Don’t let the dogs out in the dog days of summer

We live in the country on 104 acres.  We are conveniently close to highways and roadways going any direction we would want to go.  Very convenient for us.  We don’t get any traffic on our road except for the three other neighbors.  We can recognize any strange vehicle coming down the road and we keep a vigilant eye open to follow where they are going.  You have to watch out for each other in the country.

One thing that is hard for country dweller’s to understand, they may own livestock or not,  is that a loose dog is a potential threat to livestock.  Their dog may be sweet and cuddly at home, but the instinct to chase is there.  And if another dog or two are wandering along the road, then you have a huge potential for a deadly chase if they buddy up and slip through a fence.

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=2372&S=1&SourceID=47

Of course, they won’t chase huge cows, but horses for one, and our alpacas for another, are creatures that cannot truly fight back and will run away, many times they are run to death in the dogs chase.  A heartbreaking, and usually expensive, loss for the owner.  The dogs, meanwhile, have ended their chase and have trotted back to their owners for a meal and a hug.  

http://www.animallaw.info/articles/arusdogschasewildlifetable.htm

Livestock guard dogs are an exception to this.  They live in the pasture with the livestock.  They do not bond with the family in the home.  Their family is the livestock and they live in the pasture with them.  Their puppies are trained this way with the parents in the field.  Also, guard donkeys and llamas are effective guards if they have the true guard instinct.  Any animal that relapses from guarding should not guard.   We have one guard llama with the girl alpacas and one guard with t he boys.

http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/pubs/1218.pdf

Roaming dogs are more of a threat than coyotes.  It is a kindness to your neighbors to let your dogs roam unleashed in your own fenced yard and nowhere else.

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