Great Pyrenees Perimeter Problem Q and A

Thank you Great Dog Site for the photo

This is another Q and A from a reader who is away at college: 

I had a training question that I couldn’t specifically find. My parents have a 2-year-old Great Pyrenees mix that loves to roam around the 25-acre property. One of his favorite things to do, besides roaming for critters in the woods, is chase outgoing cars to our private gate (we call it an escorting service), which is about 3/4 of a mile from the house. For the 8 months they have owned him he would normally stop at the gate, and turn around and run back to the house. However, in the last month he has been trying to follow the cars past the gate and onto our neighbors’ property. He never wonders far, but he thinks it’s a game to get him back onto “his (my parents) property”. My parents have now invested into a remote shock collar to buzz him when he tries to “escort” cars past the gate. However he doesn’t seem to understand it. I’m thinking it could possibly be a dominance issue, but since I’m away at college I can’t see the behavior myself. Could you give me some insight/ tips on how to correct this behavior please? Possibly make it in a newsletter (I love reading them!). Thank you so much for your input!! 


Hello Austin!!

This is one of my Favorite Breeds

I am honored that you happily read our blog while you are away at college and so I wanted to be sure and answer your question for you so you can help your parents get on the right track (parents can be so difficult right?)

The first thing to do is to understand the breed.  Great Pyrenees’ are flock guarders, they were bred to sleep outside and watch their flocks and they tend to take their jobs very seriously.

This breed, because it is so large, also matures slowly so I have no problem believing that this is a fairly new behavior for 2 years old.

He is beginning to get possessive of his space and his “stuff” like he was bred to do.  He probably doesn’t have wolves coming onto his property so the cars fill the space of “wolves” or other predators for his genetics.

And, although is he not “chasing people off” because they are undoubtedly leaving on their own he thinks he is chasing predators away.

And, it is fairly natural for his property line (in his mind) to grow and encompass some of the neighbor’s yard and area.

He is doing what he was bred for.

The problem is, that he doesn’t have a “flock”, he is a pet.

And, wandering is liable to get him run over by a car or attacked by a wild animal.

It is just not safe to have him wandering on his own anymore.

If he is not neutered, get him neutered.  Hormones and testosterone cause dogs to wander farther than they normally would.

Just one Reason I hate Shock Collars thanks Animal Rights Action for the photo

Shock Collars

I pretty much hate them.  I wish they were better regulated and were difficult if not impossible to get.

I suppose they can be effective in the hands of professionals for life threatening situations, but in my opinion there are very few of those.

The reason that he is confused is because your parents are undoubtedly finding it difficult if not impossible to be consistent with when and where exactly they are shocking him.

As humans we are fallible and unless you are very skilled and specific, shock collars are just confusing and because of that they are inhumane.

If your parents were capable of being out with him EVERY TIME he went outside and shocked him at specifically 2 feet away from your gate EVERY TIME he would learn what it is that they want and what behavior (leaving your yard) is coming with the shock.

But I am sure your parents are shocking him sometimes and not others (as they are probably not out with him every time he leaves the yard) and they are undoubtedly inconsistent as to WHERE they assume the boundary is; one foot, two feet, two and a half feet… it is probably always changing.

So he simply doesn’t understand, and is getting shocked for “what they are thinking” they are communicating to him.

Invisible Fence

I am not the biggest proponent of invisible fencing, as I can see that it too is fallible (batteries go dead, other animals and people can wander onto your dog’s property) but what doesn’t change is the area and the general consistency of it.

The wire (if buried) stays where it is put and doesn’t change, and it also is the same whether or not your parents are there watching or not.

If I had 25 acres and I didn’t want or could not  put up a fence or a dog kennel/run I would consider invisible fencing (it is better than being run over by a car).

They don’t have to fence in all 25 acres, 5 or 10 or less would probably be plenty of an area for him to be in, but the fence will keep him safer.

In order to keep him from being burned like the above photo, they need to remove the collar daily and make sure it fits appropriately.

