Great Pyrenees are large powerful dogs so how are they going to get along with another dog, especially if they’re small? There are many factors that go into how well two or more dogs get along. Breed personality of course plays a major role, as does the relative size and age between the two dogs. The biggest factor though is how they have been trained and how you make the initial introductions.
The Great Pyrenees, the gentle giant of dogs, can get along quite well with other dogs if they’ve been trained well. Even a much smaller dog can be friends with the jovial Great Pyrenees. Caution is still important though as due to these dogs being quite large it’s possible for injuries to occur accidentally if your not careful.
Dogs are naturally pack animals this can make getting two dogs to be friends much easier than with other kinds of pets. There are still a lot of challenges and factors that its good to be aware of ahead of time. Probably the most important thing is that you know what the future obstacles and flashpoints are going to be. Knowing this you can prepare to head them off before they become a major conflict.
Fortunately, there are few breeds of dogs that are more friendly and pack oriented than the Great Pyrenees. Bred originally to be a guardian for sheep, these dogs have historically worked harmoniously together in large packs. This means that it’s going to be considerably easier to have a dog-friendly Great Pyrenees then it will with other kinds of dogs.
Of course, the Great Pyrenee’s considerable size has to be taken into account. Often ranging between 100 to 130 pounds these white fluffy canines are veritable giants. Twice the size of the average dog and 4 to 5 times to size of most smaller dogs. While generally friendly such a major size difference could be a source of difficulties if one is trying to build a friendship between a Great Pyrenees and a dog smaller in stature.
This becomes particularly true for younger dogs. As a larger dog could accidentally hurt a smaller dog in play while not at all meaning too. This is much more likely to occur with a younger dog who is bursting with playful energy and may not have a full understanding of how to control their strength.
Besides that of size, there are still many more facets of potential conflict that can occur. As well as the best practices when introducing a Great Pyrenees to another dog in such a way that there bound to get along. We will now go into more detail all of the conflicts you might face and how to calmly overcome them.
Do Great Pyrenees Need Another Dog as a Companion?
Dogs are pretty simple creatures, they live almost completely in the moment. A fight occurs and the air is filled with snarls but once it’s over, its truly over. Dogs do not remind you of the mean thing you said yesterday, they only focus on the current five minutes of time that they are currently living in.
Where I’m going with this is that an only Great Pyrenees living alone with their family without another dog is not going to be sad. They’re going to be very happy with their family and their life of course assuming that there is no abuse going on. But likewise, if you get another dog and you’ve done your research into training, how to introduce them etc… They will also be happy.
It can be argued though that some dogs will ultimately be happier with a brother or sister in the pack. This will give them another dog to play with, and an ally for when they’re scared. With my own dogs for example when it thunders outside or something scary is happening they would often huddle close to each other for comfort. So the presence of another dog can be very comforting for a Great Pyrenees and make an amazing playmate.
What Kind of Dogs Make the Best Companion for a Great Pyrenees?
While this question is tough and has many answers. A lot depends upon the personality of your Great Pyrenees and the other dog. Also how you have trained them but there are a few doggie combinations that tend to do best when Great Pyrenees are concerned.
- Get two Great Pyrenees: A lot of Great Pyrenees owners have insisted that their dogs tend to jive much more with another Great Pyrenees. While it’s not certain why this is so, it probably has to do with them sharing the same size, energy level, and playstyle. Simply put another Great Pyrenees will tend to want to play in the same way your current dog likes to play and as a result, they will be faster friends.
- Dogs of the opposite gender: Often Great Pyrenees will get along better with a dog of the opposite gender. Often in wolf packs there will be a male hierarchy and a female one. Because of this, two males may fight a lot for dominance and two females might also fight for dominance with each other. But when you have both a male and a female they’re more likely to be sweet to each other. Sometimes a female dog will calm and smooth over some of the rougher personality points of a male.
- Two girls: While dogs of the opposite gender tend to get along best. Two girl dogs can also make an excellent combination. Most of my dogs have actually been girls and they’ve always quickly become best friends with each other. It’s possible that it might be the same for your Great Pyrenees.
- Neuter or spay both of your dogs: Dogs that have been spayed or neutered are often much calmer. The removal of their more aggressive hormones can contribute a lot towards peace. This will be especially true for two male dogs. Though you need to do it before their 2 years old as the operation has much less influence on their behavior if done after that time period.
- Dogs that are slightly smaller than the Great Pyrenees: Great Pyrenees often get along famously with another dog that’s slightly smaller than them. This is probably due to the fact that these dogs tend to be very gentle. So they will be nice and kind to the smaller dog. While at the same time due to the size difference you have less chance of any aggressive dominance struggles as they both clearly know who is stronger. At the same time, it’s better than a really small dog as then there could be a chance for accidental injury.
- Get them when their both young: Two dogs that have been raised together are more likely to be very close friends when they’re older. Having a Great Pyrenees who grows up with another dog makes them like siblings. They will be familiar with each other’s personality, likes, and dislikes. While also having had the playful innocence of puppyhood to work out their relationship.
Do Great Pyrenees Get Along With Small Dogs?
With such a large dog as the Great Pyrenees, one is quite justified in being nervous about either introducing them to a small dog already in the household or bringing in a small dog. While Great Pyrenees are naturally some of the kindest gentlest dogs, when you have a size difference of 5 times or greater then there are going to be difficulties. Here are a few tips on how to make your Great Pyrenees and small dog relationship go the best way possible.
