Night One with an Akbash (not a Great Pyrenees after all)

When the crate training was clearly a fail, I wondered, “How am I going to be sure the puppy is OK through the night? That she doesn’t get into things she shouldn’t and possibly hurt herself?” I honestly don’t worry much about cleaning up after dogs. I have a carpet cleaner and 30 years of experience with at least 20 dogs.

I took her to my room and tied her to the end of my bed so she’d have only a short distance in a safe place to get into trouble and I went to bed.

She wasn’t happy. When she stopped whining I looked at her and saw she didn’t know where I was. I thought, “Most of my friends sleep with their dogs. A lot of the websites that talk about the livestock guardian dogs say that’s just the way it is with these breeds. OK.” I untied her and lifted her into my bed. She was happy to know where I was, but still didn’t settle down. “All the websites say these dogs are nocturnal. If that’s really absolutely true, that might not work,” I thought. I looked at her. She was vigilant; sitting up and staring out the window at the moon.

Then I understood. She needed out. I leashed her and Mindy and I took her out to pee. She peed immediately and then I thought, “What if she just wants to be like Dusty and Mindy? She loves them already. Maybe she just wants to be like the other dogs who’ve successfully made lives for themselves in my life.”

I left her in the living room with Mindy and went to bed. I got up at 3 to take her out. Mindy was happy to help and came along. When we came back, I went back to bed. Bear went to sleep beside Mindy. This morning, they were all waiting. No trouble. Nothing chewed. No accidents. Just three happy dogs who seemed to have been together forever.

In nature, the (livestock guardian dog) is confident, gentle (especially with children), and affectionate. While territorial and protective of its flock or family when necessary, its general demeanor is of composure and patience and loyalty. It is a strong willed, independent and reserved breed. It is also attentive, quite fearless and loyal to its duties.

I’ve never had a young pup who behaved like that through the night. I thought back to my first puppy — Truffle. I didn’t have any dog experience at that point, and I didn’t know much. I put the puppy outside and closed the door. She cried all night. After a couple of nights, she stopped crying. I began to view dogs differently, especially after going through obedience classes with Truffle. My perceptions continued to evolve once Truffle and I began hiking and she was less and less my “dog” and more my hiking pal. One thing is certain; I began to see that I could work WITH my dogs’ natures. I didn’t have to impose my will on them. I simply had to behave with certainty myself. It no longer seemed like a human “training” a dog, but a human communicating with a dog to build a workable, complementary partnership. It’s not a partnership of equals but only because dogs don’t want that.

Anyway, this little being has bonded to me and the other members of her pack and this morning it’s pretty clear to me that she wants to get it right. It seems all she’ll need is love, care and the knowledge that she’s safe and at home. Her natural intelligence and breeding will do a lot of my work for me.

28 thoughts on “Night One with an Akbash (not a Great Pyrenees after all)

  1. she sounds so sweet. My dogs (and now the cats) all sleep with me. Always. Embarrassing note: cat hair on the freshly made bed, but who cares!

    • I’ve never let my dogs sleep with me — and there is one incident that I regret. My husky/gold retriever mix, Maggie a Girl of the Streets, was dying. She knew it but I didn’t. She wanted to be beside me. The next day, she died, apparently f liver cancer. Her decline was VERY rapid. The thing is, I always have large dogs. I’d need a lot bigger bed!

        • Yeah, from that I learned that if my dog really wants to sleep with me, it might have a good reason. Once I was traveling with Cody (Siberian husky male) and I was in a motel room that gave me the creeps — it was clean and stuff, but something was weird about it. Cody somehow KNEW and jumped up on the bed and stayed there all night. Dogs are amazing. 😉

        • Congratulations on your dog! Bear is an Akbash and now she’s 2 years old. She’s a truly remarkable animal, more “friend” than pet. I’m so glad I found her and adopted her!

  2. Martha, I think you really did hit the jackpot with Bear, and she’s got two lovely companions and role models to emulate. I’ll bet whatever amount of training you choose to do with her will be a cinch, simply because she so plainly wants to fit in with you and your pack.

