Ask Zimo: Beware of dogs guarding livestock

You don’t want to alarm a livestock guard dog-

While some folks in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming worry about being attacked by wolves, the real danger of attack by a canid is the livestock guard dog.  Your risk goes up a lot if you are accompanied by a pet dog.

Pete Zimowsky of the Idaho Statesman answers a question about guard dogs.

Ask Zimo: Beware of dogs guarding livestock






  1. Debra K Avatar
    Debra K

    Yes, those guard dogs are seriously scary, especially if you have a dog of your own. We once camped in a meadow that about 800 head of domestic sheep and two guard dogs came through. The large aggressive Pyrenees came charging at our dog, who we ended up putting in our tent to try to make him of less interest.

    I also heard a horsewoman complain that she’d gotten thrown off her horse when large sheep guard dogs charged her while she was riding on public lands around McCall. I asked if she’d reported it to the land management agency, she said no, she didn’t want to cause problems! Progress is hard to make if people won’t let the agencies know about these types of conflicts when they occur on public lands.

  2. Craig Avatar

    After all the encounters I’ve had with these Fuc!^& dogs I have came to the conclusion, I’ll just shoot them when a problem occurs! These herders don’t care, can’t speak english, and don’t really give a shit! Are these animals even vaccinated properly? I highly doubt it! I’ve had so many problems with them up in the Stanley area with my own dogs or me just riding a 4 wheeler!

  3. John Avatar

    Dogs just doing their job, there would be a problem if they did not chase off anything that they perceived as a threat – humans included. A family I know in the Glasshouse Mountains has three merammas guarding around 1700 head of goats. Kept on private land and never allowed to roam (because in Australia dog scalps get people cash or at least a quick bloody adrenaline fix). Needless to say they have had little in the way of depredation…zero in fact… or burglaries for that matter.
    It is obvious that the dogs would act this way around people, there is a solution that I think has been repeated many times on this site.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan