Hopefully Everything You Need To Know


 You have just bought a beautiful Great Pyrenees. You’re excited and  maybe a little scared. That’s okay! Here are a few things to get you  started and help understand your dog better. It is best to know these  things before hand, so that if your dog does something you weren’t  counting on it doing, you will be able to recognize and correct the  problem.
 As we like to say; there are no bad dogs, just undisciplined dog  owners.  If you treat your Great Pyrenees in a consistent manner and  give it security within the pecking order of the pack (your family),   your dog will become well behaved and be a joy in a short period of  time.
 About the Breed:
 Great Pyrenees are one of the oldest dog breeds in the world.  They were  bred as dogs of war and then used during peace-time as sheep guarding  dogs.   Great Pyrenees are one of the least aggressive of the large  guardian dogs (LGD), so often people cherish them as family dogs. They  are regal, independent and aloof compared to other dogs breeds,  (traits  necessary to spend days alone guarding flocks.) This independence  shows: when you call them – they will come, but maybe not on the first  call. They will also seem to ignore you when your in their vicinity or  close by. They will not look up when you call their name, and will seem  to be sleeping. What they are actually doing differs if you want to  classify it, but;
 (1.) They are most likely bored with the game, (If you have been calling  them like this all day just to check where they are, and what they’re  doing without rewarding them with a visit, a pet or a treat.)
 (2.) They have been up all night guarding while you were sleeping, and  are confident that their area is in there control and only want to be  left alone.
 (3.) They have not been well socialized as a pup, and don’t necessarily  feel they need your attention. Keep in mind that these dogs are a  superior breed and will act sometimes like they don’t need their humans.  Don’t take it to heart.
 Behavioral Traits:
 Great Pyrenees are very gentle around children.  Despite their size,  they won’t knock over a child, jump up or engage in dominance behavior  tests. They are graceful and sure-footed. Playful “teenage” Great  Pyrenees may bump into a person, and may give chase and nip if you are  running with them.  Adults tend to grow out of this as they mature and  will not display the same type of behavior as they do as a puppy. The  turning point will be at about 15 months of age if you have been  committed to training them or leaving them with a previously trained  older dog, (i.e the mother or father or just an older dog). They will  tend to learn faster as the dog in charge takes it’s job seriously, and  will establish a working pecking order pretty quickly. (You will see the  mother do this more often then the father.) The adults will not act  like a puppy that much after this stage, though they do not not feel it  beneath them to “lean-in” for some ear scratching.
 They usually don’t fetch. It’s beneath them. While they are still  puppies and you have a ball with a bell or some type of noise maker  inside you can get them to ‘fetch ‘ a little bit.  It is a relatively   good exercise to do with them to run off some energy, but be warned, it  won’t last for long. Given the chance they’d rather have you ‘fetch’ the  ball you threw, and watch in amusement as you do.
 They don’t take to water like retrievers, and are a bear to try to  bathe, but may wade a little and lap at the water. One of our dogs,  Serenity, likes to stand in any collected rain water or puddles, and  will submerge her nose and face completely in it, blowing bubbles  through her nose before she laps the water. And our other Female Melody inherited her Mother Serenity's traits, She will also blow bubbles into her water every time she drinks out of her water bucket.  All my dogs have an orange tinted tail year round from the red clay  everywhere on the property, and it verys in in it’s intensity  as the  seasons change. Since they always know where the coolest spot is in the  yard, they will dig themselves a hole, (looking for the cooler dirt  underneath), and will lay in that all day getting up from time to time  to dig deeper, if their body heat has changed the temperature underneath  them. This is typically why your dog,  (if it is outside all the time)  will have the orange tint to it’s tail. If it bothers you give them a  bath, but as a warning, it really does no good because not only will  bath time be very stressful for you, the dog will just get right back  into whatever it was in before.
 All of our Great Pyrenees have been taught basic manners.  They do not  jump up. They will “sit”, “down” and “come” when called.  They will  politely take a treat from our hand, and wait for the command to do so.
 Our dogs are equally at home in the puppy Barn, the field, or in the house.   Our female dog is house broken and does not have an ‘accident’ in the  house unless the person in charge of her fails to read the signs she  gives when she has to go. All Pyrenees are very good mothers, but with their big size they  sometimes don’t realize how large they are and will haphazardly lay on  top a puppy they didn’t see when going to nurse.  The only thing that  she might do that may get her into trouble is to “wag” and knock  something over.
