View Full Version : I forgive my Gr. Pyr for all his nightime barking!!

Apr. 20, 2011, 10:50 PM
I've often complained about our Great Pyrennes, Blizzard's late/all night barking, but today I have to thank him. He's just a farm dog but his barks are very significant...if you pay attention. He has the "coyote in the next county bark", "the damn wild rabbit is bothering me bark", "there's an owl hooting bark" and the list goes on...but he most significantly has an "oh shit, get your a$$ out here, NOW" bark which he used last evening at bed time. You can't mistake THAT one...and you better get your boots on!! I looked out the bedroom window and saw horses IN three different paddocks prancing and spinning like they had seen something horrible. On closer inspection I saw a "splash of white" where it didn't belong. (The bad thing about raising black horses...even pintos!) Standing next to the stallions gate is one of our B/W ISH's...one of 4 horses and 2 donkeys in the same pasture. What the...?? To get "there" he either had to jump a 5' fence with electric on top or jump three such fences. It is very good to have well socialized horses who love treats because with all the hysteria going on around him, the horse "Cowboy" came right to me and let me snap a shank (kept handy at the back door for just such times) on him and led him by just a neck strap back to his pasture where he was eagerly greeted by the non-escapees. Those horses have 40 acres that go to the back of our property and so we drove down the deadend section road and checked the fence. Yup! Cowboy had jumped the only remaining line fence panel we still have. A coop with a fairly high rail...meant to keep horses from jumping out of the pasture, un-mounted. Two years ago Cowboy got on the same jag and would jump out in the night and meet DH at the back porch for breakfast!! I tied a rope even higher over the jump for last night...now we will have to remove THAT last jump!! Darn horse should make a heck of an event or foxhunter, huh??? Thanks for the "heads up" Blizzard!!

Apr. 20, 2011, 11:28 PM
Go Blizzard!

I know that bark. The last time I heard it from one of our pyrs, I went outside in the back yard about 3 am. Saw nothing, but it was pitch black. Just as I called her in, I heard the most bone-chilling growl from about 10 feet outside the fence.

EVERY hair stood up on my neck. It was just one of those sounds that send you flying and I high-tailed it into the house, with dog right behind. After I got inside, I thought I must have imagined it, it was SUCH a threatening, loud, inhuman sound.

Day or two after that, the newspaper reported that a big bear had been seen raiding trash cans about a quarter mile from our house. I have no doubt that's what growled at me. Not a friendly bear, from the way it growled.

Apr. 21, 2011, 06:31 AM
I guess that you may have a ready made foxhunter there.;)

Good for Blizzard to know when you need to come here, asap!:cool:

Apr. 21, 2011, 08:37 AM
I want a great pry minus the roaming thing... darnit. Neighbors caught a bear on their wildlife cam, and something (we suspect the bear) dug up and ate(or was eating when DH and the shotgun disturbed him) the remains of a freshly buried animal on our farm. :(

and now with the kids small elderly pony and the three goats I'm worried :(

We KNOW that bark too... we hear it from the neighborhood dogs, of more than two dogs in the neighborhood are sounding off then get the gun and your boots cause something is amiss.

Good Boy Blizzard.

Apr. 21, 2011, 08:39 PM
I know the feeling. My dog has the bark that is for her personal entertainment and the one that says THIS IS WRONG. I believe it, too.

Spooky Alter
Apr. 21, 2011, 08:53 PM
Our last GSD had a very distinct difference between his barks.
He had his "normal" bark
One was for humans that were places they should not have been,
One was for animals out and about....
The scary one was the deep belly growl when HE did'nt know what was going on......

Apr. 21, 2011, 08:58 PM
Good boy!

Mine has a bone chilling bark that means there is a stranger on our property... Amomgst the "deer!" bark, the "neighbors!"bark, the.... You get the idea. They are great dogs.

Apr. 21, 2011, 10:09 PM
Good boy Blizzard!!

I like the idea of having a protective outside dog, who wants to be there, especially with the stories I've read. Is there anyway to keep GPs in and not have them feel annoyed at the restriction?

CCSH you know best with the GPs and Ambush:D


Apr. 21, 2011, 10:19 PM
Nice to see I'm not the only one who can "read" my dog's bark!! Non-animal people think you're nuts when you explain that there is a difference between "conversational" barking and the serious declarations!! We were introduced to Blizzard's "get the hell out here NOW and bring the gun" when he was still pretty young. He was going ape on the side porch, spinning in circles and not focusing toward the yard. I kept telling him that nothing was wrong, when I looked up and saw a young raccoon up in the rafters of the porch!! I can make him stop barking when it's about deer in the pasture/coyotes yapping/and ambulance or police car out on the highway 1/2 mile away, but there is no way to shut him up when there is a"serious bark" going on and you had better look!! Funny thing is the house dogs know the difference too!! The house cat jumps up in the entertainment center and gets behind the TV and now the Boerboel gets geared up for action...but he doesn't really know what is involved....yet!!

