The Great Pyrenees has a watchful and protective nature and can be very serious. He is a flock-guarding dog who is also gentle and especially good with children. The Great Pyrenees is smart, big, and very strong-willed. If you have a Great Pyrenees, you know it takes a special person to train this breed. Pyrs (as they are affectionally called) will adapt to almost any situation and are high affectionate. The Great Pyrenees is not particularly dog-friendly, but he does okay with dogs smaller than him and cats. Your great Pyrenees will shed quite a bit, and he is very territorial and not so friendly to strangers. The Great Pyrenees is a beautiful dog and will be loyal to his family.
Are Great Pyrenees good hiking dogs?
The Great Pyrenees was bred and born in the Pyrenees Mountains of Spain and France, and his heritage makes him a good hiking companion. This dog will guard you on your hike, but he might not stay close. The Great Pyrenees is not a good candidate for off-leash walks, and he does need a strong hand and training to be a good hiking companion. His fluffy coat will need constant grooming, and he may grow up to be over 115 pounds. Most Great Pyrenees are distrustful of strangers and highly suspicious of new territories. They are serious and incredible intelligent mountain dogs who need training to turn them into the incredible companions they were meant to be.
The AKC Standard describes the Great Pyrenees as a strong-willed, independent, and somewhat reserved dog. The great Pyrenees are known to be attentive, fearless, but loyal to his family. This breed is quiet indoors and content with short daily walks and regular lay-about opportunities. For their size, they do not take up much room since they prefer to sleep rather than run around. If you do take this gorgeous dog hiking or camping, note that he does have a deep and impressive bark and Great Pyrenees tend to bark frequently at night when things are a little different. His strong, low, and deep bark might be a little off-putting to other campers, hikers, and even bears and other wildlife.
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Take your Great Pyrenees Hiking
The Great Pyrenees is a large, majestic dog who resembles a white bear, and will be happy with long leisurely walks or working through the forest. They do love to jump around in the snow and are comfortable when the temperatures are a bit cooler. Pulling a sled or cart or even carrying a backpack on a hike gives the Great Pyrenees a purpose in life. These gorgeous dogs will protect your horses, llamas, or other pack animals with their lives. They will be serious and steady on a hike but are not attack dogs. The independent streak in the Great Pyrenees gives them the reputation of not being the most obedient dog in the kennel, and they can be rather willful.
You will need to be very patient when you train a Great Pyrenees. You will need to work very hard to teach them how to obey you, especially if you want a hiking companion. Take your puppy or even older dog to obedience class – basic obedience is important in raising a well- mannered dog and keeping it safe.
The moment you get your puppy, and if you are determined to use your Great Pyrenees as a hiking companion, start training early. Keep the sessions short and fun but do have a firm hand.
Part of the training for the Great Pyrenees as a hiking companion is socialization. The great Pyrenees should spend a great deal of time being introduced to a variety of people and pets. Take care to socialize your dog to those who are wearing or carrying different objects, like glass, hats, or umbrellas. The Great Pyrenees is protective and has an awesome memory, so proper socialization will keep your dog from becoming overly wary and aggressive to other people and dogs.
The total training you give your Great Pyrenees will determine how your dog responds on a hike or a camping trip. Note that training a Great Pyrenees is not like training a Golden Retriever or a Cocker Spaniel. A Great Pyrenees is not liable to do what you say just because you said so — training a Great Pyrenees takes patience, confidence, consistency, and above all, a sense of humor. Training a Great Pyrenees will push you to your limits and challenge you in ways that will drive you nuts.
Steps to Training your Great Pyrenees to be a Hiking Companion
- Patience is needed. Great Pyrenees do what they want and when they want. You may tell you Pyrenees to “heel,” and it will take a bit of thinking on the part of your dog to follow your command. It is tempting to repeat your command over and over and get a little stressed. However, just ask your Pyrenees to heel and patiently wait. If after several seconds your dog doesn’t do what you want, give the command again. Reward good behavior and remember that your patience will be tested.
- Be confident. The Great Pyrenees is a challenge. These are highly independent dogs, and traditionally, they do their tasks without human interference. You will want them to follow you with a pack on their back, and they will, but on their own terms.
- Keep the training positive. Your Great Pyrenees is a sensitive breed despite being large and intimidating. Hitting, screaming, or other similar cruel behavior will only harm your relationship with your dog. Great Pyrenees have long memories, and if you are cruel to this dog, he will remember, and you will have little luck getting a Great Pyrenees to obey.
- Bond with your dog. The most obedient Great Pyrenees are those who have bonded with their owners. Bonding doesn’t mean the dog is by your side continually, however. Take them on long walks and spend time together. Praise you Pyrenees – praise is an amazing motivator for these dogs.
- Have a sense of humor. If you feel you are going to lose your mind, don’t be cruel or mean. Having a sense of humor and pride in your Pyrenees is important. These dogs absolutely won’t respond to training that is long, boring, or cruel. Laugh at them. A Great Pyrenees can be a natural clown.
- A Great Pyrenees is highly intelligent, and they get bored easily. It is best to work with your Pyrenees several times a day and for only about 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Be creative when training your dog, and they will respond well.
- Practice your basic training wherever you go. Your Great Pyrenees may be perfect in your home, but that rarely translates into being perfect other places. You will need to take your dog out and work with them in different situations and with a variety of distractions. Walk through pet-friendly stores as you work on commands and socialization.
- Use the right training tools. Great Pyrenees are strong dogs. They can drag you down the street by the end of their leash. Gentle leaders and non-pull harnesses are great for working on leash training. Have a firm hand and don’t let your dog get away with pulling and tugging. Above all, don’t assume your great Pyrenees is trained when they walk by your side the first time. They are only following what they want to do for the moment.
- Hike all you want through the forest, but remember it is a good idea to keep your Great Pyrenees on a leash. These dogs tend to think the world is their oyster, and they will wander off. They are not being disobedient, but only trying to enlarge their territory.
There are also numerous stories about Great Pyrenees who are perfect on a hike. They carry their backpack well and stay within calling distance. It all depends on the training, the dog, and you. (One Great Pyrenees owner stated that he took his dog hiking all the time, off-leash, and never had a problem. Go figure.)
- Prepare for setbacks, and you will have setbacks. Your perfectly trained young dog will turn into a typical adolescent at the flick of the leash. You need to remain consistent, patient, and have a sense of humor. Don’t stop training and don’t give up. These beautiful, fluffy, and entertaining dogs will give you years of hiking and joy if you are patient with them.
- The most important thing you can do for your Great Pyrenees is to understand the breed. Read about how their minds work, get to know your dog, and you’ll have great success.
Having patience and being consistent can’t be emphasized enough: be constant, take them hiking often, socialize your Great Pyrenees, and don’t get angry at your dog. Once you have set your patience levels high, bonded with your Great Pyrenees, and been consistent in training. With the proper care and love, you will have a hiking buddy for life.
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