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Pyrenes and invisible fence

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  • Pyrenes and invisible fence

    We have a year old pyrenes that we raised from 8 weeks old with the purpose of being a guardian dog. There have been problems since the git-go, like he likes to chase the cats. He thinks he is just playing but they don't. He chews everything he can get his mouth on; and he has more chew toys than any one dog should need in a lifetime.

    The latest is that he wanders. It started with him going to "the neighbor's" a mile away, across a road. Of course they think he is cute, plays with their dog and their little girl, etc. So they have done nothing to discourage it. Even when we tell him to shoot him in the ass!! They just say "he is no trouble", etc. Even after he killed one of their chickens!!

    We have 80 acres. And another dog, that stays home.

    So we got an invisible fence and ran it just around the barn to start with. He ran thru it once then turned up to "electrocute". He ran thru it once on that setting--you could see him think about it and working out how fast he would have to run to get thru the zone and still be able to tolerate what he thought was the previous lower setting. He got a big surprise and then I drug him BACK ACROSS it.
    That seemed to fix it.

    So we enlarged the area. Only to find out that the unit we have didn't have enough oumph to do 15 or 20 acres. So I bought anohter one that will do up to 50 acres. But it works on a different theory of the warning. He responds to it, at least when we are walking him around the perimeter. But now the batteries only last a few days, and are of course proprietary batteries you have to order from the company. It is supposedly waterPROOF, which is good since we have what is left of our pond and he loves getting in it.

    Since the batteries are only lasting a day (or less?) he has learned he can run thru it. Or has learned how to run the battery down. When I have changed the batteries alot of times there is moisture under them.

    We ran a shorter loop on about 7-10 acres yesterday and tried it again. Same thing. We then put the original transmitter on it, hoping it would do that much wire, and it did. And the electrocution setting is working. But I want to be able to let him have the run of the bigger acreage.

    It took us a week to run the wire around the bigger area what with all the brush and such.

    The first one is the PetSafe for stubborn dogs. The second one is made by a company called HighTechPets. I found another company on line called SportDog (actually the same big company as makes PetSafe) that will do up to 100 acres. I don't want to buy yet a third set up though. (Do plan on sending the HighTechPet on back even after they have replaced collars and batteries ad nauseum).

    He is also very beligerant regarding coming when called. Catching him can often be a real trick.

    At the moment he stays in at night (in a 14x14 stall), and has since we got him. At first due to his small size = coyote snack size. Now because we can't trust him to stay home but also because he free feeds and our lab would snaft down his bucket of food in no time flat. And that is another thing I have never delt with--a dog that isn't food oriented. He snacks, and is still rather lean (looks like I starve him when I shave him in the summer!)

    ANY input is welcomed!!!

  • #2
    He is a classic GP-I think I've read you post about him before and you sound really frustrated with him. I think you should sell him, myself.

    He isn't supposed to come when you call him. He's independent minded so that when he encounters problems out there he can think for himself. They are not obedient dogs.

    In the breed description it is written that they don't eat much. I've also read that they are possessive of their food but they do not eat much. He's not supposed to be motivated by anything else-he's supposed to want to be out there guarding his territory.

    Remember too it takes them two years to mature. He's only halfway there! That's why he's going so far and chasing chickens and cats. He will slow down and stay closer eventually but you have a year to go.

    You can teach them boundaries but you do it by walking the boundry with them several times a day for the first few months they are out on their own. You are probably past that time frame with him now. You never let a GP out to establish their own boundary when they're young, you have to be with them every single time or they make their own.

    They do like visual boundaries, a fence or a road, a ditch. If he has a clue where his boundary is the visual will help reinforce it. But it sounds to me that he has already set his own boundaries and you're going to have to physically keep him in now.

    Underground fence for a GP I don't think works as well as an above ground fence. When he gets it in his head to go patrol or push away a threat he's not SUPPOSED to let anything stop him. He's supposed to go through anything to protect his place. You're putting booby traps in his way with the underground. Put an electric fence ABOVE ground and it will probably work. Right now he already has his territory burned into his brain and you're trying to change it-that's not going to be easy, it's not like other dogs! A woven wire pen with an electric wire to reinforce is what holds my GP in when we aren't home. Or I have a heavy chain in the yard with a dog house in case I have to tie him up real quick.

