Livestock Guardian Dogs and Cattle Protection: Opportunities, Challenges, and Methods
July 3, 2019
Producer interest in using livestock guardian dogs (Canis lupus familiaris; LGDs) to protect domestic cattle (Bos taurus) is driven by expanding large carnivore predator populations and increased public concerns regarding lethal predator control in North America. However, few resources exist to guide livestock producers regarding the use of LGDs to protect cattle. This paper summarizes published information and personal ranch experiences regarding the use of LGDs to protect cattle, describes livestock-producer identified challenges to more widespread adoption of this method to deter predators, and provides guidelines for introducing pups to LGD-naïve cattle herds. I recommend more extensive research on the use of LGDs with cattle, increased development of programs to place LGDs with cattle herds, as well as educational efforts targeting resource managers, livestock producers, and the general public.
Author(s): Cat D. Urbigkit