Wild dog action: step 2

Setting measurable objectives

Goals are general aims of the working plan, and need to be written  down. They are broad statements of what stakeholders want to  achieve from the plan. Examples include: ‘Minimise livestock predation by wild dogs’, ‘Maintain a population of dingoes in a  particular area’ or ‘Prevent spread of disease by wild dogs’.

For each goal identified by stakeholders, a means of measuring it  must also be determined. These measurements will allow the  progress of the management actions to be monitored and assessed.

Unlike objectives (see below), goals do not have specific time limits  attached to them. Monitoring goals is usually about numbers, such  as:

  • goalsarea covered by management activities
  • stakeholders participating
  • animal losses
  • bait used
  • people satisfied
  • dollars spent
  • time involved in management.

For goals related to livestock losses, lambing or calving percentages and numbers of animals that have been injured or killed might be the most appropriate measures. Similar measures can be recorded if a  goal is to minimise predation of a native animal. Regardless of the  animal type, it is important to try to collect this information from  places not participating in control programs too, in order to make  comparisons.

objectivesObjectives are more specific than goals and have a defined  timeframe. Objectives can be long or short term, and both should be  included in the plan. Setting objectives helps to refine the necessary  management actions. Having clear objectives also directs what  types of monitoring are needed to measure and evaluate progress.

If a stakeholder goal is to keep wild dogs out of a particular area, a  related short-term objective may be to erect a dog-proof fence  around that area by a certain date. An associated long-term objective might be to check the fence weekly for the next year. Another short-term objective to achieve the same goal could be to implement a trapping and baiting program to remove wild dogs  living within the area by the end of the month, with an associated  long-term objective of baiting within and around the area each season for the next year.

Importantly, each objective should relate to at least one goal, have a measurable number and a measureable timeframe. They must also  be achievable. The key issue here is finding the balance between  easy-to achieve objectives that will do little to reach the goal, and  objectives that would easily achieve the goal but are impossibly  difficult.

Remember, if records of actions are not kept, then progress towards  achieving objectives and goals can’t be assessed for success.

Guides to help develop a wild dog management plan:

Last updated: November 27, 2014