    In general, for GP's, the females are the patrollers and the males stay close to home. When you have GP's in pairs, one will go patrol and one will stay close and guard the house. (I wrote about this in another GP post this summer, I think that is the one where you talked about yours) If you have a lab that is staying close to home then your GP thinks it is HIS job to do the patrolling. He's doing exactly what he's supposed to do as a GP.

    I have a year old GP male-he's almost exactly like yours but he sticks closer to home (we walked the property line with him when he was younger). We also have put up electric tape to keep him contained-he's petrified of electricity and stays right in it, one strand works for him. I've seen him jump out the window of the house when he thought another dog was coming on our place-nothing gets in his way when he's on guard. He chased the barn cats until I disciplined him enough and showed him that they weren't intruders, they were part of his responsibility. He is also supposed to protect us from skunks and stray cats so I had to be clear about who belonged and who didn't. He barks, he does wander when he can, he's thin as a rail and barely eats but won't let another dog near his food dish. I love everything about him-he's perfect.
    “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


    • Original Poster

      No, I haven't posted about him before. So no, I haven't shared this problem. But it sounds like other(s) have?

      We have visual barriers/boundries on all sides. He just goes thru the fences. How something that big can go thru a space that small amazes me. I think he is part cat sometimes!!

      As for re-fencing like you describe...that is not an option. If I were to fence like that I wouldn't need him!!!

      I am glad to hear that mine isn't the only skinny one. But all the others I know are NOT skinny. Admittedly he has absolutely awful conformation but that isn't why I got him. If it makes any difference, he is 1/4 Anatolian.

      I know they are independant dogs. But he was socialized enough as a pup to know "come". And disiplining him when he was young regarding the cats not appreciating being played with has not made any change. And that has been consistent for over a year. I have had other independent breeds before but not like this.

      I want to get chickens, and more barn cats. I am down to 3 barn cats right now. 2 remain social and manage to avoid him enough to still be social. The other just stays out of site unless she is sure he isn't around. And now I am not so sure he won't look at the chickens as new toys.

      I do have to admit he has an incredibly soft mouth though. He found a baby bird this summer. I am sure it was already on the ground. It was dusk and I could see he had something he was "chewing" on. When I finally got ahold of him it was a baby bird. It was dead (am assuming it was to start with) but not a feather on it was hurt. Soaking wet in Seymore spit but totally unharmed. He brought home an adult chicken, from the neighbors, the other day. Alive, soaking wet. Hubby heard a funny noise and there was Seymore with this large, adult, slobber covered chicken in his mouth. Hubby got it away from him, put it in a cat carrier and took it back. And told them to shoot him next time!!

      So, what will happen when I get chicks in the spring?

      He has never bonded to any of the critters we have as his "herd" or whatever. He is protective of the land and will run other dogs, and apparently coyotes, off. But he "plays" so rough with the cats that new ones would prob just go away to some place "less fun".

      If he gets in front of a horse and they go after him (or I ride over him) he thinks it is a game of keep away.

      As for selling him, he isn't worth anything. Who will buy a GP that roams?


      • #4
        You have a pyr. He is what he is. As cowboymom says, every single thing you describe is totally typical of the breed. He will roam if he can and he won't learn to come through "socialization."

        He CAN be taught to recall, but it is work work work and you can never stop working on it. You don't sound like you have the patience with this particular dog. I don't blame you, it just sounds like you are not a fit with him. But don't hope that he will change for you. If you aren't ready to change for him (put in the serious, ongoing training time) then the situation will not improve.

        My companion pyrs have responded best to operant conditioning (clicker training) with high value rewards. They have a price list. If it's a simple sit indoors, with nothing better to do, they will happily sit for a piece of biscuit. If it's an outdoor recall from a long distance, they'd better be sure you'll have a steak waiting. This must be heavily conditioned, and the conditioning has to be kept refreshed. You can't teach them once, and expect they will continue to respond. They must know there's something in it for them. They must have that response to you conditioned right down into their brain cells from the practice.

