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Obedience training for livestock guardians

If you have a maremma that is going to be guarding livestock full time there is no real need to attend obedience classes, UNLESS you have no idea how to go about obedience training. However, many obedience schools do not understand the maremma and are not always great at achieving this training.

Firstly the maremma is highly intelligent and therefore they actually learn the commands very quickly. Secondly, the maremma is an independent thinker and do not feel any need to perform to the wishes of another, even you as their owner. For this reason, maremmas often respond extremely well to being taught a command such as 'sit', but if you expect them to attend a class and repeatedly go over and over this command you are unlikely to be successful. The maremma is likely to display an attitude of 'I know what you want, I got it, and I'm not going to just keep repeating it because you demand it, that is not reasonable'. Many obedience school instructors will then demand that you must take control of your dog and such ideas and you are more likely to end with a maremma that has no desire to be involved in any training.

You are far better off learning how to obedience train a dog, then have very short enjoyable sessions with your maremma in the paddock with the livestock.

The maremma however is noted for not responding well to the 'stay' and 'come' commands.

As an independent thinker, the maremma does not always feel it is reasonable to be told to stay or come.

maremma sheepdog in the show ring showing that a maremma is completely capable of obedience training, but how much of this training your dog needs depends on the guarding situation the dog is working in

It is probably more reasonable to aim for a situation where

  • your maremma will sit on command and allow you to carry out any health checks or procedures needed
  • your maremma will come when needed, but you will allow that if the dog is attending to any guarding tasks it may not come immediately just because you call it
  • your maremma will walk politely on lead if this is needed
  • your maremma will get into a car if needed and can travel without stress or car sickness
  • your maremma can be handled by other people if you have introduced them

This means you are more concerned with having a dog that is manageable and social enough for any situation that may arise, but is not a blindly obedient pet dog that relies on you for each move it should make and what is acceptable.

Details on how to do basic obedience training with your own dog or puppy.

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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