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Old 12-26-2011, 10:43 AM
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Default The pyr shep discussion

Moving over here. I will reply in a minute.

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It depends on what you mean by an off switch. He's been conditioned since he was young to be able to happily hang out in an expen (set up in our main living space) when we can't be entertaining him. He will lay in there, chew on his Kongs, unstuff stuffy toys, etc for hours sometimes. He was also conditioned from a young age to lay by the couch while we are watching TV at night and not interacting with him. At work, he can sleep tied to the wall for an hour or so while dogs are being bathed and groomed around him without a problem but he gets agitated if he's crated too much - starts pacing, whining, barking and pulling anything he can into he crate and bunching it up. I don't think he'd do well being crated all day, every day because he is a very high energy dog and a dog who need a lot of interaction and entertainment. But he's also a very good dog who really wants to do what you want him to do.

I have lived short term with BCs (work bred) and have known a ton of them (work, sport and pet bred mostly). I would say Savvy is a more challenging house dog than the average BC because of his energy level and his need for daily interaction. If he doesn't get the exercise and interaction he needs every day, he gets agitated, wakes up early, paces in his ex-pen, etc. Most BCs I have known can go without such things if need be and still be relatively well behaved in the house. BCs IME definitely seem to have a more natural off-switch, much the way most herding breeds I've been around or lived with do. They can be very intense, high drive, high energy dogs in their work and play but dont' mind hanging around the house either. I think PyrSheps tend to have a more frantic energy about them in general than BCs or Shelties. Belgians are prone to be frantic but PyrSheps are sort of a hyper-frantic combo lol. I've never lived with a Sheltie but doing dog stuff, I've known a lot. I think PyrSheps are pretty different from Shelties, although at first they may seem to be more similar to them. On the whole, I'd say the breed seems a bit "tougher" and bolder than the average Sheltie. Physically, they are known to be leaping, bouncing, climbing sorts of dogs. Savvy almost has to be kept safe from what he's willing to attempt physically. At agility class, he tried to fling himself onto the top board of a full sized dogwalk. I doubt he'd have made it (I caught him mid-leap LOL) but if he hadn't, he would have just tried again, even if he hurt himself. He doesn't easily get turned off of jumping onto things because they move or because he fails. Shelties seem a lot more careful in general. And most don't seem as high energy wild as Savvy. But then, most BCs don't either LOL I do think BCs are probably a lot easier in general and certainly Shelties are. I have a really interesting, long post from the PyrShep list about the differences in BCs vs. PyrSheps in herding and it's easy to see how these differences developed a different kind of dog. If you're interested, I can PM it to you.

Socializing him hasn't been hard at all but I super socialize all of my puppies, regardless of breed. I love socializing and training puppies However, I don't tend to have the same opinions about what is "good socialization" as many people do. I don't go to group play type puppy classes, I don't "pass the puppy" in puppy class or really force them to interact with people or other dogs or things. Socialization to me is more about exposure and trust building than forced interaction. So while Savvy does get petted by strangers, it's never been a priority to make strangers feed him or make him interact with them. Usually if I want to reward him for some sort of stranger interaction, say he was extra tolerant of a stranger doing something dumb (like trying to pick him up...yes surprisingly an issue with a 20lb dog :/), I feed him myself. That's not to say no one other than me gives him treats, I just don't ask everyone or even most people we meet to do so. If people ask to pet him, I say "sure if he comes up to you". Usually he's flinging himself onto anyone who looks remotely interested in him but if he doesn't go up to someone for some reason, he doesn't go up to them. If something happens to worry him, I don't spend time trying to convince him it's ok and not scary. I ignore it and go about what I was doing. 9 times out of 10, the next time he encounters it, he doesn't give it a second thought because I made it clear it wasn't a big deal. I take my puppies everywhere possible with me and make a point to have them with me far more often than they are not, so there's lots of exposure, lots of training in different places, lots of different experiences. I approach socialization with the Belgians in a similar manner though, so none of that is PyrShep specific.
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Old 12-26-2011, 10:58 AM
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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.
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Old 12-26-2011, 12:14 PM
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Good idea on the new thread! Should have thought of that before I posted the reply

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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?
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
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Old 01-20-2012, 02:47 PM
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Sorry I forgot about this! I'm still really interested.

Oh and definitely PM me this:

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I have a really interesting, long post from the PyrShep list about the differences in BCs vs. PyrSheps in herding and it's easy to see how these differences developed a different kind of dog. If you're interested, I can PM it to you
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Originally Posted by Aleron View Post
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.
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.

Quote:
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
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?
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Old 01-20-2012, 03:04 PM
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Are you showing Savvy or just doing sports with him?
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Old 01-20-2012, 03:38 PM
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Wow, I read this: http://www.lolabuland.com/2010/06/25/bc-vs-ps/ And this stuck out with me:

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I think they’re all somewhat psycho and I love that, the weirdest the better. I love their love to run and work and play, but I miss the hyper part that only PyrSheps can provide me with, so I guess that makes me an addict. PyrSheps are not nearly that obsessed with running or playing, their only raison d’etre is: you (followed closely by food, of course). I don’t know a BC who wouldn’t run agility or play with any stranger who comes by and I hardly know a PyrShep who would run for anybody but their owner – at least not with the same eagerness. PyrSheps are one-person dogs, they breathe just for that lucky one, but they expect the same from their person. Teaching a BC to jump in your lap is often a long process of teaching them to trust you to jump into your lap and a PyrShep will jump in your lap at 8 weeks, just to give you a kiss.
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

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If you’re a PS person, you’ll like BCs too, it’s a nice change. If you’re a BC person, you’ll probably hate PS. Too hyper, too barky. And very addictive, as you can see in my case…


How fun would a pack consisting of a Mia papillon, a pyr shep, and a border collie be?
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Old 01-21-2012, 12:04 AM
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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.
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Old 01-21-2012, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
Sorry I forgot about this! I'm still really interested.

Oh and definitely PM me this:
Will do! Just as soon as I find it again...


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Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
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.
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


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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.
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.

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Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
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.
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.

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Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
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.
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

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What does Savvy think about water?
He loves swimming and splashing and playing in puddles and getting really muddy. He hates baths.

Quote:
Originally Posted by manymuddypaws View Post
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. .
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.
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Old 01-21-2012, 12:48 AM
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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.
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:36 AM
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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.
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