I’m answering a Frequently Barked Question (FBQ) today.
FBQ: A Pyrenean Mountain Dog, or Great Pyrenees, is coming to stay with me and I have been advised that he should never be allowed in the front garden on his own. Why is this?
Clowie: That sounds like something my bipeds would say about me! I’ve never been allowed in the front garden on my own. I’ll explain the reasons my bipeds have for that – I expect some of the reasons are the same.
The fence in our front garden is only 3 feet high. I can easily put my front paws on the top of that and climb over to the other side – it isn’t a very elegant way of getting over, but it’s quick! The fence in the back garden is very strong and it’s 6 feet high, so I can’t get out.
Going out to explore isn’t really a case of being naughty, nor can it be completely cured by training. My breed has a need to investigate in order to protect those we care about. Many of us have Houdini as one of our nicknames.
Pyrenean Mountain Dogs have a reputation for barking at the slightest thing. Sometimes bipeds even say we bark at nothing. I never bark at nothing, but my bipeds have been surprised at how far away the threat is sometimes!
As a general rule, there’s usually more to bark at from the front garden than from the back garden. It’s particularly important for young Pyrenean Mountain Dogs to have someone with them so they learn it isn’t necessary to bark at every passing car.
People, such as couriers, need to walk through our front garden to get to our front door. These people don’t always close the gate, which gives a Great Pyrenees the ideal opportunity to go exploring. We’re also quite good at getting through a gate while someone is using it without the person even noticing – you’d be surprised at how nimble we can be!
My bipeds also worry that some people may be frightened of me, even though I’m friendly. Some people have good reasons for being nervous of dogs and I am quite large.
People passing by
A Great Pyrenees attracts attention wherever he goes, even in his own garden! Many people do not realise that it isn’t wise to put their hands across a fence to make a fuss of a dog they do not know. I am quite happy to have the attention and make new friends, but my bipeds like to keep an eye on things when I meet new people. They also like to know what treats and food I’m being given.
A 3-foot fence is the ideal height to put my front paws on to stand up and see more clearly. This puts my head on a level with fairly tall people. My bipeds say this can look intimidating to people who are not used to very large dogs!
If I were on my own, it would be very easy for someone to open the front gate and ask me out to play. I would probably accept the invitation.
Cover your ears now, puppies, I don’t want you to have nightmares! Dognapping! It happens for a variety of reasons and it’s a very scary thought indeed – for me and the bipeds. I’m much safer in the back garden behind a locked gate.
Although I’ve written this from my point of view as a Pyrenean Mountain Dog, these things are worth considering for all dogs.
Many dogs can easily get over a 3-foot fence. Some, like me, use their size, while others are really good at jumping or climbing. Huskies, for example, jump very well and some of them are almost as good at climbing as cats are!
A hedge as a boundary may not be the barrier that it appears to be. Strong dogs may be able to force their way through it and smaller dogs may find gaps at the base that they can wriggle through. I’ve heard that Chihuahuas can get through tiny gaps!
I know a very friendly Rottweiler that, as an adolescent, discovered by accident that the panel fence in his garden wouldn’t take his weight. His bipeds renewed the panel, but he wanted to play with the dog next door and just walked through it again! They had to put in a much stronger fence. I have to say that a Rottie wearing a panel from the fence and still managing to walk is quite a sight!
Safety concerns apply to all dogs equally. There are other factors to consider, such as where you live and how busy your neighbourhood is.
While I’d love to be in the front garden on my own, I understand why my bipeds are against it. I really enjoy it when they allow me in the front garden with them, but I’m generally so busy having fun that I don’t think about it the rest of the time.
See you next Wednesday!