Dog on Duty! How to Approach a Working Livestock Guardian Dog

BrendaMNgri

Loving the herd life
Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Messages
133
Reaction score
196
Points
133
Location
The Big Out There, Northern Nevadaa
When a Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) is on duty guarding his flock or herd, he is to be shown respect and deference by a human when approached. This is especially important if the human is a stranger to him. This is his turf, and he’s doing his job. Recognize and respect that. Learn how to send the right signals and use the correct body language so you minimize risk of upsetting the dog and suffering an attack.
There is a way to act and respond around non-familiar LGDs working in their herds or flocks based on intelligent and calm responses instead of fear based reactions that will enable the person to have a pleasant experience instead of a dog attack. This is a way that has its basis in reading, understanding and responding to a dog’s body language. No two dogs are exactly alike. Making assumptions about LGDs is where many people go wrong. Instead of assuming a working LGD will attack or be aggressive, let’s learn how to read and understand the signals it sends us before passing judgment, so you can respond in an appropriate manner.
When will using these techniques come in handy for you? There are many potential scenarios. These are just a few:

  • Your farmer friend is in the hospital, and cannot get out to his goatherd to feed his LGDs; he asks you to feed them for him. You’ve never interacted with his dogs before.
  • You are a rescue organization that has been tasked with going in an area or flock and trying to capture a half-feral LGD that has been abandoned with no food.
  • A strange LGD shows up at your front gate. He is scared and hungry. You want to catch him to see if his collar and tag have his owner’s contact information so you can call them.
  • You are hiking on public land that is being grazed on by a large commercial flock of sheep or goats and see signs saying that Livestock Guardian Dogs are on patrol. You anticipate encountering one or more and want to do so safely and calmly so that the LGDs do not perceive you as a threat.
The list can go on. The bottom line is it will benefit you to know how to safely approach and/or interact with any strange dog that does not know or recognize you. Here is more incentive for you to learn: these methods work on non-LGD breed dogs, too.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Baymule

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 22, 2010
Messages
34,137
Reaction score
103,410
Points
873
Location
East Texas
I use the soft approach when working with scared horses, good to see that it works with dogs too.
 

Baymule

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 22, 2010
Messages
34,137
Reaction score
103,410
Points
873
Location
East Texas
Since animals don't speak like we do, we must make the effort to speak like they do. Most people never get that. It is amazing how animals understand us, speak our language and do the things that they do, living in our world. A full frontal approach, eyes met, shoulders back, is aggressive. Most people never realize this, then getting excited, making quick movements and this only escalates the situation.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Top