Safety in the alps – also with a dog

Most of the alpine meadows in the Naturpark Almenland are used for grazing. This ensures that the alps do not grow over and continue to be available to our guests as a wonderful hiking region. To prevent disagreeable encounters with grazing cattle, observe the following basic rules that ensure your hike is not only enjoyable but also safe:

  • Hikers should never leave the marked trails.
  • When crossing the alps, it is important to keep calm, avoid hectic movements under all circumstances and do not imitate “cow noises”.
  • Cows usually get out of the way when they notice “intruders”. They only attack if they feel cornered or threatened.
  • Gain the trust of animals by talking to them quietly, extending your hand, moving slowly, and avoiding any hectic movements and noise.
  • Always pass to the side of a herd of cattle, preferably uphill from them. Avoid walking through the middle of the herd if possible.
  • If you get the impression that the herd is agitated, taking a detour is preferable.
  • Move out of the way, preferably uphill, with a minimum distance of about 50m.
  • In case of an attack, do not turn and run under any circumstances. Retreat slowly and without taking your eyes off the animals.  
  • Take along a stick when crossing pastures. Threatening gestures with the stick and calling loudly can cause aggressive animals to back down. Avoid striking animals and making fast, hectic movements such as waving your stick and arms.
  • Special caution is require when you see entire families of cattle on the alps, consisting of cows with their calves and perhaps even a bull! Cows will always protect and defend their calves. Therefore, never come too close to calves, let alone pet them.

Travelling with a dog

  • Dogs are perceived as potential enemies by cattle, especially mother cows. The following precautions ensure the safety of people and dogs:
  • Before hiking with a dog, check whether you have to cross any pastures and determine if there are alternatives.
  • Always keep your dog on a leash and in the middle of the group as far as possible.
  • Be sure to keep the dog calm.  If the dog responds to cattle by barking, give the herd a wide berth.
  • Should the cattle attack nevertheless, let the dog off the leash immediately. This makes the dog the target of the attack and draws the danger away from the people. Dogs are usually fast enough to escape an attack by a cow. Never attempt to pick up or defend a dog.