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Pet_Crazy January 5th, 2012 07:24 AM

Aggresion In my Great Pyrenese! Please HELP!
Hi everyone! I have a 1 yr old Great Pyrenese, neutered male. He is almost the most wonderful creature I have ever met. He is loving and affectionate and for a 150lb dog he is really quite a suck! We have had some issues with his aggresion towards strangers and Im at my wits end with what to do.!! Everytime someone comes to our house he immediatly starts jumping up at them and trying to bite. I have done some reasearch and "they" say this is not normal for a properly socialized GP. But we rescued him from the big city and he was never aggresive in his old home...(So they say) It's gotten to the point that I'm scared to let my kids out of the truck when we come home because he hasn't seen us in a while. My Mom and Aunt came to visit and even after they had been in the house for hours he wouldn't let them back in if they went out. My father in law eventually had to lock him up. Unfortanatly I wasn't home for the event or I would have properly introduced them to my fella. Now they won't come back because he is to "scary" Any tips how to train this out of him??

Myka January 5th, 2012 12:40 PM

This is not the type of behavior that should be dealt with via the internet in my opinion. I think you need to seek the help of a Dog Behaviorist, someone who specializes in large dogs would be best.

I think the reason he did not do this in his previous home was simply because he was too young. You better get him properly socialized before these traits are instilled in him. He is still young enough that it shouldn't be too difficult to redirect him.

Dog Dancer January 5th, 2012 02:17 PM

I agree that a behaviourist is a good idea, especially when dealing with a giant breed dog. However, as the dog was a rescue there is really no way to tell if the original owner was being truthful. I honestly think a lot of people who dump their pets lie about the problems thinking it will make them more adoptable. Problem is when the issue does arrise it also makes the dog more likely to be returned again. I wish you the best of luck with this. I think the nature of this breed will hopefully make it easy to remedy.

Pet_Crazy January 6th, 2012 09:47 AM

Ok so Im ok with getting help but I am not ok with that person getting hurt. And though they may be trained for his kind of behavior Im not willing to take that risk. I'll give a little more background on him so you all dont think im totally insane!! We got him about six months ago and at first he was really great! The old owners split up and gave him away for free because they couldnt keep him. They say he NEVER showed this kind of aggression with people before but who really know... I myself took dog obediance training a awhole ago so I know what to look for in body language and demeanor. The wierd thing about him is whenever any of my nieces (i have 8) come out he not aggressive to them at all. Its only adults (and usually women) that he is not fond of. Thus far my practice has been to get outside when people show up and play with him to try to keep him distracted and show him that neither I nor my children (i have 4) are in any danger. I make EVERYONE who comes here introduce thenselves from afar and use his name until his aggressive posture is gone. We live on an acreage and have been forced to tie him up because he wont stay hjome which makes it easier to introduce him and hold him back if need be. I worry that being tied is only going to make him more aggressive. I walk him at least 5 times a day around our perimeter to show him where he is allowed and I use treats when he does the trip without any pulling or trying to get through fences. I am not afraid of getting bit or getting in his face to let him know I am the pack leader so I would rather try to fix his issues myself. At least to the point that I can be comfortable taking him to someone who can further his training. Even my vet is to scared to give him his vaccs. I need to calm his anger and confusion before taking him anywhere!!

hazelrunpack January 6th, 2012 09:59 AM

A behaviorist worth his weight will be able to handle the situation. They're experienced with aggressive dogs and know the risk. So bringing one in is not necessarily putting them at grave risk. It really does sound like you need an outside objective opinion by someone who can see in person what signals your dog is giving. A behaviorist is going to be your best bet.

Any internet advice you get will be hodgepodge because we can't see your dog's body posture or reaction to strangers or other environmental stressors--and you run the risk of making him worse if you misinterpret something that's going on. This is really too complex and dangerous a problem to try to tackle on your own.

