Tuesday 29 November 2016

The Truth about Dingoes: 2

Most female dingoes become sexually mature at two years but can have pups in their first breeding season. Unlike domestic dogs, dingoes only have pups once a year and it is usually only the dominant pair of each pack will breed successfully and raise pups.

Dens are well hidden and very carefully guarded. The other pack members also help to rear the pups. The social system within packs means that not all pups can survive to adulthood. Usually only two pups will survive to the next breeding season. Generally pups usually become independent at 3–4 months of age, or if in a pack, when the next breeding season begins.

June to August is feeding time for newborn pups.

Once new born pups arrive, their mothers may be aggressive. They need to find food for themselves and their pups. Alpha mothers are very domineering during this stage, even killing another mother’s pups if she has mated with one of the pack. It’s all about survival of the strongest and the alpha pair want their pups to survive.

September to November is when pups are learning to hunt.

December to February is when they are usually learning pack rules.

Pups learn pack rules through play, and showing aggressive behaviour to gain dominance.

Dingo pups usually first venture out from their natal den at three weeks of age. Then by around eight weeks, the natal den is abandoned, and pups occupy various rendezvous dens until fully weaned at 8 weeks. Pups usually roam by themselves within 3 km of these dens, but are accompanied by adults on longer treks. Both the male and female pack members help the mother introduce the pups to whole food (9 to 12 weeks), usually by gorging on a kill then returning to the den to regurgitate food to the pups. The mother waters the pups by regurgitation, as well. Pups become independent at 3-4 months, but often assist in the rearing of younger pups until they reach sexual maturity at around 20 months old.

Information reproduced with permission from http://jennyleeparker3.wixsite.com/aussie-canis-dingo

Understanding dingoes pack behaviour is vital to understanding why often dog attacks on stock rarely diminish regardless of how stringent the control methods are to reduce dingo numbers.

Destruction of the pack structure may mean immature dingoes seeking food and a mate without the guidance, control and training of their elders. That is when young dingoes are likely to go rogue.

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. 

Wednesday 16 November 2016

In The Pooh by Graham Anderson

Cooma, the "white rat"- photo C Johnson
So you think you would like to have a Dingo as a pet. This fun story by Graham Anderson may just give you inkling into what you are in for …………

Chris had gone to Queensland to work for the weekend and had added an extra day to visit the Barrier Reef. It was top weather so after mowing the lawn and having a shower, I decided to laze and read a book.

All the dogs, 3 German Shepherds and a pair of dingoes, were in the back-yard which is divided to keep the wild ones, Mingga and Cooma, apart.

Cooma was in the top yard with Saxon and had been a pain looking for Chris. She is a weird dog, she haunts me all the time, can't even go to the loo without it waiting outside the door. Yet, if Chris is gone overnight, she gets the wanders and drives me mad prowling around.

Anyway, I had my feet up enjoying a decent book, when the doorbell rang. A bloke from up the street says to me "Your white dog is eating our baked dinner".

Can't be ours, Cooma is in the back yard, I thinks to myself. "Our dog is in the yard" I tells him, then the doubt set in.

"Hang on a mo, I'll get her” says I going out the back.

Hell. No white rat. Cooma had absconded, using the wheel-barrow to get up and over the dog-proofing.

Worried, I followed the guy to his home in time to see a white flag disappearing further up the street, the rear end of Cooma. I yelled out her name, she turned to me, grinned and bolted. Obviously she had finished the Sunday lamb. Later I learned the beast had gone in through the window, selected the juicy leg and refused to let the elderly couple carve it until she had consumed almost the lot.

Apologising, I raced home for my bike and another dog and spent hours riding around in the hope Cooma would run to us. I only caught a distant glimpse as she soared over somebody's back fence.

I went home and worried. Chris will kill me.

She won't talk to me - maybe never. For a while I was depressed then a glimmer of light. No more finding dingo-sitters if we went out for a night. No more worrying about Mingga and Cooma having a blue. Hell, no more frustrating walks with white rat sniffing and hunting all the way.

Life without Cooma would have its high points. By now I felt smug and picked up my book to lose myself in its pages. Cooma was forgotten - until a knock on the door.

It was a very dear friend who lived a couple of doors up, he was in his seventies and sometimes he and his wife would borrow our German Shepherd Tempe so folks would think they had a bodyguard.

Cooma was playing with his wife and checking out the canaries. Surely she wasn't still hungry? Looking for dessert? Off I hurried. Cooma for some reason didn't jump the fence out of their back yard. Guess she had had her exercise for the day and was read y to come home.

The white rat lived up to its name. It took one look at me, yapped and began speeding around the yard, flying through the sunflowers, the sweet-peas, the runner beans, the cabbage patch, me in pursuit. The beast knew I, wouldn't clamber through the vegie patch.

Eventually she slowed down and stood laughing and panting, an evil glint in her eyes. Before I could put the lead on, Cooma spun, leaped and landed in a 40 gallon drum filled to the brim with liquid manure. What a stench. Cooma treated it like Channel No 5. Thoroughly covered except for her ear tips, she jumped out, shook and came to me.

Embarrassed wasn't the word. My dear friends laughed heartily, but worse was to come. I tried to sneak home but all the neighbours were out. Cooma was delighted, trotting along, tail stiffly erect so everybody would know who was in charge, and it sure wasn't me.

I considered placing an advert to find her somewhere else to live.


 Loves roast dinners, canaries and liquid manure. Comes with full guarantee to get rid of your best friends and any unwanted neighbours. Excellent for turning over the garden, aerating the soil and convincing neighbours you do need that new 12 foot fence on your boundary. Main virtue is it does not snore and makes an excellent foot warmer.

Unfortunately, Chris wouldn't be in it. At present Cooma is six years old. Only another ten years before she settles down and is ready to sleep 23 1/2 hours out of 24 on my bed instead of 18 hours sleep and 6 hours of activity.

Cooma, Graham and puppy Mingga - photo C Johnson