Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by Laurelin, Dec 26, 2011.
Moving over here. I will reply in a minute.
Thanks for all that! That sounds very much like what I have heard from the other people I had talked to. The breeder I had looked at wanted me to come up to the nationals to meet some.
I'm definitely looking for something with more oomf (if that makes sense) than my shelties were. Although all of mine were lower key than some of the ones I knew from agility class. I'm still not sure a higher drive sheltie would even be enough dog for what I want for the next dog. The reason I asked was because at first they sounded like a ramped up sheltie temperament wise but the more I talk to people the more they sound quite a bit harder and active. Would you say they might be more like a belgian than any collie type?
I enjoy dogs that are relatively hyper. Although I tend to think of hyper as being more on the reactive side of things. For example, I say something that is exciting and Mia runs off like a rocket making a bunch of noise. I like that reaction versus a ho-hum kind of reaction (like Rose, she perks up a bit and then trots over versus Mia who is there in a noisy, speeding flash) Mia is great though energy wise now that she's over 2 years old. She can chill for a long time without being too hyperactive or destructive but still at the drop of a hat is ready to GO. She can be asleep and then I pick up a ball and throw it and she's after it as fast as she can. As a pup though she was very destructive and hyper and frantic. We were doing at least 2 hours off leash a day (many times much more) plus class 3x a week with her to keep her sane.
I really would love a bigger Mia that was a little more stranger tolerant (but still not fawning over them) and then just a touch more driven.
I am still very interested in them but also intimidated, haha. I think I need to experience a BC first and go meet some pyr sheps before jumping into it. They intrigue me a lot, but I'm not sure they're a breed I'd enjoy living with versus just working with.
Good idea on the new thread! Should have thought of that before I posted the reply
Yes very much so closer to a Belgian type dog than a Sheltie or Collie type. They aren't "just like" Belgians either but they do share some traits and tendencies, for better or worse! They definitely have more oomph! than any Shetlie I've ever been around, even the fast, drivey performance bred ones.
If you can get to a National, that would be great because you will see a lot of them in one place and have a chance to talk to many owners/breeders. But that does only help so much, since every dog is an individual and everyone's experiences and expectations are different. I heard so many different things talking to people IRL and on the internet who have the breed. Opinions ranged from "I'll never be without one!" to "they're too hyper to do anything with" to "I will never consider another one - ever!". There is a pretty big range of temperament types in the breed but that's true of any breed. Much of the difference in opinion has to do with the difference in individual dogs and individual owners.
I do think a lot of their ability to function around scary stuff and their reactions to strangers are socialization and training related. And like I said, everyone's idea of proper socialization is a bit different. I think sometimes people have an issue with "paranoid socialization" with dogs like PyrSheps (or Belgians for that matter). They know something is a potential issue in the breed so they become obsessive over every little thing the dog does, worrying that the dog is becoming fearful and what are they going to do to get the dog over it. Such an outlook very often leads to dogs with issues because the people involved are acting weird, which tells the dog that there's a good reason to be worried.
I'm not saying PyrSheps don't have genetic tendencies towards being fearful of odd things or distrustful of strangers or reactive. I'm saying that often the best way to work around such things in a young dog is to minimize the bad and maximize the good. Whimsy (Belgian) as a youngster was afraid of very overweight people. The first time she saw a person of that body type, she was 12 weeks old and they startled her. A lot of people would go out of their way trying to find very overweight people to feed and interact with the puppy after that. I just ignored it. When she noticed someone who fit that body type and looked at them oddly, I moved away and engaged her in play, tricks or work. It didn't take long before she learned on her own that such people were within the realm of normal and not really worth a second thought. With a lot of the more "complicated" herding breeds it seems maturity, experience, interaction with their owner and drive building count for count for a lot.
And I have to LOL that much of what you like in Mia are traits I see in PyrSheps too. Savvy never has a ho-hum attitude about anything They're also traits that make people who see Savvy at the grooming shop ask "ummm...what kind of dog is that?". Not because they want one but because they want to be sure to never get one
Sorry I forgot about this! I'm still really interested.
Oh and definitely PM me this:
That is good for what I want. I've only met a couple shelties that were in the realm of what I am looking for with my next dog and most are just a lot too calm for my tastes. Any of my shelties would have not worked for what I want in this next dog.
