Keeping A Great Pyrenees Happy In The City

Owning a Great Pyrenees presents unique challenges when living in a city environment. These dogs require ample space and exercise, and their size can make them difficult to handle in crowded areas.

We adopted Octavius when we lived in a 1060 square foot townhouse in Baltimore City. We had a fenced-in yard and a large park less than a third of a mile from our home, but we still encountered unique challenges to keeping him happy and healthy.

The first tip I would give is to make sure you provide ample exercise and outdoor space. Great Pyrenees are known for their love of outdoor activities, so finding those spaces is critical. Take them for daily walks or runs, and consider finding a nearby park or hiking trail where they can explore and get lots of intellectual stimulation. Octavius and I walked one to two miles nearly every day in Baltimore.

In addition, a fenced-in backyard is absolutely critical; in fact, AGPR will not adopt out a dog to an owner who doesn’t have a minimum of a 4 foot enclosed fence.

Be mindful of your dog’s size! Cities often have tight corners, narrow alleys, and crowded sidewalks. Great Pyrenees are large dogs, and their size can make them difficult to handle in crowded areas. Try to avoid crowds whenever possible, and familiarize yourself with your neighborhood so you know when the streets are likely to be more or less crowded.

Train your dog to walk on a leash, and if you struggle with their size, purchase a harness for better control. You may also wish to look into martingale collars. While we all know Great Pyrenees dogs have a mind of their own when it comes to following commands, it’s still important to train your dog to walk on a leash from the earliest age you can, using positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praise.

If your dog is capable, socializing them with other people and dogs can also help, especially in a city environment when they can be surprised by a human or another dog coming around a corner ahead of them. Great Pyrenees can be protective of their owners and territory, so teaching them that not everyone is a threat will be invaluable. Consider enrolling your dog in a training class or socialization group to help them learn how to interact with others in a positive and safe way—but make sure to choose a trainer who has experience with Great Pyrenees dogs.

Keep your dog groomed and clean. Cities are filled with concrete and brick, and wide open areas often lack shade. This means they can get quite hot in the summer, and have fewer areas for a dog to find relief. Great Pyrenees have thick coats that require regular grooming and maintenance. Keep your dog groomed and clean to prevent matting and skin irritation, and to help keep them cool during hot weather. Having air conditioning in your home may also be necessary.

Note: do not shave their coat! It is uniquely designed to help them cool down, no matter how hot the weather.

Ultimately, owning a Great Pyrenees in a city environment can be challenging, but with proper training, socialization, and care, it can also be a rewarding experience. By providing your dog with ample exercise and outdoor space, training them to walk on a leash, socializing them with others, being mindful of their size, and keeping them groomed and clean, you can help ensure that your Great Pyrenees thrives in the city.

Octavius on a walk on the Baltimore harbor in Canton.