I heard it through the grapevine

I learn a lot of what is going on by listening in to my bipeds’ conversations. I let a lot of it drift over me but my ears tune in when I hear key words, such as walk, food, cheese, car, hike, picnic – and, of course, Clowie.

I expect you’re wondering what I’ve overheard. My bipeds will be on holiday for a few weeks, so I probably won’t get to visit any of my friends’ blogs or be on social media very much. I’m not sure what I shall be doing – I don’t think my bipeds know, but it did sound as though I will be having some fun. I kept hearing good phrases like, “Clowie will enjoy going there with us”.

I also noticed that they got out my rucksack (backpack) and checked it over – that’s a very good sign! I don’t wear it when the weather is hot, but I often carry some water and my collapsible bowl in it on a hike. They usually pack some treats in there as well.

Unfortunately, I also heard them say things like, “Clowie can catsit while we try that restaurant one evening”. The cats are not usually any trouble, they spend most of their time sleeping. I really don’t mind looking after them, but it would be nice to be asked! On the plus side, sometimes they bring home something tasty for me in a doggy bag.

I also heard a mention of, “We’ll need someone to pop in and take Clowie out because that will take a full day”. That doesn’t worry me, they only ever ask someone who I like a lot so it’s fun. It also only ever happens when I’ve had a tiring day the day before and I want to catch up on some napping – it’s almost as though they arrange it that way!

They sometimes say that it would be much easier to arrange a day out if they didn’t have to think about me. I don’t pay much attention to that – they can’t possibly mean it!

Rubbish bin

There’s nothing interesting left in here!

One of the things that gives me a clue that they’re going to be out longer than usual is that they empty the kitchen rubbish bin before they go. The cats and I are expected to leave the kitchen bin alone, but the bipeds say that the temptation shouldn’t be too great – they call it setting us up for success. They never put anything that exciting in there anyway, they always take the most interesting things, such as bones from meat, outside to the bin that won’t open.

I hope you’re all having as much fun as I am!

See you soon!

Close Encounters of the Worst Kind

And no, the title doesn’t refer to having my temperature taken by the vet!

Clinical thermometers

I went to a country fair with my bipeds. There were all kinds of interesting things happening there. I saw some gun dogs in a competition in one ring. In another there were dogs doing agility. There were lots of stalls selling all sorts of fascinating items. The aroma from the ones selling things that bipeds like to eat and drink was wonderful. Some were selling dog collars and leads, while others were selling posts for cats to scratch and I had no idea at all what some things were but it was all very interesting.

It was lots of fun strolling around with my bipeds. There were lots of other dogs happily wandering about with their bipeds. Many bipeds chatted to my bipeds and made a fuss of me. We had just stopped to chat to a biped with a Pyrenean Mountain Dog just like me when the encounter happened.

Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Great Pyrenees, being stroked

A Pyrenean Mountain Dog, or Great Pyrenees

I heard a boy shout, “Look at those huge, white dogs!”

The next I knew a boy of about twelve years old had pushed past my female biped, who was holding my lead, and had thrown himself onto my back. He lifted his feet off the ground and started to bang my ribs hard. I turned my head but stood still. I could see that my male biped was moving to help me. He grabbed the hood of the boy’s jacket and hoisted him off me. A second boy, about ten years old, was about to jump on me when the male biped also caught him by the hood of his jacket.

The male biped said, “Don’t jump on my dog!”

He loosened his grip on the first boy who turned and said, “I’ll jump on that one then!”

The male biped tightened his grip on the boy and said, “No, you won’t!”

The biped with the other Pyrenean Mountain Dog said, “Thank you. I don’t know what my dog would do.”

The boys started wailing and trying to hit and kick me and my biped. He moved a little so that the boys couldn’t reach me and held them out at arm’s length. He told them he would release them when they kept still and agreed not to jump on dogs. The female biped had recovered her balance and she moved closer to me and put a reassuring hand on my shoulder.

A dishevelled woman appeared and shouted, “Let go of my boys!”

Megaphone

She didn’t need a megaphone!

Several people called out, “No, don’t let them go! Not until they’re under control!”

The woman shouted at my biped again. I hadn’t heard some of the words before! The gist of what she said was that my biped should let her boys go and he shouldn’t have restrained them.

A stall holder nearby called out, “Lady, you should be thanking this man, not hurling abuse at him! Your boys were doing something dangerous. He acted quickly and stopped them in the only way he could. You’re lucky that your boys are unharmed. I have spoken to some show officials who will be here in just a moment to help you get your boys under control.”

The officials arrived and took the boys from my biped, thanking him for his trouble. They ushered the boys towards one of the exits, along with their mother who was still shouting rude words at anyone and everyone.

My bipeds and I went across to thank the stall holder for his help and support. He told us that there were plenty of people who would be thankful to see the back of those boys as they’d been breaking things and causing chaos all day, while their mother had been busy sampling alcoholic beverages in the main refreshment tent. He gave me a treat and told me that I’m lovely!

Quite a few people had gathered to watch what had been happening and a lot of those people wanted to talk to my bipeds and make a fuss of me. My bipeds seemed embarrassed to be the centre of attention but I loved it!

Head of Clowie, Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Great Pyrenees

I love being the centre of attention!

See you next Wednesday!

A dog with attitude

I am going to answer a Frequently Barked Question, or FBQ, today.

FBQ: Is a Pyrenean Mountain Dog (Great Pyrenees) the right dog for me?

I have to point out that the people asking this question have it back to front. The question should really be: Am I the right person for a Pyrenean Mountain Dog? If you’re offended that I have turned the question round then the answer to your original question is a no!

