I’m answering a Frequently Barked Question (FBQ) today.
FBQ: Is it easy to train Pyrenean Mountain Dogs, or Great Pyrenees, to come when called? If trained well, will they have a reliable recall?
Clowie: Well… I’ll begin by saying that I don’t know many Pyrenean Mountain Dogs who get let off their leads (leashes) very often!
I’m only allowed off my lead when we’re somewhere that is a long way from any roads, that has limited exits and gives my bipeds excellent visibility. An example of this is one of our favourite beaches – we walk along until it becomes quite narrow and there is a cliff on the land side. I’m then allowed off my lead because it’s easy for my bipeds to see me and they are relaxed because there are no exits from the beach.
We have done lots of training on recall and I consider myself excellent at it, but my bipeds have a rather different view of things – the one who helps me with my blog fell about laughing when I said I’m good at recall! She said that I think it’s just a trick I do in an enclosed space to get a treat. She’s obviously confused because that’s exactly what it is.
She thinks that a reliable recall is coming immediately when called, wherever we are, however busy I am, whatever the distractions. I consider that a ridiculous idea! When they call me, I usually return as soon as it’s convenient to do so. If I’m busy checking out something that could be a threat to them then it’s only reasonable that I should finish that first. It’s my job to protect them and, I have to say, they have no idea of half the dangers that are lurking.
My bipeds also complain that I like exploring too much. Sometimes when I’m checking for danger they mistake it for exploring. They seem to think that because I always check for exits I’m keen to go exploring, but it should be obvious that I’m doing my duty and protecting them. Exits are weak points and that is where danger is most likely to come from. Of course, if I do find an exit then it’s an invitation to go exploring and it would be rude to refuse! The bipeds are very welcome to come along with me – it’s hardly my fault that they can’t keep up with me on rough terrain!
Bipeds seem to think that “come” always means “get yourself over here as fast as possible” – so much has been lost in translation!
For a typical Pyrenean Mountain Dog there are at least three interpretations of “come”, depending on location and circumstances:
In an enclosed space, having already checked for exits, on hearing “come” I think, “If the treat is tasty I may as well go and get it as there’s no way out and they’ll come and fetch me anyway.”
In an apparently enclosed space not yet thoroughly checked, I understand it to mean, “Check for exits and, if you don’t find any, come and get this treat if it’s tasty enough for you to remember I offered it.”
In an open space, I hear, “If it’s not too much trouble, if you’re not too busy, there’s no hurry, later is okay, when you’ve checked the surrounding area for danger, when you’ve finished sniffing, when you’ve finished exploring, when you have nothing better to do, if you still remember, it would be nice if you come and get this treat.”
I usually summarise the last one as “in your dreams”, or “see you later”.
You still have until the end of May to enter the draw to win a free copy of ‘Someone To Look Up To’ – read ‘Spotlight on Blanche aka The Princess‘ for details of how to enter.
See you next Wednesday!