I never leave my dogs out on the fence collar longer than a few minutes (long enough to potty) then they come in and I can take it off.

More on how to train for perimeter training and making it fun click this article Perimeter Training Your Dog.

The Only Other Way

Pyrs need Fences or Leashes

The only other way is to keep him on a leash with them, and go outside and have him potty when they are there and he is on leash.  Like having a dog in an apartment.

This would also control him and his environment, although it is a lot of work to go outside with your dog every time he wants to go out!

He Needs More Mental Stimulation

It sounds like he has a lot of time outside, but that is being detrimental to his life as a pet.

Instead of leaving him outside all of the time, they should train him and teach him obedience commands (for help with hands off training click here), they should also be exercising him.

It doesn’t matter how many acres a dog has at his disposal he is not sitting down to write out an exercise regimen for himself.

He probably doesn’t get nearly enough “real” exercise (for more on what I mean by doggie exercise click here ) to keep him happy and stimulated!

Exercise and training will help him be a better pet, and less of a wild out of control flock guarder that is likely to get hit and killed by a car (even their own).

Got a question you want to see answered on our blog?  Ask me!

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  1. grace billings says:

    I have a 2 year old standard poodle. She is very bright and knows everything we say to her. However, she doesn’t come when called unless she is likely to get a treat like cheese that she really loves. A few times she has gotten away from us and bolted. It’s a big game to her and since we follow calling her to come back, she knows we are around. The other day she bolted when I opened the back car door (my fault for not keeping her in the car). We were in a neighborhood that had very big back yards and open fields. Rosie took off. At one point she came towards us just a bit beyond being caught. Eventually, my husband went back to get the car, and I kept walking as she had run into a wooded area. A neighbor came out and started talking to me when she came back up the road towards us. I said to him, “her name is Rosie. She doesn’t bite. Please grab her.” He did and that was it. She was tired by this time and ready to be collared. I am so afraid she will be hit by a car or lost some time. We are very careful, but there is always the off chance that she will get away. I was also thinking of an E-collar. Am so frustrated. I know it’s my fault that she doesn’t come when called. She did as a puppy, but then stopped. Everything is a game with her though. Help


    Minette Reply:

    DO NOT use a shock collar!!! This will only teach her NOT to come because she could get shocked!

    Read this

    Go back to TRAINING!!! How often do you train with her a week? a day?

    If you aren’t training and working on these things you can’t expect compliance.

    My dogs listen because training is a part of their daily lives. They are use to training because I do it almost EVERY DAY.

    It doesn’t matter if they are 6 months old or 12 years, dogs actually like training and it keeps them listening!


  2. Becky Jones says:

    We have a Great Pyrenees/Anatolian mix who thinks he needs to bark at everything…I swear he even barks at the wind. Any little sound or anything out of the ordinary, and he is barking. I know it is probably part of the guarding instinct, but I don’t know how to get him to stop after he has alerted us to whatever it is he is barking at. Its not only driving me crazy but I’m sure once the nice weather comes and windows are open, the neighbors won’t be too happy either. He is 2 yrs old and we live on 3 acres that he “protects”. Someone told me its just the breed and they bark at everything..maybe so, but I need him to stop when he is told to…is this possible? Thank you…


    Minette Reply:

    You can teach any dog to be quiet, however genetics play a role in how a dog behaves when you are not around.

    Pyrs are known for their barking, it is genetically hardwired to keep predators from getting near their flock.

    Your dog doesn’t have a flock, but he does have a perimeter and he does have you and he thinks both need guarding so he barks.

    You need to teach him to be quiet. In the right hand side of this page there is a search bar for other articles put in barking and quiet and several articles will come up for you to read.


  3. Becky Jones says:

    My Pyrs is very afraid in the car – his entire body shakes, he pants, he goes from front seat to back seat in a nervous panic. He wants to go along with me, but once he gets in the car and the car is moving, his nervous habits begins. All my other dogs loved car rides. Do you have any suggestions to make this a more comfortable experience for him?


