Skip to comments.Fierce sheepdogs alarming tourists in SW Colorado
Posted on 01/30/2012 9:35:38 AM PST by Daffynition
SILVERTON Turkish sheepdogs prized for their fierceness are raising concerns they may be a little too tough for the southwest Colorado communities where ranchers are using them.
The Akbash dogs weigh up to 120 pounds and are especially aggressive toward animals near the sheep they guard. But that can include hikers and other backcountry tourists, prompting debate about whether the breed should be regulated.
The Durango Herald reports that Silverton town trustees met last week to discuss Akbash conflictsU.S. Forest Service officials, sheepherders and outdoors enthusiasts have also entered the debate over regulations surrounding the use of the breed.
(Excerpt) Read more at gazette.com ...
They obviously mistook the tourists for democrats and tried to get them to join the rest of the herd.
I can see both sides. If someone is coming toward me there is no way to know their intent so I understand the dog’s caution
BUT this is public lands .
I think the dogs lose on this one
but they are great looking dogs and do their job well
What could these ‘back-country tourists’ be trying to do to the sheep that’s getting the dogs so riled up? I mean, after all, they ARE from Turkey — I’m sure they’ve seen some things in their time...
I am sure an overly aggressive dog can be taken care of the same way as a bear, Mt lion ect.
If they are going to bite me I have a cure for that.
First question I have is if these ‘tourists’ are hiking on public or private land. Second question I have for the ‘tourists’ is “why do you think that the sheep owners need these dogs?” “Could it be because of wolves and coyotes that the federal government has protected and reintroduced into this area?”. Lastly, I’d like to tell them to go the hell home and complain about the feral cats in their own hometown.
(Like a small Polar Bear).
Sounds like a good dog to have in areas with active SWAT teams.
It’s somewhat ironic that a breed like this would come from a Muslim nation that without exception, hates/fears dogs.
Apparently, if you are not a rancher, you're a farmer and need to learn about barbed wire.
Sounds like the dogs have a much better (longer too) pedigree than Mad Mo’.
Perfect application of a term, I had a prof use in grad school....*oscillating redundancy*.
I’ll see your Bernese Mountain Dog......
It's called free ranging and the land is leased by the sheepmen, always has been since way before hiking and mountain biking ever became popular out there.
One of the comments on the article made a good point. Have Silverton reimburse any farmer who loses one of his livestock to a predator the cost of that animal and there will be no need for the dogs. It's a win win for everyone......
As a side note, perhaps there should be an ordinance requiring all the hikers and bikers to remain a specified distance from any such herds of sheep.
This issue is a load of tripe. These animals are doing what they are trained to do.. that is to guard the flock. These “tourists” need to keep their distance from the flock instead of crowding them for a photo op.
How come the Pit Bulls aren’t mentioned? They want to talk about a breed of dog that is a menace to society.
Sheesh! ! could hear the Dog Show guy’s voice in my brain when I read that!
Open range laws vary from state-to-state. Apparently on the open range if you dont want someone elses livestock on your property, you have to fence them out.
Hit a cow, you must reimburse the rancher. Who *owns* this land, anyway? Things are murky, to be sure.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing! Isn’t he magnificent? He has the face of a Golden Retreiever.
Public lands should only be used for playtime by John Kerry types in spandex.
Anybody trying to make a living from them should have all his livestock executed.
This is a problem. My property abuts national forest where where sheep are grazed for a period every summer. And of course when they’re always either straying onto my land or the shepherds are too lazy to go around so they move their herds (several hundred sheep) over my land. Their dogs are vicious so mine can’t even go outside, and I can’t even walk my own property or drive up my road without some dog either chasing my truck or looking at me like I was a bear. When you try to talk to the shepherds they “no habla”. I don’t mind them grazing, but mind your dogs and stay off my land. And other folks enjoying the outdoors have just as much right to be there as grazers - I don’t care if they are “tourists” - it’s public property.
If you continue to run as she approaches, my 50lb mix (Lab, Chesapeake, Fox Terrier) IDs you as prey, though she won't bite humans - they may be carrying treats.
