The decline of Australia’s mammal fauna is linked strongly to two exotic meso-predator species, feral cats (Felis catus) and European red foxes (Vulpes vulpes). The dingo (Canis dingo, C. familiaris, or C. dingo × C. familiaris), as an apex predator that may suppress smaller meso-predators, is extolled as a potential conservation tool. While the potential negative economic effects of dingo predation on sheep and cattle likely influence control practices, limited research has been applied to understand the complex socio-cultural factors that interact with economic and ecological considerations of dingo management practices. Globally, human-carnivore conflicts are ubiquitous and difficult to resolve with science or policy interventions because they tend to be value-based. Systems-based approaches recognise that humans and human constructs are integral to ecosystems, and assume that ecological problems are often as much about clashes of stakeholder values and social rules as they are about inappropriate land management. Social-ecological system (SES) models can support the testing of assumptions about the strength and direction of interactions among social, economic, and ecological components of a system and the likely efficacy of interventions. We propose a hypothetical pastoralist-dingo SES to illustrate our point.