By Vesheshta Thakur
If you are absolutely in love with dogs, then you can turn your passion into a satisfying profession. Working with animals is an extremely satisfying career for people who really care about them. Instructing dogs in proper behaviour can be a very enriching career. Canine behaviourists, or dog trainers, as they are colloquially called, teach dogs to adapt to human communication and to respond to many commands and situations.
What are the qualifications necessary for becoming a canine behaviourist in India?
Although there are no specific college courses that are necessary for becoming a canine behaviourist in India, there are diploma and certificate courses that one can pursue from both India and overseas.
These course includes many different elements of study such as the study of canines, obedience principles, problem solving methods and safety procedures. They may even include training on how to manage your own dog training business and how to strategize classes with both easy and difficult to work with dogs.
Renowned canine behaviourist and trainer, Mumbai-based Ms Mitali Salvi shares with us, her take on the necessary education and training that is required. “I personally have 3 certifications from Canines Can Care and Sir John Rogerson on Dog Psychology and Training and Dog Aggression. But I still believe that Dogs are the best teachers. It is just up to us to learn how to understand them. I till date learn from every new student. To add to that I have had 13 dogs of my own who have been the best teachers. I also feel you can only be a great trainer if you have a genuine love for what you do and good people to people communication skills.”
Within India, some of the organizations that offer courses for canine behaviourists are as follows:
- Animal Rahat (Delhi)
- Cochin Dog Training Academy and Pet Resort (Ernakulam district, Kerala)
- Dog Training Institute (Mohali, Punjab)
- National Training Centre for Dogs (Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh)
- Woodstock Dog Training School (Chennai, Tamil Nadu)
QUALITIES OF A GOOD CANINE BEHAVIOURIST
The most important skill required for a trainer is the love and passion for animal care and safety. One should have strong handling skills and must respect dogs and treat them with kindness. Thinking critically, making wise decisions and efficient time management are very important for this profession. One should also try and attend seminars and workshops, in order to keep their skills updated.
A canine behaviourist has to apply the principles of animal behavioural science while studying how animals relate with each other and their surroundings. They might research a dog’s way of communication, instinctual replies and group interaction abilities. They may have their own procedures, including case compilations, in order to regulate an animal’s problematic behaviour.
THE CHALLENGES OF BEING A CANINE BEHAVIOURIST IN INDIA
Mitali shares with us her take on some of the challenges associated with being a practicing canine behaviourist in India. “In a country like India, which I would say isn’t really an animal friendly country, as people have an irrational fear of dogs and most animals, it is challenging to convince people that dogs have emotional intelligence and can feel and communicate too. The biggest challenge for me is breaking down the barriers of understanding between society and their pets, so that more people can see how wonderful it can be to own a dog.”
HOW MUCH CAN YOU EARN AS A CANINE BEHAVIOURIST IN INDIA?
The salary of a canine behaviourist varies according to the skills and qualifications of the trainer, the site of training and the type of pet that is being trained. The range of earnings is very variable ranging from around Rs. 20,000 per month to Rs. 1,00,000 per month, and even more than that for famous trainers. In this particular field, the earnings depend on your knowledge, and of course, reputation. Usually, but not always, canine-behaviourists are self-employed, so they can set their own goals.
IF IT TIES IN WITH YOUR INTERESTS AND SKILL SETS, EXPLORE BEING A CANINE BEHAVIOURIST
Mitali shares what is, for her, the best part about being a canine behaviourist.
“For me personally the best part about being an Dog Behaviourist is the that I get to meet so many different people and change the way humans perceive dogs and help create/strengthen this beautiful bond that humans and Dogs have through fostering a greater appreciation and understanding of our furry companions.”
There is a lot of job-satisfaction and work-life balance to be found in a career as a canine behaviourist, especially if you are self-employed. If you love animals and have invested the time into developing your knowledge and skill set, then you should definitely explore this profession.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vesheshta Thakur is a student of B.A.(Hons.) at MCM College, Panjab University, Chandigarh. She is a state level basketball player and plans to join the Army in the future. She is a dog lover and loves to travel.