Does your Great Pyrenees bark? If so, you are not alone. There are several reasons that the Great Pyrenees is surrendered to rescue, but the most common reasons include size, their tendency to roam, and to top off the list – Great Pyrenees bark. A lot.

There are many reasons why Great Pyrenees are surrendered to rescue, but one very common reason is because Great Pyrenees bark more than most dogs.

Will My Great Pyrenees Bark All of the Time?

Whenever I talk with potential adopters about pyrs we always discuss what they should expect in regard to barking. They usually respond with, “Oh, my (insert breed here) barks all the time. I’m used to it.” I let out a chuckle and think, “we’ll see how you feel later”. I often joke that anyone interested in a Great Pyrenees should take Mauja for 24 hours and then decide how they feel about their current dog’s barking.

Great Pyrenees don’t typically bark much as a puppy, so a puppy’s bark is not indicative of how the dog will act once mature. Usually around 6-8 months, your Great Pyrenees will ‘find his voice’ as he matures into the guard dog he was meant to be. Mauja’s always been a barky butt (as we lovingly call her), but Atka didn’t make a peep until almost 9 months old.

Mauja and Atka bark at people, dogs, plastic bags, screeching cars, birds, someone shoveling, kids playing, yelling on TV, weird noises, objects that aren’t where they are ‘supposed to be’, and us when they’re feeling particularly sassy. Great Pyrenees bark at anything they feel could possibly be a threat. Furthermore, they don’t stop barking shortly after the sound occurs or when the person is beyond the yard. Great Pyrenees bark and bark until they are absolutely, positively sure that their message was heard and understood.

You cannot train a Great Pyrenees not to bark.

Let me say that again.

You cannot train a Great Pyrenees not to bark.

Yes, you can absolutely manage the barking, reduce its frequency and intensity, and remain on the good side of your neighbors, but attempting to eliminate pyr barking is going against their natural instincts. Asking a pyr not to bark is like asking a bird not to fly or a fish not to swim. I’m a firm believer in working with your dog’s natural instincts, not against them.

Great Pyrenees bark during the day and night. There are several tactics to help reduce the amount of barking and find a middle ground between your desires and your pyr’s instincts.

There are many reasons why Great Pyrenees are surrendered to rescue, but one very common reason is because Great Pyrenees bark more than most dogs.

Great Pyrenees Day Barking

The Great Pyrenees is a livestock guardian dog who was born with the natural instinct to guard his flock. The flock need not be livestock; it can very well be your family. Pyrs are not attack dogs and generally will not become aggressive with predators unless the situation becomes dire. They prefer to intimidate their enemy through their giant size and booming bark. Attempting to prevent your pyr from guarding will just lead to a confused, unhappy, and unstable dog.

A lot of the time, Great Pyrenees bark at things you can’t see or hear. Rest assured, they are indeed barking at something. It might be the sketchy-looking leaf that just blew by your backyard or a person coughing 3 miles away, but they are barking at something!

Dealing with Great Pyrenees barking during the day is a bit easier because you will generally have more understanding neighbors when the sun is shining. The technique that has worked time and time again is to thank Mauja and Atka for barking (read more about that technique here). Praising your dog for doing his/her job will go a long way in minimizing the amount of barking. However, sometimes your Great Pyrenees will get so worked up about something you can’t hear or see and nothing you say or do will quiet him down. Mauja and Atka will ignore their highest value treats when they are in serious guard dog mode. Simply bring your pyr inside (you’ll definitely have to go outside and get him!) until he calms down so your neighbors don’t hate you.

There are many reasons why Great Pyrenees are surrendered to rescue, but one very common reason is because Great Pyrenees bark more than most dogs.

Ideas To Reduce Barking

Socialize, socialize, socialize. Allow your pyr to experience the world around him and learn about different sources of stimulation. Socialization will allow him to determine what is ‘normal’ in his world and what are the possible sources of threat. Regardless of whether your pyr is 10 weeks or 7 years, socialization should occur. Dogs are most receptive to socialization as a puppy, but that doesn’t mean it should be neglected at an older age. The Great Pyrenees is naturally aloof so socialization will help prevent your pyr from being suspicious of those around him.

