Question by Tom Hansen: How would building a dog house be a agricultural project?
My teacher or agricultural science said that we had to make a project that’s agricultural related and she gave that as a option. Is that in any way agricultural related? She also said it has to show increase in any way such as worth or amount etc.
Answer by Cyberacer
In the late 1970’s, there began a resurgence in the use of an ancient form of sheep protection, the guarding dog. Several factors contributed to this phenomenon, including Federal restrictions on the use of substances to kill pr edators, the relative inability of existing techniques to provide adequate relief from predation in certain situations, and a desire by some to use nonlethal methods of reducing the loss of livestock to predators.
The use of guarding dogs to protect livestock1 can be traced to many centuries B.C. in Europe and Asia, but little was recorded about how the dogs were actually worked. Only recently have researchers begun to fi nd answers to pertinent questions about livestock guarding dogs.
There is no doubt that some dogs can protect sheep, but under what conditions is a guarding dog a good choice or an unwise choice for deterring predation? If a guarding dog is a reasonable choice, how does the owner acquire, raise, train, and effectively use a dog with a flock? Which breeds are best
1 Although this publication speaks specifically about sheep, the concepts also relate to most other species of livestock (e.g., goats, cattle, and swine).
suited to the task, and what are the costs and risks involved?
A sheep producer who has significant losses to predators may be willing to deal with the potential problems involved with raising and using a guard dog. If losses are low, the producer may not find it worth the effort to raise and train a dog.
Some think that the purchase of a guard dog will immediately solve their predator problems. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. There may be an apparent lack of any immediate benefits from using a dog, or a young dog may not seem as aggressive or pro tective as the producer expects it to be. The owner and herder should both express commitment to the guard dog concept when attempting to establish a dog in the flock. Guard dogs cannot be turned on and off at will, and possible benefits offered by the d og are generally not realized without an initial investment of time and patience.
We have raised numerous dogs under similar conditions. Most became good livestock guardians, but some did not. Instinctive ability must be present for a dog to be successful, and no amount of proper training and early exposure to livestock can guarantee that a dog will become a good guardian.
There have been some dogs raised as pets that were later trained by dedicated people to become good guardians. Other exceptional dogs have suddenly shown a desire to be with sheep despite not having been raised under ideal conditions. Instances such as t hese are rare, and most dogs will require some degree of appropriate socialization and experience with sheep to become reliable guardians.
In general, acquiring a guarding dog does not offer immediate relief from predation because mature and effective guardians are not available to most producers. Considerable time, effort, and good fortune are required to bring a puppy to maturity. In some situations, a dog may be ineffective. In others, a dog may be all that is necessary to stop predation. Between these two extremes, dogs may be used to supplement electric fencing, trapping, aerial hunting, or other forms of control.
There are few hard-and-fast rules with respect to dogs and sheep. Many variables interact to produce successful guarding dogs. This bulletin presents information based on experiences of the authors, various researchers, and a growing number of ranchers w ho have successfully used dogs as part of their program of predator management.
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