 Jumping up:
 All Great Pyrenees puppies will jump up, especially if their home area  includes a cage or fence they can jump up on for attention.  If you  stick your hands or fingers through the fence, do so a the dog’s nose  level.  This way the dog will receive attention with four feet on the  ground, not when jumping up.   Do not allow the puppy or dog to put its  paws on you (a dominance test).  If it does jump up, step on the rear  paws – really hard.
 We have trained our dogs to never ever, jump up on anyone. This is very  important considering their size.  What may seem cute as a puppy when  they jump up to greet you or jump up unto the gate or fence, will not be  cute when they come running up at full speed, all 95 to 125 pounds, and  jump up, leaving a mark of ownership in the shape of a muddy paw-print.
 Our dogs were taught as puppies not to jump up – by stepping firmly on  their back feet, pushing their behinds down, or squeezing their armpit  muscles. Another method is to “knee” the dog in the chest.  Having big  dogs brings the responsibility of  training that big dog.
 We would encourage the people who buy our pups to teach them good manners.
 Our dogs have never been to obedience school. We have working dogs with  good manners, and they will obey the alpha dog, pack leader, if that  person can take on the responsibility and stick to it.
To reinforce my superior position in the pack order, I will practice a  technique called the ‘take down’ which is similar to a mom correcting a  puppy. Patience will hold the pup down with her paw, and bark or growl  at it. I have also held or pinned the said dog down and yelled or made  growling sounds until it stops struggling.
 Teenage Great Pyrenees can be very independent, and want to not come  when they are called.  A take down or two as needed will help cure the  independence. A growing puppy and young adult will do a lot of dominance  testing and should be corrected promptly.
 If you are surprised to see this topic in this information guide, don’t  be. It is not very common in dog’s who are taught properly, but if you  happen to have your dog do it to someone outside the family, or even to  your child, please don’t panic. Here are a few good reason’s why your  dog might resort to biting;
 Biting people by a Great Pyrenees’s is very rare usually an issue  related to a pack mentality issue. Great Pyrenees’s are so gentle that  we have only heard of a few cases of it among hundreds of owners.
 Here are four of the known reasons why my dogs have bitten others. The time when it will most likely happen is;
 (1.)  When a non-alpha person (a child) attempts to take the food dish from the dog.
 This is not just Great Pyrenees behavior, as most large breed dogs will  behave in exactly the same way. If there is a question in your mind  whether your child or the dog has dominance, instruct the child not to  go near the dog while it is eating. Our dogs have bitten a couple  members of the family for this very reason. Pyrenees are a dog that will  become very protective of their food, especially organ meat. If you  intend to give them any type of food, (i.e even ‘human food’ will become  a delicacy) really anything besides whatever type of dog food you  typically would give them, you must  practice the food dominance  training with them first.
 Better yet, feed the dog outside away from the children. You can never  assume that if a child or another person who is not the pack leader  tries to take it’s food, that it will not defend its food dish and bite.
 Methods to correct and train so that is doesn’t happen: (Prevention is worth a pound of cure!)
 A method to get your Great Pyrenees to be more tolerant to you messing  with their food, is to pat or scratch it while it is eating. Some  suggest picking up the food dish after thirty seconds and then setting  it back down.  In our fenced in area it is much easier for me to feed  our dogs, by attaching their food to the fence at face level so that  they aren’t even able to posture over top of it. I do this by attaching  an empty ice cream container (It has to have an removable  handle)  around two of the wires in our high tinsel wire fence, and letting it  hang there until they finish eating. I also never leave it there, but  always take it away as soon as they finish. It is never a good idea to  leave something that they will learn to protect and become aggressive  over, in their yard.
 It also might be wise to teach them to stop eating on command. You can  do this by using a correction collar, ( a shock collar) set on beep or  buzz, to startle them out of the dish, while saying ‘leave it’ or ‘off  ‘. Puppies will catch on fast.
 Never yank their head out with your hands by grabbing the scruff of  their neck as this will cause them to become defensive. If you do not  want to use a collar on them, use a leash over a elevated food dish and  yank upward while using the same commands.
