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Suckler cows, Sheepdogs and Wolves

Suckler cows, Sheepdogs and Wolves

Tips for behaviour in open terrain

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Mastering encounters with sheepdogs, suckler cows and wolves

In Davos Klosters you will occasionally encounter cows or trained sheepdogs during hikes or bike tours. By following the tips below, you should cross a cow pasture and an alpine area safely. But first, we’ll tell you what to do if you come across wolves.

Information about closed hiking trails

  • Are wolves dangerous to humans?

    Wolves that grow up and live in the wild are not fundamentally dangerous to us humans, according to all the knowledge that has been gathered worldwide. With the onset of winter, wolves increasingly stay near settlements, as they react to the displacement of prey. The proximity to settlements is basically harmless to humans, according to the Office of Hunting and Fishing of the Canton of Graubünden. This is because wolves, in general, avoid contact with humans.

    Further information:




        It can be dangerous when wolves become used to humans and associate their presence with food. Fed wolves thus learn to beg for food. In addition, wolves and their pups should never be followed to observe or photograph them. It is best to avoid the area where the whelping den is located altogether. Wolves can also react aggressively if they are sick (rabies) or injured, or if they are cornered. There is currently no rabies in Switzerland.


        • What to do if I encounter a wolf?

          If you come across a wolf, try to remain calm and assess the situation. If the wolf realises it has been spotted, it will usually retreat or flee. If you see a wolf near a settlement, inform the game warden immediately. This will enable the warden to assess the situation on an ongoing basis.


        • What I do if the wolf does not retreat?

          "If the wolf does not flee immediately, keep calm and draw attention to yourself with an assertive voice; retreat slowly," says Thomas Hartmann, game warden from Davos. You should never try to approach or chase the wolf, especially not to photograph the animal. The wolf will usually watch you retreat, or it will also move away of its own accord. Report the encounter to the gamekeepers, who can register the conspicuous behaviour as early as possible.


        • Who do I contact after a wolf sighting?

          Gamekeepers Albula-Davos and Klosters:

          Thomas Fankhauser: Tel. 076 318 86 74 (upper cut)
          Thomas Hartmann: Tel. 078 757 49 61 (undercut)
          Ricardo Engler: Tel. 079 218 29 79 (meadows)
          Stefan Rauch: Tel. 079 293 73 74 (Klosters)


        • Why should you not run away?

          Initially, a wolf perceives hikers or bikers as a threat. Rapid movements give the wild animal too little time to assess the situation. "Retreating slowly is the best behaviour," says Davos game warden Thomas Hartmann.



        • What should parents and families with children keep in mind?

          For parents with children, game wardens and experts recommend the same rules of conduct as for adults. Children should always be with an adult. However, if they come across a wolf when an adult is not close by, they should also draw attention to themselves in a loud, determined voice and remain calm. Move slowly backwards until you have reached a greater distance from the wild animal.


        • What should dog owners avoid?

          Wolves may view dogs as intruders, food competitors or prey. Therefore, always keep your dog under personal control and leash it when in doubt. If dog owners encounter a wolf, dogs should be leashed and the above rules of conduct followed. If the wolf does not move away, you should slowly retreat, keeping the dog on the leash.


        • What are the general rules to be considered in wolf territory?

          Always stick to designated trails and places, to respect the habitats of all wildlife. Be careful not to attract wolves with food scraps. Do not dispose of food waste in the forest or at barbecue sites, however small the amount.

        Mastering encounters with guard dogs, cows and wolves

        When walking, keep your distance from the herd and do not try to pet or feed the animals. If the animals block your path, stay calm, do not startle the animals and slowly go around the herd in a wide arc. Do not make sudden movements or run from the herd. Please keep dogs on a leash at all times. Alpine pastures with guard dogs are now displayed on the SwitzerlandMobility web map. Areas where guard dogs are likely to be present appear as yellow areas on the map.

        3 tips

        for dealing with guard dogs


        Do not address dogs directly

        If guard dogs bark, run towards you and block the way, follow these simple rules: Stand still and give the dogs time to assess the situation. Do not look directly at the dogs, do not touch them, and do not address them directly.


        Do not provoke

        It is important to keep your distance from the herd. Do not raise your sticks, wave them around, or yell at guard dogs. If they do not calm down: Back up and retreat to an even greater distance from the herd.


        Keep distance

        If necessary, keep dogs at a distance with the stick stretched out at an angle and calmly towards the bottom. It is strongly discouraged to take guide dogs to regions with protected herds.

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