Wild dogs quickly figure out fences designed to stop them, readers say

Wild dogs quickly figure out fences designed to stop them, readers say

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A rugged-looking wild dog has set tongues wagging across the country last week.

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BREAK OUT: This wild dog is not deterred by being "on the inside" of this exclusion fence.

BREAK OUT: This wild dog is not deterred by being "on the inside" of this exclusion fence.

A rugged-looking wild dog has set tongues wagging across the country last week.

Vision showing a determined pest making a mockery of a high-tech and expensive new fence was watched thousands of times.

The phone video and the incredulous comments on it were taken in Western Australia and were quickly shared around the country.

Many millions of dollars are being spent around Australia by landholders and governments on thousands of kilometres of wild dog fences.

The wild dog fence in western NSW.

The wild dog fence in western NSW.

The video showed the dog approaching the corner of the fence, tugging at the wire then retreats for a moment before butting its head straight underneath.

Unfortunately for the fence, the dog was going the wrong way.

This meant the dog was breaking out, instead of breaking in.

NSW Farmers western division wild dog coordinator Bruce Duncan said the video had caused a lot of discussion.

"If you look closely when it goes under it is covered up for a bit," he says in explanation.

"This is the skirt or apron, which is designed to stop a dog burrowing under from the other side, as it is designed to do."

That apron is designed to be securely pinned down.

Fencing manufacturer Southern Wire's national key account manager Matthew Dowell said they had made more than 8000km of exclusion fences to date.

Mr Dowell said their latest innovation was a double barbed apron would help stop what had happened in the video.

He said the double barb on the "inside" of the fence when the "outside" apron is folded onto the ground deters this from happening.

"Since late last year we have supplied over 700km of the double barbed apron to the market and feedback from landholders has indicated it is very successful."

Readers said the breakout demonstrated how smart a foe the wild dog was.

There was a debate about the identity of the dog - dingo versus wild dog.

"I don't really care what you want to call them. They are both as destructive as each other and can't coexist in large numbers with livestock," Jess Atkinson said on our Facebook page.

"I've been on the land all of my life. I know exactly how destructive they are. If we don't bait at least every two years our stock losses are huge and that's with cattle. A lamb doesn't stand a chance."

"Our mareema dug out of a skirted fence. We put a skirt on the ground on the inside of the property to keep him in. It didn't work. Dogs are smarter than we think," Johanna Willans commented.

Mr Duncan said the ease of the dog's passage was a good warning.

"First, fences are just part of a wild dog management program, they are a control tool, they don't manage the numbers.

"It is also important to see a fence, no matter how new they are like this one, needs to be maintained all the time.

"The skirt needs to be fixed to the ground."

Mr Duncan said despite the dog coming at the fence from the "wrong" side it showed the power and determination of the wild animal.

He said now the dog had gotten through, it would return to the same spot and make the access point larger for others.

Mr Duncan said there was "a big push" in most states for high-tech fencing solutions like the one in the video.

Wild dogs cost farmers many millions of dollars annually in livestock losses.

From the famed rabbit proof and dingo fences across WA and South Australia, many thousands of kilometres of fences now criss-cross Australia trying to stop wild dog incursions.

Mr Duncan said a fence was not enough on its own, particularly if it was for a single property.

"A fence is a great management tool but you need to maintain it and you need a lot of other things in place to control dogs."

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The story Wild dogs quickly figure out fences designed to stop them, readers say first appeared on Farm Online.

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