Many regions in France are affected by depredation; wolves, bears, lynx, foxes, badgers, crows or stray dogs are responsible. Back in the French landscapes for more than 25 years, wolves cause the most damage today.
Dogs are one of the tools available to breeders to help them protect their flocks. Thanks to an imposing morphology, they generally dissuade any intruder from approaching the herd. On the lookout for any disturbance, they intervene, clearly express their disapproval and can go to the direct confrontation with the disruptive element if their warnings are not enough. The livestock guarding dog remains the most adaptable and effective tool even in case of strong depredation pressure.
Today, their number is estimated at at least 4000 individuals and we have information for very few of them.
For many years, breeders found themselves alone, without help, to set up these dogs to protect their flock.
For some, the dog was perceived as a very easy use: they thus thought they just had to buy a "purebred" dog and put it in the herd so that the problems disappear. It is this wrong perception of reality that has led many breeders to acquire a livestock guarding dog without asking for the "instructions".
Today, there are real needs on the ground for the transfer and sharing of know-how to improve the effectiveness of dogs as a means of protecting herds, in a context where dogs can be at the root of conflicts or incidents with other users of pastoral areas.
To support pastoralists and shepherds and give them the keys to successfully introduce a livestock guarding dog into their herd and its use on a daily basis, a national technical network on dogs has been set up.
Its objective is to disseminate knowledge and know-how in the use of livestock guarding dogs. The diffusion of this knowledge goes through collective training and individual support, carried out at the request of the farmer on his farm.
A network made up of experienced sheep breeders or shepherds in the field of livestock guarding dogs support volunteer breeders and shepherds through group training and individual assistance directly on the farm to facilitate the setting up and use of livestock guarding dogs.
The network can intervene throughout France; only breeders eligible for the herd protection measure against wolves (Wolf Plan 2018-2023) can be financially supported.
CONDITIONS OF SUCCESS
Have experienced breeders and shepherds in terms of livestock guarding dogs who want to invest in coaching their colleagues
Financial support from the State in relation to the establishment of protection measures and dogs in particular