Not the dog for everyone

It’s still so hot that the lizards need to cool off in the shade, so take care! This lizard was lurking on the windowsill on the shady side of the house yesterday.

Just chilling in the shade

Just cooling down in the shade

We’ve been having very loud thunderstorms almost every evening. I hear that my friends in England are getting a lot of storms and rain as well. We’ll all need these soon!

Webbed feet From Wikimedia Commons

Webbed feet
From Wikimedia Commons

The thunder has been so loud some of the time that you can feel the sound vibrating through you. That’s when the cats come and sit really close to me, if the bipeds are busy. The cats know I’ll look after them and protect them. I look after everyone in the household – I am the chief of security. My ancestors were bred to protect flocks in the mountains, so it’s my heritage.

My friend Flea at Jones Natural Chews wrote about the Great Pyrenees, or Pyrenean Mountain Dog, last week and she gave lots of good information and concluded, quite rightly, that we are not the dog for everyone. So I thought I’d tell you a little more about some of the things that mean we’re not right for everyone.

We’re often accused of having selective hearing and a very unreliable recall. I have to admit that’s true for a lot of us! It isn’t naughtiness, it’s a case of priorities. However well-trained a Pyrenean Mountain Dog is, our priority is to protect you, so if we hear a strange noise we’ll be off to investigate. We’ll do all that other obedience stuff to please you, when we’re not too busy!

We’re also accused of being escape artists, especially during adolescence. If we’re alone in the garden for even a few minutes, it needs to have a strong fence at least 5 feet high. If we can get over, or through, the fence we’ll probably take the opportunity to check out the surrounding area and make sure there are no threats. I took advantage of the gate being left open for a few seconds once – I didn’t get very far, but that’s another story! Dogs who are always taken in the car to the park and never walked from the house are particularly determined to explore the neighbourhood.

Flea mentioned how important socialisation is for us. It’s a crucial part of our development because it’s what helps us to be relaxed and calm as adults. The more experiences we have, the better able we are to make sensible decisions.

My bipeds say that I could be like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as a puppy during training sessions. I quickly became bored, if we were only doing things I thought I already knew how to do. And when I was bored I wasn’t very nice to know! My bipeds spiced up the sessions with new tricks to keep my interest and they became better at noticing the first signs of boredom. A Great Pyrenees doesn’t do something just because you say so. We need to feel it’s worthwhile and I don’t just mean treats – we don’t tend to be as motivated by food as a lot of dogs are.

There were days when I would put a lot of effort into trying to find ways of not doing what I was asked to do. On the odd occasion I avoided doing something, I thought I didn’t have to do anything I was asked to do. I would lead them a merry dance for days! I certainly did my best to keep my bipeds on their toes, while I was growing up. They say that there were times when they were pulling their hair out, but I’m much nicer to know now!

See you next Wednesday!


  1. You could almost be describing me BOL

  2. That was some interesting facts about your breed … Maria and i didnΒ΄t know so much about you … But we think that your breed come from the mountain areas in Spain …
    Many people who see me says that they want to have a Drever … But we are dogs who like to hunt and need to have a lot of exercise even if we donΒ΄t hunt …
    And my breed takes 3 years to grow up … Maria always say that a Drever is a big dog in a little body … // Yarri πŸ™‚

    • Yes, we’re from the Pyrenees in Spain and France. Most of the dogs in Europe are descended from the dogs on the French side of the mountains. It is important to understand how much exercise a dog will need and what that breed likes to do.

  3. Very interesting and informative post. Sounds like you were often a little obstinate as a pup, but are a great companion now! Don’t see too many of your breed here; I think possibly it’s because Texas is just so darned HOT! You would be pretty miserable here with all your beautiful white fur.

    • Thank you. Yes, we usually have so much confidence that we are a challenge as a puppy, but we make calm and relaxed adults. I don’t think I’d like to live somewhere that doesn’t get any snow!

  4. We think you’re beautiful Clowie but don’t think that, with our year round heat, you’d like it much here in Florida…You’d probably have to curtail your outside fun and spend most of your time indoors in the AC…Not so much fun for you…We have frog & lizard “condos” in our garden…It’s a sset of 2″ pvc subes stuck vertical in the ground (they’re anywhere from 12″ to 24″ inches tall) …Momz painted the outside…Rainwater collects in them and gives the frogs and lizards a cool place to hide and get a drink

    • I think you’re right – Florida would be too hot for me. I don’t mind hiding from the sun for a few weeks, but I’m pleased when it cools down enough to go out during the day again. I love the winter and the snow! Those “condos” for the lizards sound nice. We have a pile of rocks in the corner of the garden, where they like to hide. They also come and drink from the saucers under the plant pots near the front door.