 These behaviors will help to reinforce pack order by saying, “I still control the food dish and I’m only letting you eat”.
 (2.) A female dog(s) who is pregnant or nursing (hormonal), will be more  likely to growl and posture around the food dish. Our female dog has  even attacked another female dog within the pack, while she was  pregnant. Like a human, female dogs become very hungry, (understandably)  because of all the babies they are giving their resources too, and will  act out of character for a time. It is best to feed a pregnant dog  alone. If it is necessary for you to feed her with others around, be  prepared for her unpredictable moods, and if she does go after the other  dog, (even through the fence by barking aggressively and trying to get  her mussel through the wire…) Don’t panic or get angry. It is important  to maintain your cool and have a calm authoritative manner in dealing  with your dog.
 (3.) If you have not taught your puppy to stop playfully biting to  re-leave the teething they are doing. Correct this at an early age by:  Taking your thumb and forefinger, roll the top lips under the teeth so  that the pup bites down on them. You can also press your thumb or  forefinger forcefully on their tongue. If they squeak you’ve done it  correctly. Be patient, it will take a couple of tries, and even more for  a strong willed dog.
 Puppies chew and bite naturally, especially from six to twelve weeks as  they socialize with their peers.  When you get a puppy this age, do not  allow it to continue “socializing” with your hand, as this is part of  dominance testing for placement in the pack. Being able to bite says,  “I’m more dominant”. A gentle pinch and a firmly spoken, “No” gets the  message across.  Discourage mouthing the hands or nipping at any family  member.  Somewhere between five months and a year come the adult teeth.   The young dog will need to do a lot of chewing to help bring those  teeth in.  Have available big bags of rawhide strips.  Rawhide bones  would be better for an older dog whose teeth are already set.
 (4.)Males tend to be more protective of their territory then the  females. But even with that being said, we have a very protective female  too. There was one time when the previous owners of Shepherd wanted to  see him, and I took them into his yard. This was my own mistake, because  while I had him in my control, I allowed her in without properly  introducing her to him again. The result was that she was a unidentified  threat, and he did try to attack, but was stopped and thrown to the  ground where I growled back at him until he stopped looking at her and Growling.
 It is best to have only people who are familiar with dogs or have  control of their emotions, see your dog, and even if you can safely  trust them and your dog, it is still best to have them properly  introduced and your dog to understand completely that they are not a  threat. If you have people constantly on your farm, for tours or  whatever reason, then it may not be as much of a threat. However keep in  mind that youngsters will tend to want to pet or touch the dog. If your  comfortable with this then go ahead. Bare in mind though that the dog  should be trained to this and be in the petting mood. It should be a  time only when you have the said dog on a leash or somehow in your  control, and never, ever little hands reaching through the fence to  their area or yard.
 Also if you have a bully or a very frightened youngster in the group, do  not allow them at anytime near your dog. You can not trust your dog to  not see the frightened youngster as weak and therefore a threat to it’s  flock, (wither it be your family or it’s herd). Since it is in their  nature to kill off the weaker of the flock so that the weak one does not  pose as threat to the rest of it’s flock, they will sense that same  weakness in a timid youngster.
 Regarding bullies: They are just a danger since they tend to think they  are tough and indestructible. If they are purposely trying to anger the  dog, or just taunting your dog for no reason, they can find themselves  the victim of a quick nip, or a warning growl. If they continue to do  this after the dog has warned them, the dog will get more aggressive and  may break skin in the next nip. It would be better to identify those  who would tend to be this way in the beginning, and forbid them to touch  or play with the dog. Keep them in sight of you at all times. (Meaning  the bully.)
 All guard dogs bark, especially at night.  That’s what they are bred to  do.  If you and the neighbors don’t mind the barking, varmints, stray  dogs and other undesirable critters will stay far away. If the barking  is not acceptable, move the dog to a place where the dog feels secure.   This might be on the porch, in the basement, in the garage, in a pen in  the barn, or whatever works for you and your dog.  Some dogs will also  bark or yelp because of boredom.  Vary their days by moving them to a  new location. Also squirting them  in the mouth with lemon juice when  they are barking from boredom, sometimes will  discourage this behavior.