        People think pyrs are dumb and untrainable. No, they are smart and they require a smart trainer who doesn't expect the dog to do all the work. There is a book called WHEN PIGS FLY, about training independent dogs--pitties, etc. That is the sort of training that will be required, if you hope to get anywhere with a pyr--much less one that's part Anatolian.

        You might check with a pyr rescue to see about placing him. It really sounds as if you are out of patience with this dog. His behavior is not unusual; he's not a bad pyr, he's just a pyr--or rather, a 1/4 Anatolian/pyr, with just amplifies and strengthens every trait you describe.

        Pyrs can go over a 4 ft fence. I have a 4 ft fence and they stay home, but that's because they get to go on a 1.5 hr hike about 5 days a week. Pyrs need to get out and see the world, or they will go see it themselves.

        He probably needed an older pyr to help him learn about the chicks. Generally they are put with livestock in teams, an experienced dog teaches the younger ones. Young ones can and do play overly enthusiastically with fragile animals. Even my father's hired hand, who manages a dozen pyrs in a farm/ranch situation, has admitted that the big pups have been known to "lick the kid goats to death." Literally.

        I feel sad for you and Seymour. He is just being himself, but pyrs and particularly anatolians are a lot of dog. Anatolians are like pyrs on steriods (and I don't mean that in a bad way--they are just "more" of what pyrs are.) I always post on here when I see ppl considering pyrs, because these issues you are having are so totally typical. (Though you didn't mention the barking all night! )

        I agree about the electric fence; pyrs have too much hair and way too much pain tolerance for these to be fully effective. If you want him contained, you will have to have a minimum 4.5 ft fence (that he can't dig out of), and still take him out often.

        There are people who want LGD's. Check with sheep/goat/llama community, along with the breed rescues.

        I very much hope you can figure out a good outcome for both of you! *hugs* to seymour and to you.
        Ring the bells that still can ring
        Forget your perfect offering
        There is a crack in everything
        That's how the light gets in.


        • #5
          Melanthellc-I was SO hoping you would see this post. I knew you would be a good resource for her-I remember your posts earlier! I'm so intrigued that you take yours for walks-I was always told not to ever do that or they would wander. I'd love to take mine on walks with me, especially since I drive the dogs instead of just leaving from the house. But I'm afraid of giving him wanderlust!

          Meghan, I'm sorry I confused you with someone else that posted earlier this year. Feel better though, someone else understands exactly how you feel! and I do too-it's an overwhelming amount of dog. My parents were staying here this summer and sleeping in their travel trailer in the yard. Well that was on my dog's patrol circuit and he was up barking right by their bed all night long and they weren't getting any sleep. So one night at about 1 am I decided to tie him up in the front so he wouldn't bark by their place. He chewed up three ropes and a metal cable in half an hour and recommenced his barking. So I decided to bring him in the house and sleep out on the couch, maybe he'll calm down. oh no, he barked IN the house! Sounded like a freaking freight train and then I had my husband and kids all up. He was scratching at the doors and windows and very apologetic about his methods but he was just sure he had to get outside and do his job. We had to lock him in the horse trailer at 4:30 am to "deactivate" him. They're a huge amount of dog! My parents just wore earplugs after that! LOL

          Yours really is worth a lot-he's still quite young and the folks that would be interested in him would know how and want to fence him in. He has the right instincts-he just might be too independent minded for your situation.

          Fencing is ideal but if you need to, put him on a chain until you get it sorted out. Safer for everyone (like the neighbor's chickens) and it will stop your daily battles. Just get a heavy chain (a little heavier that that Hartz pet chain we've all seen at the grocery store) and a harness, heavy connectors. As I mentioned, mine chewed through a wire cable but he won't chew the chain, don't know why.

