LIVESTOCK GUARD DOGS AGAINST PREDATORS

Our long-term activities include the protection of livestock against wolves and bears, mostly with the use of livestock guard dogs. Two types of dogs are used for grazing and protecting livestock. Smaller dogs, mostly hybrids, help the shepherd keep the flock together. These dogs are trained to respond to the commands of the shepherd to perform the necessary tasks. The second type is the livestock guard dog or sheepdog. These dogs are completely different from the first group in terms of character, appearance, and size, with a single job: to protect livestock against predators. These dogs are not specially trained, but live with the stock from a very early age of 6 weeks, while having limited contact with humans. They are with the flock (sheep, goats, and cattle) day and night, patrolling the flock, alerting the shepherd to the presence of predators or other intruders. If necessary, they are expected to chase away an intrusive predator, but fights are rare. Almost every nation in Europe and Asia has its own variety of livestock guard dog. The čuvač is specific to Slovakia. Its name is derived from the Slavic word "čuvaj", which means “beware” or “guard”. We have been promoting flock protection by way of guard dogs to Slovak farmers since 1995. Why? Because after World War 2 the traditional method of protection vanished. A properly reared čuvač, or other breed, constantly moves freely around the flock and is not aggressive towards people. However, when you visit a sheep camp in Slovakia, the guard dogs are usually seen tied to chains, which limits their ability to protect the flock. Moreover, chaining dogs is cruel to these animals because they are exposed to sunstroke, often being left without water and having limited movement in a small space. Chaining these dogs means that they are almost always overly aggressive toward people, which is undesirable. If these dogs were allowed to range freely from puppyhood, their behavior towards people would be much friendlier. To promote the traditional use of guard dogs we issued two publications: “Reviving the traditional use of livestock guard dogs” (1997) and “How to protect livestock against large carnivores” (2011). In addition, we provide advice and the necessary information to farmers on appropriate methods of herd protection against bears and wolves, as well as the possibilities to purchase suitable puppies born to parents with good working traits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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