top of page

Do obedient dogs actually exist?

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

A short story from 2007

It was November. The festivities of Diwali were just over and the family was getting back to the usual routine. It was raining that evening, which was quite odd since monsoons were long gong. Perhaps these were early signs of the impact of climate change. The rain got heavier and the skies got darker. We could hear a whimpering sound coming from outside our home. My brother and I stepped out to see a tiny black puppy curled up, trying to make himself smaller in size. He was drenched, shivering and looked in terrible condition.

From the time he showed up, Caesar completely changed my life around

My mother’s maternal home had a dog at that time. Amir was an Indie hound who looked like he could terrorise the entire neighbourhood. I used to spend time with Amir whenever I got the chance. But most of the time he was busy wandering the lanes connecting FC road, Apte road and JM road. I had very little time interacting with a dog, let along knowing how to handle one. So I was quite out of wits on what to do with the puppy outside home.

Seeing his condition, we rushed him to the vet so he could get medical treatment. To our surprise, the vet told us that he would only treat the pup if we were going to keep him (this is a story for another day). We left and went to another vet who saw him and immediately put him on saline as he was severely dehydrated. He had plenty of ticks and fleas on his body too. The doctor wasn’t certain of his survival and asked us to keep him safe while the treatment is ongoing.

We took this tiny puppy back home and kept him warm with blankets placed around him. To convince our family, my brother and I listed all the possible reasons to keep the pup as our pet. The security angle was sufficient for all of us to welcome Caesar into our homes.

Tried to comfort Caesar by showing the cone isn't that bad. I don't think it made him feel better.

Caesar lived with us for 11 and a half years until cancer got the better of his ageing body. He didn’t like strangers and we had to be super careful when random people showed up at home. He wasn’t too fond of dogs either, except a select few who were accepted as friends. The concept of a dog trainer wasn’t common knowledge at the time and nobody bothered. If we faced an issue with our dog we just figured out a way to go about it.

Once you go full crazy dog person, you can never go back

As time went by, we had more dogs at home. First came Cleopatra who was found under a car when she was just a month young. Then came Jazz, who was rescued from an illegal breeder’s house. Then came Kaiser, who joined the family shortly after Caesar passed away. During lockdown about 200 puppies lived home (not at the same time).

One of the pups who stayed home - Niko

They were all rescued in horrible condition, some from construction sites, while some after being abandoned by bad people. Thankfully all of them found loving homes. A part of the process was to guide families in understand their new pup, being patient and being empathetic to what the pup is going through. At many times I felt like the family’s therapist and most of the job was just reassuring them that it is all going to be okay.

Enter the world of dog training

During this period I was getting a great amount of practical knowledge by simply observing these pups. The way they interacted with my home dogs, the way the went about their life in a home was quite fascinating. All this while I was quite confident that dogs do not require “training”. I just need to figure out how to raise them well. After having conversations with a couple of friends, I signed up for ‘basic obedience course’ for dogs. To be honest, I quite enjoyed it. It was quite amaz