How to Deal With Great Pyrenees Barking

Updated on May 27, 2019
alexadry profile image

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, former veterinary assistant, and author of the online dog training course "Brain Training for Dogs."

An attentive guardian of your home.
An attentive guardian of your home. | Source

Great Pyrenees, Selective Breeding, and Barking

If your Great Pyrenees is prone to barking, rest assured you are not alone. Barking in this breed is very common—so common that it's rare to see one that doesn't exhibit this behavior. It's not like these dogs like to hear their voices; it's simply that they were selectively bred to use their bark for a particular reason. Let's take a look at what these dogs were purposely bred for, shall we?

The Great Pyrenees is a large, ancient breed of dog selectively bred to be a livestock guardian dog. They were used for hundreds of years by Basque shepherds inhabiting rural regions and mountainous slopes surrounding the Pyrenees mountains found in southern France. Their main task was protecting sheep from dangerous predators such as wolves and bears that would harm their flock. This often meant keeping an eye open in the night when many predators were on the prowl.

The dogs' white, heavy coats helped them blend with the flock and provided them with protection from harsh, cold weather—as well as from the teeth and claws of potential predators. How were predators discouraged from potentially harming livestock? You guessed it—the Great Pyrenees resorted to their powerful, booming voices.

Because of these dogs' protective nature and appealing looks, they caught the eye of French royalty, and later on, one made a prized guardian for the Chateau of Lourdes. In 1675, this breed was proclaimed the "Royal Dog of France." Several specimens were transferred to Newfoundland, but the scarcity of predators due to widespread hunting practices made their use decline.


The Great Pyrenees Today

Great Pyrenees remain working dogs at heart. They are indeed categorized by the American Kennel Club under the working dog category. However, unlike some other working dogs who require constant training, the Great Pyrenees acts primarily on instinct.

Today many Great Pyrenees are still utilized as livestock guardians. Whether you have geese, ducks, chicken, or sheep, this dog will enjoy taking care of the animals in your care. When you have more than one Pyr doing the job, you'll be fascinated by watching these dogs work as a team. They'll literally take turns guarding your livestock, many sleeping during the day so they can be active when the animals need it most: at night. This is the job they were bred for and in which they excel.

Cheesemaker Marcia Barinaga of Barinaga Ranch in Marshall, California claims: "Great Pyrenees are an amazing example of the genetics of behavior, they’ve been protecting sheep for centuries, and there is nothing else they’d rather do.”

So what happens when the guardians aren't put to work on livestock? Most likely, their family will be their "flock" to defend. Those guarding instincts will still prevail. In the yard, the Pyr will perform several perimeter checks to make sure everything is alright and there are no threats. If they are in the home, they may get anxious to get out and check those outdoor noises. When they detect something is amiss, they will bark in hopes of scaring whatever it is away.

How much a Pyr barks depends on many factors, genetics, the level of socialization and training received, the environment they are exposed to and more. You may end up with a Pyr that barks only when something is amiss, or one that barks if a leaf falls from a tree.

Pyrs bark! They bark more than other dogs and this is why they may not do well in tight-knit communities. According to Indy Great Pyrenees Rescue, "Asking a Pyr not to bark, is like asking a fish not to swim. Pyrs are bred to bark to keep potential animal and human intruders away. It is their way of letting everyone know they are on duty." You really cannot completely eliminate the instinct to bark but you can reduce its instances. Following are some suggestions:


Socialization is a good way for many dogs to learn about the world about them. In guardian dogs it's even more important as they must learn to accept what is normal in their whereabouts and today's society. Start socialization early, the window of opportunity is set to close at 16 weeks. During this time, it's very important to get the puppy accustomed to many different people so as he grows he won't feel the need for making his own decisions about who is friend and foe. Without careful early socialization, your Pyr may become suspicious of everyone. Ongoing socialization though should still be implemented throughout the dog's life. A well-socialized Pyr will be less likely to unnecessarily bark towards stimuli that he recognizes don't pose a threat.

Exercise/Mental Stimulation

As with other working dogs, Pyrenees need exercise and mental stimulation to keep their bodies in shape and minds stimulated. Fail to do so, and they'll find their own forms of entertainment and they won't be pretty. "An idle brain is the devil's workshop" goes the saying and this applies to bored dogs. If left to their own devices, you'll see chewing, digging and barking. Long daily walks, interactive toys, foraging opportunities, training sessions, play sessions and durable chews will help keep the mind occupied. A tired mind and body is less likely to react to the most subtle noises. The instinct to bark may still be there, but you're more likely see your Pyr raise his head and then go back to nap if he had a busy day.

