Great Pyrenees Perimeter Problem Q and A
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!!
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.
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.
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
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!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.