Thanks again! I really am wanting another very Mia-like dog. I find I need a dog like her and with the kind of energy she has. I am not sure what it is about it but the rest of my family thinks she's insane, and I love it. My past dogs do not compare and I'm worried my next dog won't have the same kind of energy that I enjoy. She is the most spastic papillon I've ever met.
I've already got socialization planned for future puppy. I think it will be similar with what I did with Mia although hopefully I will get said pup early. I think most of Mia's issues stem from the fact I didn't get her until she was 16 weeks and I missed out on the major socialization period. She still ended up very stable though around people that don't try to interact with her. People that do try to interact with her make her a bit afraid. It's something I can deal with though but would rather not in the next dog. However, I really do NOT want another Trey that cannot function around strangers because he's so spooky. Then again, we got him at a year old so who knows what we could have done with socialization.
I do work outside the home but I do not crate my dogs. I get up early to run Mia down and then she is kept in a pen with tons of toys and things to do. Future dogs would be too. The work and a high drive dog is my biggest concern to tell the truth but I figure most people work and keep dogs so I will make it work. I really think I'd be disappointed with an easier to live with dog.
I am sure I will have both a border collie and a pyr shep or something similar in the future. The question is which breed first! I've wanted both for a long time now and keep coming back to them over others, so I think that definitely means something.
Sorry this is all jumbled up lol.
What does Savvy think about water?
Are you showing Savvy or just doing sports with him?
Wow, I read this: http://www.lolabuland.com/2010/06/25/bc-vs-ps/ And this stuck out with me:
I looove a dog like that. Mia will not work for anyone other than me. Period. That is one of my favorite traits about her is how much of a one person dog she is. Mia is exactly the same way
How fun would a pack consisting of a Mia papillon, a pyr shep, and a border collie be?
Having a dog who will only work for one person is different than having a dog who is untrusting, and afraid of people. Not all Pyr Sheps are fearful of course, but quite a few of them are. It requires constant maintenance and training- loads of socializing...forever. A Pyr Shep is a far cry from a dog who doesn't like someone. Their "one person love" goes deeper than that. He doesn't trust people in his circle. And it takes a long time to get in his circle. Finding someone to look after him if I go away is hard. I would never board him as the stress of that would crush him. Silvia wrote a post called Fear Sheps- I will go and see if I can find it. It is very good.
Pyr Sheps are fun though- super smart and quirky. I always call Boone my little muppet dog. He is adorable really- all fuzzy and cute and sweet. But is frustrating to work sometimes, and will always be a challenge. If you can get past that though- I do believe that the breed is a hidden gem- a dog that with the right breeding, temperament and upbringing could be spectacular at whatever it was asked.
I've read the fearshep article before and to be honest between that and some of the horror stories I heard is why I ended up backing out of the pyr shep pup years ago and ended up with Mia. It still makes me nervous that I'd end up with a dog that is extremely fearful. I've had that before in Trey (sheltie) and it was miserable. Mia's not stranger friendly but she's fine being in close proximity to dogs and people and good with ignoring them. That behavior is fine to me, but a dog that freaks out all the time over nothing is not.
Which is probably why I'll go with a border collie at least for now till I can see the pyr sheps in person.
I'm close enough to La Brise (which doesn't take being all that close) that there are PyrSheps at most if not all of my agility trials. They produce a lot of dogs. The ones I see are usually amped up about agility and seem comfortable in an agility environment BUT they are all owned by longtime agility folks and have likely been going to trial since they were pups...I can't say what they were like in the rest of the world, etc. But I do know at agility trials they are fine meeting other people though they'd generally prefer not to, and they in general turn into screaming blurs of hair when on the agility course. Not much of a review but there you go lol. There's one smooth I've seen locally, the rest are rough...I personally much, much prefer the smooth but they seem harder to get?
Anyway the point is I've never seen much of the "FearShep" thing. Distracted dogs, sometimes, but that's about it. But chances are if the dog was having major confidence issues he wouldn't be running competitively anyway, so maybe I just don't see those dogs.
There are a pair of PyrSheps in my rally class right now. They are barky but don't seem particularly fearful. The barking is the thing that holds me back-- my townhouse shares walls with people on both sides, and while everybody has been very dog-tolerant, I don't want to push that.
Will do! Just as soon as I find it again...
Yeah I have met a lot of Shelties and some are really cool dogs but they don't tend to be wild enough for me
LOL everyone thinks Savvy is insane! Hyperactive seems to be part of the PyrShep charm
I have shown Savvy in conformation a couple times and he has a point. We'll see how he does this year and determine if a CH is something I really want to pursue with him or not. At his last show, he had way too much fun jumping on and off of the table every time he got near it. Circus dog! Amused the judge at least.
