Author Archives: bill.costanzo

The Guardian Way – November 2023

The cooler days of fall have finally arrived, and it appears we are headed out of the drought!  Long-range forecasts continue to show above-average rainfall this spring and slightly below-normal temperatures.  Now is the time to ensure your LGDs are in proper body condition to handle the cooler winter temperatures and the stress of spring lambing and kidding that will quickly follow in the spring.  An excellent body condition scoring sheet can be found online that we use to score our dogs. AgriLife Livestock Guardian Dog Program: Update… Read More →

The Guardian Way – October 2023

We have finally received some long-overdue rain across the state, quenching the dry soil. We recently got over four inches in a single day at the AgriLife Center, creating a lot of mud in the pastures. Long-range forecasts show that we will have a wetter-than-normal winter this year due to El Nino. Hopefully, enough rain will fall this winter to relieve the drought and allow the grasses to repopulate our sparse rangelands. On another note, make sure to use tick preventatives year-round.  On Sept. 17, we lost a… Read More →

The Guardian Way – September 2023

This summer’s extreme heat and lack of rain have been hard on ranches across the state. Hay prices are increasing as ranchers are starting to stockpile feed for the possibility of a dry fall and winter. The elevated temperatures have also been difficult for LGDs, especially the longer-haired breeds. Make sure to watch for excessive panting, drooling, vomiting, and dogs that are lethargic. Excessive panting, excessive drooling, and vomiting can lead to dehydration and are signs of heat exhaustion. Dogs can get heat stroke just like humans. If… Read More →

The Guardian Way – August 2023

The summer heat is in full swing in Texas and it’s very important that you provide a cool area for LGDs, especially your long-haired ones.  Proper grooming that cleans out dead hair allows the cooler morning air to get trapped in their coats to insulate them into the midday temperatures.  After that the dogs need shade and cool soil to lay in to help regulate their body temperatures.  Some LGDs like to relax in water troughs which may get filled with dirt and muck.  Remember that dogs can’t… Read More →

The Guardian Way – July 2023

Proper grooming of your long-haired dogs is critical in the extreme heat we have been having in the state the last few weeks.  Dogs with coats that are properly cleaned out of dead hair will be cooler as their coats trap cool air in the night and early morning hours that helps cool them throughout the day.  Brushing the dogs with slicker brushes and deshedding combs is the best option.  Do not clip your LGD unless necessary as their coats cannot trap cool air properly and you will… Read More →

The Guardian Way – June 2023

Some much-needed rain has been falling across parts of West Central Texas, a welcoming site on the ranches that have received it.  In some areas, this has led to the Texas winter grass going to seed with the warm weather we have also been having.  While a valuable feed resource for livestock most of the year, this grass produces the dreaded “spear grass seeds” that burrow their way into the coats and soft skin of LGDs.  These seeds can cause infections all over LGDs, but especially in their… Read More →

The Guardian Way – May 2023

We had a great Spring LGD Field Day in Sonora on April 14 at the AgriLife Sonora Research Station.  Over 50 people attended the event.  Excellent information was provided by all the speakers at the event.  Like all our LGD field days, there was a lot of interest, questions, and comments from the crowd.  We would like to thank Bo McClelland, the Sutton County Trapper, and Mark Taylor, the hunting lease manager for the Sonora Station, for taking time out of their busy schedules to provide participants with… Read More →

The Guardian Way – April 2023

A few warm days and rains in some parts of the state have brought out the spring flowers already.  My student assistant and I recently traveled to the Athens and Troup area to pick up some more puppies.  We were greeted by lots of bright green grass which was a welcome sight.  I traveled to College Station last month and saw lots of blue bonnets and other flowers in pastures and along the roadsides.  I think spring is here for at least part of the state.  We were… Read More →

The Guardian Way – March 2023

Some rain has finally been falling around San Angelo bringing some colder temperatures too.  Make sure that your LGDs are in adequate body condition to handle the colder weather and can bed down with livestock to stay warm.  All LGDs, even shorthaired breeds, have double hair coats to protect them from the cold but a layer of fat is helpful for extra insulation and metabolic needs. We have moved over to feeding a high energy 24/20 kibble this winter and the dogs seem to be doing much better… Read More →

The Guardian Way – February 2023

The new year often brings resolutions.  One of our resolutions is to body condition score, BCS, all the LGDs on a quarterly basis.  Body condition scoring of dogs is like livestock, but dogs have a nine-point scale.  The ideal score for a dog is 4.5.  Its relatively easy to score your dog, feel down their spine and across the ribs.  They should have some cover across both areas.  A good reference is to hold your hand out flat with the palm down.  Run your fingers across the knuckles… Read More →