          Look up goat/sheep people in your area, or the LGD people in your area. Maybe you can talk to people about ways to manage him or maybe you'll stumble across someone that would really want him and you can look at your choices.
          “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


          • #6
            Our BELOVED GP has been the most challenging dog I have ever had in a half century of dog owning!! Ours does not dig or jump - good news - and minds "perfectly"...except when he sees....a coyote, deer, buzzard, rabbit, possum...you get the drift!! GP's "do" what GP's "DO"!!! It is difficult and heart breaking at times, but they are good dogs...otherwise!! There was a thread - last year I think that went on for hundreds of posts about a GP that wandered away and the owner's never ending search....to no avail. IMO - the only way to own/keep a GP is with a VERY high/secure fence..or do what I do. We have 80 acres of horse farm, but it would be impossible to fence securely due to creeks (GP's are GREAT swimmers) so after another roaming incident several years ago, that put him about 8 miles away while I spent 6.5 hours searching for him, I have devoted myself to walking him on a 30 foot lead 3x a day EVERY day!! He has always had a fenced yard and lived on the enclosed porch with a dog door to his yard. This year with the intense heat (108+ on over 100 days) We had to bring him into the house and he has never gone back to the porch!! He has/will NEVER foul his yard, so... Mornings are a short (20 min) walk/poop/pee. Noontime I take the golf cart and let him run as fast and far as he likes - sniffs, explores, takes care of neccessities. Evenings are another long run - at his pace. I never "make" him go fast. The last three nights we have encountered a possum - which resulted in my being snatched from the cart, but stopping before we reached the varmint!! And so it goes. I told my DH, that I have visions of me with a cane/walker or wheelchair taking him on our trips, but it is worth it not to have him out of my control. ps...I did the high powered, long range shock collar. I had to shave his neck to get any effect, but if he went down in a dip or the creek, the collar lost contact. Now I KNOW he is at the end of his leash. Good luck with your dog, but if your plans don't include a very well fenced area, please consider rehoming him.
            Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


            • #7
              Originally posted by cowboymom View Post
              I'm so intrigued that you take yours for walks-I was always told not to ever do that or they would wander. I'd love to take mine on walks with me, especially since I drive the dogs instead of just leaving from the house. But I'm afraid of giving him wanderlust!
              He already has wanderlust.

              When I first brought home a pyr puppy (from a litter born on my parent's place) I had no idea what I was signing up for. All their dogs are working dogs, living out. But I fell in love with this ball of fur, put her in a box, drove 11 hours and we were bonded for life.

              I started reading on the internet, and scared myself to death from all the breeders saying they were dog-aggressive and would get out of 5 ft fences. So I signed up with a private trainer, thinking I'd better get started early with this thing. Trainer suggested I get a llama for her.

              Sure enough, at 7 weeks, she beat up a 4 mo old GSD who got in her face at puppy class. He was twice her size that week--the next he was a third her size, and by 3 weeks, they were a match and best buddies. Her other best bud was a scotty. At 100 lbs, she'd roll over on her back and let him get on top of her and grab her throat. He took her to the doggie prom (charity event), scotty with a blinking bow tie and pyr with angel wings and her secret red devil tail hidden under all that white fur.

              I used to take her to the (unfenced) dog park every day. For two hours every dang day, her whole first year. There I learned about dog breeds. I learned not to be embarrassed that I had to carry hamburger just to get her into the car. I learned that border collies don't care about anything but chasing balls, and chasing balls, and chasing balls, and instantly learning anything their human tried to teach them. A chimp could train a border collie (and they probably do if they get the chance.) A pyr...well...I learned not to compare my training skillz to the so-called training skills of the owners of herding breeds.

              To make a long story short, we worked every day on recalls. We worked with a pro clicker trainer, the one who taught me the trick of jack-potting. Her recalls were slow and unenthusiastic even with all the work, until one day the trainer said, I want you to reward her by handing her treats one after another, without a pause, for 30 seconds.

              30 seconds is a long time. But suddenly she lit up. It was as if she said, "OH. You have TREATS." I learned that one little dog goodie was meaningless to her. She needed more, but on a more intermittent reward schedule.

              At about 1 year, we joined up with some of her dog park friends and her scotty bud for a daily pack hike through the natl forest. Later we'd go on our own. Sometimes she'd vanish for 20 minutes, and I'd get so worried, and call and call. I learned not to stop, not to go back and look for her, because she was always right where I should have been on the trail if I'd just kept going.

              The point, I guess, is that she loved her hike so much. She's gone to the Bridge now, and it makes me weep remembering her running through the woods. My God she was beautiful. It was worth everything to let her have that time. Many many times I was afraid she wouldn't come back, but she always did.