 Adult Great Pyrenees will naturally cover a one to two mile radius.  If  that’s not allowable, the dog will have to be trained to a smaller  area.  Fences, electric fences, and invisible fences all work good.  Neutering helps to keep a male dog at home.  Close supervision and  correction the first two years will help yield a dog that stays within  the property lines. Roaming is mostly male behavior and Male Dogs will  display the marking trait if they happen to escape. Marking is lifting  the leg to urinate on bushes, small trees, big trees, mailboxes etc. If  they try to do it to you, they are claiming ownership of you and it should  never be allowed. You own him, not vice’a’versa .
 A Great Pyrenees will guard what it is bonded to – or better said – it  will guard the defined space that contains what it is bonded to. If  bonded with sheep, it will guard sheep.  If with the owner, the owner  and his or her property. If toys or chew things are left in the yard, it  will guard those too. If the Great Pyrenees is to guard, it is not good  to raise it around other non-Great Pyrenees dogs where it can pick up  bad habits such as chasing poultry or livestock.   Great Pyrenees don’t  normally chase, but if the big puppy bounces up to a chicken and the  chicken runs the other way, the Great Pyrenees will give bounce after  it.  Once chasing starts, the chicken soon becomes a diversion, and that  Great Pyrenees can no longer be trusted with poultry.   Closely monitor  your Great Pyrenees puppy for its first 12 months if you desire to  raise a trustworthy poultry guard. A Great Pyrenees confined to a kennel  will likely be more aggressive with poultry than a Great Pyrenees that  is loose with them.
 Great Pyrenees are social in a pack society. The older members of the  pack teach the younger ones. Sticking a Great Pyrenees pup by itself in  with sheep or goats is risky. The pup may be mellow and responsible and  take on the guarding duties in stride. Then again, it may be playful and  want to rough house with the livestock. We think it is better to  segregate the Great Pyrenees pup where it can see the livestock. Take  the pup in with you while doing chores and correct any undesirable  behavior such as chasing, barking or nipping.
 Great Pyrenees guard mostly through intimidation – by barking and  posturing. Their barking keeps deer and rabbits out of our garden and  raccoons, weasels, and rats out of our yard, in fact our dogs will root  up underground tunnels that these critters have made in their yard. They  bark at people, bikers and cars, but keep their distance. They will  defend and back down dog packs, wolves, coyotes, bears, cougars, etc. If  you have a problem with a bear or a wolf pack, you will need two Great  Pyrenees. One will die trying to defend – two cannot be surrounded or  overpowered.
 Training for Livestock:
 The key to training a puppy or even an older dog is to do it  progressively over several months. Put a 12-week or older Great Pyrenees  in a medium pen with ewe and her 2-3 week old lamb (or goat). Provide a  place for the pup to hide under and where only he can get his food. In a  couple weeks and the pup will learn that the lamb and ewe are to be  respected and ignored. Move to pup to another pen with several ewes and  lambs. Again, provide a safe spot to hide and eat. As the pups learns to  respect the Ewes and lambs, he will become confident and ignore the  sheep. Finally, move the pup to a larger pen with lambs or kids about  its size. After some initial sniffing, the dog should settle down and  ignore the sheep. Any posturing or attempts to play should be a sign to  extend any phase of the training period. Put the conditioned dog with a  trained team of working dogs to learn how to behave in an open pasture  environment.
 The loss of a Great Pyrenees is hard to deal with – especially if it  could have been prevented.  Being run over or stolen happens all too  frequently where there is a lack of fencing. Great Pyrenees are large  and most animals respect their space, so they seem deliberately slow to  move out the way when a car approaches. We are fanatical about keeping  the dogs off the busy highway in front of our house. Our fence is made  up of  tee-posts supporting high tinsel wire fencing stretched between  the posts. There is a live wire that runs along the bottom a couple feet  off the ground, but it must be maintained else our male will mess it  up.
 When working, the dog receives a shock when they touch the wire and can  be trained to the fence with two or three shocks.  The fences require  maintenance to check for broken wires, to tighten sagging wires and to  trim back weeds and grass. They do not work in the snow or when a lot of  weeds touch the wires.  A standard wire fence or cattle panel works  well, though some Great Pyrenees learn to climb. Our Dogs will sometimes climb any  five-foot fence and do not respect the electric fence – Typically it  is because they could be a very timid dog when it comes to very loud noises, such  as a gunshot, a mower popping, or a storm coming. Several people have told us that invisible  fencing works out well for them.