    I didn’t think I’d ever see another dog I found as beautiful as an Alaskan Malamute, but these Great Pyranees are pretty darned close! She’s beautiful, and she sounds like an absolute gem.

    [I’m having Malamute withdrawal symptoms again, and we’ll have to wait until after Christmas for the next batch to be ready to go to their forever homes. In fact, the Mama isn’t even pregnant yet, because the breeder’s Italian wolfhound did the wild thing–entirely by accident–with another one of their prize Malamute girls, and now she’s pregnant.

    So when these unexpected puppy mixes are weaned and given away to good homes, she’ll breed another of her Mal girls, and our son and daughter-in-law will get one of the resulting puppies. This gal’s a very conscientious breeder, and she treats her animals like gold. No puppy mill here! Each individual animal is special to her.

    Actually, just between you and me, I’d be checking to find out what the Malamute/Italian Wolfhound puppies come out looking like; it sounds like an interesting combination, don’t you think? But it’s not our choice; we just have pack and walking–and loving–rights. ]

    • I love malamutes but you were very helpful while I was pondering that. Bear is a mix of Siberian husky (not much, probably just enough to get blue eyes) and Great Pyrenees. I think it could turn out to be a great mix for me since huskies love their pack mates (an I love huskies) and Pyrs are gentle, calm and attentive. She’s been incredibly interesting and fun in the 24 hours I’ve had her for real. I’m having a high fence built so that I can feel OK about allowing her to have the freedom she clearly wants. I’d definitely be curious about the Malamute/mastiff mixes — those could turn out to be wonderful dogs!

  3. P.S. Jeez Louise, it’s an Italian MASTIFF, not a wolfhound, although I gather the size is in the same category. This guy may be fun and loving, but he sure ain’t pretty! Those pups had better look like their mother!

    • Isn’t that the dog that featured in the film “Turner and Hooch” with Tom Hanks? Not a pretty dog, I agree, and not the nicest, either. Yikes!

      • Hooch was a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastiff. Personally, I don’t care for mastiffs as a breed, but I’m aware that I’m extremely biased. Gannon simply did me in for other kinds of dogs.

        You know how some dogs are one-man dogs? Well, apparently I’m a one-dog woman (at least until another Mal comes into my life). But I can certainly appreciate beauty in dogs, and Bear’s a case in point.

        Wishing you joy with her!

        • Thank you! I understand the “One dog woman” thing. I imagine if I’d had ONLY Molly years ago, I might not have gotten another dog. Dogue de Bordeaux — I will remember that. Well, I’m off soon to pick up the “little” one from the vet. Bear was not what I had in mind as a third dog — such a creature never entered my imagination. I thought I’d adopt an older husky, but then I worried about their tendency and ability to escape a yard if something they want to chase goes by. I worried about my lack of ability to exercise them, but now I have a puppy (?) and plan on getting a new knee. Love makes us do things we never expect!

        • It has been really fascinating reading about this breed which is 4000 years old, and then watching this puppy — who isn’t purebred — just instinctively head outside last night to watch the yard. She looked both silly and impressive on the lawn observing everything. They were bred (and still do the job) to scare wolves. The big male Pyrenees I met at the farm I visited last week was a working dog with a job to do. In the day he slept in the shade of the barn and at night he patrolled the goat herd guarding them from coyotes, bears, bobcats and cougars. He has two female assistants who were friendly with people — he couldn’t care less about people except as their partner in farming. He was stunning.

  4. Gee I’ so glad that you were so lucky to get this great dog. She is a winner from the get go. I know that you are quite happy about that. I think that you are right about her being most GP from the way she behaves and her general demeanor.

  5. I don’t think you need to worry too much about jumping. They aren’t jumpers. Diggers, maybe, Calm puppies are unnerving when you’ve had the other kind 🙂 I always wonder if they are planning something! Sounds like you got yourself a good’un. I don’t sleep with dogs anymore either. My back is bad enough. We aren’t good at reshaping ourselves for the dogs and even a little dog can take up a large amount of room when they try (and they do try!) …

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