It can be hard getting adult herding breeds who haven't been socialized. I tend to try to get mypuppies at 10 weeks or younger. Savvy was 12 weeks but had already been really well socialized - he was at the National being carried around and played with by countless people at 9 weeks, was exposed to sheep and had been on long car trips. He was very confident and bold when I got him, so I just had to work towards maintaining that. He has occasionally gotten barky at certain people and certainly was barky at environmental things as a young puppy. He alerted to everything that caught his attention - bireds, leaves blwoing, people walking down the next stress over, clouds covering the sun. That isn't so much the case as he's maturing though. Most often, he's overly friendly and trying to fling himself at people when I take him to class or shows. He's not all that barky now either, except at things that many dogs bark at - people coming to the door, things out of the ordinary in the yard, etc. He will carry on quite a bit if I crate or confine him and work another dog though. Course, he's no worse about that than the Corgi.
That sounds like me!
I had always wanted a BC...since before I had Belgians even. Timing never seemed right for me to get one but I had always planned to get one someday. Then PyrSheps caught my attention and I started looking at them. I debated a lot about a PyrShep or a BC. I considered and looked into a lot of other oddball herding breeds too - Mudi, Picardys, Pumi, Entlebuchers, etc. But I kept going back to wanting a PyrShep. I tried to talk myself out of it too, since they have such a bad reputation. But I still really wanted one! And couldn't really find another breed that compared to them in terms of althletic ability and well...hyperactivity LOL PyrSheps seem to naturally love bouncing, climbing, perching, leaping and attempts at defying gravity. They are really surefooted, more so than any other breed I have been around but even when Savvy fails to defy gravity, it never putshim off of giving it another try.
Now it's funny because after having Savvy, I'm just not that interested in BCs. They seem so...ordinary and almost...calm :rofl1:
He loves swimming and splashing and playing in puddles and getting really muddy. He hates baths.
To be fair though, your PyrShep was owned for the first 3 or so years (?) of his life by people who didn't seem to like him, made comments on forums like "PyrSheps are the stupidest of all herding breeds" and then unloaded him onto an unknowing person when they didn't want to deal with him any more. I certainly have no idea what they did or did not do socialization wise but it seemed like a far from an ideal upbringing. One thing is for sure though, he really lucked out landing with you!
I can and have easily left Savvy with numerous people. It's been part of his upbringing from the start, as it is with my Belgians. I am big on teaching weird herding breeds to be adaptable through sleep overs, trips and what not. He has had a really good time staying with one of my dog friends for a and playing wild games with her Mal. He has been looked after while I go out by my co-workers on a regular basis and has been shown without me around by one of my 4Hers. Would he rather be with me 24/7? Of course Is he incapable of being left with other people without a lot of concerns as to how he will react? Not remotely.
I have been a round a lot of PyrSheps. And yes, some are Fearsheps. But plenty are not too. I think their reputation is a bit exaggerated to be honest, as I have known planty of freaky BCs and Shelties but I don't hear performance people say that you can't do anything with those breeds because of fear/reactivity/sensitivity issues. There is a BC in my area right now who likely will never be able to compete in agility because he's so noise phobic he can't even be in a building with a dog doing a teeter. I have seen an overall improvement in Sheltie temperaments with agility becoming so popular but I still see a lot of very soft, easily shut down, noise/sight/touch sensitive Shelties too. As with the PyrSheps, I'm sure some of it is genetics and some of it is due to improper training/socialization/management when issues occur.
I'm not in any way saying everyone should get a PyrShep. Most people probably wouldn't want or enjoy one and there are lots of reason for that. I only have one and he's young still but I adore him. He is bold, confident, drivey, funny, crazy and super smart.
I get the feeling that a lot of the people I've talked to that don't like pyr sheps are BC people and they were expecting a dog that was a border collie but in a smaller package. I wonder how much things would be different if the person was not expecting the dog to act like a BC.
I've heard tons of horror stories about shelties and have had one that was extremely fearful. I wouldn't want that again but I could deal with it. I still enjoyed Trey as a pet even if he was touched in the head. However, I think that socializing him and handling him would have made a big difference. My other shelties we raised from pups were MUCh more well rounded. I don't want to downplay the fearshep thing because it does concern me some, but I am fairly sure I could work with it. I've also known some real nutball border collies too. I think reactivity and fearfulness is common in herding breeds.