 Great Pyrenees have a lot of fur and it is important for its health and  well being to know how to groom and take care of such. Great Pyrenees  shed in the spring when the weather turns warm and also when a female  weans her pups. Females have what is called a ‘blow out’, so don’t be  alarmed when you pet them and accidentally give them a bald spot.   Brushing during these times keeps the dog looking good. Outdoor dogs  don’t need a lot of brushing, but  it is good to brush to periodically  to check for mats, ticks and injury. An electric hair clipper (or pet  clipper from Jeffer’s ) is good removing the occasional small mat,  especially around the ears. Larger mats should be cut several times with  a sharp scissors along the grain of the fur. Carefully comb through  until the shed hairs are removed and the mat is gone. A spray-on  waterless shampoo helps keep the coat smelling clean without having to  give a bath. NOTE: If your Great Pyrenees cools off by sleeping on dirt  or in a dirt hole, it’s important to check for and remove the mats on  the rear quarters, tail and legs – especially on older dogs. The mats  pick up moisture from the ground and flies will lays eggs in the mats  causing big health issues when the eggs hatch. Better to shave the rear  quarters and legs than to have mats.
 Because of their thick coat, some people ask if the Great Pyrenees  should be clipped or shaven for the hot summer months. This is not a  good idea for a guard dog, since they have very light pink skin (with  some darker spots looking like pig spots.), shaving them will only cause  burning of the sensitive skin underneath. If you brush them out every  time the warm weather starts to come on and they start to shed, then you  are helping them keep cool. The white coat helps keep the dog cooler by  reflecting the sun and not allowing the sun’s heat to penetrate into  the body. The coat also sheds rain.
 Toe Clipping:
 Great Pyrenees need their toenails clipped, especially the single dew  claws on the front feet and double dew claws on the rear.  Check the  toenails once a month and clip every 2-3 months as needed. If you allow  them to grow without clipping you can cause a problem for the dog as the  toenails grow fast. One female, Awhile back had a problem with hers where the toenail curled in on itself and was pushing back  into her dew claw causing pain and irritation. Thankfully we caught it  before it became something that had to be surgically removed.
 The ears should be cleaned during this time too. Swab out with  long-handled Q-tips applied with hydrogen peroxide.  Commercial  solutions are available that help dissolve wax.  If dogs shakes its  heads, rubs or scratches at the ear, check it at once.  If you suspect  an infection, the ear will smell foul. Dirty ears can cause infection  and an unwanted trip to the Vet for medication. I would recommends using  a clipper to remove the hairs from the bottom side of the ear flap and  from under the ear to help keep the ear dried out.
 Great Pyrenees dogs have a distinctive smile. A Great Pyrenees is  content in their world, is protecting it’s flock and does knows its  place in the pack. It smiles knowing all is well. When you see a Great  Pyrenees that doesn’t smile, it’s a clue that there may be a situation  that needs correction. A dog that has been abused, neglected or  mistreated will show it on their face. Boredom or being kept in a small  kennel or not given enough exercise will show too. A dog in constant  pain may show other signs as well like holding its tail or head low or  walking stiffly. Also: We have a Great Pyrenees Female who Smiles every time she is Happy to see us. Some people if they see it for the first time may think they are Growling or about to attack, but it is quite the opposite. They will either show there teeth and grin or you will see there face turned up in a smile without the teeth showing.
Great Pyrenees Breeders: Great Pyrenees breeders tend to fall into  three areas of interest – show dogs, working dogs and the pet/puppy  mills. The best guidance we can give is to stick with breeders who can  answer your questions on the way you’re going to be using the dog.
 Weight and Care:
 Growth: Great Pyrenees typically have 4-6 pups in a litter.  In  Patience’s first litter  she had 8,  in her most resent she had 9. Each  pup will weigh between one and two pounds at birth and will be about the  size of a small Guinea pig. By six weeks, they will weigh between 12  and 16 pounds when they are well fed. Looking at the paws will give an  indication of how large the dog will be as they tend to grow into their  paws. They will continue to put on weight very quickly until about ten  months and will slow as they begin to reach their adult weight. The  females weigh between 85 and 115 pounds and the males between 100 and  125 pounds. The males will look like “skinny teenagers ” until about 18  months. If the Great Pyrenees is spayed or neutered, food should be  measured so that the dog does not become overweight.
