Grazing cows, jaunty goatlings, woolly sheep - what a lovely and quaint view, isn't it? Well sure, from a distance - please avoid any direct encounter with the animals! Mother animals have a strong maternal instinct and may protect their young aggressively; especially mother cows can be very dangerous for unmindful hikers.
Therefore, always be aware of the behaviour of those animals, and observe the following safety rules when entering the cattle fields (fenced or open):
Livestock guardian dogs in the Engadin
Livestock guardian dogs can provide efficient protection for livestock (sheep, goats, cattle) against wolves and bears. They protect their herds around the clock and in all weathers. Unknown objects and disturbances are observed suspiciously by the dogs and kept away from the herd. If possible, find out in advance where livestock guardian dogs are in use. In the Engadin, this is currently only near S-chanf (livestock guardian dogs - information).
As a rule, livestock guardian dogs are not dangerous to humans. When approaching a protected herd, however, it is essential to heed any warning signals the dogs may give and to adjust your behaviour accordingly.
- Stay calm and walk slowly.
- Get off your bike and push it.
- Keep as much distance as possible from the herd and do not frighten the animals.
- If you do not see livestock guardian dogs, draw attention to yourself by talking loudly.
- If livestock guardian dogs bark, run in your direction or block your way ...
- Stand still and give the dogs time to assess the situation. Do not shout at livestock guardian dogs.
- If you feel harassed, avoid eye contact with the livestock guardian dog, but remain facing it.
- Proceed at a leisurely pace only when the livestock guardian dogs have stopped barking and have accepted your presence.
- If the livestock guardian dogs do not calm down, ...
- If necessary, keep the dogs at a distance, e.g. with walking sticks, by stretching them diagonally downwards towards the dog. Do not try to threaten the dogs with raised sticks.
- Increase the distance to the herd and retreat slowly. Walk backwards if necessary.
- As soon as you are far enough away from the herd, the livestock guardian dogs will let you go unmolested. Go around the herd as far as possible. If this is not possible or you feel unsafe, turn back.
- If you enter a protected herd with a dog ...
- Keep your dog on a leash.
- Never try to cross a protected herd with a dog, but avoid the herd as far as possible.
- If in doubt, turn back.
Enjoy the Engadin nature!
(Reference: Swiss Hiking Trails)