People who live with Pyrenean Mountain Dogs are generally agreed that we have lots of attitude. I think that attitude is a good thing and I’ve seen lots of quotations saying that attitude is everything, but apparently some humans don’t want attitude from a dog!

My ancestors were bred to look after livestock in the mountains, with little or no supervision from humans. We are confident and think for ourselves. If you think a dog should obey you, without question, simply because you are a human, you are the wrong person for a Great Pyrenees.

We are intelligent and capable of learning quickly. Training needs to begin early and our bipeds usually think they have the perfect puppy for a while, as we pick things up so quickly. But most of us, sooner or later, start thinking about whether we actually want to do the things we’re asked to do. Then we start thinking about ways of avoiding doing the things we don’t want to do. I myself began this phase when I was about eleven weeks old – and I’m not particularly precocious!

We need bipeds who are patient and consistent to work through this with us. A sense of humour also helps! If you have those qualities, we’ll gradually grow to trust and respect you and we’ll do as we’re asked most of the time. Training us isn’t about dominance, we respond to positive reinforcement but we’re not usually as motivated by food as people expect dogs to be. I enjoy a treat or two, but I’m far more motivated by praise or a game.

Bone-shaped dog biscuits, treats

Thank you, but I’m not hungry!

I’m a well-behaved adult and I trust and respect my bipeds – they can take me anywhere with them. But I still occasionally check to see if my bipeds are on their toes by trying to bend a rule. Of course it’s just a coincidence that this happens when I know they’re in a hurry, or that it’s raining and they don’t really want to put on shoes to come outside to fetch me in from the garden! I’ve heard that I’m far from alone in doing this!

If that Pyr-attitude doesn’t worry you, check out “Not the dog for everyone“. For those brave souls who are still with me, here are just a few more things you should know before deciding that you’re right for a Great Pyrenees.

Size

It’s fairly obvious that we’re large, but this has lots of implications that are not as obvious – see “Santa Pups“.

Hair

We have lots of it! We moult heavily once or twice a year, but we’re generous with our hair the rest of the time – see “From hair to eternity“. I hope you don’t like wearing black!

Barking

We have a reputation for barking a lot. Our bark is loud, so it can be a cause for concern. I have barked about this a few times.

General barking – “To bark, or not to bark, that is the question“.

Preparing for the barking – “The calm before the barking storm“.

Barking at night – “Why barking at night can be a good thing“.

Aqua paw print

I hope you find the right dog for you!

See you next Wednesday!

My first trip to the vet

When my bipeds first took me home with them I was only six weeks old. I was one of eleven puppies and, as we grew and became more active, my mother’s bipeds were finding it difficult to give us all as much attention as we needed. As we were all healthy, weaned and eating well, they made the decision that some of us should go to our new families early. This would mean that they could give more individual attention to the puppies that remained and the families who took puppies early could give their puppy lots of attention.

I mentioned in “A trip down memory lane” that my bipeds took me home at the weekend and on the Monday morning I was taken to see the vet. My biped rang the veterinary clinic as soon as it opened and asked for an appointment to get a new puppy checked over. She was given an appointment for later that morning and she gave details of my breed and age to the receptionist.

Cat in carrier

You can’t fit a Pyrenean Mountain Dog in this!

An hour later she bundled me into a cat basket! It’s hard to believe that was ever possible! She carried me out to the car and we set off. It wasn’t a long journey, she was soon carrying me into a building. She spoke to the receptionist and then she found a seat in the waiting room. She put the basket, containing me, down by her feet. There were about half a dozen other bipeds in the room, each with a basket or a box – each one containing a potential friend for me.

A door opened and the vet appeared. He caught sight of us and his expression changed, he seemed worried. He called his next patient in and closed the door. Each time he opened his door to call in his next patient he looked in our direction and, each time, he looked even more concerned. My biped checked on me a few times and, each time she did, she seemed more worried.

The tension mounted – it was almost a relief when it was our turn to be called in. My biped put the basket with me in it on the end of a high table.

The vet asked, “What have we here then?”

My biped replied, “A female Pyrenean Mountain Dog puppy, six weeks old.”

He asked, “And what size do you expect her to become?”

My biped gestured just below her waist and said, “About so high, weighing in excess of one hundred pounds.”

Clowie , Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Great Pyrenees, smiling

I’d like to see him lift me up like that now!

Wow! I had some growing to do! She was expecting me to be as large as my mother! The vet went to the corner of the room and started tapping away on his computer.

My biped asked, “Is something wrong?”

He replied, “No, no, I’m just updating the computer.”

He came back and took me out of the basket. He held me up to his face.

He smiled and said, “You’re a hefty little lady!”

He then put me on the table and felt me all over. He peered in my ears and my mouth, he listened to my heart. He picked up some clippers and clipped the dewclaws on my hind legs. He told my biped that they were already growing strongly and she’d need to keep an eye on them. He asked if she was confident about clipping them.

She replied that she was and asked, “Is the puppy healthy?”

He asked, “What is it about the puppy that’s worrying you?”

She replied, “Nothing. It’s just that you appeared worried as soon as you saw us.”

He said, “Oh, you picked up on that! Okay, the receptionist had entered an age of six months, not six weeks, on the system. I wasn’t looking forward to telling you how that puppy is going to grow, if you thought you had an almost fully grown dog!”

My biped smiled and said, “I can imagine!”

The vet also smiled and he said, “She appears to be in excellent health.”

They then talked for ages about all kinds of things related to me, but I’ll tell you about those another time.

Dogs playing poker

We’ve won all the treats!

I don’t know much about poker, but, if that was the vet’s poker face, I’m fairly sure I could beat him. I’d empty his pockets of treats!

See you next Wednesday!