Exercise. Great Pyrenees have relatively low activity needs, but their exercise should not be pushed aside. 30-60 minute brisk walks each day will help your pyr to learn even more about the world and hopefully limit boredom barking. Great Pyrenees were bred to do a job so they need to be given the opportunity to use that energy in a productive way. Without proper exercise, pyrs will bark incessantly and/or become destructive.

Mental stimulation/training. The Great Pyrenees is an incredibly smart, yet independent, breed of dog. It’s important not to confuse independent with dumb. Pyrs were bred to work on their own without human direction so they typically have little interest in obedience training. However, it’s important to exhaust their minds to help lessen their barking. It will take time, but find what works for your pyr and keep sessions short as they bore easily. Atka has his Advanced Canine Good Citizen certification – it can be done! Kongs and other interactive toys are also great for keeping your pyr’s brain busy.

Thank your Great Pyrenees. This is hands down, the best technique I’ve tried so far. Never yell at your pyr for barking; he is doing his job! I talk more in-depth on this technique to reduce Great Pyrenees barking here. When you thank your pyr, go outside or over to him and acknowledge his work. Let him know that you’re grateful for the alert but you’ll take it from here. Your Great Pyrenees knows he needs to protect you, but he also knows that you will protect him.

There are many reasons why Great Pyrenees are surrendered to rescue, but one very common reason is because Great Pyrenees bark more than most dogs.

Great Pyrenees Night Barking

The Great Pyrenees is nocturnal by nature so typically their barking will increase once the sun goes down. Nighttime is when most predators will be active, so the Great Pyrenees had to adapt to best protect its flock. I have found that the most successful way to keep pyrs quiet at night is to establish a consistent bedtime routine.

Our bedtime routines started with Mauja and Atka on day one to try and get them on the same schedule as us. Every night we would do the same thing: evening potty break, bedtime treat, snuggles and a bedtime song (yes, I’m serious), and then finally crate time (when we were still working on house-breaking). Once they were each housebroken, our last step was to close the bedroom door so they were in there with us overnight.

A proper bedtime routine has been a complete game-changer for so many people who are frustrated by their pyr’s nighttime barking. People even tell me that they thought the bedtime song was ridiculous until they tried it. Some pyr’s latch so tightly to their routines that they’ll cry if you try and finish without their usual song! Mauja and Atka’s nighttime routine no longer includes the song, but we still do the same thing every night to keep things consistent.

I would also recommend purchasing a fan or a white noise machine to filter out the sounds that your Great Pyrenees will inevitably hear. I also advise against keeping your window open if you are still struggling with nighttime barking. They have exceptional hearing so Great Pyrenees bark at things you can’t hear. You want to drown out as many noises as possible.

Unless you live in the country and are using your Great Pyrenees as a livestock guardian, it is not recommended to leave them outside overnight. Mauja and Atka would be so incredibly happy if we let them outside overnight, but we would have the police knocking at our door at 1 am due to noise complaints. Trust me. When it’s dark they do. not. shut. up. I never worry that anything will sneak up on us, though!

Conclusion

Great Pyrenees bark. There are some pyrs that are naturally quiet, but they are the rare exception to the rule. Don’t get a puppy and expect to be able to raise him not to bark; their instinct is incredibly strong. If you are hoping to share your life with a quieter Pyrenees, talk with rescue groups where the dogs are living in foster homes. This will give you a better idea of what to expect in the dog (but remember, you never truly know how a dog will act in a different home).

If you learn to appreciate the breed-specific traits of a Great Pyrenees, you will never be able to imagine your life without one <3

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There are many reasons why Great Pyrenees are surrendered to rescue, but one very common reason is because Great Pyrenees bark more than most dogs.

20 comments on “Will My Great Pyrenees Bark All the Time?”

  1. One of the favorite things Mom ever heard about the Kuvasz and roaming was, if you have an acre of land, after a week with a Kuvasz, you will have two acres! They love to keep expanding their territory, and I’m sure the Pyrs are the same. Katie did some barking, but she mainly barked from dusk to dawn thankfully. Now that she is older, she rarely barks.

  2. I enjoyed my pyr’s barking all night long. He roamed our land & I always felt secure because I could always tell where he was. Of course it was a very sad day when he crossed the rainbow bridge but I’ll always love him even if he is heaven now & waiting for me to come home.

