Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Herd Guarding Dogs

Livestock Guardian Dogs::Conservation Media::Vimeo.

This is a nice video about livestock guarding dogs which is the way forward for public lands ranchers who make private profits from our public lands.

If public lands ranchers on National Forest and BLM lands continue to press for wanton wolf and coyote shooting on those lands in order to protect their already heavily-subsidized flocks (non-market based grazing fees do not begin to cover land destruction and administrative costs), then the pressure will increase to simply end all public lands ranching or else to dramatically increase the cost

There is a middle way forward with dogs, and there is no way forward without them.


Federico said...

Isn't it curious that Canadians are used as an example of people doing it right? ;)

And for doing it right I mean, nail collars, dogs of different ages and of different temperament? In the faraway place of the past people knew that you need dogs that actively take the fight to predators (i.e mature and more aggressive dogs) and dogs that stay with the herd at all times (i.e younger and less dominant dogs), to avoid leaving it defenceless in case predators use one of their pack as a decoy.

Great vid btw.

Jenny Glen said...

I don't think that us Canadians are doing anything that people in the US aren't doing too. I love guardian dogs and follow alot of blogs that use them - people in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah and Colorado are using them the same as the people in the video. They are used differently in those states and in the Western prairie provinces than they use them in the East. The problem we are facing now is that on public grazing lands, the public, is getting in the way of the dogs. Take the case in Colorado a few years ago with the woman in the bike race who got attacked by guardians. Lots of people were at fault in that situation but it was the guardians who were blamed and put down and then everyone gets up in arms about guardians not being safe on public lands.

Pishkeen said...

I've known two sheep farmers in Ontario (Canada) who use donkeys as sheep guardians, as they have an intense 'bred-in-the-bone' hatred for all canines and are typically bigger and angrier than most coyotes, and need no special care or feeding aside from what is already being done for the sheep. Two donkeys seemed to handle protecting a smallish flock of sheep from Ontario coyotes without issue. I'm guessing they wouldn't be as effective against a full wolf pack in a much wilder part of the country.

Federico said...

Jenny, livestock guarding dogs are meant NOT to be people aggressive, and if they are it is pretty damn right to put them down. Proper breeding would solve the problem and does not seem outside what can be done -- these dogs are not guard dogs for a house and a yard! In addition a nice electrified fence to keep livestock and dogs in an area, people and predators in a different area, are very effective at avoiding dog/people interaction and make the dogs more effective against predators. Finally, public grazing lands are *public*, and it does stand to reason that whomever is using them should do it without preventing other people from enjoying them. I'd demand that both dogs and herders are with the livestock at all times on public land, but that's just me.

Joe Garp said...

Maybe a program like this can be of some help to avoid such incidents in public land areas.

Brenda M. Negri said...

Hi guys...I am Brenda Negri the woman in the film raising guardian dogs in Nevada; it's my pups you see frolicking in the film also some shots of me and my place. The Canadians featured, the Lockharts, bought dogs from me, and also two more dogs from Ed Bernell in Montana, another reputable LGD (Livestock Guardian Dog) breeder as myself. Many US ranchers are using these dogs, more and more. Their use is becoming popular with smaller hobby farms, homesteads and 'back to sustainable living' types. I work very hard at socializing and raising my healthy pups on sheep to go on and serve their owners both in the US and in Canada in the role of non-lethal predator control. It does work when done right. A client of mine in Lee Vining CA who has one of my pups, told me this recently: the pup, along with an older LGD, was able to tree and hold at bay a mountain lion who'd come around to investigate the homestead and its sheep. By holding it up, the dogs prevented it from killing any sheep; the owners were able to shoo it away out of the tree and it took off to hunt elsewhere. Win win all around: no dead livestock, no dead cat, no dead LGD's. As for people aggression....many times what you encounter in LGD's is more people FEAR than hate. Unfortunately many old time ranchers out there raise LGD's with no handling, no touching or socialization in wrongly thinking that this will encourage them to bond to the livestock better. It does not and my handled and socialized pups prove that. Running half-feral LGD's is falling out of favor more and more as more people and recreationists use public lands where grazing takes place, and having dogs who are nervous around people becomes a liability. Having said that, anyone running into a flock of sheep with guard dogs should never harass or bother the dogs, you should walk your bike, not ride it, away from them, and leave the sheep and dogs be. The dogs are just doing their jobs. If one approaches you, shoo it back, don't run away. Stay calm. I have a website www.lgdnevada.com also encourage you all to read up on LGD's to understand them. Fascinating dogs, I love them. Here is another source of good info on them: www.livestockguardiandogs.com Thank you for your kind words those of you who see the positives of running dogs as non-lethal predator control.