Behavior when crossing pastures

Advice in the event of encounters with herds of cattle and herd protection dogs

During the hike, if the path crosses a pasture occupied by cattle or other production animals and / or herd protection dogs, the following elements must be taken into account.

Suckler cows automatically protect their calves. A priori, a cow is a peaceful animal. However if she feels threatened and wants to defend her calf, she can become very dangerous. In this case, go around the herd and never cross it. If you are accompanied by a dog, keep it firmly on a leash. The wolf is a natural predator of farm animals and they may very well be mistaken for a dog. Generally speaking, never cross a herd.

If you cannot help but cross the pasture close to the herd, do not touch the calves. If an animal snorts, scratches the ground and moves its head up and down, this is a very clear warning and you should leave the pasture immediately without running, but walking slowly backwards.

A herding dog is an animal that can be frightening with its barking, size and demeanor, which can appear aggressive towards anything that is unfamiliar to it. This is his role! If you encounter a guard dog, keep your distance, do not jump, run, stay still, do not provoke him with sticks, and allow him time to assess the situation.

If he approaches you, put an obstacle like your backpack between you and the dog, still without threatening him. Once he has assessed the situation and has calmed down, continue your hike very carefully: Carefully avoiding approaching the herd he is protecting. Never take a companion dog to an area where herd protection dogs are found.

The following link will give you all the information concerning the presence of herd protection dogs in Switzerland: behavior when crossing pastures