Author Archives: bill.costanzo

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 →

The Guardian Way – January 2023

Hopefully you had a great Christmas and a Happy New Year! It was cold around Christmas. The holidays can be a hectic time of year and things like LGD health checks can slip our minds.  Make sure to check your LGDs regularly to keep them healthy and guarding your livestock.  Check your dogs’ ears, eyes, coat and especially its paws for injuries.  Long haired dogs can collect lots of burrs and thorns in the hair on their paws.  These items can cause an abscess causing lameness to occur. … Read More →

The Guardian Way – December 2022

Since cooler than normal temperatures are forecast for the next couple months, make sure that you are keeping your LGDs well fed during the winter months.  LGDs should be in a Body Condition Score (BCS) of at least 4 at this point with normal feeding.  If your LGD is below a BCS 4 you should consider providing extra feed or a better-quality feed now before winter completely arrives later this month. AgriLife Livestock Guardian Dog Program: Events and Update On November 17th we held our Fall LGD Webinar. … Read More →

The Guardian Way – November 2022

The cooler temperatures of fall are here, and it has brought some much-needed rain to the San Angelo area.  Hunting season has started as well and with that comes plans for dealing with LGDs.  Make sure you talk to your hunters about the LGDs on your ranch.  Remind them not to feed the dogs or encourage them to hang out near camp or hunting blinds.  It can also help to focus hunting efforts on pastures away from livestock and LGDs, although this is not always possible.  Try to… Read More →

The Guardian Way – October 2022

Daily temperatures are starting to decline, and fall is coming soon.  A chilly winter with normal rainfall is predicted for Texas this year.  With fall approaching, now is the time to body condition score your LGDs to make sure they have enough fat cover to keep them in adequate condition through the winter.  Dogs have a one to nine body condition scale, and the ideal score is a five.  Your LGD should be at least a BCS of four going into the winter months so that it can… Read More →

The Guardian Way – September 2022

Some cooler days finally showed up in late August around San Angelo.  There were also a few scattered showers across the area too which were a welcomed sight.  They weren’t enough to bring us out of the drought but at least they settled the dust for a day or two!  Hopefully we will continue to get some rain to quench the dry fields and grow some feed for the hungry livestock. AgriLife Livestock Guardian Dog Program: Events and Update We will be holding our Fall LGD Field Day… Read More →

The Guardian Way – August 2022

Summer is in full swing with lots of hot days and little rain this year.  Many producers are reducing their herds to have feed resources available for the stock they keep.  Now would also be a good time to do some health checks and body condition scores of your LGDs.  Dogs have a body condition scoring system like livestock.  However, instead of five levels, dogs have nine levels of condition scoring.  Ideally, LGDs should be kept in a 4 to 5 body condition score (BCS).  If your dogs… Read More →

The Guardian Way – July 2022

With lots of 100-degree days ahead of us, it’s important to make sure that your LGDs have access to plenty of cool clean water and trees to lay under for shade.  Long haired dogs should be brushed out and/or have their hair trimmed on their chests, bellies, lower sides, and inner legs.  Make sure to leave at least ½ inch of hair so that they don’t get sunburned.  It is not recommended to clip any other areas of your LGD as clipping can interfere with their coat’s natural… Read More →