Safety around cattle
Cows are usually docile creatures. However, in later years there has been an increase in accidents, some of some fatal, on pastures where cows are grazing together with their calves. Many farmers have switched from dairy to beef farming and let the calves grow up with their mothers. Often the herd also includes a bull. Hikers, especially when accompanied by dogs, have been attacked by cows trying to defend their calves or feeling threatened by the dogs - particularly if they have been chased or attacked previously.

The obvious way of staying safe is not to walk your dog in fields containing cattle. And definitely do not let your dog off the lead in, or next to, fields containing any livestock - unless you can keep him under control at all times. In addition, it's best to walk close to the field perimeter so that you can escape through or over/under the fence quickly should you need to.

If you really have no alternative but to walk over land with cattle on it, the advice is:

  • Avoid getting between cows and their calves.
  • Be prepared for cattle to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you.
  • Move quickly and quietly and, if possible, walk around the herd.
  • Keep your dog close and under effective control on a lead, but if threatened by cattle don't hang on to your dog; just let the dog go as the cattle will chase the dog (who can usually outrun them).
  • Don't put yourself at risk. Find another way around the cattle and rejoin the path as soon as possible.
  • Don't panic or run. Most cattle will stop before they reach you. If they follow, just walk on quietly.

Do not count on your corgi as a former cattle dog to keep the cows at bay. Far from all today's corgis still have the instinct and many are actually afraid of cattle.

Encounters with livestock guardian dogs
Livestock guardian dogs are not pets but trained working dogs for the protection of livestock against predators such as wolves, bears and lynx in alpine regions. In order to avoid any conflicts hikers and bikers should know how to behave when encountering guarded livestock.

  • Keep your distance and choose the least disruptive route around the sheep.
  • Remain calm if a guardian dog approaches you.
  • If you are on a bike, dismount and and walk your bike until well past the sheep.
  • Livestock guardian dogs usually defend their territory and livestock by barking. Stay calm and avoid any provocations with walking sticks and don't make any quick movements.
  • Keep your dog leashed. Under no circumstances let your dog chase or harass the sheep. An unleashed dog will likely be perceived as a predator and may be aggressively confronted by a guardian dog.
  • Don't try to outrun the dog(s).
  • Don't attempt to befriend, pet, or feed the dog(s) as it will distract them and may encourage them to approach and follow other recreationalists they encounter.
  • If a guardian dog follows you, ignore it.