Interview With Trainer And Owner Of K9 School: Adnan Khan
07 Jul 2016
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"Be consistent with the dog's training and exercise. It is a big deal for your human children to miss school or sports for a day from inconsistency, so why to be so lax with our dogs?"
This ultimate dog lover has turned into the most sought after dog trainer, and I would say dog expert guru at such a young age! Have a look at what he says and I promise once you read this you will doubt your entire teaching skills.
1) Hey, Adnan! We'd love to know about your work at K9 School. What made you decide to get into dog training and open K9 School?
Dog training has been my passion since I was a very young child but I never thought I would pursue it professionally. When I got my first dog at the age of 20, I practised a lot of what I had taught myself in the decade before that by drowning myself in books videos and journals, all regarding dog psychology and training.
Homer, my first dog, a Bullmastiff brought with him a lot of positive change in 2013. He made me more inclined towards the pet industry whilst I was training him and we were learning from each other.
I joined DogSpot.in in May 2014 as Community Evangelist and had a really supportive bunch of colleagues and especially bosses. That is how I got pushed into helping other pet parents with my working knowledge on pet dog behaviour and training.
With the current situation of people calling themselves dog trainers getting miserable; I was observing an increasing number of cases where people were abusing dogs in the name of training; and even convincing ridiculous things to owners like they should not be present during training sessions or that 'one command takes one month to teach in a mediocre manner'.
I decided to approach the model a little differently and introduced the 'behaviour consultancy' service where I would explain all things related to dog behaviour and obedience within one session and let the owners then train their own dog easily.
With the marvellous feedback from clients and ever growing number of loving dog students on my list, I finally decided to take the plunge into opening a dream facility in Delhi which serves as a school, resort as well as gym for dogs.
2) What is the most common problem faced by Indian dog parents related to dog training?
One of the most common problems pet owners face is themselves! They want to treat their puppies first as cuddly toys; then like humans and never like dogs. Neglecting their own dog's primitive needs can accumulate into bad behaviour in the grown up dogs.
Another issue which people are facing a lot is picking the wrong dog for themselves. Most Indian pet owners pick a puppy on impulse and almost always the wrong breed. It is highly imperative for prospective pet parents to do tremendous research and find the breed that best matches the lifestyle of the entire household.
3) Can you tell us something about the first dog you trained?
It would be a time where I was really young so we cannot say I formally trained him. But it was a puppy in my neighbourhood who was repeatedly getting beaten up by neighbours. I could not bear to see him injured ever so often and I started to bond with him and coming up with ways to train him to stay with me at all times and near my house so I could protect him.
This exact story repeated itself with many dogs and puppies and having a stray dog friend always filled up that void of never being allowed a dog of my own.
Friends and neighbours' pet dogs also became my learning subjects while I was growing up and improving on my dog training knowledge.
Homer was the first personal dog I officially trained and there was a point he could do over 20 different 'tricks' including saying the word "mama". Due to the independence of the breed, his response never became as perfect as a trainer would like but he taught me a lot about patience in the dog training world.
4) From your experience, can you tell us which dog breeds were the easiest to train and which were the most difficult ones?
In the popular pet dog category,
and Labradors seem to be my fast learners as puppies.
seem to be the more stubborn pet dogs I face on a regular basis.
I am training my
puppy who is a real fast learner if you are an experienced trainer or handler but I would not include him as an easy to train pet as it is not very suitable to be a pet dog in Delhi.
5) Do you believe senior dogs can be trained just like the young dogs? What is the ideal age to begin a dog's training?
Absolutely! I have trained dogs up to 13-15 years of age for a new command or behaviour correction. The beauty of a dog's mind is; they can pick up something new really fast. It is a lot more difficult for humans to change their habits with their pets; that causes most of the issues.
Ideal age to begin training a dog about the rules of the house is from the very first day they arrive home.
6) Dog trainers use some methods like beating the dog and giving the dog pain through choke chains. Is this necessary for proper training?
Let's agree to never call them dog trainers again. A trainer is supposed to be a coach or a teacher that guides the student into learning new behaviours and skills.
