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We rescued a 5 yr old Great Pyr and got her sight unseen. She was about 48 lbs when we got her and we've had her a little over 6 months. She now weights 89 lbs and has come a long way but I feel she just tolerates us. When we first got her she stayed in one bedroom and only went outside to pee and poop. I had her on a leash but it took forever to get her to walk and she wouldn't leave the yard. We got it fenced in and she would go out and dig a 3 foot hole and lay there. The hole wasn't in the best place as it was in front of my potting bench so I gave her two holes where she could dig and she does dig in those two places only. I do refill them every couple of days. The problem is I feel like she just tolerates us. She lets me brush her and I finally got her (with the help of a trainer) to walk on the leash and she is great with that and I walk her early in the morning for about 45 minutes. She was very fearful of the truck and I had to physically pick her up to get her to the vet and the trainer also helped with that. She was also heart worm positive when we got her and after some weight gain we had her treated. Now to my problem...she would rather be in her hole all day outside instead of in the house. She will stay in the house all night but at 5:00 a.m. she wants outside and wants to stay out all day. We are in Florida and the heat is starting and I'm concerned for her to be outside and also don't feel it's healthy for her mentally to be outside all day by herself. She will come in the house during the day if I go get her but after 10 or 20 minutes she will whine, cry and bark to go outside. She won't play with toys, balls, etc. Not sure if I should just stand my ground and ignore her when she whines to go out and make her stay in the house (at least during the hottest part of the day). I'm completely at a loss. I've even thought of fostering a dog to maybe show her how to be a dog??? She will come and lay in the living room in the evening near us and lets me brush her every night but as I said earlier my biggest concern is her wanting to be outside all day. P.S. As an aside, where does all the dirt go when they dig a hole. It's like it disappears when I go to fill it back up (LOL)!!!
 

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Sounds from your story like your dog was alone and hungry a long time.
She's used to solitude and hunger and hunger is no longer a concern.

She might prefer solitude to inside living. Inside may feel like a sensory overload to her. Maybe she dug the hole by your potting bench so she could be near you outside while you did something you enjoy and you moved the hole away.

Think about cutting her food back 20-25% and walking 45 minutes twice a day or 30 minutes twice a day and build it up week by week. Let her sniff about as much as she wants and do a loop and not 22 minutes out and back on the same path of smells. Change your routes up. Work on things in small increments. 2 minutes, 1 minute, then leave her be and try again in a couple days. Sounds like she's not causing any damage of real concern, so take it easy on her. Be patient and don't rush anything. Look for little changes and build on those changes.

I rescued an under weight fear burdened dog 15 months ago and he still doesn't wag his tail when he see's me return after being away.

That said, he's doing a lot of other real good things on walks and socially with other dogs and people and inside manners. He's perfectly content lying near me, but will get up and move if I try and pet or stroke him for more than a few seconds.

She'll get stronger mentally as she gets stronger physically.
If she has shade and water outside I imagine she'll be fine and come in if she feels overheated.
 

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Great Pyrenees dogs were originally bred to be independent dogs that could guard flocks of sheep on mountains, and perhaps, your dog has retained that genetic disposition. More than likely, though, she was neglected as a puppy and did not bond with any human during this critical stage of her development.

Although she may never become an affectionate, playful dog, it sounds like she has made significant strides since you adopted her. I would continue working with her trainer and setting incremental goals.

As far as being outside is concerned, make sure that she has plenty of cool drinking water and shade. Put up a tarp over the areas she likes to dig. She may just find her hole in the ground a cool place to lie down. And, of course, check on her periodically to make sure that she is o.k.
 

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It sounds like she is being the dog she was bred to be. This breed is designed to sit still outside for hours upon hours and guard the flock. Their puppyhood is extremely important and when kept as working dogs they sometimes border on not even being tame. So please don’t take it personally, these are exactly the struggles you would expect from a neglected Pyr.

It honestly sounds like she’s come leaps and bounds considering her nature and her history, and like you are doing a really good job meeting her needs. I would continue accepting her slow progress.

As someone else mentioned the RIGHT dog would likely do wonders, but the wrong one would make everything worse so be very very careful as you consider adding.


