Tuesday, 22 November 2016
Training of dingoes
In relation to training dingoes and their lack of concentration, Berenice believed it is due to the dingo’s “extreme concentration needed for survival. She felt that this understanding could be the key needed to “get through”.
She expressed this opinion in 1979, at the same time that a dingo was being trained at a Seeing Eye School. She recorded that she did not expect them to succeed and that it was being tried due to a large sum of money being donated for the project. As it turns out she was right and the project was not successful.
She did, however, believe that dingoes were suitable for providing disability support in other ways and for tracking. John Hogan and his hearing assistance dingo Donna certainly proved her first point.
In 1978 Ministerial approval was granted for Sergeant N. Kleidon of the Fairbairn RAAF Base, ACT to keep and train one dingo. The dingo, Wellington provided by the Australian Native Dog Training Society of NSW Ltd. He became, at that time, Australia's only "official" dingo.
Wellington, affectionately known as Boots, was given the rank of Honorary Leading Aircraftsman Boots and trained at RAAF's Police Dog Training Centre at Toowoomba, Queensland. After initially showing promise in tracking, unfortunately, Boots did not make the grade.
Berenice herself had success training her dingoes in the 1970s. Napoleon and Snowgoose both topped their classes at dog training and she worked Dora off 400 metre recalls for an episode of a Big Country.
She was disappointed that other dingoes did not emulate that success later on. I believe that this may have been due to her greater understanding and relationship with the dingoes at that time.