Monday, 3 July 2017

So, You Want to Own a Dingo by Berenice Walters. Part 3

Many people today still think that owning a dingo is the same as owning any breed of domestic dog. This is just not the case and was a matter that concerned Berenice many years ago. This is the first part of an extract from her book “The Company of Dingoes: Two Decades with Our Native Dog” published in 1995 and based on her own experience over 20 years. 

Comments from experienced Dingo people are welcome.
Why do dingoes in particular, need very secure fencing? Dingoes need secure fencing because they are a natural hunting breed, strongly territorial, and cat-like in their agility (and all breeds of dogs in captivity should be restricted to their owner’s property). In the wild, other groups of dogs form natural territorial boundaries. In the domestic environment, these boundaries have to be established artificially by secure fencing. Fences will be continually tested to the limit, and hasty, makeshift fences will never survive the desires and frustrations generated, in particular, during the breeding season.
Escape can be disastrous, possibly ending in the death of the animal under the wheels of a car, or at the hands of an outraged neighbour who has just lost a pen full of fowls, or a favourite cat. There can also be embarrassing legal consequences.
The essential ingredient of dingo ownership is an understanding of the special treatment and facilities required by this breed. Assuming that you are lucky enough to secure a puppy of good temperament unspoiled by its first contact with humans, you can expect your whole life to change – your life-style will have to be moulded around the requirements of your dingo. You will have to spend many, many hours of patient work to EARN its confidence and trust, which can only ever be partial, and easily broken beyond repair.
At first, your only reward could be that you will be allowed to learn to behave as IT expects you to otherwise the result will be disastrous failure on your part, and another wasted dingo.
What do Dingoes eat?
In a domestic situation, dingoes will thrive on a diet similar to domestic breeds. At Merigal we feed a ration of two thirds coarse minced beef, and one third dry food. regularly given. Bones and biscuits are also regularly given
Do Dingoes bark?
Dingoes can bark, but rarely do so, and only in a single, gruff voice, or a high-pitched yap, similar to wolves. However, they are very vocal, with a wide range of expressive howling, or singing, that expresses their moods and communications, yodelling and crowing in happiness and 'talk'. To warn of danger or uncertainty the dingo will give three or four short sharp barks then a shrill and brief howl. Depending on the circumstances, this vocal expression can be extremely forceful if a threat to the colony as a whole is suspected. One of the most beautiful and exciting sounds made by the Dingo and one that is so rarely heard is the purr, a gentle rumbling sound that appears to be made by the tongue vibrating behind the teeth and causing the lips to gently vibrate in a purr.

To be continued

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