She’s a very young puppy! Socialization and making sure she’s exposed to things early (people of all ages in different clothing, walkers, wheelchairs, etc. is important as a puppy.

    The one item I really wanted to respond to was worry over “aggression.” I was worried about this too, and said the same thing. My trainer told me to stop reading the internet. She had never seen an aggressive Pyr. Most aggression is fear-based, and these tend to be pretty fearless animals. Socialize her properly (most important is before she’s 16-30 weeks), give her lots of love, and remember that even though they’re tough they’re sensitive. You have a wonderful dog and a fun journey. She will change over time and what worked before will not work as she grows! Be patient with yourself and with her, you have a wonderful attitude and I’m so excited for your family as you start this journey!

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

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    It would entirely be over generalization to say all pyrs are fearless guardians. Many individuals have insecure personalities and can be reactive, and some are in fact aggressive. Having said that, many many pyrs are indeed gentle giants and are great companions for families with children.

    I would strongly encourage socialize, socialize, socialize. Expose the puppy to the world she'll be living in. Let her see the children play with their friends. Take her to places. Teach her to remain calm in those situations. A well socialized pyr that knows what to expect from the world around her will be able to determine what is and is not normal and should be able to make decisions whether to act appropriate to the situation.

  4. #4
    Young Dawg (Member) new's Avatar

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    Thanks a ton @arti's mom and @ jewel,

    We're socializing her as much as we can. She loves playing with my son's friends who visit us frequently and also goes to summer camp/day care to pick up kids from there and tries to play with everyone- kids, parents, teachers etc. So far, no dog parks or puppy day care as she needs to be at least 16 weeks before she can interact with other pets so not sure how to manage that. She still gets scared in the car rides but manages it with no whining or panting.

    Any recommendations on

    1- Nipping? Her nipping is getting worst now and no matter how much we try to stop her, she keeps doing it specially when she's excited.
    2- House breaking? We made her corner at one part of the room, near the backyard door with a bell hanging on it. She has her bed, food bowl and toys there. When we need her confined, we put the play pen infront of it so she can't come out. She never goes in her corner but has accidents in other parts of the home. When she's in her corner, she even rings the bell to go out so she has good control on her bladder.

    She's growing up like a weed and can't believe she's already 10 weeks old and so huge. No one believes she's just a baby, they think she's an adult dog . And I completely agree with everyone who say pyrs are the most adorable pets. Its a beautiful journey and all of us are enjoying it

  5. #5
    Old Dawg (Senior Member)

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    If I had a suggestion, it would be for further down the road. Most Pyrs are not typically aggressive, but they do tend to play rough. I doubt your son would have a problem, but I'd keep an eye on the pup around your daughter... they just get carried away sometimes. Also, as soon as you've started her shots, check into Puppy Play at PetCo or PetSmart... a great way to socialize around other dogs and people, in an environment where you know all the other pups will be vaccinated. Even then, your pup will be twice the size of the others, so you'll need to keep a watchful eye. On obedience training, I found that it was best to work in short increments (~ 5 minutes), as they tend to get bored/distracted quickly. Also, if you plan to do CGC (Canine Good Citizen) training, I found it better to do it sooner rather than later. The CGC training does not allow you to use treats for enticement during the tests and, in my case, Wiley got MUCH more treat-motivated as he got older- so I'm glad I did it when I did.

    and remember the mantra... "patience of a saint... patience of a saint... patience of a saint"

    This is where I failed. I should've worried less about the pup's temperament, and more about my own. My Wiley is AMAZINGLY stubborn... and tests my patience whenever possible. It's always when you're in a hurry that they can decide to be "uncooperative". It's great that you work from home, so you can be there, but DO take some time away for yourself... don't get overwhelmed! Since you have a family to "share the load", it probably won't be an issue.

    When they start teething... it is very unpleasant... for everyone. Anything wood in the house (at their level) is fair game (chair/table legs, baseboards, furniture, etc.)... so be ready. A rolled-up/frozen damp washcloth helps as a chew toy, but is not a cure-all.

    I started to avail myself of the $15 puppy baths at PetSmart almost immediately. It got Wiley used to being handled/groomed by others, and he's still well-behaved at the groomer to this day (tho it's a bit more expensive now). It's also a nice break for ME once a month.

    My one other suggestion would be that your entire family needs to be on the same page regarding training/discipline. This is another area where I failed.