    Minette Reply:

    check this out


  4. Terry Wilks says:

    i dont think theres a need to bash electric fences, theyre a good way to perimeter training yes, but one should not be dependent on it, when you have an electric fence installed you should still train your dog to it, not just let it go and let it discover the consequences by himself


  5. margaret cruise says:

    We just rescued a 2yo newly neutered male GP. He is the 4th we’ve had. The girls we got as puppies and the oldest-10 now-we raised in a pen by the goats. walking her every day, til she matured and we let her loose-she has never roamed. She raised our other girl and neither ever roamed. We were given a yearling intact male, neutered him and left him loose with the girls-he disappeared 2 years later. I’m walking our new boy 3x daily,got him a young shelter mix to play with-the other dogs are now too old- but if I turn my back on him, he jumps the fence and is gone. The lady that fostered him had him in a large area with 6 foot fencing and 2 electric wires on the inside, and he respected it and stayed in. We are planning on doing the same so he can go outside and bark at night and go out during the day when we work..right now I walk them every morning, close them up in the house while at work, come home and walk again and keep him onleash while I do what needs to be done outside. Will this be a good plan, and how do we space the electric wire?


  6. Joanne Barkhouse says:

    We adopted a Great Pyrenees from our vet, not sure how old she is. Is there any way to train her not to be so possessive over the back deck. We own 2 great danes and when she’s in the house, she isn’t aggressive with our Danes. We can’t let her loose, she takes off, and I live in Farm country and I’m afraid she will get shot from a farmer. We have a good chain for her and it’s long enough for her to wander. I do take her for a walk on the property. I just wish she wouldn’t go after my Danes if they want to go on the deck. She sleeps there at night, and she knows if she barks to much I will bring her in the house and she knows that she was barking to much, like for 3 hours. I just don’t want her to start a fight with my Danes, because my Black Boston Dane, won’t back down.


    Minette Reply:

    Some dogs fight. I have 3 and 2 don’t get along but respect each others boundaries when I am around. So I do my best to give them each attention separately and make them respect one another when they must be semi close


  7. Jeff says:

    We have a 10-year-old Great Pyrenees female that has spent her entire life guarding our herd of goats. We moved to a new farm 1 1/2 years ago. Over the entire 10 years, we have never had a problem with her digging out of a pasture. Over the last three months, we can’t keep her in. We have gotten a lot of rain so the ground is soft. We are getting ready to try a hot wire, but can’t believe it has come to this. She has goats, cattle and two cats to look after. What is going on?


  8. Michelle says:

    I have a great pry/ sheppard. He is a yr old and a sweet heart. He obeys commands good..but he can climb out of a 6 foot kennel and shimmy out of his collar (which was not loose at all) we made it snug and he still can slip it off. We have his littermate and a wolfdog they all were rasied together. But he is the only one when he wants out he will jump or climb and when he wants back in (if you havent caught him yet) he will jump back in. I dont want anything bad to happen to him but I dont know what or how to keep him from doing this


  9. Emily says:

    Hi I have a 7 month old Great Pyrenees / German Shepherd she’s wonderful with my goats and really gentle with the children but I’ve been having problems with her and the chickens she’s killed one when she was only 12 weeks old, but and I only had her for two days so far so its understandable. but two days ago she was in the chicken coop and she had one of the chickens pinned under her. she hadn’t killed it but the chicken’s neck was very wet from her slobber.
    It’s weird because when I’m with her in the chicken coop she doesn’t even bother them she just lays down and lets them walk right over her.

    One other thing Last night I was out checking on the goats at 3:00 am and I didn’t see her anywhere and I also have an older dog whose wonderful and I don’t have any problems with her she’s an Australian Shepherd German Shepherd 7 years old and a great dog but I didn’t see them and I called and called and they came back half an hour later somewhere off in the distance.
    I was wondering if there’s any training techniques I could do for my new puppy I’ve done all the training techniques I did with my older dog and it worked great but she seems to be a little different and kind of stubborn.