Barking is not a problem at all. When I get the third dog, I'll be out of the duplex and not sharing a wall. I don't care about barking at all. My shelties were typical vocal shelties and Mia is a yappy and screamy dog.
Next dog is likely the last till Summer's gone (sans fosters, I would like to foster with the BC rescue I'm volunteering with once I'm not renting).I want a more challenging dog than my past dogs (shelties and the papillons). Mia was a tough puppy but she's grown into an easy dog. I like that, don't get me wrong, but I'd like a dog that is maybe a bit more challenging in temperament especially compared to Summer or the shelties. Mia's a little sharp, a little reactive, and very active and that's really not a bad fit for me. Really easy to handle, love everyone dogs are not my cup of tea. Extensive socializing and training is not a problem at all.
I do like hyperactivity in dogs as well. I know that sounds strange but I find very calm dogs kind of dull (no offense Summer). Mia does have an off switch now at nearly 3 years but it took work to get there and she's still busy and fast paced. I like it and find it fun to work with.
It's been about 4-5 years I've looked into them off and on and they still seem like a potentially good fit to me. Still a lot to think about though. I feel like the rest of my family would absolutely hate a pyr shep, lol.
One more question- how is Savvy off leash? (with training of course)
I do think that there are people who get them and expect them to be like BCs. Or expect them to instantly be like Silvia Trkman's dogs. Or want an easy dog for agility to make them look like super trainers. I think there is also an element of "OMG I should have listened to everyone. This dog will never be any good at performance. This dog is doing to have issues!" any time the dog does something less than desirable. People get paranoid and if their peers have all told them that PyrSheps are freaky, can't be trained, can't be trialed, etc there is very likely to be an element of "I told you so" if the dog does anything remotely weird. But most puppies do things that are weird. Herding breeds especially, even the soundest can go through developmental phases of being weird about stuff. I think that tends to make people obsess over the undesirable behavior, which often makes it worse. And the worse it gets, the more others say "see told you so!" and the more the owner obsesses over fixing it. And the worse it gets.
It is common in many of them for sure.
He's been pretty naturally good for the most part, like my Belgians. By that I mean, he naturally wants to stay within a reasonable distance of me and go the direction I want him to go. I take at least him and Whim to play off leash a couple times a week at a local fairgrounds. The only issues I have had with him off leash is wanting to chase cars and bikes. I have been able to call him off of that stuff and he ignores such things around the house (he can go from the car to the door off leash) but if he's wound up playing, he sometimes still thinks it'd be fun to chase them. So I don't take him off leash in places there are cars he can get to, although I tend to take that precaution with my dogs anyway. Of course, we work on recalls too
In this picture, he's chasing cars on the high that runs by the fairgrounds. The cars are really far away and he can't get to them but this is what makes me cautious about the car thing.
I've seen that in BCs and shelties quite a bit as well. The sheltie forum seems like a lot of people just encourage the behavior or accept it because it's just 'how they are'. Spinning and barking and nipping, etc. I've seen a lot of these dogs in classes that I personally feel would be a lot better if people didn't micro-manage them so much. A particular sporter collie is coming to mind right now...
So fluffy! Definitely sounds workable. I definitely expect some chasing behavior in a herding breed. So definitely not a problem.
I'd typ=e more but I told my two that we would go to the park and Summer keeps jumping on my keyboard.
Anything else you think I need to hear?
This thread is making me super interested in the breed.
I was on a waiting list to get a puppy from La Brise in the spring. While I still adore the breed and plan on getting one in the future it turned out not to be the right time for me. The biggest thing that every owner I talked to emphasized was that they either take a long time to be trial ready or they run into unexpected challenges even once they are already trialing. Patricia herself told me that even Ashley makes Luka and his new pup Dash take several months off of agility quite often just to work on their bond and to prevent trialing issues. Every owner (other than Aleron) has told me that they are very glad they have other dogs to train and trial with their pyrshep otherwise they'd be sitting around twiddling their thumbs and getting frustrated to the point of possibly rushing their dog and damaging their relationships.
