If you own a Great Pyrenees, or any dog really, barking can be quite the issue. Great Pyrenees are guard dogs and will bark at anything. I mean anything. I’m pretty sure that they’ve barked at a leaf falling to the ground. Sometimes, they just like to hear themselves talk. In our house, we call it “grumpy barking”. Mauja is particularly good at this. She will lie on the floor with her eyes closed and gruff bark. She’s really protecting us, huh?
Since owning pyrs, we’ve had to perfect our method of quieting the dogs. Here is our foolproof method:
- Assess the reason for the barking. Are they barking at a person? A dog? A sound? Is there even anything remotely visible? Most likely, they’re barking at the air. Now is time to intervene.
- Tell them it’s okay. I’ve been told that with pyrs a great way to end the barking is to see what the fuss is about and then to tell them it’s okay. Some people use the phrase, “It’s okay, it’s just Uncle Fred”. First of all. That never works. I think it’s just a rumor in the pyr community to make us believe there is hope in ending the barking. Second, I would be quite worried if it was Uncle Fred. You see, I have an Uncle Fred and he passed away a few years ago. If it was Uncle Fred, I would think I was hallucinating.
- Offer them a treat. Now that trying to calm them has failed, try offering them a treat. One of two things will happen. One. They will stop the barking and run to you for a treat. Two. They will look at you like you’re crazy and run off to continue barking. Unfortunately, neither option will leave you with quiet dogs. Most likely, they will gobble the treat and continue barking.
- Break out their favorite toy. You think to yourself, “Ah, they love the tennis ball. How could they ignore that?” Once again, they will look at you like you’re crazy.
- Bring them inside. After your several attempts at quieting your dog have failed, bring them inside as to not disrupt the neighbors. You think, just maybe, a change in scenery will be enough to help them calm down. Wrong.
- Ignore them. Everyone’s heard that if a kid is doing a bad behavior, he’s likely enjoying the attention he’s getting from it. Why should it be any different with your dogs? So you sit on the couch, deliberately avoid eye contact (even as they grumpy bark and stare at you), and turn on the TV. After ten minutes of ignoring them, the barking hasn’t ceased. Finally, it’s time to resort to the last step.
- Go upstairs, crawl into bed, and put on some headphones. Yes, you read that right. When all else fails, just find your own quiet hideaway. Get under the covers to help block out the sound and pop in those headphones. If you position yourself just right, you’ll be able to (mostly) drown out the sound of barking. Plan to keep cover for the next hour.
Have they stopped barking yet? Good. Now you can come out of hiding for at least 5 minutes until the barking starts again. If it does, I suggest you skip straight to step number 7. Oh, and don’t bother with any of those bark control methods. Most dogs find a way to out smart them. Or just bark more to get back at you 😉