To Bark or not to Bark.

Managing Barking

In order to curb barking to an acceptable level the Maremma owner needs to be actively involved with the dog. I cannot emphasize enough that the Maremma is a Shepherd's dog and they need to be shepherded in everything they do, just as much as a shepherd and the working dog will shepherd sheep. That involvement is paramount. I use a 4 step procedure to manage barking.

1. Attend. Owners must go out to the barking dog at whatever time they start barking. The Maremma barks for two reasons. One is to notify the threat that the area is protected, and the other is to alert and call the shepherd. If owners do not go out to the barking dog, they will just keep barking.

2. Acknowledge. Asking the dog what they are barking at, and waiting to see what has triggered the barking, is both an active participation with the dog which will bring the dog closer to you, but also shows an appreciation and understanding of how the Maremma works with the shepherd.

3. Praise. Once an owner has ascertained what has caused the barking, the dog must be praised for doing a good job. My dogs always feel so proud of themselves that I am pleased with the job they are doing.

4. Stand down. Owners must get the dog to stand down which is easier than it sounds. I send them to bed or to their pen and they always waddle off very pleased with themselves.

So; Attend, Acknowledge, Praise and Stand down. Of course, owners should not allow the dog to be in places that are going to elicit barking like the front yard of a busy street.   

Contact Details

Paul E Withers BSc, DipEd, MA.
Ganmain, NSW, Australia
Phone : 0413 245 125
Email : [email protected]