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Guard dog with family connection
Unlike until the middle of the last century, when the image of the chained and vicious farm dog kept strangers away from lonely courtyards, the four-legged friend should display a friendly nature. Because precisely where there is a farm shop as a source of additional income, one does not want to chase away customers. Nevertheless, the four-legged employee is expected to have a certain deterrent effect on potential burglars.
Get used to your four-legged friends
Somewhat away from Stadel in the Zurich Unterland is the Lettenhof run by the Bucher family. Directly below the Stadlerberg, Ernst Bucher and his wife Anita run dairy farming with their spotted Simmental cows. They also grow stone fruit on 2 hectares on the sunny slope. The five-year-old farm dog Kira is there, whether at the harvest, driving the cows or in the wood. Anita Bucher is proud of her crossbreed between an Entlebuch and an Appenzell mountain dog. “We have always had mixed breeds who have adapted well to farm life,” explains the farmer. It is an advantage to get the dog used to farm life, i.e. the animals and people, as early as possible. Kira has become a valuable employee. “I'm sure that she has developed a sixth sense,” says Anita Bucher. Because the bitch meets some visitors with exuberant joy, while avoiding some customers of the farm shop. In addition, the bitch barks at night - not during the day - when people approach the yard. By the way, Kira's sleeping place is not in the house, but in the stable with the cows. She enjoys her box seat there. "Without Kira something would definitely be missing on our farm", is Anita Bucher's conclusion.
Observe dog law
Anyone who walks the Panoramaweg above the Furttal municipality of Buchs on a beautiful day of hiking is walking directly through the Meier family's farm. Until recently, a large Bernese Mountain Dog, one of the most typical farm dog breeds in Switzerland, was in charge of their Bruderhof. “We lost a loving farm dog,” says Ursula Meier. When she was only six years old, she had to part with her darling because a cancerous tumor had developed behind her left eye. For them, however, only a young dog from a reputable breed comes into question. “This is how you know what you have,” says Meier. The Swiss Cynological Society recommends not taking puppies home until they are at least twelve weeks old. Breeders who adhere to this rule receive the golden SKG quality mark. “I've decided on a Landseer,” she says. This breed is related to the Newfoundland and is also of imposing stature.
Because hikers, bikers or riders pass by their farm every day, their new dog must be socialized absolutely well. This is where the new cantonal dog law comes into play, not least to prevent biting accidents. It stipulates that "the use of the freely accessible space must be possible at all times and must not be impaired by dogs". This means that in the canton of Zurich, farm dogs may theoretically only be kept under supervision on the forecourt of a farm. Many farmers find that this is a bit too serious an encroachment on “privacy”. An inspection of many farms, however, shows the author a somewhat more relaxed situation:
The image of the chained and vicious farm dog definitely seems to be a thing of the past. And hikers have also become more experienced in handling dogs. Ursula Meier also hopes that the hikers will understand if her future farm dog should come across as a little "stormy".
Additional effort is worth it
For Fritz Fuhrer from Girentobelhof in Saland (ZH), there is no farm life without a dog. His five-year-old Jara has already become a real crowd puller. In this way, she recognizes the customers of the farm shop by the noise of the car and knows exactly from whom she is receiving a small reward. "Because the shop is on the other side, I had to be very strict with my Bergamasque dog from the start," says Fuhrer. It was only with a great deal of consistency that he succeeded in making them aware of the danger of car traffic. A sixth sense seems to have developed in her too.
She never barks on the side of the farm shop, but only when someone approaches the house in the evening or at night. Fuhrer also uses his Jara to drive the almost 1,000 chickens back into their stables in the evening or to fetch his cows from the field.
So if you are considering getting a young farm dog, it would be wise to be aware of the additional effort that will be required at the beginning. Working with a farm dog is not only a pleasure for the farmers surveyed, but is a good investment for the benefit of the entire farm life.
The farm dog - financial expense: In Switzerland, every dog owner is subject to tax from the time his / her animal is registered. The dog tax, also known as dog taxes, is levied by the municipalities and can vary in the many Swiss cantons depending on the size and weight of the four-legged friend. A reduced approach often applies to farm dogs on officially registered farms. If a dog is kept to protect a secluded yard, the tax can be reduced by up to half. Mixed breed dogs are usually available for several hundred Swiss francs, while a dog from one breed can quickly cost almost 3,000 CHF. The city of Glarus currently levies the highest dog taxes and justifies this with the maintenance of the Robidog dog waste disposal systems. For example, with an average dog's life of twelve years, one owner pays 2,400 CHF for taxes and taxes alone.
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