Factors Influencing the Movement of Livestock Guardian Dogs in the Edwards Plateau of Texas: Implications for Efficacy, Behavior, and Territoriality
Livestock guardian dog (Canis lupus familiaris; LGD) breeds of domestic dog worldwide provide a degree of control over predation losses. The application of LGDs as a wildlife damage management tool evolved as a cultural practice in the Old World. In the 1970s, this tool emerged in North America. Despite several decades of science and application, gaps still exist in our knowledge regarding applications for LGDs. From February 2016 to November 2017, we deployed global positioning system transmitters on 4 LGDs on a 20-km2 ranch in Menard County, Texas, USA operated by Texas A&M AgriLife Research to investigate their fine scale movement and activity patterns, site fidelity to livestock management units (i.e., pastures), and fidelity to anthropogenic features, such as feed and water locations. The LGDs remained within study site boundaries for 90% of the study period. Additionally, daily activity patterns differed for dogs associated primarily with sheep (Ovis aries) and goats (Capra aegagrus hircus). All of the LGDs we studied were active throughout the 24-hour day. We determined that feed and water locations concentrated LGD activity to an extent, likely reflecting a livestock affinity for water sources, and provide an additional method by which to distribute them over the landscape. Our results, based on a small sample size, suggest that LGDs may provide effective association with livestock management areas, maintain a high fidelity to area perimeter boundaries, and distribute themselves across the area of use.
|Publication Title||Human-Wildlife Interactions|
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