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Inspiring pilot farms

The livestock guardian dog: The best friend of livestock in extensive systems

Livestock guardian dogs are considered the most effective method of protecting livestock from attacks by large wild  carnivores and also owned and feral dogs. Livestock guardian dogs are mainly used to protect sheep, goats and poultry, but they can also work with any other type of livestock, including, for example, cows or horses. These dogs live with the herd or flock, protecting it from anything they perceive as a threat.

Through this project, we want to advise and support farmers on the management of livestock protection dogs to obtain the best possible results and avoid behavioral problems such as aggression towards people. The bond between the farmer and his / her dogs is key for the dogs to feel safe and carry out their work effectively. The involvement of the farmer with the education and care of the dogs is essential.

Project financed through the operation 01.02.01 of Technological Transfer of the Rural Development Program of Catalonia 2014-2020 and with the collaboration of the Rural Agents


We will publish technical documents addressing the most important aspects of the use of livestock guardian dog such as:

  • Importance of genetics: breeds, genetic lines and temperament.
  • The number of livestock guardian dogs will determine how effectively they protect the herd or flock.
  • A good socialization of the puppy with people, other dogs and other animals is essential and will not reduce its bond with the herd or flock.
  • How to handle the puppy to  ensure a good socialization with people and other dogs
  • The bond between the puppy and the herd or flock
  • The bond between the farmer and his/her protection dogs: a relationship based on cooperation and trust
  • Education of the puppies: never use punishment
  • The arrival of the puppy to a new farm: a stressful moment for both the puppy and the farmer
  • Puppies and young livestock guardian dogs learn from their parents and other dogs they live with
  • Good puppies come from a good breeder
  • Is it better to use 1 or 2 puppies?
  • Working in pack is more efficient against predators
  • Chronic pain affects the behavior of the dog.
  • How to ensure good feeding and provide clean and fresh water
  • How to prevent heat stress during the summer
  • Deworming calendar
  • To castrate or not?
  • How to prevent and correct some behavioral problems of livestock guarding dogs?


We will inform you about the new experiences and adventures of Pirene (born on November 18, 2019) and Patú (born on December 25, 2019) with their new family. The two Pyrenean Mountain puppies will grow together and learn to protect a flock of 800 sheep owned by Jordi, a farmer living in one of the bear areas of the Pallars region, in Catalonia.

This project is coordinated by the group of animal behaviour and animal welfare of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and can be carried out thanks to the invaluable collaboration of farmers, breeders of livestock guarding dogs, rural agents, the Natural Park of Alt Pireneu and the association Selvans.


Project financed through the operation 01.02.01 of Technological Transfer of the Rural Development Program of Catalonia 2014-2020 and with the collabaration of the Rural Agents.