Excursion with working dogs – livestock guarding dogs on a sheep farm

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After two online days filled with information and exchange about different work in the realm of livestock protection, interested parties from Bavaria and Austria gathered at Robert Eberler’s sheep farm for an excursion. The grazing areas lie in an area which has in the past few years been inhabited by a she-wolf. Since this year, the area is also confirmed to harbour a wolf pair.

Following some greetings by Rene Gomringer and Katharina Mikschl, there was a short introduction by the participants; representatives of Bavarian agencies, the DVL livestock protection project and livestock farmers. The two main presenters, Robert Eberler and Leo Slotta-Bachmayr from Naturschutzhunde Austria, gave the participants some information on their background.

In the morning, Robert Eberler gave an insight into the development of his farm in terms of livestock protection, contact points, thoughts, knowledge, discussions, and farm visits. Currently, the farm keeps 4 Mastin Espanol. The first animals were brought here directly from Spain. As the breed was placed onto the list of fighting dogs in Bavaria, they require a character test, and any offspring are not allowed to be kept privately.

The group of participants visited the flock with the dogs. The field is bordered by an electric fence. The dogs were alert but, save one, kept their distance. Once on the grazing area, the participants started enthusiastic discussions with the subject specialists and contact persons from the LIFEstockProtect project.


Scatdogs proving wolf presence

After a short lunchbreak, Leopold Slotta-Bachmayr discussed the training and work of the scatdogs. Naturschutzhunde Austria train dogs for various roles in nature and species protection. Within the project they offer a training for verification of wolf scat. This evidence supports farmers in protecting their livestock with protection measures as well as reacting to wolf presence. With his dogs, Slotta-Bachmayr demonstrated a simulated search and alert. Dog guides have already been trained in all project regions, and have completed their first or even second examination.

Following the official excursion programme, further discussions and exchanges took place. The participating farms readily absorbed the input and received contacts from the dog experts.

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