The other thing is that this breed is specifically bred to be wary and more aware of their environment than pretty much any breed out there because of their history. That wariness brings up challenges in training, especially in the trial environment where everything is constantly changing. While not all pyrsheps are going to have an issue, it is necessary to know this going into the breed and socialize the pants off that puppy. The ones I've heard that have been success have been at trials pretty much every weekend since they were brought home. Even then, one of the agility trainers that is local to me has a difficult time trialing hers.
Right now, I have one spot to fill in my household and I decided to give it to a dog that I have a better chance of trialing and being successful in the activities that I pursue.
What breed did you settle on? I'm still pretty sure the next pup will be the border collie. I'm honestly not looking for a trial superstar or anything like that but just a do everything kind of dog and I think a BC would be the better choice at this point.
Of course if only I could find more classes in the sports I want to play at the times I want to play them, then Mia and I would be doing more...
I guess mostly that, like some of the other "complicated" herding breeds, PyrSheps seem to need to be developed through drive building, interaction, training, socialization and building a relationship. I love that stuff, so they are a good breed for me. Belgians also have those needs, so I'm used to it. I suspect though, that like Belgians there is a risk of PyrSheps developing problems if their drive and energy isn't properly channeled. By problems, I mean self reinforcing undesirable behavior patterns, obsessions and becoming easily distracted by their environment...unable to focus on what you want them to focus on. This stuff can usually be overcome but it's better to not let it start in the first place. IOWs Don't let obsessive herding dogs practice behaviors that you don't want them to perfect
Going back to the FearShep article, I get the feeling this is sort of what Silvia Trkman is talking about with the distractability and barkyness issues people have complained about with PyrSheps:
"Iâ€™ve seen many, many PyrSheps all around the world since anywhere I go for the seminar, all the PyrSheps fanciers from all around will come, Iâ€™ve also done seminars for breed clubs and I also visited many breeders when searching for La, so I sure did see many dogs of this breed. Based on my experience, my answer to a question is: NO, fearfulness is NOT a problem in the breed. Lack of drive is.
I have had many, many people explain to me that their PyrShep is just too worried about the surroundings to be able to workâ€¦ And in every dog that Iâ€™ve seen with such a diagnosis, I saw something completely different: I saw a dog that was not having enough fun while working and was looking around for the excuses, barking at people, things and shadows. So my advice was always to stop worrying about their fears and do some serious work on their drive and try to make agility way more fun to them. "
If Savvy was my only dog...wow, he'd be really, really outstanding. And very happy! Of course, that's true of all of my dogs But I like having multiple dogs and no one's going anywhere, so I guess they'll just have to make do with splitting my time between them
If people are that focused with having to trial their young dog by a certain age, they may be missing the whole point. These are just games we play with our dogs. Games shouldn't matter so much that you get mad at your dog for not being at a certain point by a certain age. At every trial I go to I see dogs of all different breeds who are having stress issues or just aren't having fun doing agility. I know so many people who get a new puppy/dog and are so eager to trial them, the dogs aren't near as trained as they should be. The dogs sometimes do well at first and some are stuck at the Novice level a long time. At some point though, many of these dogs end up having some major issues that take a lot of time to work through. Issues which could have been prevented through proper foundation work and training the dog to be really, undoubtedly ready to trial before entering.
I do think PyrSheps do better with people who have a more...I don't know...relationship based (?) idea of training though. I think many performance people jumped into them after seeing videos of Silvia Trkman's dogs especially La. They expected instant agility stars and were surprised that, hey these dogs aren't really much like BCs. As for Silvia Trkman, I believe her dogs are trialed early and often for most of their lives. La is still trialing at the highest levels at I think 10 years old. But I don't get the idea she'd sit around twiddling her thumbs and getting frustrated at her dog for not being where she wanted them to be in their training. I think she takes an extremely relationship based, it's all for fun approach to the dogs.
They aren't for everyone for sure but I'm sure enjoying mine
I do get that feeling too that many people got into the breed seeing La and then Ashley and Luka and then wanted a BC in a small package.
Any dog I get, I don't really expect performance to be the main reason I get them. If that works out then great, if not then that's great too. My plans with Mia certainly haven't panned out the way I intended.
Aleron, you don't know a pyr shep named Sting do you? He's young fawn rough coat. I would be very interested in talking with his owners as they have a pap from Mia's breeder.
I don't know Sting. Most of the PyrSheps I know are the ones that are local to me.
Have to say I just watched Silvia Trkman's two trick DVDs and her PyrSheps make me laugh. Definitely see similarities in them and Savvy behavior wise. Funny, crazy little dogs