Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Understanding Dingoes: Natural Behaviour in Domestication by Berenice Walters (1991)

Berenice and Snowgoose
Keeping Dingoes in a domestic environment must eventually lead to the dulling of the natural senses by which the dingo has survived as a wilderness animal, just as the sheep or cattle dog's natural working ability will deteriorate when it does not have access to regular work, and human selection for ability and tractability to work stock.

Therefore, I never cease to be both delighted and amazed at the 'naturalness' so often displayed by our Dingoes. For instance, if visitors come near one of our Cattle bitches when she has pups, she will show her protectiveness by defending her pups, sometimes with aggressive behaviour.

But the Dingo female will leave her pups ‘hidden’, and making a target of herself as she retreats, in a tactic she hopes will draw the 'enemy' away from her pups. There are many stories of wildlife using this decoy, even pretending to be injured.

Snowdrift's recent actions were of great interest. I had released him in the house yard, which is the favourite run, and then brought over Jedda for companionship. As always, before releasing her I wanted to make sure he knew the identity of this Dingo to avoid any over reaction by either of them.

I could not find Snowy at first, then I saw him standing quietly and unnaturally under a tree, like a statue - or a part of the bush. His ears were dropped, head low, hindquarters twisted. At -first I thought he had injured himself, but as I slowly approached with Jedda, I saw the very last segment of his tail move slightly. Then I realised that he had been camouflaging himself by standing so still, until he was sure just who accompanied me. As soon as he realised it was. Jedda, he came forward quite submissively, coyly acknowledging us both; whereupon both Snowy and Jedda took off like rockets in a joyful romp around the house, excitedly exploring and sniffing in a gush of enthusiasm and happiness. 






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