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.
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.
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!