Last week, the African painted dog puppies made their debut on exhibit! A whole parade of dogs came rushing out from their indoor holding with Brahma and Imara leading the way. The parents were keeping a close eye on the little ones as they explored their new surroundings. The pups were hesitant at first, but eventually grew brave enough to venture all over. The stream seemed to be the scariest thing for them. They were very cautious, tip toeing around the edge. When they would get brave enough to try to cross, a couple of them accidentally took a swim. Ultimately, all of the puppies became comfortable either jumping over the stream or using the rock bridges.
With all of this new room to run and play, you will get to see a variety of fun behaviors for which this species is well known. One that you will see frequently is their greeting behavior. Whenever painted dogs get up from a nap or have been separated, they come together and greet each other by licking muzzles, play bowing and chirping excitedly. This behavior solidifies the relationships between the individual dogs. It will also get them pumped up (so to speak) before a hunt.
You most definitely will also see a lot of rough housing and play fighting between the puppies. Like all brothers and sisters, they play and fight for fun, but this also helps them to learn how to be a real painted dog. These behaviors will prepare them for adulthood by building their physical strength and will help form a loose hierarchy among the pups.
On the other side of all of this, you will see the parents being strict disciplinarians. Imara, especially, is very good at keeping all of the puppies in line. What may look a little rough is her teaching her puppies to behave in the appropriate manner, painted dog style. So come on out and see Brahma, Imara and all of the little ones living the painted dog pack life on exhibit!