Heart of Ohio Great Pyrenees Club, Inc.
HOGPC Rescue & Placement Policy - Attachment E
Advice and Tips on How to Adopt a
Placement Great Pyr
Adopting a new dog is very exciting.
Placement dogs are those dogs that are still in their original homes and
can stay there until a new home can be found.
The Placement committee does not evaluate the dog in person, so youíll
need to do that on your end. We do
offer however, tips on how to make sure the dog you are interested in is the one
for you, as well as tips to make sure the breed is right for you.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact a Placement Committee
Do you really
want a Pyr?
incredible dogs, for the right family.
No breed or individual animal is perfect, and that includes Great
Pyrenees. While they have wonderful
attributes like loyalty, calmness, patience and soul, they have their negative
qualities, too. These include:
NEVER being able to have a Great Pyrenees off lead, fencing is a must,
digging, drooling, excessive shedding and barking.
in mind that many books and websites list Pyrs as wonderful with children.
Please realize there is a difference between being extremely patient with
children and playing ball with them. If
you want a dog that can handle the rough and tumble of an exuberant child, Pyrs
are indeed good with them and very patient.
If you want a dog that will play for hours with your child, romp in the
woods and fetch with wild abandon, get a Golden Retriever.
This is not the breed for you.
And, there is
that soulful expression. To those of
us that share our lives with Pyrs, there isnít another breed that looks and
thinks the same way as a Pyr. They
are also breathtakingly beautiful. But
with that beauty is a ton of coat. While
it does not have a great deal of oil in it, (that means less doggy odor if you
brush them regularly), it means that profuse daily shedding is normal.
They also shed heavily twice a year, called ďblow-out.Ē
are also big expenses with big dogs. Anything
from more expensive heartworm and flea/tick medication, due to the higher
weight, to bigger, more expensive supplies, (dog beds, collars, toys, food,
Here are some tips to evaluate the dog you are interested
- Get the vet records, permission to speak to
the vet, have the owner call the vet and allow him/her to speak to you.
A way to go about this without being accusatory is for the
possibility of you taking the dog to the same vet.
If distance is a problem, to get a history on the dog for your vet.
Ask when the dog was last seen, and for what.
Ask if the owner was compliant in giving preventative medications
like heartworm medicine and the brand. Has
the dog ever had an allergic reaction to vaccinations?
Is there a bloat history?
- How was the dog trained in obedience?
If through a formal obedience class, where?
How was the dog around the other dogs?
Did they keep up with it? For
example, do they make the dog sit before it receives its meal?
- Speaking of meals, do they free feed all day,
(not recommended), or twice a day? Get
the brand and method of feeding. You
will need to keep the dog on the same food for a minimum of a couple of
weeks. Moving a dog is
stressful. Pyrs have touchy
stomachs to begin with; changing the food right away will compound this
problem. Have the owners feed
the dog when you are there. While
the dog is eating, ask the owners to try to take the bowl away or put their
hands in the bowl. If they
resist, it could signal the dog is food aggressive.
If this is the case, this dog is not a good candidate for a family or
a home with other dogs unless you are going to separate everyone in crates
during meals. This also means
you will have to be very careful when you give treats and coveted toys.
- When you visit the dog, take a really yummy
treat along, like a pig ear. After
the owners have fed the dog and after you have been there awhile, have the
owners give the dog the treat and after a moment or two, try to take it
away. If the dog attempts to
bite, donít adopt it. Simply
walking away with the treat is not necessarily a problem, but maybe you will
need to assert who is in charge when you get the dog home.
The best way to do this is to have the dog work for everything
positive it gets: sit before
going outside, getting food/pets/treats.
- Ask the owners to brush and clip the dogís
nails in front of you. Brushing
is a daily event. If the dog
doesnít allow it, there are a few things at work.
One, the dog is more in control than the owners.
And two, you will have the added expense of taking a large, heavily
coated breed to a professional groomer, $$$.
Some dogs hate their nails to be done.
It isnít as much of a dominance issue as with brushing and most
vets charge a very low sum for nail clipping, without an office visit.
This will need to be done about every 4 weeks at the least.
- Is the dog bouncing all over you?
Or it is terrified and hiding in the corner?
These are two extremes. With
Great Pyrenees, you want something in the middle. Pyrs are generally a
little standoffish when they first meet someone in their home, and then warm
up. That is normal.
After the dog warms up to you, will the dog roll over for a belly
rub? This signals a dog that is
willing to let you be in control. This
may not happen with Great Pyrenees. Keep
in mind that you are a stranger in their home.
If the Pyr does roll over, you have one gregarious dog on your hands.
If not, that doesnít mean they are dominant dogs.
It may just mean that it will take longer to warm up.
- Do you have cats?
Does the original home have cats?
If so, how do they get along? Will
the dog go after the catís food and litter box with gusto?
- We recommend a crate.
It is especially important for an adopted dog.
It takes about 6 weeks for a dog to really feel comfortable in a new
home. By providing a crate and
giving the dog their meals in the crate, you are giving the dog his very own
space in otherwise unfamiliar territory.
In short, by making the dog comfortable, the transitions go more
smoothly. Also, the crate is
invaluable throughout the dogís life.
You are not going to know if the dog is going to get into things when
you leave. By placing him in a
crate in your absence, you know he will be safe.
It is also great for travel, when non-dog friends come to visit, and
if the dog is ever ill and needs to be confined.
- If you also have another dog, we recommend
that you meet the potential Pyr on your own first.
Then, schedule another visit with the potential Pyr and your dog on
neutral turf, like a local park. You
will get a better read on the potential match if no one is on their home
turf where they are the bosses. This
can be a potentially very hard thing to do.
If you can, bring a friend to assist.
Both dogs need to be on lead. Sniffing
is very normal. You must
carefully watch the body language of the dogs.
This is something you will need to research further on your own.
The Internet, your veterinarian, local obedience club, and animal
behaviorist can give you many suggestions on how to introduce two dogs.
Adopting a Pyr is
very exciting, but as with any dog, you need to take precautions. These
precautions will help make an adoption go more smoothly for everyone.
This list is also a guide and is not complete.
You will have to use your judgment once you actually meet the dog and see
how things go. Again, this is a good
time to ask the advice or an animal care specialist.
Any questions, feel free to contact your Placement Committee volunteer.
Written by: Ellie Schultz for use
Placement Committee of the
Heart of Ohio Great Pyrenees Club
Reprint with permission from author only