Can you train a dingo?
Dingoes, or scientifically known as Canis lupus dingo, are wild canines found in Australia. Their exact ancestry is not entirely clear, but they are believed to be descendants of Asian dogs brought into the continent from Southeast Asia roughly 4000 years ago.
They are muscular, medium-sized dogs with erect ears, an angular head, and a short ginger-colored coat, although the color of the coat can differ depending on the climate. Technically, a dingo is not a dog breed – it’s just a semi-domesticated canine that resembles a wolf as much as it does a dog.
Still, dingoes are much more complex creatures than what people perceive them, especially after the famous movie line “a dingo ate my baby”. Although there have been some instances of dingo attacks on humans, they were mostly caused by aggressive behavior towards them by other people.
In reality, a dingo is a highly intelligent and intuitive animal, with a strong sense of independence. They are even capable of love and can develop a strong emotional connection, which is why some people have started keeping them as pets. In this article, we’ll discuss what it takes to domesticate a dingo and train them just like a regular dog.
First thing first – Is it legal to own a dingo as a pet?
Make sure to always check with your local government before considering getting a dingo. Removing a dingo from the wild to keep it as a pet is illegal all throughout Australia, but buying them from an adoption program is legal in some states.
In New South Wales and Western Australia, you can keep pet dingoes without any permit. Other states require a permit if you want to keep a pet dingo, like Victoria and Northern Territory. And in Queensland, Tasmania, and South Australia, it is completely illegal to own a dingo as a pet.
How to care for a dingo
In order for you to have any chance of training a dingo, you must first take proper care of it and build a loving bond between the two of you.
If your dingo doesn’t receive the necessary care and attention, it will be hard to develop a bond, and training would be nearly impossible without bonding first. Remember, you cannot expect loyalty or obedience from a dingo without earning it first.
Due to natural adaptation, dingoes will only follow the lead of an alpha that they know they can trust. If you set yourself as a guardian and a fair leader, your dingo will recognize that and gain respect and loyalty for you.
And then comes the fun part, the bonding.
Although many people think of dingoes as dangerous predators, their most important need is actually bonding. But bonding with your dingo takes time and effort.
To build a bond with your dingo, you’ll need to spend quality time playing together, explore and experience unknown outdoor territories, taking a nap together, developing a way of communication, etc. Dingoes need real-life experience, and if they get all of that while spending quality time with you, you’ll surely develop a bond for life.
And once you’ve built a strong and loving bond with your dingo, you’ll still need to ensure you take care of its other needs so you can have better success at training. Let’s take a quick look at how to do that before continuing with the training.
Similar to dogs, dingoes also need to get a vaccine against parvovirus, hepatitis, and distemper. Regular treatment against fleas, tapeworm, roundworm, and heartworm is also required.
As for their diet, they eat a meat-based diet and can be fed high-quality dog food that is mostly based on meats.
And since dingoes are closely related to wolves, they have pack values deeply rooted in them. That’s why when you keep them as pets, you need to avoid leaving them alone for longer periods, and must always spend 15-20 minutes greeting them when you come back. If you fail to do so, you risk making your dingo feel upset and disappointed, making it very difficult to train them.
In addition, they need ample space and A LOT of physical activity. Before adoption, a yard check is usually required to ensure you have at least 30 square meters to keep the dingo in. The larger the yard, the happier your dingo will feel.
As for physical activity, dingoes need to walk/run around 10km every day, simulating what they would do out in the wilderness. Make sure to get your dingo one of the best dog collars and use a strong leash, even in “off-leash” areas.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s take a look at how to train your dingo.
How to train a dingo
Training a dingo is actually the easier part of owning a pet dingo, especially if you took proper care of it and developed a strong bond first. Once you got that sorted, training a dingo is much like training any other dog, you can even train it for nosework with cotton buds with odour.
You just need to follow the rule of the 3 Ps – patience, persistence, and praise. And remember, there will be instances when a dingo just won’t listen. That’s because dingoes are independent and sometimes have their own reasons for refusing to listen, whether that’s the sense of danger, or just not being in the mood. However, don’t let that discourage you – that’s just part of owning a semi-domesticated species.
Another thing to note is that a dingo will sometimes do wonderful things without you even asking it. Having a dingo is a give-and-take relationship that no other pet owner can understand.
To sum it all up, yes, you can train a dingo. You just need enough patience, persistence, and of course, developing a strong and honest bond with your dog before you even start any training. Once you do that, you’ll have the relationship of your lifetime with a loving and a well-trained animal.