Meet the patos: the guards of the mountain pastures

Surely you’ve seen them on your hike, the patous, these big white dogs mixing a lot of fleece. With their tall size and strong bodies, these dogs are impressive and for good reason, they are the protectors of the herds against predator attacks: “The Pyrenees Mountains, or Patous, dogs that need to have a real relationship with the herd, their main goal is to protect the animals from a predator such as a wolf.This is why it is better to breed two dogs to protect the herd. , be honest with animals and know how to protect.He must also have specific physical abilities such as beauty, have a large jaw, although the shape of the skull is necessary so that the litter can provide patous to adapt well with the flocks ”explained Julien Boucher, owner of the Ferme de Lagoute. In addition to his hundreds of sheep, his twenty goats, the breeder is the proud owner of eight Pyrenean herds. dog in the field, but also his malinois and two border collies. So it’s very easy to guess: Julien is an animal lover. Talking to him above all is about entering a specific canine and agricultural universe. So he is the perfect ambassador for the Pastorale des Pyrénées and its program: guard dog.

dogs and shepherds

“Pastoralism comes to the aid of breeders with two solutions, the first is about parachuting pastors near herds of herds of mountain pastures. So it is human help. The second solution is to offer a guard dog to the shepherds, or to ask a patou. to protect a herd “Julien continued:” In the dog protection division, there are five technicians and a coordinator and of course the director in charge.The service is simple, you are a breeder and you want a Pyrenean Mountain dog to bring security to your herd? You contact the Pastoral, the coordinator will appoint you and a technician to come to estimate your needs, what kind of animals do you have (goat, sheep, cow, horse) .the shepherds If the person has already gone through these stages, then a puppy will be brought to him and the technician will come every month to see how it is doing, integrating the dog into the e herd, education, respect for the nets, and so on. ” An act of adaptation that requires sacred skill of the puppies but also of their masters. “Dogs and cows don’t get along naturally, have to make a leash, if I have puppies, I’ll give birth to them in the barn, that way, my animals are used to it. Smell the puppies and like. don’t throw them away when they come to sleep near them. When a leash is made, then we leave the dogs with the sheep, they won’t be afraid of anything. sleep against them, that won’t bother them “smile by Julien.

On the Lagoute farm, Olka, Aramis, Pacha, Jenny, Poymayou and even Pizac guard the herds, a good group of six dogs that sometimes surprise passersby. “Nowadays, the situation is very complicated, many tourists and hikers do not know how to behave in front of a dog, so they are easily scared if they find themselves in front of the patus. He is the keeper of the patus. a particular territory.But many people complain about the noises that dogs can make and so we have breeders who are forced to sell their ducks.Neighbors complain against the dog, as he is as gentle as sheep! ” shouts the breeder. A sensitive topic that is at the heart of Pastoral concerns: “This is the time of transhumance, many shepherds convoy with their flocks and apparently their patus. Protect a flock If the sheep. walkers show that they are not a threat to the herd i.e. by keeping the animals away and making the dogs feel like they are just passing by, then it is possible to live ”advises Julien.

Especially since the patous despite their beautiful construction are real love balls once the first encounter takes place. They do not hesitate to ask for caresses, before of course returning to the sheep.

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