  5. It’s so interesting to hear you talk about yourself. The Help always laughed at Zac and me because we have selective hearing but we too are bred to guard AND he was an escape artist. Given the opportunity we were out exploring the neighbourhood. Fortunately for our safety it only happened a few times.
    To be completely honest it is one of the things she loves about us – the ‘free-thinking’ vibe. As you say it isn’t naughtiness. And we would always sit when told to even if we were a field away at the time!
    Raffles on the other hand as a Standard Poodle is very quick to know what they want and very obedient. I know what they want and think about it! He is getting into fetch and those sorts of things that I will never play because they are not in my nature. He carries his ball all the way back from the park. Why? The Help has a bag for that.
    People should never get any type of a dog without research into their breed tendencies. That way they’ll know if the dog is likely to be happy with them. There are so many things to take into account when choosing the right furpal for a family. If people understood this better there would be less sad stories of dogs needing re-homing.
    It’s great that your family is experienced and knew how to help you become the best Pyrenean Mountain Dog you could.

    • Thank you, Zena. I think they like seeing me work things out for myself. People should understand the tendencies of a breed and what their requirements will be. It is sad that so many dogs end up needing a new home through no fault of their own. I have met people who have tried to research and been given the wrong information by unscrupulous breeders, which is very sad for the dogs and the people.
      My bipeds say they didn’t appreciate quite how determined and tiring a Pyr pup can be, but it was worth it!

  6. I think selective hearing is a trait most biped teenagers share with you. πŸ™‚ So many people today don’t know what a certain breed was used for in the past, and that can cause so many problems with choosing the wrong dog for their lifestyle. We really need to do research and not be swayed by a puppy’s “cuteness!”

    • We are sometimes described as being part teenager. I think that knowing what a breed used to do can help a lot in understanding the tendencies of that breed. Puppies are just too cute for their own good!

  7. You have the very smart humans, Clowie–they know all about you and your breed traits. My BFF is a Great Pyr/Huskie mix—he’s the best, but he’s been known to have a recall problem now and then. πŸ™‚

  8. Dear Clowie,
    Wes has coyotes where wes lives! Not many dogs are allowed out in the evening because of them. One of the local sheep farms has 2 Great Pyrenean Mountain Dogs and they is NOT afraid of the coyotes either. My hairy slobbery sisters Bob and Cinnamon is sheep dogs! Bob is a mini Australian Sheepdog and Cinnamon is a Australian Cattle Dog – they is really good at herding us cats and having selective hearing and adventuring – just likes YOUS!!!

  9. I don’t know, Clowie. Except for comforting cats, you have described Poppy to T! πŸ˜€ I think it takes very special people to raise a Great Pyrennes to adulthood. Your bipeds have done a fine job.

    • Thank you, they say I was hard work, but worth it. I think that training a puppy is often made to sound too easy. We don’t always respond how we’re supposed to!

  10. Well Clowie first of all I really enjoyed the first part of your post. Not the thunderstorm part because thunderstorms sort of set me on edge and I hate to think of the kitties being afraid. And the hot part, well heat gives me a cranky. But I love those little web feeties up there and the lizard cooling off in the shade, they made me smile. I love that the cats come to you during times when the sky rumbles. You are a very good dog Clowie. It is hard for me to believe that your bipeds pulled their hair out when you were younger. But I am learning more about you and your breed and I can see that you could have been a handful as a small pup and growing up. You are a BIG dog Clowie with a mind of your own! You have things to take care of.

    • I really like looking after the kitties. I was a handful, and I wasn’t small for long, ha! Partly the size is a challenge, if a smaller dog has a mad five minutes of mischief you might have holes in your favourite shoes, but a Pyr pup will have wrecked the kitchen in the same time. Their sense of humour saw them through any destruction I caused. But I was very determined about some things and didn’t always respond to the accepted ways of changing the behaviour and they would have to try a few things with me. So occasionally doubt would creep in about whether the training was going to work and that was stressful.

  11. So, I guess you can jump fairly high then, if a 5ft. fence is required.

  12. Sheba's life story.

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  13. We met a Pyrenees at Rocco’s training class and he was very much what you just described….and I thought it was a Husky thing LOL
    It’s really hot and dry here (Vancouver), too! A record breaking summer for us….

