Livestock-guarding dogs in Norway Part II: Different working regimes
extensive livestock farming
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CitationHansen, I., & Smith, M. E. (1999). Livestock-guarding dogs in Norway part II: Different working regimes. Journal of Range Management, 52(4), 312-316.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractLivestock-guarding dogs are an effective way of protecting rangeland sheep from predators. However, open mountain/forest range and widely ranging sheep are factors that may make adaptation to Norwegian conditions difficult. This paper focuses on the dogs' working patterns and effectiveness under different working regimes. A 3,500 ha. unfenced forest/mountain range pasture in bear habitat comprised the research area in which 624 sheep from 2 herds grazed. The field trial lasted 3 months, and a total of 10 Great Pyrenees participated for various time intervals. Three different working regimes were evaluated. 1) loose dogs without the command of a dog handler (Method A); 2) loose dogs under the command of a dog handler (Method B); and 3) loose dogs guarding sheep inside a fenced, 1 km(2) forest pasture (Method C). Nocturnal behavioural activity patterns and data on predation were recorded. Method A proved too uncontrolled for Norwegian conditions, because sheep dispersed too widely and dogs ranged too far, causing conflicts in nearby settlements with wildlife, and with livestock. Pasture dogs (C) were > 3 times less active and were engaged in guarding activities < 50% as often as patrol dogs (B). However, they barked > 15 times more frequently, and no sheep carcasses were found inside the fence. Therefore, Method C probably had the best preventive effect.