              If they have a big territory, a pasture, something to guard and a buddy, that's ok. But mine are companions and pets, in a fenced yard. I think they have to get out for at least an hour every day. We are lucky and have nearby hiking where they can go off-leash, but we sometimes go into town for a leash walk instead, which I think is equal mental stimulation. (Particularly since this is a dog town, and they have their fan club of store owners who insist they come in and have some water and get fussed over.)

              If we can't do the off-leash or go to town, we now have a fenced dog park and poor mom/dad trudge around that for an hour. Sometimes, frankly, they just go in the suv, and hang at the barn in the back (not allowed out at our barn.) But they get out into the world, and see it. I don't think that gives them wanderlust. I think it gives them joy.

              But they aren't border collies. We had to change to a different hike when our younger boy started a habit of running ahead back to the parking lot, and then, once, on down the road. Backed up traffic for a quarter mile.

              Now we go to a place where the parking isn't close to a road, and WAYYY back from the parking lot, we have established a stopping point, where mom and/or dad refuse to go any farther until pyrs come check in and get their treat, and then we all go the rest of the way to the parking lot on leash. We do this religiously. We also do random recalls out on the trail, and have other established check points.

              Habit is a good thing.
              Ring the bells that still can ring
              Forget your perfect offering
              There is a crack in everything
              That's how the light gets in.


              • #8
                If it makes any difference, he is 1/4 Anatolian.
                Yes, that makes a difference: Pyrs are the "easy", made for beginners LGD's, Anatolians are for experienced LGD folk only.

                Bluntly put, save yourself alot of frustration & your dog his life (1 day he will likely be shot or hit) & find him a more suitable home.

                OR if you have the TIME & incliniation, start learning about these dogs - Step 1: find a trainer that is breed experienced.

                Except, after going back & rereading this:
                We have a year old pyrenes that we raised from 8 weeks old with the purpose of being a guardian dog.
                honestly, give everyone a break & just find this guy a home that's LGD experienced.
                Right now he is exactly the dog you've made him into.


                • #9
                  Mine has some wanderlust but not nearly as much as others are posting about here, we live in a flat valley and he's always where I can see him. The neighbor .25 mile down the road has two kids that play here a lot and also a baby goat so he has taken it upon himself to guard their place for him also. I'd say he's never been more than a mile from home and he's been loose outside nearly every night since he was three months old and also when we have been out of town on the weekends. The neighbor watches him when we're gone and he says he sticks even closer to the house. I can hear him patrolling the house every night so I know he stays pretty close. That's what I don't want to mess up!

                  We've had GP's before but we were living on a 1250 acre ranch and they could wander all they wanted. But we did walk the boundaries with them too and it worked well. I researched this breed for YEARS and learned from the ones I met through our ranch friends and associates. I was always taught to keep them home if you wanted them to stay home. the ones I've seen that went elsewhere did wander. When he was quite young I walked him along the back property line and I thought I saw something down in the cottonwoods, across our property line. I went down to check it out and took him with me. To this day he takes a little jog under the fence right there to go check in the trees!

                  So I think I'll keep playing it close to home with mine. He works hard all night patrolling so I know he's getting exercise and he gets "defrosting" time in the house with us all day. I think I'll go with the "ain't broke, don't fix" approach!

                  You're absolutely right about the treats-I've always had a treat for him when I call him back from the front of the property and he comes every single time I call him. Good treats too-not just a dried up milkbone like the other dogs have. Right now he gets a hardboiled egg as a treat! lol He sits on command too. He's a very compliant GP unless I'm trying to stop him from going out after something he thinks needs to be watched-then he's on his own.
                  “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                  • #10
                    What animals does he guard? They generally won't bond/guard horses or cattle. Chickens they will if properly introduced as well as goats and sheep.

                    They are great wanderers but maybe if he had something to look after on your place he might stay closer to home.

                    I do have to agree with others that he does not sound like a good match for your place. Heelers are generally good all around farm dogs if you want something to watch your place.


                    • #11
                      Yes, he is being the typical, unruly juvenile Pyr, even if he is 1/4 Anatolian Shepherd. No, they are totally unsuitable for invisible fencing. You'd be better off getting miniature donkeys if you need something for coyote control.