As for laying outside in the heat, let her. She won’t stay out if she is uncomfortable. I grew up with a malamute who would lay outside even in triple digits lol. Believe it or not that cost insulated against heat as well as cold. And as long as you aren’t harassing her or forcing yourself on her when she is inside, she won’t have a reason to avoid being inside and you can trust that she is staying out because she enjoys it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Frank - I really liked your post! Sharing your own experiences is helpful and pertinent to the conversation.

Thanks, Susan. I honestly do need to rein in on my own leash with the suggestions and stay closer to direct experience.
Your post made me laugh because it reminded me of when I was breaking in as a cabinetmaker. My mentor and I talked a bit the first morning and then he gave me my first task.
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Clean the shop.____ Not exactly what I had in mind.

It was the like the Karate Kid. Wax on-Wax off. Paint the House. Sand the Deck. Clean the Shop. Later, at the end of the day when I knew where every tool and board and screw and glue bottle were located, he told me a story about experience.
A guy was hired into a woodshop as a cabinetmaker claiming he had 10 years experience. Turned out he did have 10 years experience, but sadly it was the first year ten times.
 

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It depends on the individual dog. I do a lot of dogsitting and I watched a great Pyrenees/English Shepherd mix for three or four days recently.
She was super clingy and affectionate. In the dog park she literally went to every person there leaning on everyone begging for pats and rubs. She followed me everywhere and tried to push my dog away so she could be closer and sleep with me and be right next to me at all times getting nonstop attention. My dog would get jealous especially when she growled at him so I had to push her away and be firm with her about respecting his space.
Apparently no one told her she's supposed to be aloof and an outside dog. She was a Velcro dog.
It took me well over a year to really bond with my current dog. He felt abandoned by his first two homes in sixteen months and was never really treated well or trusted anyone. And I was still grieving my last dog. We needed time to trust each other. He needed to learn that I wasn't going to abandon him like everyone else did.
I needed time and to learn endless patience to train him not to be Dennis the Menace and drive me crazy with all his incorrigible behaviors so I could like him lol.
It was worth all the time and effort. Find your dog's favorite treats and foods. Figure out their favorite activities. Their favorite toys, games, ways of interacting. They might not know how to play but they can gradually learn. They learn faster from other dogs if they're social and friendly with other dogs.
My dog doesn't care about fetch. Unless it's a squeaky ball, squeaky stuffed animal or ball that lights up and I act like an idiot and run around squeaking it telling him it's going to get away unless he gets it fast and get him jumping and prancing and all revved. Then lots of praise and a bacon treat when he brings it back and actually drops it when I tell him to.
I work harder than he does lol.
He loves tug but only with certain textures. I had to try a bunch of different things to learn that.
It's a matter of being very creative sometimes.
 

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My sister had a Great Pyrenees and he was extremely devoted and protective of her. He hated to be alone. Some rescue dogs can take a long time to loosen up to where they feel safe and confident in giving affection. I think another dog could help. You don't know which dog though, so it would be a good idea to foster dogs and eventually you might come along one that your dog loves to interact with. I had a foster that just wanted to go in the backyard and dig a hole in the sand box and lay there for hours. He was distant and seemed to want to be invisible. His magic fix was to ask him to go on a walk. He LOVED walks and would get so happy and excited. But then he'd come back and go out to the sandbox. It took a bit of time but he became more social and started to love getting affection. You don't know your dog's history, which makes it hard. Maybe she lost a buddy, maybe she was abused. Maybe she was raised as a street dog and just never learned to trust. The biggest reward with a rescue dog is helping a dog like yours learn to love and enjoy life. Search for something that grabs her interest. Balls? Ropes? Food? Walks? A swimming pool with cool water (that's my dog's obsession). Since she's digging holes maybe part of that is because she's hot and the hole helps cool her down.

Be free with your affection and hold back on criticism. She might retreat and you'll lose ground with any progress.

Don't give up. You'll have the best reward ever when you break through her defenses. Best of luck to you both!
 

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I was not in a position to be a good home for a rescue dog when I needed Laurel, but I am so glad that you are. I hope you are able to find the right second dog for both your Pyr and yourself.

Dogs aren't like cats: different breeds really do lead to different lifestyles. I had to mourn the dog Laurel was "supposed to be" before I could fall completely, madly, and no-excuses in love with the goofy little 6 lb terrier she is.

