Carolee, perhaps there are more options than you think. Here is a pretty extensive list of plants suited to the California high desert:
There are many solar products that help keep small animals away. Some animals are more sensitive to the ultrasonic mole chasers than others, but overall they work very well. For example, our moles and gophers are long gone and while some cats and squirrels stay away from them others do. There also are solar pest products that are specifically designed to work with different pests: deer, geese, crows, etc. Here are two links: http://www.solarflairlighting.com/content-categories/cat-226/solar_pest_control.html and an article on the advantages of solar pest control over other methods: http://solarlightingsmart.com/2013/01/29/solar-means-cost-effective-eco-friendly-and-humane-pest-control/.
The video below shows one product that is great for keeping coyotes and wolves away from livestock. Like many other products, it specifically targets their weaknesses