  3. Haha… my GPs are outside barking as I read this article. I love them so much. I totally agree with the night routine. I bring mine in at about 9:30. They shuffle around the house for awhile, bark off and on until about 11 or so when I go to bed. Then they settle down. Sometimes they bark late after that, but it doesn’t bother me. I do believe that their size and bark would be intimidating to a potential intruder.

  4. If you can sleep with the tv on with very little volume they get used to noise and it helps a lot. I’m on my 3rd pyr and they sleep with me and never disturb except in emergency. Rest assured they will definitely attack if you are in danger even if you may not realize it. Their instincts are better than ours!

  5. Your article is right ON!! Thanking Hiro for doing his job and letting him know “we got it” was a game changer. He loves his bedtime routine. And I use youtube “ocean wave” videos as white noise.

  6. We have had Pyrs for 25 years and when we got our first one the California Pyr group told us that all Pyrs dig, drool, bark, and shed. Each of ours has done some combination of these but all have been incessant barkers. I also thank them and bring them inside. On the up side we have not had a coyote anywhere we have lived. 🙂

  7. I was pleased that I instinctively had used many of your suggestions. We have bedtime treats and closed door at night with a fan going and it is usually enough to keep the barking at bay at night. My mom trained our pyr to go outside to bark. Of course his interpretation of go outside was to stick his head out of the pet door to bark. Needless to say this gets lots of laughs and comments when we have company.

  8. Ha! We do the same thing with our 6 year old Pyr, Bailey at night. She’s shut in the bedroom with us after her nighttime potty walk. We have a small fan on for white noise even during winter. She sleeps the whole night and I never worry about anyone breaking in as I can’t even sneak out of the room without her knowing! She’s definitely our guardian angel!

  9. I’ve been thanking our GP since day one. However, he only responds to that for a few moments. If something else catches his eye or any of his other heightened senses, it’s all bets off and we start all over. He will not come inside. We have wood floors and he doesn’t like the texture. Nothing will coax him inside and he is way too big to be lured. Plus, he is here as a hired hand. We have chickens and mini goats and horses for him to protect. Even if we could get him in at night, then he wouldn’t be able to do his job. He’s a natural guardian, but barks at EVERYTHING. When I go out to see what he’s barking at and validate him, it seems to encourage the next alarm even more….he won’t stop until I come out to thank him! My neighbors have been very patient, but I am losing mine and need uninterrupted sleep soon. I haven’t been able to find any advice or support on a rural working dog and continuous barking. I’ve tried everything I can get my hands on and only had limited success. Being rural with neighbors only a couple of acres away makes it tricky. My hens and goats need his protection at night mostly, so I don’t want to bring him inside – plus he hates even the concrete garage & driveway texture. How do I keep a happy dog and happy neighbors (& get some sleep myself)?

    • Exactly my problem–I need Sophie outside because of predators. PLUS with my arthritis & balance problems I cannot go outside in the dark, bumpy land to thank her.
      Would a collar that prevents her from lifting her head to bark help?? What would “de-barking surgery do to her psychologically? She is four.

      She also keeps racoons from coming in cat door if outside. If inside, she barks a lo also, Particularly whenever another large dog barks in the rural distance.

      HELP!!

  10. Great article and so important to educate people that love the beauty of the Pyr and know little about them. In our case, our Sebastian, 8 years old, will be mostly quiet all evening, until we turn the lights out and his fan on (of course) and all the bedtime routine..as soon as our light goes out, he starts his barking. We say he’s letting everyone know that he is now officially on duty for the night. He’ll quiet down at some point, but we pretty much sleep to it knowing that all is well in his normal bark. I also love that when I’m home alone, I never have to worry. Love our Pyr!

  11. I have two. the female, Freyja is on constant high alert! she patrols a 3AC fenced pasture. She has alerted me to coyotes, fox, turkeys, frogs and rogue leaves and chicken feathers blowing in the breeze. The male, Odin prefers to wait quietly for any predators, with the goats by the barn. Occasionally joining her if she sounds really frantic, but he rarely has that barking frenzy. They are both just over 1 year old and I don’t expect to see any big personality changes. I love them as they are,& think they work well together! I can sleep well at night knowing those chicken feathers will never get close to my goats!!

