Why Are Great Pyrenees So Stubborn? The Truth Behind Their Willfulness And Independence

Attempting to summon a Great Pyrenees can often result in an unwavering gaze rather than an obedient trot to your side. As someone who shares their home with one of these regal canines, I understand the unique hurdles their willful disposition presents.

This isn’t just stubbornness for stubbornness’ sake; these dogs were originally bred for autonomous roles as protectors of sheep, making decisions on their own far from any shepherd’s guidance.

In my upcoming article, I’ll peel back the layers of their independent streak and share some effective approaches to harmonize with their steadfast temperament. So stay tuned – you’re about to discover some truly transformative tips that could reshape your bond with your furry sentinel!

Key Takeaways

  • Great Pyrenees have a natural inclination to be independent due to their history as guardian dogs, which can be perceived as stubbornness.
  • Training these dogs effectively requires patience and an understanding of their protective instincts; starting early with positive reinforcement is key.
  • Dealing with common behavioral issues like destructiveness, mouthing, nipping, and pulling on the leash involves consistent training and redirection towards appropriate activities.

Understanding the Stubborn Nature of Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees are often misunderstood as being stubborn, but the truth is that they are independent and strong-willed due to their protective instincts and self-confidence. There are certain factors that contribute to their willfulness, which need to be understood in order to effectively train them.

Myths vs. Reality

People often label Great Pyrenees as stubborn, but there’s more to this behavior than meets the eye. What some call stubbornness is actually a mix of independence and self-confidence that comes from their history as guardian dogs.

They were bred to make decisions alone while protecting flocks in the mountains, so they have strong-willed tendencies. This inclination towards making their own choices doesn’t mean they can’t be trained; it simply requires patience and an understanding of their protective instincts.

The idea that these dogs are willfully disobedient is a myth that misunderstands canine intelligence. Great Pyrenees possess deep loyalty and fearless attitudes which can sometimes be mistaken for a lack of obedience.

However, with consistent positive reinforcement and early training, this independent dog breed can learn to follow commands effectively. Their perceived stubbornness turns into an admirable trait once you realize it stems from their capacity to think independently rather than just pure defiance against authority.

Factors that Contribute to Stubbornness

Great Pyrenees come with a strong sense of independence that often shows up as stubbornness. This trait was essential when they worked alone guarding sheep on mountain slopes. They had to make decisions without human direction, and this self-reliance is hardwired into their behavior today.

Their willfulness isn’t about being disobedient; it’s rooted in the breed’s history as autonomous workers.

Certain traits like self-confidence and protective instincts also amp up their stubborn streak. These dogs are fearless guardians, always on alert to protect their family or flock.

This ingrained vigilance means they’re not easily swayed from what they perceive as their duty, which can sometimes clash with what I ask of them during training sessions. Dealing with these natural tendencies requires patience and understanding of where they’re coming from—both literally and figuratively speaking.

How to Deal with a Stubborn Great Pyrenees

Dealing with a stubborn Great Pyrenees can be challenging, but starting training early and using positive reinforcement techniques can help. Enrolling them in training classes can also be beneficial in channeling their independent nature into obedience.

Starting Training Early

I’ve learned it’s essential to start training my Great Pyrenees as early as possible. These willful and independent dogs benefit from learning the rules of the house right from their puppy days.

Setting a routine and establishing myself as the leader helps prevent stubborn behavior later on. Early training lays the groundwork for a well-behaved companion, even with this breed’s strong-willed nature.

Using simple commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘come’ gets my pup used to listening to me, fostering respect between us. I keep sessions short and sweet because puppies have limited attention spans.

Regular, consistent practice instills obedience early on, which goes a long way in managing this breed’s innate independence and potential behavioral problems in adult life.

Positive Reinforcement

When training a stubborn Great Pyrenees, positive reinforcement is key. Rewarding good behavior with treats, praise, or playtime can motivate these independent dogs to listen and obey commands.

Using positive reinforcement helps build a strong bond between you and your Great Pyrenees while encouraging them to repeat the desired actions. Consistency and patience are crucial for successful training using positive reinforcement methods.

By focusing on rewarding good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior, you can effectively shape your Great Pyrenees’ conduct in a way that strengthens their trust in you as their leader.

Implementing positive reinforcement techniques like clicker training or using verbal cues paired with rewards can help your independent-minded Great Pyrenees understand what you expect from them.

Training Classes

Training classes can be highly beneficial for addressing the stubborn nature of Great Pyrenees. These classes provide a structured environment for obedience training, helping to establish boundaries and reinforce positive behaviors.

They also offer socialization opportunities, which are crucial for this independent and reserved breed. Additionally, training classes allow me to work with a professional trainer who understands the specific needs of Great Pyrenees and can provide guidance on how to effectively train my dog.

