The dog days of summer are upon us and that means we’re nearing August 5, which is the official Work Like A Dog Day! This day is inspired by the strong work ethic of our favorite four-legged friends, the dog.
Working dogs are some of the most loyal employees of all. They arrive on time, ready and anxious to begin the word day, and will happily perform their duties without any need of additional recognition. Loyalty is their reward.
When you think of a working dog, what comes to mind? There are many categories of working dogs including service dogs, therapy dogs, herding dogs, search and rescue dogs, detection dogs, guard dogs and military/police dogs.
Today, we want to give some attention to the all-important livestock guardian dog (LGD).
Work Like A Dog Day
Livestock Guardian Dogs play a very important role in our world and yet they are rarely mentioned when we talk about working dogs. They include breeds like the Great Pyrenees, Karakachan, Anatolian shepherd, Akbash, Mastiff, Maremma sheepdog and many more. LGDs are bred for the purpose of protecting livestock from wolves, lions and other natural predators.
These special dogs do much more than just protect livestock, they are helping to preserve endangered species around the world. As humans continue to encroach on the predator’s natural environments of predators, LGDs become even more important. When a predator’s territory is limited, their food source is as well. This generally leaves one choice: Livestock.
One study shows sheep producers in Colorado who did not use LGDs had between 2.9 – 5.9 times as many sheep than those who did use LGDs.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) teams up farmers in Namibia with large Anatolian shepherds and Kangal dogs that are raised and bred at their headquarters. After only a short time, farmers realize they no longer need to hunt the endangered cheetah due to predation.
In fact, farmers in Namibia who use LGDs report an 80% – 100% decrease in livestock kills by cheetahs and other predators.
Livestock guardian dogs help us exist peacefully with wildlife – something that is becoming more important each and every day as we see extinction rates of animals dramatically increase each day.
August 5 is Work Like a Dog Day and we think it’s more important than ever to think like a livestock guardian dog – where we keep the peace between wildlife and domestics.
Celebrate this special day with a donation to one of the many programs that provide working dogs to farmers and ranchers in remote areas. The species you help preserve may eventually be your own!