For a small dog, she has big teeth and is happy to display same. Non Dog People can be easily intimidated though my dog is even below the cat in the pecking order at home.
>These animals are doing what they are trained to do.. that is to guard the flock.<
Livestock guardian breeds are not trained per se. They’re imprinted on sheep as infants. LGB’s are very independent thinkers, unlike the sheep herding breeds which are bred and trained to work as a team with the shepherd.
How close would an “intruder” have to approach before the dog reacts? Is it asking too much for hiker/bikers to stay 100 yards away from a flock of sheep?
One of my favorites.
I understand the “problem”, because I was blessed with two wonderful Belgian Malinois, who are also sheepdogs.
Most people misunderstand the protective behaviors of sheepdogs. They help to move the flock, protect the flock, and defend their “territory”. Most good sheepdogs will do a natural “bark and hold”, which amounts to some fierce “Cujo” style barking/snarling, accompanied by air biting on either side of the intruding dog/coyote/sheep rustler.
If the intruder backs up slowly, and signals non-aggression, all will be fine. But, I can easily see why a mountain bike coming full tilt toward the flock would be perceived as a major threat.
If I were riding a mountain bile near a flock of sheep, I would dismount, and walk slowly by, keeping my eyes away from the flock.
People need to respect a flock of sheep, because a speeding mountain bike could easily cause the flock to take flight, and sheep will run themselves to death. One coyote, or sheep-chasing dog can kill an entire flock.
I side with the shepherds and the sheepdogs here.
“Have Silverton reimburse any farmer who loses one of his livestock to a predator the cost of that animal and there will be no need for the dogs.”
And, who exactly, picks up that tab?
Barbed wire is what tamed the Wild West. The gov't fences the general public out of all sorts of places (try strolling in on the NSA in MD)
Or a really big Field Lab.
A hundred yards? In open timber you could walk right into a herd of sheep and probably not know it - it just depends on how spread out they are.
The Muslims also have Afghan hounds.
Perhaps the fear of dogs is a fairly “recent” thing. They sure don’t like the US Military K-9 Corps.
These are not “trained” dogs, per se, like a herding dog. These are bred to protect, and are imprinted to the sheep herd at a young age. They are protecting their family from all threats...
The open-range grazing laws on public lands are a hodgepodge; generally, grazing stock, if the land is lease by the owner, can be protected. The “day hikers” need to be respectful of the sheep herder’s stock, and mindful of how he insures that his stock are kept safe. The hikers just need to stay away. Threats to the stock are not limited to “wild” predators. Stock theft is not limited to cows.
It’s not Central Park out there, for heaven’s sake...
I stand corrected....
Well, when I go out on Forest Service land I tend to take my own dog to walk point. She likes it. Me too.
Which, were I preparing to intrude on this dog's territory, would be warning enough for me...
Its a national forest and BLM land in that area. I have a right to walk, hike, hunt, etc. If he grazes sheep with a permit,,,fine. But if he puts an aggressive dog out there that sees a passing hiker as a threat,,, that dog will wind up shot.
I don’t doubt his reason for guarding his sheep from lions, etc. But if his dog attacks a person, he has to expect it will be shot.
Then he can put another dog out there. Too bad for the dog too. It isn’t the dogs fault, but that doesn’t mean we have to allow it.
Got me on that.. Don’t know.
However, I think it would vary, depending on the individual dog, the size of the herd, the terrain, the extent of the scattering of the herd at the time, the actions/behavior of the threat approaching, etc. There is no cut/dried formula here. Dogs are very contextual in their behavior, and generally will not react to the same threat (i.e. coyotes) similarly in different circumstances, much less a different threat in similar circumstances.
In most cases, I suspect the proper behavior is to stay a reasonable distance away (i.e. where you don’t provoke a response from the dog) from the herd, ignore the herd (i.e. don’t stop, approach, take photos, try to pet the sheep, etc.) and just move on. I would treat them as someone else’s property, and just stay away.
So you’re saying your are armed while hiking? Do you have a permit? Is that allowed on BLM land? You’re saying you’ll shoot his dog?
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