- Provide your small dog with an escape route or safe space: Just in case any play gets out of hand or theirs an aggressive moment, your small dog needs to be able to get away from the Great Pyrenees. This could be a room that the larger dog isn’t given access to or some kind of shelter. Make sure that the two dogs are never stuck together in a small space as this is a certain recipe for disaster.
- In the beginning separate them when you leave the house: When a Great Pyrenees and small dog are first together its good to always keep a watchful supervising eye on them. This isn’t possible however when you leave the house. So until you have complete trust in their relationship its good to keep them separate when you’re gone. keeping them in different rooms of the house should be fine.
- Train your Great Pyrenees with a leave command: When training a dog its good to teach them a command that means that they must instantly leave alone whatever they are messing with. Having a Great Pyrenees trained in this can be very useful, if their play with the small dog gets too rough you can quickly tell them to “leave it”.
- Keep them separate at feeding times: This tip actually applies well even with a Great Pyrenees and a dog of larger size. Some of the most common moments of dog aggression occur surrounding food. So its often just good to skip that by feeding them in separate areas cutting out the chance of them fighting. Dogs can also get really excited around food so its possible there could be injury accidentally just from the Great Pyrenees being super happy.
How to Train Your Great Pyrenees to Get Along Well With Other Dogs
While Great Pyrenees are really kind dogs, with a natural affection for others both humans and dogs. Training them and any other dog is still very important. These things are best done when the dog is young and at their most impressionable. Puppies tend to learn faster and its much easier to control or restrain them. But older dogs can still be trained as well and its good to keep up training for the lifetime of your Great Pyrenees.
I usually emphasize the importance of using positive reinforcement in any kind of dog training. This means that we want the dog to behave partially in the way we want and then we reward them with praise and treats. More negative methods such as yelling and scolding do not yield as good of results. Plus they can be harmful to the all-important bond between dog and human that your trying to build with your Great Pyrenees.
Here is a good method of training that you can use on your Great Pyrenees that will work even if you don’t have another dog to practice with.
- Take your Great Pyrenees to a fairly popular park. Ideally, a place where there are likely to be other dogs but not too crowded. Go off the main path and sit in an area where your dog can get a good view of the other dogs but too far away to interact.
- Any time another dog walks into your Great Pyrenees view and your dog acts well. Praise them and maybe give them a treat.
- Repeat this several times. After a while, you should then move closer to the path to see how they do there. Once your closer keep doing the same method.
- Eventually, take your dog to the point where yall are walking parallel to the path and once again reward your Great Pyrenees anytime another dog passes and they have a peaceful reaction.
- At this point, you can try to ask one of the other dog owners if it’s okay for your Great Pyrenees to approach them and say hello. If they say yes then let your dog go forward to sniff them. Try to keep the interaction short and sweet with praise anytime their being positive.
Good Ways to Introduce Your Great Pyrenees to Another Dog
While many Great Pyrenees should do well with other dogs, it’s perfectly normal to be very nervous about their first few meetings. With puppies this shouldn’t be a problem but when introducing two adult dogs to each other its good to practice some precautions.
- Use a barrier for introductions: If your feeling nervous about the first meeting then a great way of overcoming it could be to have a barrier. The dogs should be able to see each other but not physically be able to interact. This way you can engage the state of their relationship without worrying about anyone getting hurt.
- The scent method: This method involves introducing your Great Pyrenees and the other dog through scent. Have them on opposite sides of a barrier like a door, where they can smell but not see. Dogs rely a lot on their nose so this can let the dogs get to know each quite well. At a later stage, you can advance it to taking objects that smell strongly of the other dog and giving to your Great Pyrenees to sniff.
Signs of Great Pyrenees Aggression
While hopefully, everything will be sunshine and rainbows between your Great Pyrenees and other dogs. Still, its good to be aware of what are the signs that your Great Pyrenees is getting aggressive.
- Stiff body posture: If you notice your Great Pyrenees becoming stiff as a board with their eyes turned towards the other dog with laser-like focus. Then this is a sign of potential trouble. Try to change the focus of your dog or lead them away from the area.
- Hair raised: If you see patches of hair along their shoulder blades or near their rear end stand up then this is a sign that your Great Pyrenees is upset or frazzled.
- Showing their teeth: A dog raising their upper lips to show off their teeth is definitely not a smile but a clear sign of aggression from your Great Pyrenees. Keep in mind that this is a warning often given before escalation to snapping or biting.
- Snapping: Your dog snapping their teeth together towards another dog even if all they caught was air, is a bad sign. If your Great Pyrenees shows this kind of aggression then you need to swiftly remove them from the situation before biting occurs.
- Growling: A deep snarl from their throat while zoomed in with focus upon the other dog is a high display of aggression from your Great Pyrenees. Once again lead your dog away from the other dog before a terrible escalation occurs.
Getting a Great Pyrenees to get along with another dog will generally be easier than with other breeds. You still need to have done your research, hopefully this article helped you with that. Train your Great Pyrenees to be friendly with other dogs in general, and then when your introducing them to a new member of the family that training should pay off.
It’s also important to remember to stay calm and treat both dogs with loving-kindness. Do these things and your Great Pyrenees should become fast friends with the other dog who they will then get along great with.