The Working Life of a Wyoming Ranch Dog
The video below will show you the amazing relationship Wyoming ranchers and herders have with their working dogs.
When we think of farms and ranches here out west we often think of the farmer and the cowboy. Then maybe we look a little deeper and see the spouses and the kids.
Dogs are members of the family too.
In states like Wyoming, the family dog is not there to sleep in the living room all day and bark at the mailman when he comes by. They are out in the fields working right alongside the rest of the family.
Back in 2019 Wyoming PBS released a wonderful video on the working dogs of Wyoming.
The video shows these lovable pets, workers, and family members out there putting in a days work just as hard as everyone else.
It's not just herding, Wyoming is coyote country. Dogs are needed especially when it comes to protecting the sheep. Wolves are back in Wyoming. Mountain lions and bears show up occasionally.
There is an art that shows dogs have been used worldwide for farming and ranching for thousands of years. Humans and these animals have built up quite a relationship.
It's hard for sheepherders to keep track of how many sheep they have around them at any given time. There are so many.
But it is easy to count how many dogs they have. If one dog is missing it is because it is staying behind keeping the weak or sick ones safe as they try to catch up to the rest.
The dogs will stay with an injured or even dead sheep until the rancher shows up. If the rancher tells the dog that this one is gone the dog might just take the sheep off and eat it.
Dogs can also police the area for predators faster than the humans can. They can, in most cases, tell where the danger is before the people even sense it.
Policing for coyotes is one things. But wolves in the area, that is a different level of danger. There have been many outright brawls between guard dogs and wolves that have resulted in deaths on both sides.
After all that they come back to camp, or home, at the end of the day and love upon their humans, then sleep with one year up, still listing for danger.
Enjoy this Wyoming PBS story on the working dogs of Wyoming.