U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Applied Animal Behaviour Science 140 (2012) 128– 136; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2012.06.006


Dogs have been employed to protect an array of resources from various species of offending wildlife. Historically, livestock protection dogs (LPDs) protected domestic sheep and goats from predators based on development of a strong bond between protected and protector. Within reason, developing that bond between a LPD and other species of livestock should be achievable. We conducted several studies in which we raised and bonded LPDs with bovine calves and evaluated them for protecting cattle in a variety of settings. Though successful strategies in developing LPDs to protect cattle were similar to those established for sheep, we found differences that were important for optimizing the process. Here we outline our strategies for developing LPDs for maintaining separation between cattle and wild ungulates that are reservoirs of disease that cattle are susceptible to as well as wild carnivores that are predators of cattle.

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