  12. This is fascinating. Now, I know never to get a great pyrenees (or probably any other guard dog). I’ll stick with Border Collies 😉

  13. The only thing worse than Mack’s barking is his snoring. OMG he rattles the windows. I’ll bring him in if he’s particularly barky (he actually is a LGD for my horses and is out 24/7 doing a superb job). He lies down on his bed in the living room and his snoring then keeps the whole house awake and probably some neighbors as well. And I wouldn’t change a single thing about him. Mackie is the best dog EVER.

  14. Mine bark all the time but I wouldn’t have it any other way! They are my girls and I love th like my own kids.

  15. My girls are mother and daughter. My husband died of pancreatic cancer this past January – the girls and I went through a tremendous grief/adjustment period. They dug under the chain-link fence, or right through the gates to get out whenever I was at work, but oddly enough never left the property. They’d sit in the front yard and wait for me; or Benny, I’m really not sure. My spring was spent on fence repairs and trying to get on a common ground with these girls. We are all we have now, and they’re very possessive to say the least! I’ve tried to keep them socialized as much as I can, and they are good with the neighbors, since most of the winter the neighbors continuously put them back up whenever they got out and patched the holes as best they could. I brought them in at night just to be with me – and at first they barked off and on all night. It’s been six months now – every once in a while they’ll bark inside the house and I tried the positive lessons – praising them for looking out for me – most of the time that works pretty well! But for the rare times when something is definitely off in their world – I sing to them. It may sound ridiculous – but I sing lullabies, or calming songs to them every evening – and it really seems to calm them. 🙂

  16. I love my Pyr/ lab rescue pups, Dallas and Denver. They bark but once they are in their crates at night, silence. They only bark when outside very rarely in the house. Dallas will bark inside when he wants to go outside. This is our first time with Pyr/ lab pups and it’s been great. No they don’t roam, we have an electric fence, yes we have holes and they’ve rearranged our garden to their liking. Would love to rescue another but all are requiring a fenced in yard. We had GS dogs for the last 14 years, took a break due to their crossing the bridge and other family issues. I keep a routine at night for them and it works, only time it doesn’t work is when our daughter comes home for a visit. She wants them with her all the time ! I wouldn’t trade these two in for anything, barking, hole digging or whatever, we love them to the moon and back. There our reason to keep going on.

  17. Ohhhh I am thrilled with my Pyrenees, Woody. Woody is a soulful loyal fur-ball. He rarely barks and when he does, it’s because he is letting our Anatolian know he’s available if need be. I’ve owned the ASD for seventeen years, my first Pyrenees’s was adopted in November 2015, and I couldn’t be happier. I could own 10 of Woody, as long as they were just like Woody though. Woody will roam sometimes and also take off after a herd of deer. It’s so funny how s-l-o-w he walks until he spots a deer or some other creature , then he’s like Usain Bolt, the Olympic runner. I consider myself very fortunate after reading lots if the information regarding the Great Pyrenees. One thing that drives me crazy is that Woody loves laying in the mud. OMG, it drys and I vacuum up the dirt. His east is that. When I first got Woody, we were bathing him not knowing better and the following day he would be twice as dirty. Learn through experience I guess. Thank goodness he doesn’t bark a lot, but my Anatolian got that covered, he barks all day except when he’s eating. Live my fur-balls, Woody the Great Pyrenees Mountain dog and Brutus the Anatolian Shepherd Dog, both adopted together from Big Heart K9, in Lancaster Ohio.

  18. I just got a Pyr puppy. A bit spontaneous, but I researched the breed when the opportunity to own her came up. It’s only been three weeks, and she is 11 weeks old now, and I’ve been thinking, where has this breed been my whole life? Now I’m worried because she is just starting to bark. She is an indoor dog, and already has a bedtime routine. Her barking consists of about 3 loud barks every time someone comes in the door, or even if someone comes down the stairs (of of our 4 teenagers, for instance. Really?) I can handle this, but I’m worried it’ll get worse. I’d like for her to be a therapy dog and plan to socialize her a lot. We’ll do whatever it takes to make it work. I can’t imagine my life without her how!

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