Pet_Crazy January 6th, 2012 10:03 AM

I have never heard of behavior specialists in dogs before this forum... Any advice on how to find the right one? Specific questions I should be asking?

hazelrunpack January 6th, 2012 10:06 AM

A good place to start might be your vet--if there are any in your area, your vet has probably heard of them or even worked with them. :fingerscr someone from AB will be able to chime in with more advice/recommendations.

marko January 6th, 2012 10:10 AM

I would say that you are on the right track here and your devotion to fixing this problem is awesome!

But I agree with everyone else here, the risk imo is high and if i were in your same situation, despite my experience with aggressive dogs, i would NOT try to solve this myself.

I'd get a consult from a REFERRED trainer/behaviourist that has a lot of experience with dog aggression. They see this pattern OFTEN and can likely tailor make a program for you and your dog. They may also see other things in the dog's immediate environment and interaction that you do not notice.
Please keep us updated and good luck!

Pet_Crazy January 6th, 2012 10:17 AM

Ok. A specialist it is then!! Thanks you guys for the info! I'll let you know how he does!!

Longblades January 6th, 2012 05:45 PM


You might find some help at the link above. It's very easy for any Tom, Dick or Harriet to call themselves a "dog behaviourist" and set up shop. There are no legalities than must be followed, credentials that must be obtained or training that must be proved. The designation "animal behaviourist" is one that can be given after years of study at a university. Be sure to check out who you deal with very carefully. That said, at the link you should find people who do have years of experience with dogs and through their membership as trainer in CAPPDT are at least held to some kind of standard, ethics and professionalism.

Such a person near me (not near you) does specialize in aggression cases and is the person who screens incoming dogs for a local shelter. He also is available for private consultation. Thus I suggest you contact some shelters and rescues near you to see if they can make some recommendations.

Another idea is contacting a Pyr. breeder near you. Even if it is not a dog of their breeding someone might be willing to meet you and your dog. I think a fee for such service would not be unreasonable.

Not to discourage you but on another forum I look at a member has a Great Pyr. and he did not show any signs of aggression till about age 3. It is not unheard of, apparently, for this breed to have such issues. In this dog's case though, they are conducting many, many health tests and the last report is they think something might be wrong with his thyroid.

Good luck. Great Pyrs are such beautiful dogs. I've always thought they look a lot like Newfies and I always sort of thought it would be nice to have one of each. NOT to breed, just to have for the coat contrast, one black, one white.

ETA: Did you find this site in your searches? [url][/url]

kitona January 6th, 2012 05:51 PM

There's a vet/behaviourist in Okatoks, but I don't know the name. The Calgary SPCA/HS offers ''Fiesty Fido'' classes. Bewere of uncertified hacks calling themselves ''behaviourists'', there's a ton of them around this area. They charge a lot and usually make matters a whole lot worse.
I realise Calgary is quite a long way from Sundre, but, hopefully this will give you a place to start.
Good fortune to you and your kids and your big, almost loveable dog!

Myka January 6th, 2012 10:22 PM

Yes, look for a behaviorist with credentials. The same as you would when looking for an obedience trainer. I have found the best place to find a good behaviorist is asking at rescue groups or SPCAs as these people often work with behaviorists to help re-home dogs. Be sure to find one that is recommended for LARGE dogs, that will cut out a bunch of yahoos to begin with.

Some simple questions that can help you weed out inexperienced behaviorists:

1. Where did you receive your training?
2. How have you gained experience?
3. Are you comfortable working with aggression?
4. Are you comfortable working with giant breeds?
5A. Have you even been bitten?
5B. Why were you bitten?
6. Do you offer a free consultation?

You may choose not to use question 5, but I like question 5 because most experienced behaviorists have made a mistake and been bitten at some point, and if they are a good, honest, confident person they will be willing to share this with you.

Question 6, most good behaviorists will offer a free consultation.

I know a great behaviorist just west of Edmonton, but that is quite a drive for you.

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