Keep Indoors at Night

As mentioned, many Pyr are active at night because that's when most predators tend to be around. Nocturnal hypervigilance towards noises may turn into relentless barking. Bringing your Pyr indoors is a good option as inside noises are buffered and many dogs are less likely to bark. The same applies if your dog tends to bark during the day. Take him indoors and find a suitable activity to keep that mind busy. Trainer and author Michelle Welton claims "Great Pyrenees should never be left outside in your yard, unsupervised. Their booming barks will have your neighbors calling the cops to report the nuisance—or perhaps letting your Great Pyrenees out of his yard so he'll wander away."


According to National Pyrenees Rescue "Pyrs have a strong independent streak and are not easily obedience-trained. Training is a challenge for most owners, so if you require a dog who will display unquestioning obedience, you should probably look elsewhere." While this is for a good part true, don't let a trainer tell you they're un-trainable. They can be trained, they just need you to be patient, consistent and determined. According to Northeast Pyr Rescue, when it comes to training "there is no shortcut and you will not achieve this in an 8-week obedience course; it is a lifetime commitment." Don't give up! So, yes, you can train a Pyr, and you can also train them to bark less! How?

First and foremost, do not get frustrated and start yelling things like "stop it" or "knock it off." To the Pyr, you are only joining in the barking and making him more anxious if his barking is due to outdoor noises. Instead, better off acknowledging his barking by looking out the window and reassuring him that it's nothing to be concerned about. The Colorado Great Pyrenees Rescue recommends saying something like this: "Thank you, good boy. It's okay, I see him. It's fine, let's go back to bed."

In a rural, natural setting, young Pyr often learn from older Pyrs about what is considered a threat. In a more urban setting, it's up to the owners to provide reassurance over what is or is not a threat. Train your Pyr to accept cars passing by saying "it's just a car." If he alerts you about something going on outside, take a peak, look at the disturbance and say "it's gone, all clear," so your Pyr knows you acknowledged the disturbance and can now relax. If there are noises that tend to upset your dog you can use desensitization and counterconditioning by presenting the noise at a low level and repeatedly pairing it with a tasty treat.

As seen, there are some steps you can take to reduce barking in your Pyr, but you cannot eliminate this tendency completely. If you are away most of the day and your dog barks relentlessly in the yard, consider taking him to daycare or hiring a pet sitter that can keep him entertained when you are away in order to keep the barking better under control. It's unfortunate that many Pyrs are sent to rescue because of their barking, when this is something they naturally do. As with any breed, good research is a must to reduce the chances of unwanted pets.


Is your Great Pyrenees a strong barker?

See results

Questions & Answers

  • Why does it take my great Pyrenees so long to go potty when I let her out in the morning?

    Most likely, she has to do her "rounds" of sniffing and checking out if there are any changes. We must remember that dogs, unlike us, don't just urinate and defecate to get rid of waste, but use their waste as well as a form of marking their territory and leaving information for other animals to find.

  • How does a dog's bark collar work?

    A bark collar may work in different ways. Some are meant to emit a spray of citronella, some others will deliver shock and some others may emit ultrasonic sounds. The spray, shock and ultrasonic sound are evoked by the dog's barking. Bark after bark, the dog starts associating the spray, shock or sound with their barking behavior. All bark collars are therefore meant to suppress the barking through punishment. The problem with these is that they fail to tackle the underlying cause of barking and dogs may get more stressed and anxious in the long run.

© 2014 Adrienne Farricelli


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      8 months ago

      Moving to an apartment is a big change and he likely is going through an adjustment period. It is hard to sa whether this will get better with time considering that barking can feel reinforcing. You may find some of these tips helpful, but not sure if they will work if he's really stressed;

    • profile image


      8 months ago

      I recently moved into an apartment and brought my boy, who's 8 years old, with me. I was well aware of his barking tendencies and he used to respond to me, and calm down after a moment. But now he's barking non-stop, and it's upsetting my neighbors. I'm heartbroken because I don't want to send him back to my parents. I know he'd be miserable without me (and I'd be miserable too!) but right now neither of us are able to relax at all. Do you think this is something that will get better with time? Or are there just too many different noises and he's too old to get used to it?

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      8 months ago

      Luna, this sadly happens when people adopt dogs without researching the breed.

    • profile image


      9 months ago

      They didn't have the barking bred out because the dog is literally bred to bark and protect. Not be family pets. You're cruel and should be considered an animal abuser for cutting his vocal cords.

    • profile image


      9 months ago

      No one ever thought to breed out the barking...sad.

