Activities For Maremma Sheepdogs

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Introduction

Coming all the way from the Maremma region of Italy, the Maremma Sheepdog is a working class canine that was bred to be extraordinarily proficient at guarding individual people as well as large flocks of sheep. These white coated dogs definitely look very cool and tend to be very affectionate towards those who the Maremma has become close to. That being said, you probably shouldn't adopt one of these dogs if you're purely looking for a family pet; Maremmas can be very overprotective of their families and can grow restless if they aren't given consistent tasks to complete. We'll talk about a few activities that'd be suited for a Maremma's talents down below, even these tasks won't entirely satiate the Maremma's natural inclination to work. We'd say only adopt a Maremma if you can consistently give them guard dog, herding dog or Schutzhund work on a regular basis.

Pet-friendly Farm

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Any Day
Moderate
Easy
1 hr
Items needed
Leash
Food and Water
Activity description
There's actually a surprising number of pet-friendly farms out there that openly encourage folks to bring their pets along for a visit during certain times of the year. We feel that it would be a good idea to bring a Maremma to one of these farms in order to help them get a sense of the type of environment they'd be working in as a herding dog. Even if you don't plan on training your dog to become a herding pet, Maremmas love areas with large spaces and will be pleasantly mystified by the other animals they'll encounter. Most pet-friendly farms are don't charge anything to visit but may charge for things like parking and food, so we'd say save up about $100 to have handy for a trip to a pet-friendly farm.
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Farm etiquette
You'll want to make sure that your Maremma will stay by your side before visiting a farm with them to ensure that they don't go bounding after any of the farm animals there without their owners' permission. Heeling a dog is one of the core concepts of obedience training, so it may be worth completing a few obedience training sessions before heading to the farm. You can teach your dog's the basics of obedience for free and on your own, just so you know.
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Look at your options
Use the internet to see which pet-friendly farms are nearest to your location. After that, see which services and activities each farm offers and then think about which one you'd like to visit the most with your Maremma. Some pet-friendly farms will allow pets to get up close and personal with the farm animals, including sheep, which can benefit a Maremma greatly as they are sheepdogs after all.
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Maremma Sheepdog's Homeland

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Sunny Day
Expensive
Easy
24 - 72 hrs
Items needed
Backpacks
Suitcases
Leash
Waste Disposal Bags
Activity description
The Maremma Sheepdog's namesake is actually quite a beautiful place! Maremma is a coastal area that's located in west-central Italy. It's the sort of place where you can always see the ocean as well as the vast array of rolling green hills that are in great abundance throughout the region. Depending on what time of the year you choose to visit with your dog, you may also luck out and see a massive heard of sheep being escorted by a member of your Maremma's own breed. Round trip tickets to and from Maremma can be expensive and will depend on how far you have to travel to get there and the time of year you are taking the trip. As Maremma is a coastal area, it may be best to try to visit during the sunnier times of year when the weather will be fair and the seas will be inviting.
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1
Precise packing
Since you now know that Maremma is a coastal zone that's located near the bustling and beautiful sea, you can make much more informed decisions about what you will and won't need to bring for your stay in Maremma; clothes suited for long walks across wide stretches of grass are a must as well as clothes that will protect you from the region's breezy climate. Conversely, you won't need to bring any heavy duty coats if you visit during a sunny season as Maremma gets quite warm during those times of the year.
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Drink in the sights
Many areas in Maremma are dog-friendly (no doubt a result of the Maremma Sheepdog's importance to the region) so you and your dog can visit a number of areas together without worry. On the contrary, many areas in Maremma openly encourage folks to bring their dogs by! Just be prepared to tell potentially hundreds of people in Maremma that you're not a shepherd, as many may assume such once they see one of their land's best herding dogs by your side.
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Schutzhund Work

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Dog Leash
Schutzhund Training Gear
Activity description
The term "Schutzhund" refers to a German word that roughly means "protection dog" once translated into English. The phrase "schutzhund work" simply means "protection dog work." As Maremmas naturally have very protective personalities, Schutzhund work tends to make for a great and constructive outlet for their particular breed. There are a number of Schutzhund trainers out there who will offer their services for about $100 to $200 a year, providing all of the equipment necessary to train your dog right off the bat. As a Maremma will go out of their way to protect their families and flocks no matter the weather, it doesn't really matter what time of year you look to get your dog trained.
Step
1
Find a good trainer
It won't be too difficult to find a trainer using the wealth of technology that most of us are fortunate enough to have access on a daily basis, but finding a good trainer will take some extra effort; be thorough in your search and read as many reviews for about this person as you can. Try to exclude any personal biases from the equation as well and judge trainers on their philosophy towards animals as well as their reputation.
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Stick with it
Schutzhund work is more complex than most other canine activities, so your Maremma may struggle to get certain concepts down from time to time. As long as the two of you stick with it, your dog will eventually overcome that plateau. Always remember that Maremmas naturally are protective pets, so their instincts will help them complete certain activities with great ease while conversely having the opposite effect with other activities.
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3
Reinforce the basics
There are certain things that you and your dog will learn during training that you won't be able to replicate at home (aspects of Schutzhund training that involve siccing or attacking people should not be attempted at home and without protective gear.) Leave this activity strictly for when you and your Maremma Sheepdog are in the proper training environment, under the care of the trainer. However, the aspects of Schutzhund training that are concerned with obedience and positive behavior reinforcement can ( and should) be replicated at home safely.
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More Fun Ideas...

Treibball

This German sport is very similar to soccer, only your dog will be doing most of the physical work and the ball they'll be playing with will be about twice their size. The goal of Treibball is to encourage your dog to push a gigantic rubber ball into a goalpost within a certain time limit.

Herding Dog Training

While Maremma's were bred for this particular activity, we're only listing it as an additional activity due to the high likelihood that most of you that are reading this article are probably not farmers or herders by trade. Just three herding training sessions can cost around $250 so this isn't exactly a cheap activity either. For those of you who are seriously looking for a herding dog, however, this activity will help a Maremma become the best herding dog they can be.

Conclusion

As their names imply, Maremma Sheepdogs were bred for a very specific purpose. When they're unable to fulfill that purpose, many Maremmas tend to become very restless and anxious. This does not mean that Maremmas are bad pets - rather, it just means that they have very specific needs and may not be for everyone. If you feel that you'd be able to accommodate a Maremma Sheepdog's needs, as well as help them become just as friendly and sociable to others as they are to known friends and family members, then refer to this guide to start your relationship with your Maremma off on the right foot.