Carry on socialising

I’m answering a Frequently Barked Question today.

FBQ: My Great Pyrenees (Pyrenean Mountain Dog) is nine months old and shows no signs of being protective. He wants to be friends with everyone and everything we meet. Should I stop socialising him to encourage him to be protective?

Clowie: Carry on socialising! When he’s a little older, he will be protective if there’s danger. That’s the short answer, now I will explain.

It’s important to continue socialising him. Socialisation will not prevent him from being protective of his family when it’s necessary, but it will enable him to make sensible decisions about when you need his protection.

The fact that he’s friendly and relaxed shows you’ve done a great job of socialising him so far. You should continue to give him as many new experiences as you can.

Clowie , Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Great Pyrenees, smiling

I like to be friends with everyone, but I’m always watchful

Nine months old is still very young, Great Pyrenees are not considered mature until two or three years old. Our protective instincts are very strong, but the age at which they’re first noticed varies from dog to dog and depends on circumstances.

An insufficiently-socialised dog worries about too many situations and becomes too protective. An adult dog that is nervous and overprotective can be difficult to handle – we are large and very strong.

A well-socialised adult Pyrenean Mountain Dog will be relaxed and confident in most situations, although he will always be alert to the possibility of danger and ready to act if needed.

Many people have been surprised at how quickly their relaxed and friendly Great Pyrenees acted when he saw danger to his family. Our presence is often enough to keep danger away from our loved ones. We like to find a pleasant spot where we can observe everything that is going on, so that we are the first to know if there is any danger and we can act if we need to.

We are very good at multi-tasking, whatever we’re doing you can be sure that some of our attention is reserved for keeping an eye out for danger. I had to reprimand a naughty Border Collie who had his nose in my biped’s bag at obedience class when I was not quite two years old – my biped thought she had my complete attention doing heel work!

I think my biped was less surprised when I warned the pushy man who tried to stop her from closing the front door, as I was more mature then and she knew how watchful I am.

My bipeds laugh because I can sleep through all kinds of normal household activity, but I will be wide awake and on my paws in an instant if there is the slightest unusual sound.

Clowie, Pyrenean Mountain Dog, sleeping

Don’t be fooled by my snoring – I can still hear everything!

Keep up the good work and continue socialising as much as you can – it really pays dividends for you and your dog. However soft and friendly a Great Pyrenees is, he will always protect those he’s close to when there’s danger.

See you next Wednesday!

57 Comments

  1. Pawesome advice Clowie! Wooooowooooooo!

  2. Clowie is such a psychologically helpful woofer! <3 <3

  3. Great answer to a FBQ. Or is that an FBQ?

  4. You’re so right Clowie – you need to have enough experience of life and different situations to know what is threatening and what is just curious. Great advice!

  5. Great advice Clowie…indeed you learn from each situation and at each different age 🙂 back to snooze now! hugs Fozziemum xx

  6. Great advice there Clowie. Being relaxed makes for happy = healthy we say. Have a Wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  7. Very wise answer, C. It makes perfect sense. I know the difference between my apartment neighbors upstairs and the evil mailman. For the neighbors I open one eye and listen to them climb the stairs. For the mailman, I lose my mind because I am pretty sure he’s trying to kill me.

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

    • Thank you, Cupcake. You’re wise to listen to the neighbours and make sure they do as expected.
      I don’t like the sound of your mailman at all – he sounds like something from a horror movie!

  8. You are bang on!! Fantastic advice!!

  9. I love how you validated the person asking the question with the feedback that “the fact that he’s friendly and relaxed shows you’ve done a great job of socialising him so far” because so often dog owners, myself included, feel we need to tighten the reigns when that’s not accurate. How nice of you to help this family out. And, the rest of us. 🙂

    • Thank you, I think it’s nice to give some reassurance when we can. Raising a pup, especially a large one, is tiring and can be worrying at times. At least they tell me I was exhausting!

  10. Agreed!!! Socialization is SO important!! I find myself telling people that all the time in my husky groups!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  11. Pawesome advice! Socialising is very important, I always notice that when I look on my ham where I still have the scars from a non-socialised dog. I remember the sneaky man and the pickpocket-doggie… and I remember those kids who probably need some socialising too. And I’m glad you are very well socialised that you could handle all that adventures.

    • Thank you, Easy. Life would be easier for everyone if all dogs were socialised enough. I’ve had some close shaves! We try to be careful around other dogs because there seem to be lots that are not keen on meeting a dog as large as me!

      • That’s true… even me ran away as I saw one of your cousins the first time in the furs :o) We are careful now too, specially because not all people here take good care of their dogs with shots, frontline or milbemax… and we avoid the area with the evil doggie now …

  12. Good advice. Katie was well socialized and just knew when to be protective, but Kuvs that haven’t been socialized can be so dangerous. We have no mini humans but our neighbors had a baby, and Katie took right to protecting that baby all the time. It was fun to see.

    • Thank you, Emma. Katie and I agree on a lot! I’m always pleased to meet little bipeds. If I notice one crying when we’re out and about I try to go and investigate, I want to help.

  13. I learned so much about your breed that I didn’t know! It is great to have a dog that is outgoing and friendly, but knows when to be protective as well.

    • My ancestors could protect the flocks in the mountains all summer with very little interaction from humans, but could happily live in the village amongst neighbours during the winter.

  14. I definitely wouldn’t cross a Pyreeeeeeee even when it was a well socialised one! Could be a painful experience! But I’d be very happy to have one as my protector! 🙂

  15. Socialising is essential for many breeds. I have many people ask me why I take Aspen to obedience class when I can easily train him at home from experience. Newfoundlands also need extensive socialisation with other humans and dogs to be able to determine friends and enemies. they also need to learn young how to get along with all types of dogs. Newfoundlands are not technically watch dogs but will protect their people with their life. Newfoundlands do not attack when they feal a threat but place their body between the threat and their human. Most people will see the size and the growl from this very large dog and just back away:)

    • Yes, I think it’s especially important for all the larger breeds to socialise as much as possible while young – we need to be calm in most situations. I don’t think many people would argue with a fully grown Newfoundland! It’s very interesting to hear how they protect their humans.

  16. Clowie I learn so much here about you, your breed, and dogs. Always interesting and I love seeing your picture!

  17. “no molestar, Clowie”! 🙂 Spanish is such a funny language with lots of “fake friends”… olé! 🙂

  18. Clowie, it’s clear that you are the teacher and no longer the student!

  19. What a perfect response.

    And I loved learning more about how GPs develop their protective instincts.

    It seems that time spent bonding with your dog is never wasted. And that those protective genes help them figure out when there is an actual threat.

  20. Good advice, Clowie! Even a tuxie can learn from you! 🙂

  21. I’m proud to see you’re giving good advice to your fellow dogs and their bipeds. Excellent!

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