People who abuse and punish animals in the name of training should absolutely be punished on a legal front and charged for animal abuse.
'Correction' and 'punishment' are needed at very minimal instances AFTER the dog has learned something and is not willing to respond wilful thereby exhibiting disobedience.
Harsh tools and collars should never be used as an excuse for people who do not really know how to train a dog without strangling them.
Prong collars or electronic collars do get used in very minimal instances even by scientific-based trainers to maintain the level of obedience but NEVER to punish or cause harm.
I have no experience in using strong tools against dogs and personally prefer as a minimal external influence when training pets as possible.
For a dog to learn something new, positive reinforcement based training is the most ideal and effective when it comes to pets.
7) What is the most important command a dog should respond to?
There is a set of very important commands dogs MUST follow to be able to have a more safe and secure human environment.
I emphasise the basic commands like 'name' ; 'sit' ; 'down' ; 'come' etc very highly for people raising their pet with minimal problems. To motivate owners into training their pets, I have introduced group classes which aim towards the socialisation and obedience of a pet. This is a new concept in India and we are already on our 12th batch!
8) Do you have a favourite student? During your entire career which dog has won your heart the most?
I do not have a favourite student particularly as all dogs have been great with me! A limited number of owners have shown the level of commitment and diligence required to raise and train a dog correctly; those will definitely fall in my favourite students' list.
My own pet dogs are one of my best students AND teachers but that would be biased.
Also, dogs on the street have been my most compliant students because they do not have a human owner to spoil them or tamper their instincts.
9) What are the common signs that show a dog needs to be trained urgently?
Impressions of stress, discomfort, nervousness, anxiety and obviously aggression in a pet that are tell-tale signs that a pet dog needs training.
If a human is unable to read such signs then it would be easier to read the environment like digging the garden, destruction of objects, scratches and other damages to the household would be obvious signs of boredom and frustration in a dog.
In fact, ANY sign that the human owner does not understand from a dog; should be immediately consulted by a behaviourist and not to be dismissed and attributed to the dog's personality.
Having said that, waiting for signs and then taking a trainer's help is a reactive approach. The best approach is for owners to start learning from even BEFORE they get a dog about what are the best ways to handle them.
It is best to be involved in training with your own dog to avoid behaviour problems. The more one waits to address a certain behaviour, the more expensive it gets for them in the long run; both to seek professional help and in terms of damages to dog and property.
10) How do you think a dog’s behaviour should be addressed if the dog is growling or snapping at people or other dogs?
The dog owners should immediately seek the help of a reputed behaviour expert in their area if a dog is showing signs of irritability or aggression.
The owners should NOT address the dog themselves directly in order to avoid any accidents.
When such displacement behaviours are exhibited by canines, it is always important to go to the root cause of that behaviour; which requires an experienced hand as well as knowledgeable assessment.
11) In general, who is more intelligent, a male or a female dog?
Studies have failed to show a consistent pattern among the difference in intelligent levels in male or female dogs. Every litter could have differently motivated dogs.
Many books and resources will mention females to be 'softer'; 'less naughty' and more loving towards family; but my
Stella disproves all of that. Rottweiler
Since her spaying, she acts more masculine than most male dogs. Marks her territory, humps and mounts other dogs and is highly driven towards play and social activities.
12) Anything you'd like to tell all the dog parents out there,
because to be honest all us dog owners feel lost when it comes to the proper training of our loved pooches!
Yes, a lot! That is why I hold regular classes and sessions at my training centre.
For a few tips to carry forward; be a proactive pet parent. It is the norm in India to wait till the dog has some serious behavioural issues before one realises that we need help but it is always better to research properly on how to raise the dog effectively to minimise behaviour problems from arising.
Be consistent with the dog's training and exercise. It is a big deal for your human children to miss school or sports for a day from inconsistency, so why be so lax with our dogs?
For more informative stuff visit our website:
www.k9school.in or our Facebook page.
We'd love to hear feedback from all of you on this. Is your pet one of the good ones, or one of those naughty ones? It's a fun ride either way! Leave your fun story below in the comments!