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For the Love of Dogs!

For the Love of Dogs!

A software engineer-turned dog trainer, Tanya Patel offers professional training services for your pooches. Sign up for her classes, and you might even find your furried baby playing with a celebrity’s pooch. Juveria Tabassum has more…

Tanya Patel loves dogs. In fact, her love for man’s best friend is so sincere, that it drove her to leave a cushiony job at Accenture as a software engineer, and start looking for avenues to work with dogs. “I did a lot of research on the possible careers I could have working with dogs. I found my teacher, Shireen Merchant, and I realised this could be a viable option. I studied dog training under her, and decided to give it a shot,” says Tanya of her beginning of an eight-year journey of training dogs.  

Tanya Patel with a pooch

Based out of Mumbai, Tanya says that dog training is an extremely niche profession, and there aren’t too many people doing it using what she calls positive reinforcement methods. “There are people who train police dogs on a large scale, but training for pets isn’t done by too many professionals,” believes Tanya, who has also trained some celebrity pooches, but would prefer to keep those names under wraps. 

Mental Stimulation Exercises for your Pooch:

  1. Trick training: Teach your pet simple tricks such as handshakes, Hi-Fives, and roll over. You can also throw in a Namaste!
  2. Obstacle course: Substitute a complex agility test with simple tasks such as jumping over or crawling under tables, and going around a line of chairs.
  3. Sniffing games: A good way to get your pooch to stay active, is to hide treats and toys, and teach him to find them. Dogs have an acute sense of smell, and these games can keep them sprightly and nimble.

While the lockdown last year was a tough time for everyone, pooches didn’t have an easy time of it either. Deprived of walks and exercise, and locked at home with their owners, Tanya said many dogs were depressed, upset and anxious during 2020. “A walk is sometimes the best time of the day for a dog, and not having that can induce extreme stress,” Tanya said. She spent the lockdown conducting teaching dog training online to owners, who then passed on the training to their dogs. “I taught them mental stimulation exercises that could help waive off some of the stress built up from lack of exercise,” says the trainer, adding that the best part of the job for her is when pooches nail a particular trick, and that brings absolute joy on the owner’s face. 

Tanya seems well-versed with a pooch’s emotions, and says that while some dogs are social and require attention, others aren’t, and the constant company during lockdown actually put these dogs under stress. “People approached me after the lockdown with dogs that were facing separation anxiety. It is important to not let your pet get constant attention from you all the time that you are home. Creating distance is also crucial. One way to do this is to divide tasks of taking care of your pet between family members. This prevents them getting too attached,” says Tanya. 

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Tanya Patel with a pooch

Looking back, Tanya says she has absolutely no regrets. Having converted her adoration for dogs into a full-time profession, Tanya says it is a financially viable option, although it does take awhile for work to get on track. Tanya trains around 6 dogs twice a day, and at any given point, she is training about 30-35 canines. While Tanya isn’t looking to expand too much as a business, she says she does look for other trainers and dog lovers to work with her.

Instagram: @tanyapatel_dogtrainer

Price for one session: ₹2000

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