  10. atrammell says:

    so Our 2 year old does not respect the fence and did ok for a couple of weeks but now he has found a way to get out and we are ready to give him away. He does not come when we call he pesters the other animals. Not doing his job at all


  11. Don Howell says:

    I have had GP’s for over 10 yrs when I had goats and horses. My GP passed away and I got 2 more. They are now 2 yrs old. When they were younger they kept getting out by going over the fence. I put up an electric fence and watched as they tried to go out. The female touched the fence, fell backwards and ran back to the house. They both have a healthy respect for the fence now. Since then I redid my fencing and ran an electric fence completely around my 4 acres and have not had any issues since.


  12. Donna Eest says:

    What kind of electric fence do u have my GP keeps going to the house next door they have a little boy so they love to see him put afraid he is going to get ran over going there do we need something Thank s


    Minette Reply:

    Invisible fence by brand will guarantee their product and install it.


  13. Elizabeth says:

    Last year someone left a “present” on our farm – a Great Pyrenees- he is beautiful, however, he is a huge responsibility- I believe he was somewhat abused as he is horrified at the sight of a collar or a leash ! He visits several of our neighbors, I work full time and cannot afford to hire someone to train him – we have had him neutered- WE LOVE HIM SO MUCH – he climbs neighbors gates and fences, we have a great relationship with our neighbors- they call us if there is an issue and so far they all love him ! our vet thinks he is approx 18 months old – we just need some control !


  14. Lynn says:

    My 6 month old Great Pyrenees mix is taken outside frequently to use the bathroom, but lately, he’s playing outside then comes in and relieves himself. I’ve cleaned the carpet, taken him to the same spot outside, I’ve literally tried everything. I’m getting pretty frustrated. I hate giving him away but I just don’t know what to do. What can I do?


  15. Tamara Kamberis says:

    i have a 13 month old Pyr. Love her to death but we can not get her to stop biting. She views my boys as play toys not people. We have tried obedience classes, and she does well otherwise.
    I don’t want a shock collar but was thinking about a noise collar, one that would just surprise her when she bites… any suggestions?


  16. Erica says:

    Jeff did you get any response? I have a 6 year old and I’ve had her a little over 1 year, she’s in 3 strand electric fence and as in the past she would cross one section to enter with cattle or goats wherever she chose to protect. I got her a helper LGD about 5 months ago they get along great, within the last month she is consistently getting out and we’re finding her 1 mile up the main road, she always comes home but I don’t know what’s going on with her or how to keep her in.


  17. Trish400 says:

    I have heard it takes 2 years for a out to mature and be a good working farm guardian. This seems to be true for us. This story ends very well despite the discouragement in the beginning. There is hope, have faith and confidence in yourself and your dog and it could potentially work out fantastically. We have a 1 1/2 year old male Pyr who we couldnt keep home after moving last summer (moved from 1 acre to 5 acres) He loves to chase coyotes and it’s hard to get him to come when He is in guardian dog mode.
    He was previously trained on a wireless fence but once his coat came in it didn’t phase him anymore. I have tried keeping him fenced in but he escapes. I also had him tied up for a while too which I hated but he had disappeard for 4 days and came home so so skinny. And we are on a busy road and have already lossed another dog to traffic. He was picked up so many times by the pound and it became hundreds of dollars to bail him out. So yes he was tied up for a period of time. During that time we always gave him sufficient time off of it supervised of course.
    I started doing perimeter walks with him and of the times he was brought home by neighbours I think he started to realize this is where he belongs (get a tag with your phone number on it, it saved us a lot of money and hours of looking). Then one day he of course broke out of the goat paddock to chase coyotes but he came home the next day. Since then he barks and guards all night but always comes home. We recently got a new puppy to help him guard and he has really come around. He doesn’t even try to run out the front gate when people come and go. Anyways if youvloce your dog and want it to work have patience and put a bit of time in.


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