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  1. #1
    Puppy (New Member)

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Location
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Posts
    2

    Question New puppy, have questions

    Hi All,

    I am new to this forum. About three weeks ago I brought home an 8 week old Great Pyrenees I got from a private party (not a breeder). At first he was very gentle, but in the last week and a half he has become aggressive in the form of biting, nipping and growling at my wife, son and myself. Whenever we approach him and begin to pet him there is a 50/50 chance he will bite us a little on the hand and arm and if we try and walk away he goes for the feet and ankles. Within the last week in the late afternoon, early evening he becomes extremely hyper and is running around in a crazed, but playfully manner. If one of us approaches him to calm him down, like to pet him, he begins to hop around and tries to bite us. My arms show the bloody results. Within the past few days while in a hyper state he crushes around in his pen. To help run off this energy we take him outside. Once outside he will go after one of us like a chew toy. He’s bites are more assertive, but if we yelp he eases the bite pressure. Eventually he gets increasing wound up and doesn't want to stop. To end this one of us will pick him up and put him in his pen hoping he will calm down. Lifting him usually results in growls and curled lips showing his teeth as he lunges towards the handler. Funny thing is he never shows this behavior to our daughter. He very gentle with her (she's a teenager). Also once he comes down from a hyper state he is his old self and playfull. Is this normal for this breed? Anywords of wisdom or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
    Last edited by Marty; 07-28-2020 at 09:13 AM.

  2. #2
    Road Dawg

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    28

    Default

    Oh my yes - entirely normal! We had bites marks all over our bodies at first. Find one of Sebastian’s Mom’s posts on her pyr’s beloved “kill mommy” game when he was a puppy.

    Have you ever seen Pyrs play? It looks like a bear fight! They are extremely loving but the nipping in the puppy stage is no joke.

    So this may be normal, but obviously can get dangerous. What to do? Puppy classes are a great solution for teaching some bite inhibition with other puppies but this may be a bad idea with COVID. If you have a “pod” of individuals where you feel comfortable letting your puppy play with other dogs for socialization that may be a good idea. Of course you want to make sure your dog and others have age appropriate vaccinations. Some say 8 weeks is too young for that reason, but it’s a trade off between delaying socialization and vaccinations. We had Arti in puppy class starting at 10 weeks with no issues.

    Our solution with Arti was multifactorial. I’d try the following:
    1. Let him run energy out like crazy, especially with the zoomies - stay out of the way when he’s doing so, it’s normal and will pass pretty quickly. If you can open a door safely to a yard to let him go nuts that might be a good idea.
    2. Don’t forget about mental stimulation! Training him on the basics will wear out his mind which works even better than tiring out the body. Sniffing games may also be rewarding for Pyrs - maybe a puzzle game where he can sniff out some treats. Snuffle mats with their kibble are great for this too, complement their natural instincts and may help draw out chow time.
    3. When he starts to play rough, disengage. Using your hands to push him down/off/resistant tends to not work well with any dog including this breed. Stay away from “dominance” approaches. Use negative reinforcement by withdrawing your attention and ending playtime.
    4. Now for positive reinforcement! Our daughter and I played the “sweet kisses” training game with Arti during her nipping phase. Peanut butter is her FAVORITE but you can do this with anything your pup can lick off your fingers. We’d put some PB on our fingers and let her lick, calmly saying “sweet kisses.” As soon as she started to nip we withdrew our hands and stopped. When she calmed, back to sweet kisses and licking yummy PB. we did this daily for a few minutes each day and she quickly picked it up. To this day “sweet kisses” command will calm her if she’s getting too amped.

    The overall key to reading your Pyr pup is paying attention when things start to seem like they’ll get wild. Body language like play bows, ears forward and panting all signal “lets get ready to rumble!”

    Over time all of this improves. I think it was about 16 weeks before Arti moved out of the constantly nipping phase.

  3. #3
    Puppy (New Member)

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Location
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Arti’s Mom View Post
    Oh my yes - entirely normal! We had bites marks all over our bodies at first. Find one of Sebastian’s Mom’s posts on her pyr’s beloved “kill mommy” game when he was a puppy.

    Have you ever seen Pyrs play? It looks like a bear fight! They are extremely loving but the nipping in the puppy stage is no joke.

    So this may be normal, but obviously can get dangerous. What to do? Puppy classes are a great solution for teaching some bite inhibition with other puppies but this may be a bad idea with COVID. If you have a “pod” of individuals where you feel comfortable letting your puppy play with other dogs for socialization that may be a good idea. Of course you want to make sure your dog and others have age appropriate vaccinations. Some say 8 weeks is too young for that reason, but it’s a trade off between delaying socialization and vaccinations. We had Arti in puppy class starting at 10 weeks with no issues.

    Our solution with Arti was multifactorial. I’d try the following:
    1. Let him run energy out like crazy, especially with the zoomies - stay out of the way when he’s doing so, it’s normal and will pass pretty quickly. If you can open a door safely to a yard to let him go nuts that might be a good idea.
    2. Don’t forget about mental stimulation! Training him on the basics will wear out his mind which works even better than tiring out the body. Sniffing games may also be rewarding for Pyrs - maybe a puzzle game where he can sniff out some treats. Snuffle mats with their kibble are great for this too, complement their natural instincts and may help draw out chow time.
    3. When he starts to play rough, disengage. Using your hands to push him down/off/resistant tends to not work well with any dog including this breed. Stay away from “dominance” approaches. Use negative reinforcement by withdrawing your attention and ending playtime.
    4. Now for positive reinforcement! Our daughter and I played the “sweet kisses” training game with Arti during her nipping phase. Peanut butter is her FAVORITE but you can do this with anything your pup can lick off your fingers. We’d put some PB on our fingers and let her lick, calmly saying “sweet kisses.” As soon as she started to nip we withdrew our hands and stopped. When she calmed, back to sweet kisses and licking yummy PB. we did this daily for a few minutes each day and she quickly picked it up. To this day “sweet kisses” command will calm her if she’s getting too amped.

    The overall key to reading your Pyr pup is paying attention when things start to seem like they’ll get wild. Body language like play bows, ears forward and panting all signal “lets get ready to rumble!”

    Over time all of this improves. I think it was about 16 weeks before Arti moved out of the constantly nipping phase.
    Thank you for taking the time to answer my post. It is very helpful to know my Malcom’s behavior is normal. I will share your knowledge with my family. I just texted my wife to pick up some peanut butter. Again, thank you for taking the time to reply.

    I’m attaching a picture of my dog.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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