Why Does My Great Pyrenees Growl at Me? We Tell You!

Great Pyrenees are gentle, affectionate, and extremely loyal. Our Pyrenees, May, is trusted explicitly around our young children to watch and protect them as they play outside.

Why Does My Great Pyrenees Growl at Me?

However, it really catches you off guard the first time your Pyrenees growls at you!

Should you be concerned? Will you have to get rid of your dog?

We had the same questions and asked our Pyrenees-owning friends…

Why Does My Great Pyrenees Growl at Me?

First and foremost, we were told not to worry too much about it unless our Pyrenees was showing other signs of aggression toward us.

This DOES NOT mean that you should “write off” your growling Pyrenees without determining the root issue. This is ESPECIALLY true if you have small children at home.

Our friends said that the main reason was that Great Pyrenees are very territorial and incredibly protective of what they oversee (your family, home, yard, or other animals).

great pyrenees watching

This territorial tendency, along with their independent nature, make them act like a babysitter. Their growl is their “scold,” letting you know that you’re not behaving the way they think you should.

If they respect you as the pack leader, these growl incidents will be fewer and farther between as their training will be stronger than their instincts.

If your Pyrenees sees themselves as the boss, however, these incidents may be an almost daily occurrence.

Other Reasons Why Your Great Pyrenees May Growl at You

Being territorial and protective aren’t the only reasons that your Great Pyrenees may be growling. We cover other reasons our Pyrenees growled at us or our friends’ Pyrenees have growled at them.

They Noticed Something

Our Pyrenees is always the first to notice when something’s off. If there’s a strange noise outside or someone new comes to the door, she will let out a low growl to let me know she’s noticed something.

We always appreciate it when she does this because it shows us that she’s looking out for us and trying to protect our family.

Even though it can be a little annoying sometimes, we know that her growling is just her way of trying to communicate with us.

They Have Anxiety

Great Pyrenees can get anxious if they have too much energy and aren’t able to investigate sights/sounds that may be setting them off (i.e. construction sounds a few homes down from yours).

Pyrenees can growl as their way of telling their owners that they are stressed. It’s best for owners to help them work through their anxiety and settle down.

They are Feeling Threatened

Our Great Pyrenees first growled at my husband when he was outside at dusk. He had the hood up on his sweatshirt and our Pyrenees mistook him as a threat.

Growling is their way of trying to scare off anything that poses a threat to them or their pack. My husband was really taken aback and didn’t know how to react at first.

Since we have her outside to help guard our livestock, we’ve grown to appreciate her protectiveness and quick reaction time.

They Want Something You Have

Our friend’s Great Pyrenees, Tasha, may growl at us if she wants something we have. It’s her way of telling us that she wants whatever it is in our hands.

She does this regardless of whether or not she’s actually interested in the item itself; she just knows that we have something she wants.

Other times, Tasha will growl when she wants to play. She’ll come up to me with a toy in her mouth and start growling softly.

Either way, her growling is innocent and we’re not concerned.

They Want Your Attention

We know another family with a Great Pyrenees, Max, who will often growl when he wants attention. It’s his way of communicating and they’ve learned to interpret his various growls.

For example, a low, rumbling growl means he’s getting impatient and wants them to hurry up with whatever they’re doing. A soft grumble means he’s content and happy.

Although they were nervous at first, they learned that his growls aren’t a big deal. That’s why it’s important to take the time to understand your dog’s needs and try to understand them.

They Got Surprised

We’ve also heard from Great Pyrenees owners that their dogs may growl at them if they’ve been surprised. Pyrenees are very protective of their territory and will not hesitate to defend it if they feel threatened.

do great pyrenees need a fence

When surprised, they may not fully recognize that the perceived “threat” is coming from their owner. Usually, they will only growl for a few seconds before realizing that there’s nothing to worry about.

If you’re ever in the presence of a Great Pyrenees that isn’t your own, you need to remain calm and avoid any sudden movements that may startle them.

They Are Sick or Injured

As with most dogs, you may not realize immediately that your Great Pyrenees is sick or injured.

If your dog growls at you when you touch them, to a point where it’s very uncharacteristic, you may need to schedule an appointment with your vet.

Since many Pyrenees are livestock guardian dogs, it’s possible that a fight with a wild animal could cause an infection or cut that needs attention.

Keeping a close eye on your Great Pyrenees will help you know when to be concerned by their actions.

How Can I Stop My Great Pyrenees From Growling at Me?

If your Great Pyrenees is growling at you, it’s important to understand why before taking corrective action. Use our “whys” above to find out what is causing your dog’s growling.

Depending on the reason, you may need to praise your dog more to help them feel comfortable around you.

Start by building trust with positive reinforcement training. Give your dog plenty of praise and treats when it does something good around you. Over time, your dog should start to feel more comfortable and the growling should stop.

If it’s because they’re overly protective or territorial, you may need to establish yourself as the alpha of your dog pack.

Without getting into all of the specifics here, letting your dog know that you are the leader through your actions will go a long way.

To wrap things up, your Great Pyrenees may growl at you for a number of reasons, most of which aren’t a major concern to you as an owner.

However, if your dog is growling excessively, it may be time to consult with a veterinarian or behaviorist to rule out any underlying health issues.

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