The next farm/ranch will be dog fenced on the whole perimeter so we can let Blizzard run loose at times. He doesn't "roam", but when he chases deer/coyotes/buzzards/etc...he does NOT return, despite and an expensive shock collar with a 3/4 mile range. So until we move he is in a fenced yard attached to an enclosed porch and on 3x day runs/walks with the other dogs and me in the golf cart. I hate to cramp his freedom, but I've "lost" him one too many times and won't risk it again.

Apr. 21, 2011, 10:29 PM
So the GP doesn't try to evade/leap the fence?


Apr. 21, 2011, 10:35 PM
LBR...I was typing at the same time you were!! Blizzard is really the first dog of his "kind" we have ever had. He is born and bred to protect his "area". (He just thinks we own ALL of OK!) Ambush, the South African Boerboel is now 10.5 months old and learning his job. But....his focus is/will be on protecting us - his people - as opposed to his "area". Silvercrown can probably elaborate on this, too. With Ambush, although he explores and is learning "smells" he is hardly ever more than a stone's throw away..literally. We have 80 acres and I never worry about him leaving MY area, even if I can't see him. Our past/present dogs Boxers, JRT's, GSD's (German bred) a BorderCollie/JRT (oops - not my creation) and a rescued, puppy mill product, Pappillon/Doxie have never left my immediate area...no matter what I was busy doing. The nature of the Great Pyrennes, although he loves me to death...is to watch over his territory. It is heartbreaking to me that after 6 years I can't trust him to obey me over his instincts. (And he is VERY well trained) As a result I am compelled to keep him safe from himself and his natural instincts. I will love him (he is a total snuggy lovebug) until he dies of old age, but honestly I would never own another. A female might be better, but I won't take that chance. As they say...a leopard can't change his spots!!

Apr. 21, 2011, 11:12 PM
CC- I have definetly deciced on a BB, but with their stickiness would *maybe* like a farm guard dog too. I'm not sure tho, maybe have to give it a bit more thought.

I'll speak to SC as well tho.


Apr. 21, 2011, 11:17 PM
lbr... sounds like you are down the same decision rode i am... I want a dog to protect the people, and a dog to protect the stock.

Apr. 21, 2011, 11:42 PM
Good boy Blizzard!!

I like the idea of having a protective outside dog, who wants to be there, especially with the stories I've read. Is there anyway to keep GPs in and not have them feel annoyed at the restriction?


I wouldn't recommend a GP as a purely "outside" dog without serious fencing around the property (as in 4.5 ft minimum that the dog can't go through.) That said, if you have a large well-fenced yard, especially if it's got a good view of things, and you take the pyr out for a good cruise daily, they can be perfectly happy. They'll be pleased to hang with you in the daytime, in and out of the house, and then do their job (bark) outside at night from inside the fence.

We have had 1-2 companion (not working) pyrs at a time in about 1/3 acre fenced. The fence is 4.5 ft v-wire. They go on off-leash hikes of an hour minimum every day, usually longer. Typically this is a real hike, as we're fortunate to have the trails nearby, but depending on weather it might also be the dog park or an on-leash stroll in town.

I'm convinced that this daily time to cruise a "territory" outside the fence is the reason none of ours have ever challenged the fence even when it was lower and they could have gone over it if they tried.

Every dog needs to get out and about, of course, but for fenced pyrs and LGD's I think it's crucial because while they love and protect their humans/livestock, they aren't totally focused on the humans. They have their own in-bred agenda which tells them to get out and check on things.

CCSH, I know how painful it can be to feel like all your hard work and training just isn't enough. Been there, done that (still doing that! Every dang day!) Pyrs are what they are; ya just gotta love 'em for it. We train recalls, and get them, but it is a never-ending process that will fade overnight, it seems, if you don't lean on it every freakin' day and provide copious rewards and motivation. Most people don't want to have to put that much constant work into it, and I can't blame them.

Sounds like you are doing the right thing for Blizzard. And he's right there for you! I'll bet he's proud of himself, too.

