Thursday 12 February 2015

Trainability of Dingoes

The extract below is from the panel discussion at a seminar on Dingoes held in Sydney on 5th August 1976.It is a short contribution by Berenice Walters but demonstrates her early knowledge and understanding of the Dingo at a time when it was simply considered a pest by most.

I think the dog itself should have some sort of say in this. We are regarding the Dingo as a tremendous predator, aggressive and with no good points; but it is a dog and we have to accept this.

It is a trainable dog [1]. It has tremendous potential in the police, army and Defence Department. [2] It can be trained; there is no doubt about this. I think that Mr. Simpson [3] put his finger right on the point when he said the Feral Dog Destruction Board . This Dingo Destruction Board is getting everybody’s back up because we know that it is just every breed of domestic dog. They do not have to be crossed with Dingoes. In Goulburn not so long ago sheep were killed and everybody screamed "Dingoes". Two Cattle Dogs were the culprits there

I am a Cattle Dog breeder of' thirty odd years and I know Cattle Dogs. In Moss Vale there is a $50.00 bounty on the sheep killer. I think you will always have the public against P.P. Boards [4] while you call it Dingo Destruction Boards because everybody is awake up that Dingo is a dog.

[1]   Berenice had not long before demonstrated their trainability with her first three Dingoes; Dora, Napololeon and Snowgoose. See story below
[2]   One of Berenice’s Dingoes, Wellington, later went on to become a member of the Air Force and another mascot for an army regiment. See story below
[3]   Lower North Coast Tablelands Dingo Destruction Board
[4]   Pastures Protection Board


Snowgoose (Snowy) was Berenice’s third Dingo. Snowgoose and Berenice’s beloved Napoleon made headlines in the Sunday newspapers when they not only advanced to off-lead work at obedience classes, but topped their respective graduation tests. Their owner was never divulged at the time.

In 1976 Dora, was the star of an ABC Big Country segment Trust a Dingo.  Berenice worked her in the bush on 400 metre recalls so she was able to enact a "wild" Dingo, with Napoleon and Snowgoose supporting as "Dingoes in training".

Snowy also featured on the 20c stamp of the Dogs of Australia series in 1980.

Snowgoose was sponsored by  the  Hon  Neville  Wran  QC while he was Premier of NSW.

Sgt Neville Kleidon with Wellington
In 1978 ministerial approval was granted to Sergeant Neville Kleidon of the RAAF base, Canberra, to 'train one dingo provided by the Australian Native Dog Training Society of NSW Limited'. Wellington quickly proved successful as a scout dog in field work.

Another Merigal Dingo, Barooma, joined the 3rd Field Engineer Regiment, Lavarack Barracks, Townsville, as mascot, being given the rank of Sapper.