10 Great Pyrenees Behavior Problems to Be Aware Of

The Great Pyrenees is a large and majestic breed, known for its protective instincts and gentle temperament. However, as with any breed, they have their own unique set of behavior problems that potential owners should be aware of.

In this article, we’ll discuss 10 common behavior issues in Great Pyrenees dogs and offer tips on how to manage and prevent them.

Problem 1: Excessive Barking

Great Pyrenees (1) are natural guardians, and one way they exhibit this instinct is through barking. They may bark to alert their owners of perceived threats, communicate with other dogs, or simply out of boredom.

Training Techniques to Manage Barking

To address excessive barking, try the following strategies:

  1. Identify the triggers: Determine what causes your dog to bark and minimize exposure to these triggers.
  2. Teach the “quiet” command: Reward your dog when they stop barking on command.
  3. Provide mental and physical stimulation: Bored dogs are more likely to bark, so ensure they get enough exercise and mental challenges.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you’re struggling to manage your dog’s barking, consider consulting with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can provide personalized advice and training techniques.

Problem 2: Stubbornness

Great Pyrenees are known for their stubborn and independent nature. They were bred to work independently guarding livestock, so this trait is deeply ingrained in their genes.

Consistent Training and Positive Reinforcement

To overcome stubbornness in your Great Pyrenees, try the following tips:

  • Be consistent in your training methods and expectations.
  • Use positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, to reward good behavior.
  • Be patient and persistent, as this breed may take longer to learn new commands.

Tips for Overcoming Stubbornness

Here are some additional suggestions for working with a stubborn Great Pyrenees:

  1. Make training sessions short and engaging.
  2. Use high-value rewards, such as special treats or toys.
  3. Practice commands in different environments to reinforce learning.

Problem 3: Digging

Great Pyrenees have a natural instinct to dig. They may dig to create a cool spot to lie in, hide food, or simply for fun.

Providing Appropriate Outlets For Digging

To manage your dog’s digging behavior:

  1. Create a designated digging area in your yard, such as a sandbox.
  2. Redirect your dog to the designated digging area when they start digging elsewhere.
  3. Reinforce and reward your dog when they use the designated digging area.

Preventing Property Damage

Protect your garden and other property by:

  • Installing fencing or barriers around areas you want to protect.
  • Supervising your dog when they’re outdoors.

Problem 4: Roaming

Great Pyrenees have a strong instinct to patrol and protect their territory. This can lead to wandering or roaming, which can be dangerous if they encounter traffic or other hazards.

Securing Your Property

To prevent your dog from roaming:

  • Install a secure, high fence around your property.
  • Make sure all gates are locked and secure.

Training For Recall

Teach your Great Pyrenees a strong recall command to ensure they return to you when called. Practice this command regularly in different environments to reinforce learning.

Problem 5: Separation Anxiety

Great Pyrenees can form strong bonds with their owners, which may lead to separation anxiety when left alone. Signs of separation anxiety include:

  • Destructive behavior, such as chewing or scratching
  • Excessive barking or howling
  • Pacing or restlessness

Reducing Anxiety Through Gradual Training

To help your dog cope with separation anxiety:

  1. Gradually increase the time you spend away from your dog, starting with short absences and building up over time.
  2. Establish a consistent routine for departures and arrivals.
  3. Provide engaging toys and puzzles to keep your dog occupied when you’re not home.

When to Seek Veterinary or Professional Assistance

If your dog’s separation anxiety is severe or doesn’t improve with training, consult your veterinarian or a professional dog behaviorist for further guidance and support.

Problem 6: Aggression

Although generally gentle, Great Pyrenees can exhibit aggression towards other dogs, particularly those of the same sex. Aggression can stem from:

  • Fear or anxiety
  • Territorial behavior
  • Dominance issues

Importance of Early Socialization

Early socialization is crucial for preventing aggression in Great Pyrenees. Expose your puppy to various people, animals, and environments from a young age to help them develop confidence and appropriate social skills.

Managing and Preventing Aggression

If your dog displays aggressive behavior, try the following:

  1. Consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist for personalized advice.
  2. Practice obedience training to establish boundaries and reinforce good behavior.
  3. Avoid situations that may trigger aggression, such as crowded dog parks or encounters with other dogs.

Problem 7: Possessiveness

Great Pyrenees behavior problems

Great Pyrenees can become possessive of their food, toys, or territory. Signs of possessiveness include:

  • Growling or snapping when someone approaches their possessions
  • Guarding objects or spaces
  • Stiffening their body or showing other signs of tension

Teaching Boundaries and the “Leave it” Command

To address possessiveness in your dog:

  1. Teach the “leave it” command to encourage your dog to willingly give up objects.
  2. Practice trading objects with your dog, so they understand that giving something up can result in a reward.
  3. Set clear boundaries, such as not allowing your dog on certain furniture or in certain rooms.

Creating a Safe Environment For Your Dog

Ensure your dog feels secure by:

  • Providing a designated space, such as a crate or bed, where they can retreat to when feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
  • Respecting your dog’s boundaries and not forcing them into uncomfortable situations.

Problem 8: Leash Pulling

Due to their size and strength, Great Pyrenees can be prone to pulling on the leash. This can be dangerous for both the dog and the handler, potentially leading to injury or loss of control.

Training Techniques For Loose-leash Walking

To teach your dog to walk politely on a leash:

  1. Use positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, to reward your dog for walking without pulling.
  2. Practice the “heel” command to encourage your dog to walk at your side.
  3. Stop walking and wait for your dog to release tension on the leash before resuming.

Equipment to Assist in Training

Consider using a front-clip harness or a head collar, such as a Gentle Leader, to help manage leash pulling. These tools can provide more control and make it easier to teach your dog proper leash manners.

Problem 9: Jumping Up

Some Great Pyrenees may jump up on people to greet them, which can be intimidating due to their size. They may also jump out of excitement or to seek attention.

Teaching Polite Greetings

To prevent your dog from jumping on people, try the following strategies:

  1. Teach your dog to sit or perform another alternative behavior when greeting people.
  2. Reward your dog for keeping all four paws on the ground during greetings.
  3. Instruct guests to ignore your dog if they jump up, and only give attention when the dog is calm and well-behaved.

Managing Jumping in Various Situations

To further address jumping behavior:

  • Practice training techniques in different environments and with various people.
  • Be consistent in your expectations and rewards.

Problem 10: Difficulty in Hot Weather

Great Pyrenees have a thick double coat that makes them well-suited for cold climates, but can cause them to overheat in hot weather. This can lead to heatstroke, a potentially life-threatening condition.

Tips For Keeping Your Dog Cool

To keep your Great Pyrenees comfortable in hot weather:

  1. Provide plenty of fresh, cool water.
  2. Offer shaded areas for your dog to rest.
  3. Limit exercise during the hottest parts of the day, and opt for early morning or evening walks instead.

Recognizing Signs of Heatstroke

Monitor your dog for signs of heatstroke, such as:

  • Excessive panting or drooling
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Weakness or collapse

If you suspect heatstroke, seek immediate veterinary attention.


Understanding and addressing the behavior problems specific to the Great Pyrenees breed is essential for ensuring a happy and healthy life for your dog.

Establishing a strong bond with your Great Pyrenees and enjoying a rewarding companionship is achievable by being proactive and consistent in training, socialization, and providing appropriate outlets for their natural instincts.

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