    • I don’t think the trainer at my first puppy class liked me very much. She only had one way of doing things and didn’t like the way I livened the classes up – especially when some of the other pups joined in!
      It’s hot here, but we’ve had a lot of rain. The reservoirs are full, they usually get very low during the summer. It’s much more humid than we’re used to.

  14. Yes Clowie…lol I can imagine you were very stubborn and difficult as a puppy and now as an adult you have the book of 1000 excuses to explain it all away! lol πŸ˜‰ It’s nice to know that not all dogs live for food in training! I’m a firm believer in only using it occasionally,focussing more on lots of fun biped-canine interaction that enhances the relationship and builds the bond that gets the dog wanting to get it right because it likes and respects a happy trainer πŸ™‚ Food seems to be so commonly used for the slightest hint of obedience that it strikes me the dogs are doing party tricks for treats…and what happens the day you don’t happen to have any food on hand? All training forgotten and no desire to please because dog only doing it for the food not out of respect for beloved biped! So is the opinion of Wolfie!! I might bow to chicken though!!!

    • I think food can be a very useful way of getting the desired behaviour to begin with, if that gives the dog focus. Once the command is understood, I agree it’s a good idea to mix it up so sometimes obedience brings a fuss or a game instead of the treat. Respecting the trainer is very important for my breed. Now I’m and an adult, it’s far more important to me to hear that my bipeds are pleased with me than it is to get a treat, although I never turn down a piece of chicken! Or cheese!

  15. I love the notion of you clambering over a 5ft fence…one of my pack, probably at least half your size but very agile and very, very scared of thunder regularly developed the talented ability of climbing cat-like over a 5 ft fence into the neighbours garden at such times! Unfortunately bringing him inside the den freaked him out even more, being a happy kennel dog. It usually resulted in him squeezing behind the washing machine and getting stuck adding to his already hyper state of panic πŸ˜‰ He actually couldn’t wait to escape back outside and in the end a covered run became a necessity. Oddly enough it did calm him down once he realised he couldn’t get out…once he got used to tucking up cosy and warm in an apparently reassuringly dark kennel with his calm, not at all fazed mate in familiar kennel surroundings he was as good as gold. Interesting sight though seeing him negotiate the fence at speed! It was also interesting to note that he would still choose to climb the fence even if the kennel and run doors were left open πŸ˜‰

    • Maybe he thought an open door was a trick, so he took the tried and tested route, up and over! I’ve seen various videos of dogs jumping or scrambling over those childproof gates people use in doorways, some of the dogs are quite small. My bipeds tried one of those – briefly!

  16. It’s great to hear more about you, Clowie! πŸ™‚

  17. Oh we must be distant cousins! I thought you were describing me!

  18. It was so cool learning more about you Clowie! Mom was in the bank and a lady came in with a dog like you. He was such a good doggy and when it was the lady’s turn to go up to the teller the dog went up there and put his paws up on the counter and stood there on his back legs. He was such an awesome looking dog!
    By the way, Phe is in a contest and if she wins we are donating a portion of it to the animal shelter she was adopted from. We would really appreciate it if you would vote for her! If you can help us out got to this link to find out more:

  19. We keep looking for the shade in the boxes, under the boxes and in between the boxes… Our biped just follows us with the broom in one hand and vaccum cleaner in the other πŸ˜‰ Hope you get to keep your beautiful fur, Clowie. Stay COOL!! :)))

    • My cats think boxes are wonderful, even better than paper bags! I keep most of my long top coat, but shed all the woolly undercoat. I still have a lot of fur, but it’s about half as thick as in the winter.

  20. I have lizards too at my roof garden…Here in Greece we used to say that if you see a lizard at your garden or generally outside your house it brings you luck…

  21. Yip, the super bright breeds, such as yourself, definitely keep us bipeds on our toes. You are the gifted children of the dog world. You need far more stimulation than most. We love you for your unique combination of brains and caring Clowie

    • Thank you, I really like taking care of everyone in the household, it’s important to me to know everything that’s going on. I did enjoy keeping them on their toes when I was a pup, but I respect them now.

  22. Good thing you are chief of security Clowie! I am protector in my pack! Woooowoooooo, Ku

  23. BOL, when I went to puppy school I was a very fast learner and figured out what I was suppose to do right away. I would do it once or twice to demonstrate I knew what to do and then I was like let’s move on to something else I got that……..and refuse to cooperate. ~Fenris

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