Attending training classes also enables me to learn new techniques and methods for working with my strong-willed Great Pyrenees. In these classes, I can practice commands in a controlled setting while receiving valuable feedback from the instructor.

Coping with Common Behavioral Issues

Dealing with a stubborn Great Pyrenees can be challenging, especially when it comes to common behavioral issues such as destructiveness, mouthing and nipping, housebreaking problems, separation anxiety, and pulling on the leash.

However, with patience and proper training techniques, these issues can be managed effectively.


One of the common behavioral issues that Great Pyrenees owners may face is destructiveness. Chewing on furniture, digging up the yard, or destroying household items can be frustrating and challenging to deal with.

This behavior often stems from their protective instincts and need for physical and mental stimulation.

To cope with destructiveness, it’s essential to provide plenty of exercise and mental enrichment for your Great Pyrenees. Interactive toys, regular walks or runs, and engaging training sessions can help channel their energy in a positive direction.

Mouthing and Nipping

Mouthing and nipping are common behaviors in Great Pyrenees, especially during their puppy stage. It’s natural for them to explore the world around them with their mouths, but it can become problematic if not addressed early on.

Consistent training and redirection are essential to teach your Great Pyrenees appropriate chewing behavior. Providing plenty of chew toys and bones will also help satisfy their natural inclination to mouth and nip.

Addressing mouthing and nipping requires patience and consistency. When your Great Pyrenees tries to mouth or nip, calmly redirect their attention to a suitable toy or object. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewarding good behavior with treats or praise, can also be effective in discouraging excessive mouthing and nipping habits.

Housebreaking Issues

Dealing with mouthing and nipping behavior can be challenging, but housebreaking issues present their own set of obstacles. Consistency is key when it comes to training a stubborn Great Pyrenees not to relieve themselves indoors.

Establishing a routine for bathroom breaks, using positive reinforcement, and supervising closely during the early stages of housebreaking are essential steps in shaping your dog’s behavior.

Creating a designated potty area with appropriate rewards will help reinforce the desired action and minimize accidents inside the house. Additionally, patience is crucial as this process may take time due to the breed’s independent nature.

Separation Anxiety

Dealing with housebreaking issues is just one part of caring for a Great Pyrenees. Another behavioral challenge that owners often face is separation anxiety in these loyal and protective dogs.

It’s important to address this issue early on, as it can lead to destructive behaviors and distress for the dog when left alone.

To help your Great Pyrenees cope with separation anxiety, it’s crucial to gradually acclimate them to being alone through positive reinforcement training methods such as desensitization and counterconditioning.

Pulling on Leash

Pulling on leash is a common issue with Great Pyrenees due to their strong-willed and independent nature. To address this, consistent training using positive reinforcement techniques like treats and praise can be effective.

Ensuring that the leash is short and maintaining a firm grip while walking can also help in controlling their tendency to pull.

Teaching your Great Pyrenees commands such as “heel” and “leave it” during walks can aid in managing their pulling behavior. It’s vital to remain patient and persistent during training sessions, as these dogs respond well to calm yet assertive handling.

Final Thoughts and Tips for Training a Stubborn Great Pyrenees

In conclusion, understanding the breed’s natural tendencies is crucial. Consistent training and positive reinforcement are key strategies to manage their strong-willed nature. Patience, dedication, and a calm approach will help in shaping a well-behaved Great Pyrenees.

Seeking professional guidance can also be beneficial for addressing any specific behavioral challenges. Ultimately, with the right techniques and ample understanding of their independent nature, training a stubborn Great Pyrenees can lead to a fulfilling companionship.


Understanding a Great Pyrenees takes patience and understanding. Start training early, focusing on positive reinforcement. Stay consistent and firm to build trust with this loyal breed.

Embrace their independence and work with it rather than against it for a harmonious relationship.


1. Why are Great Pyrenees so stubborn?

Great Pyrenees are bred to be independent and make decisions on their own, which can lead to perceived stubbornness.

2. How do I train a stubborn Great Pyrenees?

Consistent positive reinforcement training methods with patience and understanding can help in training a stubborn Great Pyrenees.

3. Are Great Pyrenees good family pets despite their independence?

Yes, Great Pyrenees can be excellent family pets with proper socialization and training from an early age.

4. Do Great Pyrenees require extensive exercise due to their willfulness?

While they enjoy activity, moderate exercise suffices for most Great Pyrenees breeds due to their natural inclination towards guarding and patrolling the area they consider as “theirs.”

5. How do I handle the willfulness of a Great Pyrenees effectively?

Establishing yourself as the pack leader through consistent training and clear boundaries is essential in managing the willfulness of a Great Pyrenees effectively.