      I’m having my pyres vocal cords cut. I’ve had it.

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      Henry may get us kicked out of a lovely home we are renting.

      We don’t want him to bark but we have to go to work at some point and can’t always be here to stop him ( he is inside, he is a Pyrenees, he gets exercise and discipline).

    • profile image


      13 months ago

      But I have 2 one is a mix and they can bark all night I knew this before I got them that’s what they do that’s the breed and I don’t correct that love my Pyrenees

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      14 months ago

      Raditu, maybe it's time to get a GPS tracking collar to know where he goes? If you do not have a fence, that would be recommended for your dog's safety.

    • profile image


      15 months ago

      When i first got Buddy @5 years old, i put him in the fence with a single goose which had lost her mate and she buddied up to him. He protected her till the neighbor complained.We found the goose a new home with her kind and i moved Buddie to the back side of the house in the compound with the other dogs so his barking don't disturb the neighbor.

    • profile image


      15 months ago

      We have an Antonian and and Great Pry who came from a field. He is very skittish but loving when you can get near him. We live on a forested area and he takes off at dusk and returns at dawn. This is very worrisome to us but he will not come into the house so it’s almost impossible to deal with. Any ideas or even idea where he goes? Thanks.

    • profile image


      17 months ago

      I have a 5/8 Anatolian X 3/8 Great Pyr -- my God, does she ever bark. We have her in a rather over-stimulating city environment, so it's not her fault. Don't have any worry about anyone coming into the yard or house uninvited, but our neighbors probably secretly hare us.

    • profile image

      Vic Davis 

      17 months ago

      I’ve raised from puppy and have rescue Pyrs. Neither 100%, but best results for both were by going out to where the dog is barking and claiming the responsibility for the ‘threat’ in a quiet, confident, reassuring way, essentially guarding the area as their alpha/teacher. Now,Instead of ten minutes of window shaking barking, I get three or four ‘woofs’ and they get an ‘attaboy’. We go for a one to two hour walk/patrol daily. They do bark and keep cougars, bears and coyotes away but if a wayward possum, raccoon, rat or mole makes it way on my property, there is rarely any sound, just a trophy in the morning. Oddly, they don’t go after cats or rabbits, they treat them like entertainment, and just watch them.

      They are primarily nocturnal. They are also the best guardian on earth, nurturing, gentle and loyal. One other big point, even though they can be classified as mastiffs (mollusars), I have yet to find a record of one biting, let alone attacking a human. Intimidating yes, attacking no.

      Yeah, I’m biased, but they are incredible creatures.

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      17 months ago

      Joanne, I think providing him with a job to do will certain make him happy, especially since guarding livestock is something this breed was bred to do. While it may to a certain extent perhaps cut down on barking due to boredom, I am not sure if it will curb his barking totally, also considering that if he bonds with the chicken and takes his job seriously, he may bark when he's inside to be let out, upon hearing the slightest noises.

    • profile image

      JoAnn Cox 

      18 months ago

      Im thinking of erecting a tall wooden fence my our couldn't see through. Then I would put a small flock of chickens for him to "guard. "

      He would be out in the fenced area perhaps 3-4 hours daily.,then in the house.

      Would this cut down on outdoor barking (having him with other animals)?

    • profile image

      Laurie Hedlund 

      19 months ago

      Our Great Pyr (no mix) Hunter is now 3 yrs. old. Had him since he was 1 and raised with puppies & dogs. He is very protective, good with our horses, I walk him everyday before watching the horses tied up. Off leash he has his own mind and doesn't listen. Wanders our foothills. If we leave in the car, he wants to come and digs to get out! And he has ruined part of a good fence and got out. Always comes home! His new thing is to bark a lot, even tho we let him in the house for people time.

    • profile image


      19 months ago

      I found this info on barking very helpful. The part about keeping their mind busy during the day rang a bell with me.l have to g.p s They are brothers. Iam lucky my friend is home during the day while Iam working to make sure they behave! When its important I give them a strong comand so they know I mean buisness. This works with them.I say this to maybe help other owners. Thank you Charles

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      6 years ago

      Oh, no! I feel awful for those dogs who undergo that procedure. Not to mention, it doesn't stop them from making noises, which for some can be far more annoying than the barking itself.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      6 years ago from Philippines

      I love your suggestions. I best like the fact that you didn't advise people to take the dog to the vet to get the voice chord cut off. That is cruelty to a dog. Dogs need to communicate, and their voice is their power, their ability to do their job, which is to protect and warn their flock. Great hub.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)