A fortnight ago, Ragini Parmar, 28, was called to counsel a year-old golden retriever. The pet’s owners were baffled at why the otherwise friendly dog had begun to snap at visitors at their home.
Parmar, a dog behaviourist, put her skills to use to decipher the sudden change in the dog’s temperament. On speaking to the couple, Parmar learned that they recently had a baby and were thus able to spend less time with the pet. The dog’s walks and playtime had also been cut short.
“We conducted some socialisation exercises with the dog and its owners to ensure that they realised that even dogs need some play time,” said Parmar, who counsels more than four dogs every day.
Parmar’s packed work schedule reflects the growing demand for the specialised service she offers. Parmar learned to be a dog whisperer at a course offered by Shirin Merchant, who has been conducting courses in canine counselling for the past 16 years. The course, which is scheduled to begin on May 31, is open to all above 18 years. “I’ve even had a 70-year-old woman joining the sessions,” said Merchant.
The course includes an introduction to canine behaviour and moves on to explain a dog’s learning processes, why a dog barks excessively, why he destroys furniture, or why he steals food, behaviour counselling on dogs, and their psychology.
“Dog owners send their dogs to trainers who use whips and other wrong means to train them. Research has shown that a majority of dogs are abandoned because they have behaviour problems,” said Merchant.