Patience and tolerance is required!
Puppies are cute and adorable. And they’re little monsters who destroy everything in sight with their super sharp little teeth and claws. They must chew at this stage, it’s the only way through it. They bite your ankles and chase your broom. They love speed and excitement. They love to watch poultry flap and fly, especially if it’s noisy. They go where they’re not supposed to and try to get out of where they’re supposed to stay. Puppies can cover a lot of territory in a short time and can potentially get lost or in trouble.
But each of these are only stages, momentary blips in time….
And, fortunately for you, they’re beyond the worst of these phases by the time you take them home. But not all! It takes a large breed dog at least two years to fully mature! The time from four months to a year is pretty intense.
To be successful puppies require plenty of attention and guidance…adopting families should be sure they can provide enough. Puppies from solid loving backgrounds require much less guidance than those from abused backgrounds. Our pups are solid creatures!
Young dogs eat a LOT~especially large breed ones. They have a lot of growing to do. Good nutrition during this stage is vitally important for building strong bodies that won’t get sick or easily injured. Plenty of good nutritious food is important to make them feel content rather than restless.
Don’t despair, however, a grown Great Pyrenees doesn’t eat any more than a grown normal-sized dog. Their metabolism is slow and efficient.
This is all to say that you should be ready for it if you’re adopting a puppy. You’ll want to focus on the love and adorableness because the other moments could try the patience of a saint.
One farm family adopted four of our pups to protect their cattle and poultry. At 6 months old they’re already chasing out invading coyote packs. They’re naturally adept at helping with the cows, even though they weren’t raised with cows. One pup adopted their four-year old and protects him everywhere he goes! They love them. Three of the four pups chased their chickens~ once only. The electric fence taught them some manners. The farmer’s response was “I don’t care what breed it is, there’s not a dog on Earth that won’t chase chickens~ especially when they’re young. It’s too much fun.” That’s wise. We agree, when or if our puppies chase poultry it’s not vicious or aggressive…it’s just SO MUCH FUN. They MUST be taught manners during this stage …. and poultry need adequate protection. Our grown dogs are 100% calm and dependable and we trust them alone inside the poultry pen for extended times. But not-so when they were young! Even our full-blood Great Pyrenees, at 5 months old killed a duck.
Today, at a little over a year old, he’s a solid citizen and we trust him completely.
We recommend finding some good dog training books and working with your pup as appropriate. Read up on Great Pyrenees especially and make sure they’re the right breed for you.
On that subject is the paw swipe. Lots of people don’t like it but it is a characteristic of Pyrs. We see it as their way of touching us like we touch them. They usually are looking at you when they do it. We don’t teach them not to do it but we do work with them on doing it GENTLY.
They also kiss. It’s important for them to learn to be soft and gentle with their mouth and not bite anyone so they can be around kids. They actually learn this very naturally from their adults~ and we help.
Another Pyr trait is the submissive rollover when they see you, their human. All of the pups from this litter do it, some more than others. Being raised in a pack helps them understand they have a place in the order of things. They don’t want to step out of line.
A book we like is “How To Be Your Dog’s Best Friend” by the Monks of New Skete. This book addresses the need dogs have to sleep in their owner’s bedroom. Most people with Great Pyrenees have them sleep in the barn. We like giving them the choice. We find that puppies prefer to sleep mostly inside at night…sometimes on the porch, sometimes under the bed and sometimes in between. As they get older they naturally become more nocturnal and stay outside more.
Night is when they do their serious work. Dawn and dusk are high energy times because that’s when predators are most active. We recommend you train your pups by doing “perimeter patrol” with them at dawn and dusk until they do it on their own. Our adult dogs choose to be out at night and take their rest with the livestock. They don’t like to sleep in the rain so it’s best to have a dry place for them in and/or just outside your barn or livestock shelter. You can train them and support their protection efforts by what “dog habitat” you construct for them. Consider what you want them to do, where it should be, how it will work, then build it sturdy and you’ll be glad you did. They like to be up on something like a high bench where they can see and hear better, and get a flying start if need be!
It’s a lot of work to raise qualities pups. These pups have had a great start. The work decreases as they get older. The main thing to remember is the reward on the other side.
Your grown-up well-trained and well-loved dog is worth its weight in gold. And then some! And to you they will always be adorable. Be sure to take pictures so you can compare later, they grow fast. It’ll be over before you know it, so enjoy it while it lasts.