 These are all the classified breeds in the Great Pyrenees family;   Akbash, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Komondor, Kuvasz, Maremma and Tibetan  Mastiff . ( As classified by the Large Guardian Dog Association. )
 Great Pyrenees have several color traits. All white is common and is  favored by judges in dog shows. Badger marked is the most common  coloring among working dogs. The AKC also recognizes tan, red and gray  traits. As  Great Pyrenees get older, long white shield hairs grow  through the undercoat and that has the effect of fading out any coloring  except on the ear tips and near the nose. This coat can be very fine,  almost like angora fur, or coarse. The coarse hair requires less care.  Great Pyrenees look larger than they are because of their heavy coat.  Also, they hold their tail curled over their back when trotting or  facing down a threat. This makes them look bigger. Another unique  characteristic among Great Pyrenees is that they have double dew claws  on their back feet. Our female though on the other hand does not have  dew claws on her back legs, which has in the past caused a few of her  puppies to not have any, have only one on one side, have one on each  side, have two on one and only one on the other, and have a prefect two.  (This is because the father has two dew claws.)
 Puppy Picking:
 Picking out a puppy among the litter mates may be a challenge. Goods  things to decide beforehand is how you’re going to use the puppy and  what are your preferences for sex and coloring. The breeder will let you  know what pups are available and should be able to answer all of your  questions. There is not much personality before four weeks of age.  Social interaction and role playing begins to bring out the personality  of the pup. All pups are cute and cuddly, so the choice for some often  comes down to the cutest one. What to look for if you want a good  guardian, are often the pups who are the “watchers”. (When people come,  the pup observes rather than greets. The family dog tends to bounce out  and say “howdy”.)
 Normal people do not own Great Pyrenees. The majority of owners value  the Great Pyrenees for their guarding ability and so buy them to guard  livestock like sheep, goats, alpacas, and chickens, but most of the dogs  we’ve sold go as pets. We will try to discourage this, but ultimately  we believe it is the owners choice once they have purchased a dog from  us.
 Great Pyrenees are the gentlest of the large guardian dog family, so  they are a good choice to be with children. Some owners cherish them as a  family pet because of their gentleness and easy going nature. If the  home is out in the country, having the big dog provides security from  strangers. They bark when somebody stops by and will often sit quietly  between you and the stranger should there be a short conversation. Their  large size and gentleness are good qualifications to reside in nursing  or group homes. Some are even trained as therapy dogs to help people  recover.
 Pack Mentality:
 All dogs are pack animals. Some breeds like companion dogs, have had  their natural instincts to test for dominance testing minimized through  selective breeding. Even so, many dog actions like licking your face or  placing their paw on your leg are showing submission behaviors or  dominance testing. The pecking order within the pack is determined by  age, sex, strength and hormones and is played out through hundreds of  testing and submission behaviors.  A well behaved, secure,  self-confident dog knows its place in the pack. It has testing against  every member of the pack – recently! It knows that the owner is the  Alpha dog and that challenging a more dominant will result in punishment  or having to show submission.  It should also learn that all the people  in its pack are higher in the pecking order.
 House Breaking a Puppy:
 Great Pyrenees puppies house break very quickly following this  schedule:  Take them out to potty: 1) every two hours, 2) after they  finish eating or 3) when they wake up from a nap.  They usually will not  mess up their kennel, so they will sleep through the night without  incident. They do need to be taken out fairly soon after awaking.   Always take them to the same spot and they will quickly learn. If the  dog is kept inside it is good to have a “safe” spot where the dog can do  its duty with getting in too much trouble.  There is a commercial  product that is scented to attract the dogs to do their duty on it.   This can be moved closer to the door everyday and then finally placed  outside.
 What We Feed our Pups:
 We feed our pups a Diamond Naturals Small or Large Breed Puppy food. (Read more on the Article Diamond Naturals Small & Medium Breed Puppy food & Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy) Do not give them pork or cow bones. However you can give them raw chicken bones.  Cooked bones  from a chicken will splinter and become brittle since the chicken is a  bird and therefore has hollow bones. Raw bones aren’t a problem though.  My dogs love chicken feet.

