Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 27/04/2011

Teaching an old dog new tricks

I’m not sure what tricks you could or would want to teach an African hunting dog but if you did desire to do so, you’d better be prepared to teach all the hunting dog‘s friends.

These animals are very social creatures and whilst there is an obvious pecking order, this is achieved not through inter-pack fighting but through non-aggressive means as injury to any one individual could greatly affect the hunting capability of the whole clan.

Strangely, despite their more diminutive size in relation to the big cats of Africa, studies have shown that these animals have a much higher success rate when hunting with over 80% of attempts being successful compared to only 30% in the case of Lions!

I witnessed, first hand, the hierarchical status being exhibited whilst photographing these animals, with various hounds rolling on their backs in front of the dog pictured above. They also seemed to exhibit a sense of fun, chasing each other around with no sign of aggression.

They really are great creatures to photograph but I’d prefer to be at ground level with them rather than at a high vantage point. I might well get my chance soon, as long as I don’t end up as a Dog’s dinner!


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