                      I actually prefer Maremmas to GP's but they are similar. We have two GPs and one Maremma. In our experience we found that the females are more stubborn and driven to leave than a neutered male; that the puppies take a good two years to mature and settle. The youngsters loved to DIG and chew and did I mention DIG? Fencing they cannot go over or under is a must. Some are so driven to escape/roam and see fencing as personal challenges that they may just not be suitable for a given situation and are special needs in that respect; we had one male and one female who would flat out climb out.

                      The Maremma is milder and more eager to please. He dug less but did chew alot. He's like a huge white Golden Retriever only less spastic and more protective. Out of 5 male and 3 female GP's, we've had success with the two we currently have. Neither was farm raised to protect livestock; the oldest is AKC and was a house dog; the other was a backyard dog. Both have transitioned beautifully and neither seems interested in running off and consider our farm as "theirs". In fact, one guards at the end of the driveway alot and even when we or others come in and out, the dogs do not try to leave, including the Maremma. The oldest is at 9, the youngest is 4; the Maremma is 3.

                      We have just 17 acres and got the dogs because the coyotes were predating on our outside and barn cats. Since the yard and barn areas are common areas, keeping donkeys in those areas were not feasible as the donkeys would just trash the barn and the landscaping around the house, so we got the dogs and they have pretty much divided the property up into zones with each covering a third unless there is an alert then they will all go to that spot. The property is perimeter fenced so they all stay in. Given an opening they would certainly roam if allowed.

                      Having gone through several to find three that work, they MUST have secure fencing; adopting older dogs, at least 2 years of age and I would say 3 is best, are well worth taking a chance on. Neutered males have worked the best for us. And they are all terrible with birds. The oldest flat out hates them. They have all been great with the cats though when first introduced they needed firm reminders that the cats were not toys and were part of what needed protecting. We have goats too and they're wonderful with the goats.

                      They do love to form wallows and can be hell on the landscaping. I had to be rather firm with one that creating wallows behind my azaleas next to the house was not acceptable. He makes a huge mess at the end of the driveway excavating all the pine straw from beneath a big pin up there out onto the concrete drive. It doesn't seem to matter how many times we scoop it all back into place, he just digs it up again. I had a shaving pile in the barn which they flattened. The old man at the barn roots around in the old chaf hay on one side or out back beneath the yellow bells. I'm not crazy about it, but I hate the coyotes eating the cats worse.

                      Mine are easy keepers in the weight department and do well on dry kibble alone.
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                      • #12
                        There were two pyrs at one of the properties where I boarded at...it was 250 acres fenced in property...the first GP that arrived on the property had major wanderlust, he roamed everywhere despite the invisible fencing and the pipe fencing- he 'knew' where the holes were. He was picked up several times by AC- but he was well known . But he was great on trail rides. He was very skinny- but that was just his build.

                        The 2nd pyr arrived, and soon after went wandering with Pyr #1 and they both got picked up by AC. After that one bad experience, he never wandered again...neither did Pyr #1 -maybe it is just coincidental though. Pyr #2 looked like a classic breed example, and looked like he could survive a blizzard.

                        Pyr #2 was very attached to the barns- he would stay within a couple hundred yards of the barns- and even did 'night checks' of the horses. He loved the guy that lived on the property who took care of him.

                        When the owner sold the property- she tried to take them both with her...pyr #1, the roamer, adjusted to life in the suburbs...pyr #2 was miserable and came back to the property. We tried to rehome him to another ranch property but he was so unhappy so back he went to the original property...he is still there.
                        "I'm holding out for the $100,000 Crossrail Classic in 2012." --mem
                        "With all due respect.. may I suggest you take up Croquet?" --belambi
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                        • #13
                          I am not super experienced with LGD's, but what you describe sounds very typical of a young Pyr. they are motivated by different things then normal dogs..in fact, I have yet to figure out hands down the motivation of my pyr..

                          Good fences are a MUST..for your sanity, the dog's safety and your relationship with any neighbors.

                          What exactly is your dog guarding? just the farm or some sort of stock?