What to give and not to give to your Dog:
Do not give them pork or cow bones. However you can give them raw chicken bones.  Cooked bones  from a chicken will splinter and become brittle since the chicken is a  bird and therefore has hollow bones. Raw bones aren’t a problem though.  My dogs love chicken feet. You can also supplement their diet with eggs, rice, green beans,  deer meet (or legs) and raw chicken bones or parts.
 Sleeping is a favored activity for any dog. The Great Pyrenees’s night  guarding behavior may make it seem like they are always sleeping during  the the day. In reality, their sleep behavior is average for a dog of  their size. Puppies, like all babies, sleep a lot. Great Pyrenees have  dreams and so it is common for them to twitch during the dream periods.  Some  Great Pyrenees snore. Sleeping adult Great Pyrenees take up a lot  of real estate, so we recommend that you do not let your puppy sleep in  your bed.
 Leash Training:
 Having the dog to walk gently on a lead is a real pleasure.  Young   Great Pyrenees seem to pick up very quickly on this skill when trained  properly.  Their strength and thick coat make a choke collar  ineffective. Invest in a pinch collar and only use it during training  sessions.  Remove the normal collar before putting the pinch collar in  place. Links may have to be added or removed to make the collar work  properly.  Make the dog sit when you stop and walk when you walk.
 Health and Shots:
 A dog needs various medications for a long and healthy life. Worming is  necessary unless you keep the dog in the house and tightly control what  the dog eats. As soon as our puppies are able to eat normal puppy food I  start them on a weekly de-worming program and use Pyrantel  Pamoate de-worming. When around other animals, it’s best to worm.
 Rabies vaccination is needed every 2-3 years. Since we do not do puppy shots, but leave that up to the owner, the only shot we are required by law to do is the rabies, and since that is done the first time at about  six months, we do nothing but deform our puppies and feed them a good  healthy diet. This is so as to give them a good healthy boost by letting  them eat right.
 Great Pyrenees Health:
 Great Pyrenees generally stay in good health. Some more common problems  may include mats in the fur (especially around the neck and ears), the  dew claws growing too long, ear infections (due to dirt and moisture in  the ear), eye infections (pink eye), allergies and “hot spots”. Hot  spots are caused when an area of the skin becomes inflamed. The fur will  fall out, the skin will turn bright red and the dog wants to bite at  it. Some ointment from the Vet and keeping the spot dry cures this  problem.
 Genetic problems:
 Which include, under-bite, entropia (small eyeballs), seizures and hip  dysplaysia. Pronounced under-bite shows up as wet spots under the chin  and neck. Entropia is when the eyeballs are small for the socket size  and the eye lashes stick inward causing irritation. This can be cured  with simple surgery, but the dog should not be used for breeding. The  cause of seizures is unknown, but from what we have heard, changing  owners, being confined to a small area, or other highly stressful  situations will tend to bring them on. Hip dysplasia is not quite as  common as in other breeds because Great Pyrenees have not been over  bred. The most common form of death that we hear about is being hit by a  car or being stolen.
 More Genetic Problems:
 Arthritis may show up in older Great Pyrenees, especially those that spend the winter outside sleeping on the ground.
 Life and Death:
 Normal life span for a Great Pyrenees is about twelve years. Some live  shorter, some live over sixteen years. You will have a relationship with  your dog for a season and when the season is over, the dog will be gone  and you will miss the dog that you loved. These feelings are normal.   There is a strong cultural influence in our society to  dogs to give  your dog human-like qualities and rights (Anthropomorphism). These  feelings are not quite normal and are easily played upon by a care  provider willing to bump up their charges. Your dog is still a dog no  matter how much it feels like part of the family. You may want to decide  in advance to what (time and dollar) level you will be willing to spend  to care for the dog as it ages. For example, maybe your dog is  diagnosed with a illness at age ten and will need $200 worth of  “treatments” a month. You will have to make a decision to either spend  the money or say the season is over. Without forethought, this decision  will be much more difficult at the care provider’s office. A family  meeting to discuss, “What would we do if…?” may be appropriate as the  dog ages.

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