Meet Chennai-based canine coach Saba Poonawala, who’s utilizing optimistic reinforcement strategies on ‘lockdown canines’
Have you ever seen a Labrador retriever that doesn’t need to retrieve? Or a rottweiler that’s petrified of cats?
Welcome to the world of ‘lockdown canines’, who’ve had restricted publicity to the skin world as a result of pandemic, since March 2020.
“Individuals purchased canines throughout this part final yr as a result of that they had time and thought that it might assist them deal higher with stress, nervousness and tedium. What a few of them didn’t realise is that having a canine is a 15-year rigorous dedication that comes with a number of challenges,” says Saba Poonawala, Chennai-based canine behaviourist and coach. She provides, “These canines behave like Alice in Wonderland once you take them out in public.”
Her initiative, known as the Pune-Chennai Canine Coaching Academy, was arrange final yr with the only goal of serving to such pets. Since its inception, Saba has labored with about 30 lockdown canines in Pune, earlier than shifting to Chennai earlier this yr.
At present, she is working with seven canines and their pet dad and mom within the metropolis. “With time on their arms, many pet dad and mom over-protected the canines. The pets’ publicity to the skin world, which features a shifting automobile, has been restricted. This has resulted in separation nervousness and obedience points,” she says.
Her new shoppers embody a Yorkshire terrier that’s dealing with extreme nervousness and aggression points. The nine- month-old terrier has a novel downside: the minute the doorbell rings, he goes loopy and lunges in the direction of the particular person on the door. “He’s about 9 months outdated now and the household is making an attempt their greatest to right it.” There’s additionally a golden retriever that Saba is working with now: this one doesn’t have the zest to fetch any object, in contrast to different canines in that breed.
Saba’s work with these pets, which normally lasts about two months, doesn’t contain yelling or gear like prong collars. As an alternative, she takes in to account the setting, the atmosphere of the home and routine of the canine earlier than arriving on the root reason behind the issue. Then, Saba makes use of optimistic coaching and reinforcement strategies on her canine college students. “I make use of a reward-based technique. One canine may need a drive for toys, one other may need a excessive food-drive. When the canine does one thing good and proper, it’s given a deal with. This channels the canine’s weight-reduction plan and contributes in the direction of its holistic all-round progress,” explains Saba.
Saba, who prices ₹10,000 for 12 such home-visit periods, says these optimistic reinforcement strategies go a good distance in contributing to the canine’s well-being. “There isn’t any such factor as a foul canine. They’re simply misunderstood, and my purpose is to make the proprietor see this and work round it.”
Her different latest initiatives embody assessing the police power canines in Pune and coaching indie canines earlier than they go to their ceaselessly houses. The 30-year-old — who can also be an expert hair and make-up artist — plans to arrange a canine daycare centre and boarding facility in Chennai within the close to future. She says, “I additionally hope to host doggie events there. The motto is so as to add to the pet neighborhood in a optimistic means, and information pet dad and mom to construct optimistic relationships.”