by Mike Bracciodieta
(Mount Albert, ON)
Donato quickly learned what to do with a female in heat 🤦♂️
Donato has a half Pyrenees half Maremma mom and a maremma dad and through the quirkiness of genetics looks mostly Pyrenees … at least to my newbie eyes.
He never had to be housebroken, when squirmed and made noise and I carried him outside and every time he ever touched the ground with four paws he peed… always said good doo doo to him when he did.
He’s smart, I’m transitioning to hand signals with his training, though I still speak commands ( or do we call them prudent suggestions with this breed? 🤔) he picks up everything quite fast, and he has two border collies and an Australian cattle dog as older adoptive siblings to draw even more doggy knowledge from.
He has a mellow temperament, shyness and skittishness, he excels at positive reinforcement.
His favourite spot is off to the perimeter of me and my other dogs, or by the front door. He somehow knows to only chew the one antler I gave him… he went near someone’s coffee table but it’s a fancy wooden sleigh with a wooden handle that sticks out looking like a tree branch to him, I don’t let him chew it but I forgive him for trying… my other dogs also made the mistake lol. Of course he’s only reached 4 months on April 13 2023 so I may well be in the puppy honeymoon stage still. I just have had experience raising two males in the last two years.
He’s shy with new dogs at first and it took a while before he got over being afraid of dogs play bowing or running towards him, but once he has time to get to know a dog he’ll wrestle, chew, grab tails and run as best he can with them. He’s appropriately cautious with new animals and people. I can’t wait to see if he’s gonna be a good judge of character and protector of me and my dogs and any livestock I get in the future.
I tried getting a nine month maremma pup who was being given up for adoption but my other dogs nipped and refused to let him be part of their pack, so I gave in and got a puppy even though I wasn’t sure I had the energy to raise a puppy so soon after finally having trained 4 other dogs in the last two years. Donato was young and my dogs didn’t really want him… but being an actual new fresh puppy they tolerated him more than the big maremma that had too much puppy energy for my surly teenaged too cool for school dogs. And they now defend him from other dogs which has always been my litmus test for them having accepted a dog into their pack.
My aim in getting this dog was to have a big dog that protected the area where I live from coyotes and the like… hence the first try with a 9 month old Maremma.
Well I’m sure he’ll grow up to be that someday…. but I’m more amazed and pleased that I’ve had my mind blown by how smart and well tempered and easy to train… and he’s bloody gorgeous if I don’t say so myself. I actually picked him for his face mask and ear markings and because he was fast asleep in the corner of his chicken coop (I figured the more he sleeps the easier to raise lol) well his eyes are beautiful and the look he gives could melt anyone’s heart.
He’s not yet a big barker…. But he does have a loud voice … he’s around 42lbs now at 4 months and he is the first dog I’ve owned that ‘talks’ he has very interesting vocalizations, and I hope he figured out how to ho one day.
Donato doesn’t yet have the instinct to bark at stuff in the distance around his home… I have no fear he will never bark… he’s already barked after my blue heeler Ewa barked at things she sensed that I couldn’t … she will teach him to bark whether I like it or not… I got her to be a quiet dog up until she was a year and a half… but her instincts solidified at almost 2 years old and she’s gonna be a guard dog doggy type of dog lol
Donato is the Italian form of the name Danny which is my father’s name… he goes by Danny but was born Donato …. since Maremma is in his blood and they come from Italy … that’s just how I thought up his name 🤷🏻♂️ … Ewa my blue heeler is named after my Polish Grandmother… even though her original name is Scrappy and that is really more appropriate… so I call her both names interchangeably.
He has a female genius level smart and athletic tree climbing older border collie sister named Britain (ex-girlfriend) and a tolerant sometimes grumpy and serious older brother who is a born herder and referee at the dog park and avid bird chaser named Guinness (my human nickname that I passed on to him before I even chose him from his litter)
I have a powerful sense of humour… doggy Britain and Guinness will live happily ever after.
I still have a good solid 18 months to go before I can really tell how Donato will be for the rest of his life. Please send me your best wishes and good lucks … so far I’ve had a remarkably easy time raising this guy….but I know there are many months of growing into and past the teenage stage 😆
I almost forgot the best part… like my childhood dog he chases his own tail. It never gets old watching him do that 😂
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