I will never be able to safely house a pocket pet but I will also never need to exploit and use a feline mouser unless I WANT a pet cat, nor will I ever need to purchase D-Con Mouseproof products.

My little furbaby came into my life as a very practical, unemotional purchase of necessary livestock and slowly wormed her way into my heart until I say ridiculous things like "doggie daughter" and compare her spay to a bar mitzvah as if talking that way were perfectly normal.

And it is. For an empty nester, because that is what I am. The Third Act can still be a good act. Your Pyr can still be your doggie soulmate just as my "ridiculous little furbaby" is mine even though she isn't what I was expecting when I decided to get a dog.
 

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My dog Jaya (who was mostly feral when I adopted her from a rescue org) was 5 years old when I got her. I couldn't even look at her nor talk to her without her going into a full fledged fear/panic attack.

Jaya spent her first 5 years outside and I think the walls closed in on her really fast...being inside was terrifying for her at first. But I only let her out at certain times, to try to get her use to a schedule for potty training purposes and also she went out with me if I was doing something out side.

She eventually got use to living inside and in fact, she discovered the luxury of having her very own love seat (she's a 65 pound dog). I think she actually loves the comfort of it over what she lived with her whole life...hard ground. She's also figured out how much more comfortable she is, inside an air conditioned house over being outside in the heat.

I've had her for 6 years now, and while she will never be a dog that wants or seeks physical affection...she willingly comes into my computer room and lays next to my chair and doesn't take off like a bullet out of a gun if I should move or say, laugh at a video I'm watching. She also eats from my hand now, and after having her for almost 1 year, I finally got her to come in on her own....I didn't have to use tie down and drag lines to make sure she came inside.

So, while not a normal bond of showing affection and enjoying scratches behind the ears and such... I do think Jaya and I have a special bond...she's come to trust me up to a point...and it was Very hard for her to give that trust to me.

Be patient with your dog...and I think you should bring him in on really hot days. Those dogs were bred for cooler climates and dogs can die from heat exhaustion. Ignore the whining...but also learn to recognize the difference between the whining/demanding to not be in the house and those if he uses whining as a signal that he needs outside to go potty.

My dog Jaya whines when she needs out. My golden retriever comes and stands near me wagging his tail...and if I move he runs for the door and waits. If I move and he stays there wagging his tail...he's just there to annoy me wanting attention. ;)

Also, good job in adopting an older animal and keep working with him...I think eventually, you will achieve some kind of bond with him and it won't just be a one way thing on your part. Just know, though, that if you are expecting a dog that will happily run to you and want affection...that might never ever happen. It doesn't mean though that your dog hasn't bonded with you. They just express it differently than the average dog.

Stormy
 

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Great Pyrenee is a livestock guardian

We rescued a 5 yr old Great Pyr and got her sight unseen. She was about 48 lbs when we got her and we've had her a little over 6 months...

Your girl is a livestock guardian not a huggy, play with me kind of dog. She's probably totally bored doing nothing in a house all the time. The breed was bred to guard livestock for centuries. You're lucky to have one protecting your household.

Unfortunately people get dogs and then ignore and basically abuse them by lack of stimulation. Embrace the gift of one of the best dogs on the planet and learn all you can. In educating yourself you'll hopefully get the dog out of her funk.
https://gpcaonline.org/guardian.htm

Good luck
 

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I Purchased a Pyr from a breeder in Massachusetts. She was three months old when I got her and 35 pounds. Within a year she weighed 96 pounds and never ever bonded. She preferred to be outside and I discovered after talking to the breeder that they always want to be outside because they’re bred as rescue dogs and protection for livestock. They have a triple coat which makes it extremely uncomfortable for them to be inside. My dog always wanted to lay in the snow and was content to do just that. I was never able to get close to the dog and never bonded. She was aloof and disconnected. Again the breeder told me this is very common with this breed. I wish I had known this before I got her. Most of the people that I knew that had Pyrs show them and that was their purpose for having them. They make beautiful show dogs but their upkeep is extremely high maintenance. I finally wound up giving her to a breeder who was glad to have her and showed her. She did win Best in show and Best If Breed.
 

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We rescued a small white dog on 11/26/17. He's come a long way, but we're still working on trust. Some dogs take a long time, so patience is the key. Keep doing what you're doing. Looks like you got a lot of good advice here. Good Luck!
 
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