Animal Diaries Archive
22 June 2007
At Australia Zoo we believe in getting all our animals out for a walk, which is a great form of enrichment, heightening their natural senses to smells and environment. This also allows us to educate our guests as well.
In order to be able to get them amongst the public, our dingoes are encouraged to learn body language, signals and tones in a voice. This trains the handler to do the same with the dingo. Everyone that handles dingoes must use the same techniques across the board to maintain and provide continuity.
To handle a dingo is a long slow process. Firstly you must spend hours bonding earning their trust, for they are NOT like your domestic dog. Correct terminology must be used in conjunction with body language. For example, Sit would be: Hand signal, with flat palm, comes up from chest level to their eyes while giving the verbal command "SIT". As the handler progresses with the dingoes then you can start on more technical commands, such as recalls and about turns and extended stays. This is all a very lengthy progress as the dingoes will test new handlers. So next time you're in the zoo be sure to ask a dingo handler about the finer points of dingo training.
Dingoes help stock and crop farmers by keeping feral pests away such as wild cats, foxes, hares and reducing numbers of competitive kangaroos in the area.