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Livestock guarding situations

There is a difference in how you raise and socialise a maremma pup depending on your situation. Many maremmas are living on "hobby farms", that is less than say 100 acres, usually of mixed livestock. In these situations, the maremma naturally becomes more of general farm and family guardian happily, whilst guarding is not impeded at all.

In fact it never ceases to amaze to learn of the many ways maremmas the world around have so successfully adapted to their different situations and responsibilities.

It also depends upon the degree of threat your stock are under, as to whether you can take the dog from the property. Many people keeping more than a single dog, on smaller farms find that they can take one dog to classes or the show, leaving a guardian behind. The maremma who is devoted to his stock frets when removed from them if he knows they are left vulnerable and unguarded from threat.

If however, the maremmani are to guard on large properties, they are well advised to have less socialisation with humans and not to be removed from their livestock for socialisation, but rather provide socialisation during routine livestock chores, in order to prevent them viewing a visit to the house as a viable reason for leaving their charges unattended. Do read through the section on obedience training for livestock guardians.

In these situations you also need to ensure that you have a pack of livestock guarding dogs that can equal the level of threat. For example if you have large packs of wild dogs, you will need a pack of at least 3 or 4, maybe more maremmas to handle this situation.

a maremma sheepdog whose owners foster sick and injured australian wildlife, especially kangaroos and possums. this maremma plays nursemaid very effectively with the livestock and helps enormously by cleaning their bottoms after they have been fed   again this maremma fulfills the role of nursemaid brilliantly with the young wildlife - picutred here she is able to mimic the mother possum carrying the baby around like the mother would, allowing this baby possum to learn many vital lessons of how to grasp and hold on - this skill is transferred as the possum grows to learning to grasp and hold on to trees
The maremma in these images has a guardian role that is very unusual - her owners care for sick, injured and orphaned Australian wildlife and she cleans and carries the wildlife around in ways very similar to their mother.

However the maremma should never be treated as a feral dog, that needs little attention. Hoppers of dry food are indeed practical on large stations. However, the owner stills needs to tend the dog regularly, and feed fresh meals on these rounds, the dry food being only a supplement. The dogs need to be checked for health condition, wormed and vaccinated regularly, just like any other canine. You will soon develop a healthy working relationship with your dog in this situation, by reinforcing that you are the owner of the property, and care for the stock and the dogs alike, and the dog treats you as a partner.

Their devotion to the stock is a true bond, and to have the respect of a maremma that shares your farm is one of the most wonderful experiences I have personally known.
When raising my first pups here I was so careful to adhere to all the rules I was taught. It was difficult not to pick up this gorgeous pup and cuddle it, for me and my 4 children. I loved him, but held back attention except for his feeding times and times when I was attending to the livestock - milking and feeding them.


I don't believe you throw a young pup out in the paddock and off he goes! In fact anyone surely with an ounce of common sense would understand that this is far from the case.

Training livestock guarding dogs is more a matter of bonding the dogs and livestock to each other
Be sure to read the article by Franca Simondetti that describes from years of wonderful experience the maremma as described by one of the worlds leading authorities on the breed.

This article is broken into topics for your convenience:

male maremma playing with his pups displaying the loving nature of these livestock guardian dogs

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