International Award-winning Animal Behaviorist, Gautam Kari, delves into the dog’s mind through his poignant, witty and experiential case studies, theories and concepts, to help children and adults understand their dog better. This book has been specially written keeping new or inexperienced pet owners in mind with simple language for an everyday understanding of their dog’s behavior. As a pet owner, you must be wondering that even though your dog may have learnt basic commands such as “Sit”, “Stay”, “Come” etc., why is it that your dog still has so many nuisance behaviors or does not listen to you? This book can help you solve that mystery! A good Leader-relationship is what distinguishes a dog that loves to willingly offer good behavior compared to a dog that is forced to obey commands.
“Always on Top, Dawg!” artfully draws on Gautam’s experiences and client-based case studies to show both children and adults, how various dog behavioral issues such as aggression, fear, anxiety, nuisance behaviors, walking etc. can be solved through simple Leader-relation techniques. If you are looking to understand your dog better and communicate fluently with them, then this book is one hundred percent for you!
Targeted Age Group:: 9 years and above
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I am India's only certified and trained Animal Behaviorist. Born in Pune and having lived thirty-five years in Dubai, dogs were seldom seen as pets there, let alone any training opportunities. At the age of 35, I closed down a successful business, took my guitar and left for San Jose, California to pursue a calling that seemed rather ludicrous at the time. I enrolled in the Animal Behavior College (ABC) and played live music in clubs from San Francisco to Los Angeles to make ends meet. While there, my passion for this calling only got louder and my vision became brighter. I had decided that I wanted to be the best animal behaviorist in the world.
While studying at Animal Behavior College, California, I simultaneously took courses taught by the world’s most renowned Animal behaviorists and psychologists. Training opportunities in India were almost as scarce as in the Gulf. Millions of Indians, however, love and own dogs but have limited choices for safe, comfortable and activity led facilities to take their dogs to.
This is what led my move back to India where I helped found India’s first luxury pet resort Topdog Luxury Pet Resorts in Gurgaon, Delhi. The team consists of Veterinarian Dr. Vinod Sharma, a Limca Record Holder with 26 years of experience in this field, and Scoopy Scrub, their grooming and spa partners who have won international awards and are led by a young and dynamic team. As Chief Operating Officer, I designed a one-stop destination to meet all of a dog's needs, and furthermore, focused the daily activities offered therein based on a structure that provides mental and physical stimulation to dogs. I included things like playing relaxing music for the dogs in every room while they sleep and designing a confidence building playground and swimming pool to help establish a better relationship between dogs and their owners/handlers.
Having worked with over a thousand clients during my short time in India as well as having innumerable articles published, I was awarded the 'John Richardson Dog Whisperer Cup 2017-2018’. I am now back in Goa where I conduct private in-home consultations on problem and nuisance behavior for dogs including aggression and fear. I have collaborated with renowned veterinarians across Goa to accurately assess and address specific behavior problems. I have also taught numerous group training classes including basic obedience, agility and therapy specializing in Level 10 aggressive and fearful dogs using basic obedience techniques that have been modified and reinvented to create a therapy plan. Using my own techniques, I have redesigned basic obedience cues such as sit, stay, come and loose-leash walking to treat behavior problems ranging from distraction, aggression towards people and other dogs, biting, nipping, resource guarding etc.
This book was written to pass down the knowledge that I have accumulated over the years. I believe that every pet owner and pet parent should have a basic understanding of dog behavior and canine communication to be able to train their dogs and build a better relationship.
Currently, I am working on developing India’s first Professional Dog Behavior and Trainer’s course. This is a one-year diploma course which will certify anyone interested in gaining an in-depth knowledge on animal behavior and will increase their job opportunities in this rapidly growing industry.
OFF THE TABLE
A very common behavioral problem that I get to hear from my clients is about their dogs begging for food at the table. Not to my surprise, this problem is never a primary problem. It’s always just thrown in there. For example, my client says that my dog is growling and has resource guarding or bolts out the door and by the way, he also begs for food on the table. The fact that begging is the least of a family’s concern with their dog allows the dog to get his way around this without much resistance.
In fact, sometimes half the household prefers throwing food at the dog during lunch and dinnertime. Initially they don’t see this as a problem till one day, guests arrive and don’t appreciate the fact that a dog is putting his head on the table and demanding, sniffing and even licking off the table. There are a few techniques in books, online and educational institutions, which help with this problem, techniques like “place”. However, there is a technique that I use that helps solve this problem every time and I would like to share it with you.
I always advise everyone to go to the root cause of any nuisance behavior and start solving it with baby steps. I often see the excitement of the dog starting from when food is being made in the kitchen and the dog’s getting to sniff and play around in the kitchen. For those who have asked their dogs to get out of the kitchen, tell me if this sounds familiar – your dog sits outside the kitchen with his nose or paw poking into the kitchen. Sly little buddy. Anyway, here’s my step-by-step solution to solving this problem.
• Step 1: Firstly, make sure everyone in the household is on board and treats this as a nuisance behavior. A nuisance behavior for you may not be a nuisance behavior for me and hence you should all take a vote.
• Step 2: With you being in the kitchen, keep your dog well out of the kitchen even up to a few meters. Every time he tries to enter, with a stern “Uh-Uh” sound, tell him to go “Out of the kitchen” by walking into him as he steps back. When he is at a “Sit”, go back into the kitchen and continue. Repeat this process till he is constantly sitting at a “place”.
• Step 3: Randomly step out three to four times and go touch the table and come back. During this make three harsh “Shushes” to him – once as you exit the kitchen, second as you touch the table, and third while walking back in. This will stop the dog from even attempting to get up.
• Step 4: Now that the dog is desensitized to you from the kitchen to the table, it’s time to bring in the cutlery. Repeat the “Shush” of Step 3 while getting the cutlery.
• Step 5: If at this stage your dog still gets up to come to the table, go back to kindergarten and follow Step 2 but this time keep him away from the table by a couple of meters instead. Step 6: Bring in the food and continue with the harsh “Shush” at all three steps. If done well, your dog will not come to you, but will most probably be looking at you. Here’s a trick I’ve learnt, do not look at him! Ignore him and even be snobbish.
• Step 7: At random intervals, “Shush” him. Calmly clear out the table after dinner using the same process.
If you are consistent with this, it will just take a couple of days for your dog to stop bothering you at the table ever again. However, if you slip even once and offer him food off the table, you will have gone back many steps and given signals to him that if he tries hard enough, he just might win.
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