How Dogs Herd Multiple Sheep

shutterstock_153445403The question is: How does a single dog get multiple sheep to move efficiently in the same direction? The answer has been revealed in a journal published by Britain’s Royal Society. And it’s really quite simple yet clever—as dogs are wont to be.
Researchers fitted highly accurate GPS tracking devices into backpacks worn by a trained Australian Kelpie sheepdog guarding a flock of 46 sheep in a 12-acre field. They used the data to build a computer model of the dog’s response and it turned out that sheep cohesiveness is at the root of a dog’s success.
Daniel Stroembom of Uppsala University in Sweden explained: “At every step in the model, the dog decides if the herd is cohesive enough or not.
“If not cohesive, it will make it cohesive, but if it’s already cohesive, the dog will push the herd towards the target.”
“It basically sees white, fluffy things in front of it,” said Andrew King of Swansea University in Wales. “If the dog sees gaps between the sheep, or the gaps are getting bigger, the dog needs to bring them together…There are numerous applications for this knowledge, such as crowd control, cleaning up the environment, herding of livestock, keeping animals away from sensitive areas and collective or guiding groups of exploring robots.” Read more about “Solving the Shepherding Problem: Heuristics for Herding Autonomous, Interacting Agents” here

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