Dog trainer and behaviorist on how dog training has become a field of the future
Working as a vet, groomer, trainer and behaviorist are some of the options if you love dogs.
Dog trainers implement program to strengthen bond between dog owners and dogs
If you are a dog parent, you should know that responsible possession, positive training, and better understanding can go a long way in the well-being of your canine family member.
We caught up with Paramita Das, a dog trainer and behaviorist in Kolkata, to discuss how to deal with dog behavior issues and the growing opportunities in the field of dog training and dog behavior.
Edugraph: What exactly is the job of a canine behaviorist?
Paramita Das: Canine behaviorists work with pet owners to help them understand behavioral issues in their dogs. They also implement a program to help resolve and manage these issues. To do this, these professionals study dog behavior patterns, observe the interaction between dogs and their owners, and interpret and observe dog body language in various situations.
How did you get into this field?
PD: After more than two decades in the corporate world, I wanted to pursue my passion for working with dogs. I realized that in addition to loving dogs, it’s important to try to understand them better because they are a completely different species from humans.
After my first dog trainer course was over, I wanted to help pet parents train their dogs using positive and kinder methods. My goal was to ensure that they and their canine family members could have a great life together. After that, I also took courses in dog behavior and aggression.
What are your daily activities in this profession?
PD: My daily activities include training young puppies and adult dogs to be good companions, training dogs to play fun games, working with families facing behavioral issues with their dogs . I also deal with chewing and destructive behaviors, separation anxiety issues, attention seeking behaviors, toilet use, fear issues, leash walking issues, and aggression issues.
What is the most common challenge you face?
PD: While most humans think of the dog as the problem, a lot of the problems primarily come from the pet owners themselves. There is a lack of understanding as to why dogs behave in certain ways and how we may have contributed to that behavior. In today’s busy and hectic pace of life, the levels of time and patience are limited. This is one of the biggest problems. Once the family gets involved in working with their pets in a structured way, things get smoother.
Can you mention the techniques you follow when working with a dog with behavioral issues?
PD: I mainly follow techniques to help family of pets understand the reasons their dog is exhibiting behavioral problems. It is important for the family to be involved in obedience training so that their pet will obey them in various situations and in an acceptable manner. Pet owners should have some influence over their dog’s behavior in a positive way. My job is to put in place a program to strengthen the bond between family members and their dog.
What are some common mistakes pet owners make when interacting with their dogs?
PD: Many pet owners treat their dog like a human or a toy. A dog is a living being, a different species. Humans are primates, while dogs are canines. Although dogs are our best friends, some pet parents need to recognize that they are always of a different species. It is therefore important for them to understand the canine species. Families need to know all about the breed of their dogs and use that information in a positive way.
What advice would you give someone bringing home a puppy?
PD: Realize that the dog is a different species, and be prepared to put a lot of time and effort into it. Know your dog better – teach the puppy acceptable behavior, walk him, play acceptable games with him and participate in activities he enjoys.
Be prepared for financial commitments such as vet fees, expenses when your dog gets sick, grooming fees, board fees when you are away, moving expenses. You should also set up an emergency support system.
Overall, I think you should be prepared for a 12-14 year long term commitment to dog breeding. We can pursue our own hobbies and interests, but a dog depends on the human family to give it a good life. Let’s not disappoint your pet about this.
What would be your advice to young people who already own a pet?
PD: Get involved in your dog’s life. Try to be part of the activities that your dog really enjoys. If you have a Labrador, take it for a swim. If you have a Beagle or an Indie, take it for a game scent in a park. Spend quality time with your pet to build a strong relationship. Making the most of your time together is all that matters.
What would be the academic and professional paths if someone wanted to become a dog trainer and behaviorist?
PD: There are courses that can be taken to gain the knowledge and education necessary to become a professional dog behaviorist. I took courses led by Shirin Merchant who is one of the pioneers in dog behavior and training in India. I also took lessons from John Rogerson, who is a world renowned dog trainer and behaviorist. Both Shirin and John use gentler, positive training methods that emphasize building a strong relationship between the dog and its family.
What are some career paths that can be taken while working with dogs?
PD: There are a lot of opportunities in this growing field. Nowadays, people are more and more aware of the need to take their pets to specialists. Working as a vet, groomer, trainer, and behaviorist are some of the more common options. You can also manage a boarding house for dogs. Rescuing animals and working in a shelter is another option. With the proper training, you can also become a pet nutrition consultant.
Last updated on December 20, 2021