Study of aggressiveness in livestock-guarding dogs based on rearing method

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Abstract

The return of wolves to the French Alps has resulted in a significant increase in mortality in small ruminants due to predation during the summer grazing period. To counteract this, the French authorities have supported the acquisition of livestock-guarding dogs by providing technical and financial assistance. Unfortunately, some of these dogs show aggression toward humans. The goal of this study was to evaluate the extent to which the manner in which the guarding dogs are reared affects the risk of human-directed aggression. The aggressiveness of 28 dogs that guarded herds was evaluated in the French department of Haute-Savoie. The dogs were divided into 2 categories of risk, low and high, based on behavioral tests and a questionnaire completed by the person who raised the dog. Dogs raised in sheepfolds, using the classical method, isolated from humans, presented a significantly higher risk of aggression directed toward people compared to dogs raised in contact with the family.

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