PDA

View Full Version : Pyrenees owners, I need some input



SteppinEasy
Dec. 30, 2008, 10:11 AM
I found an adult Pyr on the road several years ago (big surprise, right?:)). She was in bad shape--skinny, matted coat, full of parasites. She didn't appear to have been a pet at all, but has a major fear of goats and sheep, so who knows what her life was like before?:lol:

Anyway, she's turned into the absolute best dog. She taught herself to monitor my elderly diabetic mother and whenever her sugar dropped too low, Sophie the dog would come tell me so we could avoid a crash. After my mother's recent death, Soph went through a major depression. She's recovered to an extent, but she's just not the same. I know she needs a new *job*.

The problem is that Sophie has food aggression issues. Well, not just food, but "possession" aggression issues. She loves other dogs, as long as they live outside her house, stay away from her owner and don't go near her things, be they blanket, bone or treat. This hasn't been that big a deal; my farm dogs just seem to roll their eyes at her and play with her on those terms. But now that I'm trying to find her something new to watch over, I can't seem to figure out what kind of critter would meet with her approval!:confused:

She growled at the kitten I brought in for her (in her defense, though, the first thing the kitten did was run and try to climb on top of her:winkgrin:), she doesn't like birds and I think any other dog would be out. But what does that leave?

Or is this simply an acclimation issue? Is there something I can do to help her adjust to having another creature of some kind in the house?

I really want to do the right thing by my girl, but she's suddenly gone from being here all day with my mother to being alone a large part of the time. She needs some kind of responsibility.

riverbell93
Dec. 30, 2008, 10:35 AM
Maybe something small and non-interactive (ie, caged) like rabbits or guinea pigs? Not quite a companion, but they would be some company and if she guards inanimate objects, she would probably adopt a living animal as 'hers.' I had a beardie who tried her best to mother a bunny - the rabbit did not appreciate it, and prefered to return to its nice, safe hutch.

dacasodivine
Dec. 30, 2008, 11:34 AM
Does it have to be inside? If not, you could get a couple goats or sheep for her to watch over. It's what they're made for.

SteppinEasy
Dec. 30, 2008, 12:19 PM
Thanks for the replies. Yes, it has to be inside. My mother's death has put me in some pretty severe financial straits, so the farm is going to have to be sold. I've already made some tough decisions about the horses and am trying to find new homes for my farm dogs, but Sophie's my baby. She and I may be sharing some tiny apartment, but at least we'll be together.:)

Oh, and decasosdivine, you must have missed the part where I pointed out that Sophie is terrified of sheep and goats, lol. She must have missed that breed memo.:lol:

A rabbit would probably be a great option except for the fact that I'm allergic to them. Anything you can make a coat out of, apparently. I've never tried a guinea pig, though.

Sophie loves my barn cat, but I'm concerned that she might not tolerate her nearly as well if she lived in the house. I wonder if there is some training(?) method that might make that work?

PonyPile
Dec. 30, 2008, 12:47 PM
Maybe adopt an old person?

Bluey
Dec. 30, 2008, 01:24 PM
Thanks for the replies. Yes, it has to be inside. My mother's death has put me in some pretty severe financial straits, so the farm is going to have to be sold. I've already made some tough decisions about the horses and am trying to find new homes for my farm dogs, but Sophie's my baby. She and I may be sharing some tiny apartment, but at least we'll be together.:)

Oh, and decasosdivine, you must have missed the part where I pointed out that Sophie is terrified of sheep and goats, lol. She must have missed that breed memo.:lol:

A rabbit would probably be a great option except for the fact that I'm allergic to them. Anything you can make a coat out of, apparently. I've never tried a guinea pig, though.

Sophie loves my barn cat, but I'm concerned that she might not tolerate her nearly as well if she lived in the house. I wonder if there is some training(?) method that might make that work?

Just an off the cuff idea would be that it seems that your dog needs a job and life that doesn't fit with yours.

Why not find someone that needs a blood sugar monitor dog and see if she would fit in a household where she would be having her favorite job and a person of her own to use her gift?

If you decide to go that route, you could contact those dog training groups that provide such dogs for people or advertise yourself locally, maybe even thru the TV newspeople, that would love to help and get such kinds of stories.
With her food aggression problems, the home would have to be chosen from those that know how to handle difficult dogs, where that would not be a concern, not novice dog owners, that may make that worse.
I have known several big guarding dog breed individuals that the owners were half scared of them and with reason, as that is lots of dog not to trust it implicitly.

It is terrible to have to give a dog up, but sometimes that is what love is, to let something you care for so much go so it can be in a better place.
Not that this is where you are now, just something more to consider, if you can't find a job for her.

riverbell93
Dec. 30, 2008, 01:44 PM
Just an idea, but this might not be the best time to try to give Sophie a new friend or job, as much as you may want to give her something to cheer her up. With so much going on, and probably both of you pretty stressed and unhappy, it sounds like you both need time to settle into a new life before introducing too many new things. Sophie's such a nice name, btw. Sorry to hear about your troubles, may 2009 be better.

pony89
Dec. 30, 2008, 02:44 PM
Does it have to be alive, or can it be a stuffed animal?

Can you teach her some of the other assistance dog tricks, like turning on/off lights, bringing a cordless phone or other specific objects, etc., so she has a purpose? Even regular obedience training would give her a task and responsibility.

Sing Mia Song
Dec. 30, 2008, 03:02 PM
Seeing as she has demonstrated an affinity for people, how about training her as a therapy dog? She could go to nursing homes and provide love and companionship for the residents. It might be her calling.

SteppinEasy
Dec. 30, 2008, 08:08 PM
Thanks, everyone. Riverbell93, you may be right that I'm trying to "fix" everything too soon. It's just hard to know what to do when the ground is shifting underneath you.

I can't imagine Sophie adjusting well to another home, either now or in the future. She's a quirky dog even without the aggression (which, btw, is partially explained by a bad hormone imbalance she had when I found her. The vet explained it as being in constant PMS. Spaying helped a LOT, and the rest is mainly a habit. It doesn't bother me--if I'd been starved and thrown out to fend for myself, I'd probably be pretty protective of what's *mine*, too, :)). She's prone to ear infections and has to be on a very expensive food to minimize them. Then there are the required Cosequin supplements, the necessary daily grooming, etc...Add in the amount she sheds and it's hard to picture someone else wanting to deal with her.:D

If I can't find an acceptable furry companion, I'll probably see if I can't find a retired/elderly person who might like to petsit during the day. Once I relocate, get a new job and have money again, that is. Sigh.

She does have all the required therapy dog training and was ready to take her tests when life was sidelined by my mother's illness and death. She's done all the basic obedience stuff, too, but I've never been able to develop her interest in anything related to fetching. Probably thinks it's beneath her, lol.

And PonyPile, are you for real:confused:? If your comment about "adopting an old person" was supposed to be funny, it wasn't. In fact, it was beyond insensitive, especially given my mother's death. Shame on you for having such little respect for your elders.:(

Sing Mia Song
Dec. 30, 2008, 11:03 PM
Giving Pony Pile the benefit of the doubt, maybe s/he meant "adopting" an elder person in much the same way Big Brothers/Sisters organizations do--finding an older person who misses their dog and having Sophie visit frequently.

SteppinEasy
Dec. 30, 2008, 11:26 PM
Giving Pony Pile the benefit of the doubt, maybe s/he meant "adopting" an elder person in much the same way Big Brothers/Sisters organizations do--finding an older person who misses their dog and having Sophie visit frequently.

If so, my apologies. I'm feeling a bit raw lately with everything going on.:sadsmile: