The Great Pyrenees is not your ordinary dog. For centuries, they have been bred to guard livestock. They are in the" Working Dogs" dog breed group. Their size classification is "Giant." They are very large, intelligent and stubborn. Therefore, they tend to be dominant.
For this reason, it is critical that training is done correctly from an early age. To be blunt, to ensure safety, your Pyrenees must understand that you and your family members are the dominant, or Alpha, members of the pack. You must not tolerate any show of aggression or dominance, such as growling, snarling, baring teeth, etc. A stern correction and temporary (10 minutes) removal from the pack is very effective. This is obviously easier to achieve with a puppy. This breed grows extraordinarily fast, so training must begin early. Do not allow any signs of food aggression. Teach the puppy that it is acceptable for any member of the family to reach into and to take his food.
Great Pyrenees naturally want structure and boundaries. It is important that they understand their ranking among their pack. Rules must be clear and consistently implemented. Keep in mind that this is a very large, very strong dog. It is important that they respect your place as the Alpha member of the pack. Treating your dog with care and respect is the surest way to achieve this. This does not mean that you should not be stern when necessary. But, it does mean that the majority of your interactions need to be very positive. It is vital that you understand your dog and yourself. Be honest with yourself as to whether you are assertive enough to command this strong, intelligent dog. Nationally renowned dog trainer Cesar Milan's philosophy of "natural dogmanship" works well with this breed.
When training your puppy, it is also important to decide in advance what your Pyrenees' function will be. Will your puppy be a family companion or a livestock guardian (LGD)? Changing environments is very confusing to a guardian breed. They protect their territory and those within the territory with whom they have relationship. If you want your livestock guardian dog (LGD) to protect your livestock, he needs to grow up with your livestock. Great Pyrenees were also bred to work in pairs. It is best not to expect one to assume the guardian role alone. If you would like your Great Pyrenees to be with your human family, it is best to raise him within the family.
There are characteristics of the Great Pyrenees that one needs to be aware of when training their dog. Great Pyrenees are very intelligent. The good news is that they learn very quickly. The bad news is that they also get bored quickly. Vary your techniques and lessons.
Great Pyrenees are very independent. It is said that they obey very well... when they want to. Your job is to make them want to. You must win their hearts. Make your training as unemotional as possible. Most Great Pyrenees are very calm. They spend most of their time calmly watching. Yet, are capable of springing into immediate action. They do not typically have a retriever instinct. If your Pyrenees does, you probably want to foster it.
In summary, the Great Pyrenees is an exceptional breed of dog. Due to the combination of their intelligence, size, and stubbornness, it is best to start training when they are puppies. A rescue is not out of the question. Just be certain that you have the skills to train this breed before you adopt a rescue dog. Try to get as much of the dog's history as possible. Although the ownership of a Great Pyrenees should not be taken lightly, if you take the necessary steps to train them correctly, he will be an asset to your home and farm.