Apr. 22, 2011, 10:32 PM
MelantheLLC - I feel no malice toward Blizzard's "ways". Over the years I've come to realize that it isn't personal...it is just the way he is. Feb '10 was the end of my dreaming that he would grow out of his ways, when he chased a coyote in front of an 18 wheeler 1/2 mile from where I was attending to him as he did his morning 'chores". Even a potent shock collar can't work when the hills get in the way. The fact that he chased the coyote was part of his job description...the fact that after the coyote got killed by the truck, the dog just kept trotting west (a direction he had NEVER ventured before!) I spent 6.5 hours driving the back roads in the direction he always went, not knowing I was looking in the wrong places. This is very rural cattle country and to go around our "block" is a 13 mile trip...on icey/snowy roads. I spent a sleepless night wondering where he was on a cold snowy night instead of tucked in his warm, cozy bed. The next morning I got a call from a woman 7 miles away who met Blizzard when she went out to feed her bottle calves. The good news is he is friendly (some GP's are not) and he wears a tag with my phone number on it.

I kept him on a leash for the next couple of weeks until we got out in a wide open field where I could see that there was no wildlife to distract him. (He will not do his "duty" within a 1/4 mile of the house...EVER!!) A damn rabbit jumped up and ran and away he went. I called DH on my phone and he took the truck and met Blizzard on the highway 1/2 mile away!

After that I decided that it was not in my interest (heart attack in the waiting) to keep track of him - loose!! For the past 14 months I have faithfully taken him running/walking/sniffing/exploring 3 times a day on a 30' leash. Rain, shine, cold, hot. I told DH that if we didn't move to a "fenceable" farm I could see myself old and crippled walking with a cane or wheelchair taking Blizzard for his outings!!! The alternative is not acceptable!!

My advice to people who think a cute, white, fuzzy GP puppy would be nice to have reflects my own experiences with total dedication!! Unless a prospective owner is willing to make the committment the GP will be miserable. We are fortunate. Blizzard is not a digger or jumper. That would create more problems!! Blizzard is just doing what GP's "DO"!!

Apr. 22, 2011, 11:29 PM
(He will not do his "duty" within a 1/4 mile of the house...EVER!!)

OMG, that is sooo GP. One of our pyrs would hold it in for DAYS, I swear, lobbying to be taken farther on her walk. I had to make a rule that my DH could NOT take her outside in the driveway at night, because she would claim "I can't do it here, just a little farther before I can go...!" until they were a half mile down the steep rocky road in the pitch dark.

They are plotting behind those big brown eyes and furry white faces. World and Coyote Domination is their goal. :lol:

Apr. 23, 2011, 12:51 AM
Every night (that she'll come) I feed an abandoned GP about 2 miles from my place. She, along with a littermate and an older dog, were placed on a vacant lot to look after a couple beef calves and a herd of goats. The owners didn't feed the livestock and finally sold the terribly skinny calves. The goats took care of themselves, being loose on the road most of the time. They sold the goats after people kept calling the cops. They left the dogs behind and I started feeding them. The only remaining dog comes most days and I feed her on the road. After 8 months of feeding her, I still can't touch her. I have a home for her, if I could catch her, but it doesn't have livestock. She's found a herd of cattle to stay with, but the new folks don't feed her, either. I'd love to at least get her spayed.

My neighbor has 2 GPs, and one of them savaged a newborn baby goat, ripping it's leg off. The neighbor now has her guarding a small herd of adult goats. She seems fine with them. they are good about keeping coyotes and stray dogs away from the herd.


Apr. 23, 2011, 01:27 PM
MelantheLLC - that is so funny. I thought Blizzard was one of a kind!! He suckers DH to take longer walks just like yours does. When I take him - especially in foul weather - I just say "far enough" and he stops and poops. If you don't he'll walk for miles!!

I've always said that if you left him in his yard for a month he'd just explode rather than soil his space!! Last week DH gave him a big knuckle bone. Silly dog must has spent the night chewing and ate the WHOLE bone!! The next morning there was vomit and diarrhea on the porch. Blizzard was so embarrassed he wouldn't come out of his house until I cleaned and washed the porch!!

StGermain - GP's still need to be trained even though they are natural guardians. When we have new foals or even kittens, I have to take Blizzard up to them and say "it's ok, they belong". In the past I've had him get really "up" at the sight of a new foal. He knows "his" animals and doesn't understand where the "aliens" came from, but to him they don't belong in his herd. His acceptance is to lick the animal's nose (and add them to his little black book!!) He even does that with new adult horses!!! I hope you can tame/catch your GP rescue. It is so sad the way people throw away their animals. Around here they shoot GP's on a regular basis when they are done using them as guardians!!

