Livestock Protection Dogs:Potential Benefits
and Problems with Using Dogs
Effective LPD's help livestock owners by doing the following:
reducing predation on livestock
reducing potential for wildlife to transmit diseases to livestock
reducing labor (lessening the need for night corralling)
alerting the owners to disturbances in the flock
protecting the family and ranch property
allowing for more efficient use of pastures and potential expansion of livestock.
LPD's require an investment with no guarantee of a positive result. The dogs can become ill, be injured, or die prematurely. It is hard to break some dogs from roaming away from the livestock. LPD's are potentially aggressive; some dogs injure the livestock or other animals, including pets, or confront unfamiliar people (e.g., hikers) who approach the livestock. Producers who use the dogs should post signs to alert passers-by and escort visitors when near protected livestock.
In response to the increase in negative incidents between Livestock Protection Dogs and people recreating on public lands where LPD's and sheep grazing occur, a cooperative effort between Wildlife Services, United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the American Sheep Industry has resulted in the following brochure.
The information in this brochure is intended to educate the general public and increase awareness of the positive aspects of LPD's and how to avoid conflicts when in areas where they may exist. The brochure can be found at trailheads, informational kiosks, and Forest Service Visitor Centers throughout the United States. As a visual mechanism to complement the brochure, informational signs are being made visible in key areas throughout USFS and BLM grazing allotments where both recreationalists and LPD's may occur.