    My Wiley is extremely smart, and KNOWS which side his bread is buttered on. John is always the softy... and I'm always the bad guy/disciplinarian. Wiley knows that he can manipulate John & get what he wants from John FAR easier than with me, so he usually goes off & does his own thing when I'm home, but curls up right next to John when he's home. Your experience may vary. Pyrs all have their own personalities- no two alike... but they are all typically beautiful & sweet-natured. Just do all you can to set your pup up for success... and it sounds like you're well on your way.

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

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    For puppy nipping:

    The peanut butter method. Here's the basic process:

    Look for opportunities (if your puppy nips) while you are at home to teach him or her that it is not acceptable behavior. It's important enough have a few training sessions to create the opportunity for him to learn acceptable behavior just like if you were teaching your pup any other skill -- like "sit" or "stay".

    Some people have used the technique of pressing the dog's outer lips against their teeth to teach their dog not to nip -- this may work when the puppy is 'in the act", but we trained ours using peanut butter (but you could use something else that's smeary and yummy) to modify the behavior to something more acceptable rather than try extinguish it altogether.

    It works best with very young pups rather than older ones, so your mileage may vary, but here goes:

    In any situation where the pup is prone to nip, have a jar of peanut butter handy. This works best if you're sitting on the floor with the pup. Smear a little bit on your fingers on one hand (to start) -- just enough for the flavor, not a big glob. Present your unpeanut-buttered hand first. If your pup nips at your fingers (they often bite at fingers first) remove the hand, correct him with "No Bites" or some other verbal correction and present the peanut buttered one. Most pups will lick at peanut butter, but if he continues to bite your fingers on the PB hand, remove it from his reach and tell him "No Bites". Give it a few seconds and repeat. Once he begins to lick your fingers instead of biting, reinforce his behavior and give it a name for him to remember ("Kisses" or something like that). Praise him like he's just won the Nobel Peace prize.

    After a few sessions where he's correctly responded to peanut-buttered fingers, smear a bit on your cheek (Yeah, I know... messy). If he responds with licking ("Kisses") praise him -- lots and lots of praise. If he bites at your ears (a favorite target of my pup's), push him back with "No bites" and start with the fingers again.

    Lastly, if your pup learns this behavior well, you can even use it when your dog is greeting other people (use the command 'kisses'). It refocuses their attention and gives them an acceptable response in a sometimes confusing (for the pup) situation. You won't even need get their kissy targets all smeary with peanut butter.

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

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    For potty training, it would be best to confine her to smaller areas while inside. The larger the area she has access to, the more likely she would just pick a spot that is not in the center of her area of activity to go potty. There is no magic in potty training, just a lot of consistency and lots of praising when she does it right. No punishment if she's had an accident. If you catch her in the act, just scoop her up and take her outside pronto, then praise excessively if she goes once you have her outside.

  8. #8
    Young Dawg (Member) new's Avatar

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    Thank you for your wonderful suggestions @jewel and @slick61, I'm going to use all of it for her potty training and nipping.

    So for the past couple of days I can see Winter is more active and tries to nip with her lips up. Is it something to be concerned of? I usually play tug of war with her heavy duty leash as its one of her favorite game with me. She even jumps and tries to chew on it. Today after playing she lied down on the grass and when I tried to pet her, she kind of snapped at me trying to nip my hand with her lips up and tail down (no wagging). Usually when she's hyper and tries to nip, she calms down when we say "No biting" but it wasn't like that today. Then at home when I was trying to clean her ears, she tried again. She's doing the same with my kids as well. Is it some sort of aggressive behavior or normal with puppies?

    I took her to vet this Thursday for her booster shots and she looked in her ears and did a physical and Winter is fine with no issues so I don't think her snapping is due to some medical reasons. Am I doing something wrong in raising her?

    Thanks for all your help and support.

  9. #9
    Puppy (New Member)

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    Hello,
    Just wanted you to know that my “defiant “ Hershey, my 14 year old Great Pyrenees, has passed on. What a terrific companion she was. I hope that you get to have such a great relationship with your Pyrenees.

  10. #10
    Young Dawg (Member) new's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hono View Post
    Hello,
    Just wanted you to know that my “defiant “ Hershey, my 14 year old Great Pyrenees, has passed on. What a terrific companion she was. I hope that you get to have such a great relationship with your Pyrenees.
    So sorry for your loss.

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