Apr. 26, 2011, 10:08 PM
Good boy, Blizzard! :)

Two farms near me had GP's -- the 1st farm lost their GP when he wandered off, and never found him even though they searched and searched, put notices up, contacted shelters, etc. They kept the search going for at least 1 year before they gave up hope. The 2nd farm had two GP's that took off together on two occasions and went missing. The first time they were gone for about a week before they were found. I am on a e-mail distribution list in the area for notification of missing dogs, and I was notified a 2nd time that these two disappeared a year or two later. I'm not sure if they were found the 2nd time. You really need perimeter fencing with these guys.

The Boerboels I own are the stickiest breed I have ever owned. They stay very, very close to their humans. If they spot deer on the property, they will chase them for about 200 yards, but then they stop and turn around and come back. Both dogs have a lot of prey drive, which is good for me since I use them for chasing off rodents and other unwanted wildlife.

My Boerboels make squealing noises when they hear something that is "game", like deer, raccoons, rabbits or squirrels outside. They spin and squeal at the same time, so I know it's something "fun" to chase and they want out. They sound like squealing pigs in a pig pen, so there is no mistaking what they want. Otherwise, they rarely bark. My barn is about 200 - 300 feet from the house, and the dogs can tell when something is wrong up there. If I go up along the fence line in one of the pastures and a neighbor's dog comes over, the Boerboels will barely even look at it. They are very quiet most of the time. When they bark, you know it's serious. They have a very deep bark/growl that means they mean business. They roar deep within their chest and bark/growl/roar with a trajectory spittle when they are really jacked about something.

That said, I don't recommend Boerboels to people who don't have experience with large, dominant guardian breeds. They require a lot of training and work (although sticking close to home isn't one of them). They are much more active than I originally anticipated, so they require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. (Think JRT in a very athletic 130-160# mastiff body.)


Apr. 26, 2011, 10:22 PM
Gun hunters put radio tracking collars on their valuable hunting dogs. Could you buy tracking collars for your dogs?
the GPS one:

Apr. 27, 2011, 09:41 PM
Silvercrown...out here in "livestock" country, GP's are considered expendible!! When they are doing their job, that's fine, but not many folks socialize or even tame the dogs. They live off the land and eat wildlife and stock feed if they are lucky. If they get too hungry and kill the stock they are guarding...they get killed and replaced. It may sound like a glamorous life to some city folks - living as their own boss and guarding livestock, but it is a very hard existence for the GP's! One that lived in a particularly bad situation and was not people friendly kept getting out of the fenced area with his goats. When he was hit on the highway no one even went near him to put him out of his misery. Since all big white fluffy dogs look pretty much alike... I got about 5 calls from neighbors telling me MY dog was lying by the road dying!!! So sad.

Calling Boerboels "sticky" might give people the wrong impression. They are not a needy, dependent dog...just staying close in case they need to defend you!! I find it comforting to not have to track down our Ambush to see if he's in trouble or wandering off. One call and he is at my side. Taking the lead from our BorderJack, Ambush will now chase the donkies away from areas they are not supposed to be in, but stops the minute they are put right!

He turned 11 months old yesterday and although he barks at our Pappillon/Doxie in play - all 15 pounds of her - (if she has possession of the "only" stick in Oklahoma) I've only heard his "big bad dog" bark twice. In a thunder storm one night he looked out the bedroom window and saw the lawnmower parked where it had never been before. He was making the most god aweful sound at the window and as I looked out between lightning strikes, I couldn't think what we were looking at. When I realized it was the lawn mower - not a bear - and told him OK he stopped. DH mentioned the other day that it would take a "game SOB" to come through the front door with Ambush on the other side barking!! Works for me!!

Chall - Yes, the tracking collar would help "locate" a GP, however the point is to keep them home and safe, not just recover them. You have no idea how FAST these dogs are and how much stamina they have. I often joke that we could shave Blizzard and run him in a greyhound race. The first time we lost track of Blizzard he was barely a year old. He was tracking a coyote and after MANY hours of driving the country roads and talking to people who had seen and even petted him, I found him sitting on a front porch about 5 miles from here. I left a note for the home owner and got a call that night that "they were really sorry someone came to get him because they planned to keep him as a pet!!" I think that is another reason a lot of GP's are not recovered.

Blizzard and I are quite happy with him on the end of a 30 foot leash. He gets plenty of running with the golf cart, long walks, sniffs, while he explores and relieves himself three times EVERY day and I no longer have the panic attack associated with seeing him dissappear across a 100 acre pasture and into the wild blue yonder!!

For different reasons, neither Great Pyrennes, nor South African Boerboels are the dog for everyone. Each takes a special owner and environment.