Living with New Guinea Singing Dogs is a challenge but can be very rewarding. Owning a Singing Dog is not suitable for everyone as NGSDs are very independent, more similar to a cat than most modern dog breeds. Although they are affectionate and attached to their owners, they do not seek the level of ‘approval’ from their human companions may expect. This can contribute to conflicts between owners and their NGSDs.
NGSDs are very inquisitive and also adept at problem solving. Therefore, cabinets in kitchens and elsewhere may need “child-proof” locks installed.
Singers also can be skilled climbers. Although some singers may be more talented than others in this ability, (or the motivation to attempt it) this behavior suggests the need to insure that there are no climbable trees next to their fence!
A few additional curious behaviors of Singers include teeth brushing, intention licking and head tossing. Often these three behaviors are witnesses more frequently in younger Singers (under 5 years or so).
Teeth brushing is a fascinating behavior to watch. The Singer, often after a meal while ‘relaxing’, will use its nails in a scraping manner across the teeth near the gumline (no dental floss needed!)
Intention licking (a somewhat baffling behavior) occurs when a Singer is restrained behind a gate or a window that it would like to ‘remove.’ The Singer will continually lick at the ‘barrier’ , though this has never been seen to produce the desired effect!
The head toss (photo on left) is probably one of the behaviors that is most age-oriented and is often not seen after about 3 yrs. old. The head toss is first an extension of the head followed by at least a partial rotation of the singer’s head, but may encompass a full 360 degrees rotation! This is quite impressive and signifies annoyance or frustration as it is often seen when a young singer is either confined or out on lead.
Like other primitive and ancient dogs, Singers can be very prey driven. They are capable of showing predatory behaviors towards smaller dogs, cats or other small critters. This prey drive also makes it imperative to have very secure fencing and vigilance about closing gates, doors etc. Singers must be walked on a secure leash at all times when outside their fenced yard or kennel. Recall of a loose singer can be difficult, particularly if the singer spots squirrels or other prey. Singers embrace their freedom if loose and are at risk of getting lost or hit by a car. Therefore thoughtful diligence is essential to keeping your Singer safe.