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GPS / LGD Containment of Livestock?

 
Dave Hawkins
Posts: 19
Location: Kansas City, MO
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I have a question. I am interested in livestock guardian dogs (LGD's) and I worked with them some on Greg Judy's farm during a 6 month internship there last year. I have also been in communication with Dean Anderson, a professor out west who has done research on containing livestock with GPS collars. One problem with GPS collars on livestock is cost. So my question is ... does anyone know of any research work with putting the GPS collars on the dogs instead, which in turn are trained to contain the livestock? The idea being then you would only need, say, 10 GPS devices (10 dogs) to contain a mixed flerd of perhaps as many as 500 or 1000 animals (cows, sheep, goats, chickens, hogs, etc). Wouldn't it be cool to have no need at all for interior, temporary fencing? Only perimeter fencing? Might be totally impractical. I don't know. But you don't know until you ask, right? I mean, 100 years ago, people probably would have laughed at the idea of containing 1000 cows with a single electric fence wire.
 
Dave Hawkins
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Location: Kansas City, MO
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Clarification: you would have to use herding dogs, rather than guardian dogs. And the idea would be to control the herding dogs with GPS rather than with fence.
 
patrick canidae
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You don't need GPS. This is centuries old technology. You are referring to "tending" type herding. The kind originally done by schaefer hunde all over continental Europe. Sheep still need a permanent night pen or pasture. During the day an older child, a tending dog or two, and a mown, driven or walked down, or single bottom plow furrow path is all you need for a subdivision. The dog becomes a "living" fence patrolling the boundary and keeping the stock put in the graze.

Here is video of a small scale american sheep flock tended in an unfenced orchard with a beauceron

http://youtu.be/AEbn5r0vgwI

Below is Ulf Kinzel with a dog working a single border between a stubble field and a new seeding hay field with no fence.

http://youtu.be/mmFmQseZQu4

 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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Do the 'tending' types of dogs also protect the livestock the way the LGD's do?

Kathleen
 
C. Hunter
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They generally will, but it's worth noting that tending dogs had a shepherd out with them- not micromanaging, but present to provide backup and direction if needed.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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Is there a list anywhere of the 'tending' breeds? I'm just curious at this point -- I have a LGD, and not enough land to send the goats out to pasture. But being perpetually curious, I would like to learn more about this! I've read some about shepherds (often young boys) taking the flocks out each day -- not quite the same thing as the British system of shepherding, where they use the Border Collies and similar breeds.

Kathleen
 
patrick canidae
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You won't find hardly any real dogs worth tending with in the USA. Most of the tending breeds have been turned into the police dog/ man biters here. The german shepherd dog, old german shepherd dog, any of the belgian shepherds including the malinois, lakenois, and turveren and France's beauceron. There are video links in my above post if you would like to see them work. Ulf has GSD's and Gearry Loff has beaucerons.

Extensive, expensive expert breeding and training are necessary to turn out useful dogs, whether tending or herding. I can hold animals on an unfenced graze with border collies or kelpies just as well, but by placing the dogs where I want rather than having them patrol a graze with boundaries. And of course, they learn they are just "holding" the animals in a set place, and not gathering them to take them somewhere else. Napping on your feet while leaning on your staff becomes a great skill to learn.

You should go to www.whitecloversheepfarm.com and read some of Ulf's articles or view his videos on youtube. Leerburg has a few tapes on tending training and the HGH tending trials in Germany available.


Once again, it's not the breed, but a specific line within a breed selectively bred to tend, and then appropriately trained in that manner. An expensive pre-trained dog is the cheapest herding dog there is in the long run.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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Interesting website! I can't do videos, but read some of his articles. I'm wondering if Farmcollies might work for that purpose -- they don't herd the same way Border Collies do, and they can be taught to respect boundaries. They are rule-followers (and if you don't give them rules, they'll make their own). The European model of herding from one property to another isn't followed much in most of this country, so the use for this type of dog might be rather limited; also, young herders generally are required to be attending school, so those are in short supply also. But it's an interesting concept.

Kathleen
 
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