About Me

My photo
Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier and birder. I'm also a wildlife conservationist working in the tiger reserves of central India with Satpuda Foundation. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. I worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai for 14 years.

This blog is for aboriginal breed enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah) and INDog-mix mongrels are featured here. The two are NOT the same, do please read the text on the right to understand the difference. Our aim: to create awareness about the primitive natural breed called the Indian Pariah Dog/INDog.

Friday, August 28, 2009

URGENT: Mumbai pup needs a home





Another tiny pup for adoption. This one is very urgent. It was picked up by Namita Shankar from a gutter when the mother rejected it. She has a dog already and severe space constraints, and understandable opposition from her family as a result, so she is really unable to keep it. She has been feeding it an expensive dog-milk substitute and it has become healthy and playful.

Please contact Namita on namittas@yahoo.com

Mumbai

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pups for adoption, Mumbai









These pups are orphans.

Their mother died recently and they have been given temporary shelter by Kiran Shekhar and his colleagues in their office compound.

But...the place is on rent and the pups can't remain there permanently. Unless they get adopted they will have to be put on the road outside.

So please do your best to find them good homes! The pups are irresistible and I'm sure they can all get loving owners if we all do our bit to forward the appeal and pictures.

Come on, readers, spend those few extra minutes and try to help these sweet little dogs!

Contact Kiran Shekhar on 09820816268 or Aarti Pamnani on 09920271922. You can also email aarti_pamnani@hotmail.com

Mumbai

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Monsoon adventures, Nagaon









A few weeks ago the tide was alarmingly high, and it was impossible to get to the beach.

Life wasn't an absolute bore though, as there is plenty to do in my aunt's coconut plantation just next to our house. So lazy Lalee left the bed and ventured out with Kimaya to do some exploring among all the newly-sprouted greenery...

Nagaon

Homes needed for two tiny pups in Mumbai





These babies are under 2 weeks old. They were abandoned by their mother, a street dog, and are being cared for by Sudhir Arora. They need constant monitoring and care right now. Please spread the word around and help find a good owner - or of course, two good owners - for them.

Contact Sudhir on
sudhirarora85@gmail.com or 09004038563.

Photos: Sudhir Arora,
Mumbai

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior & Evolution

I'm back again with a pathbreaking book to recommend. Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior & Evolution, authored by biologists Raymond and Lorna Coppinger.

This is not just a book, it's a voyage of discovery.

The Coppingers look at dogs from the point of view of biologists, but don't let that scare you. The science is presented so clearly and beautifully, even I understood everything. Important gaps in our knowledge - how did dogs evolve from their wild ancestors, how did breeds develop, the link between nature and nurture, and much more - are all filled with very credible explanations. The authors infect us with their curiosity, and just in case you are one of those thousands who love dogs but aren't really interested in them, this could be a turning point for you.

"Love dogs but aren't really interested in them" may sound like a paradox, but it isn't. Thousands and millions of people love dogs, but not many (at least in India) will take the trouble to invest in even a basic dog care or training book let alone anything more detailed. Many will do a net search when some specific problem arises (e.g. My dog has started snapping, what could be the reason?) But a few good books could prevent so many canine health and behaviour problems. The general belief seems to be that we can find out all there is to know simply by living with dogs or working with them. NOT true. It's a terrible mistake to not do one's homework before bringing a dog home.

This was the first species to become domesticated, perhaps way back in the "middle" stone age. And yet there are so many unsolved mysteries about dogs, and so many astonishing errors in our assumptions about them. Sometimes I feel more is known about the rarest species than about Canis familiaris. Familiarity breeds contempt?

Anyway, if there is one book every dog lover should read, it's this one. The Coppingers shatter all illusions about dogs being "like humans," something most humans (strangely) seem to think an enormous compliment. They show how canine behaviour is shaped, and what leads dogs to behave the way they do. If we can respect and love dogs for what they are, without illusions about their intellectual and emotional capacity, that, to me, is true love.

The book also explains, in hard-hitting terms, the appalling wrongs we do to dogs through modern breeding practices and also through warped, exploitative human-dog relationships.

So please, if you want to appreciate what a dog really is, don't miss this one. Order it through any good bookstore, or through Amazon.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Millie











This is Millie, newest member of the Paul family.

The Pauls recently lost their beloved mix-breed dog Sabrina and wanted to adopt another street dog. So when Minnie and her daughter Priti saw this little pup on the road, they decided to take her home. It was Priti's choice really.

Millie is three months old now. I've been laughing at her funny expressions ever since I received these photos. Specially the picture of her sleeping, and the one of her fighting with Priti. It reminds me of my animal-filled childhood, a long long time ago! I always feel so sorry for children who grow up without pets...

Millie is going through a nipping phase, so the whole family are nursing puppy bites right now. But no-one minds, because, as Minnie says, the pup "has brought life into our lives."

Photos: Minnie Paul
Bangalore

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Please find a home for Hugo




This charming little puppy, "Hugo Boss," came across our paths severely malnourished and too young to survive on his own. With some loving care he has bounced right back to great health and is in need of a good home. Hugo has had all his vaccinations, deworming, bathing etc. He has been living on our front porch but needs a proper, lifelong home. Sadly we cannot keep him as we already have three dogs.

Hugo Boss is cute as a button, smart as Bill Gates, very playful and supremely sweet. We would love to keep this little fellow if we didn't already have three others. If you love dogs and are interested in providing a permanent home to a gorgeous little pup who needs you, please email me at lisa.warden@gmail.com or call 9177 787145. In any event, we'd love it if you could help us out by forwarding this email to anyone who might be interested, or to anyone who would be willing to spread the word.

Many thanks for helping us find Hugo a home!

Lisa and Andrew,
Ahmedabad

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Other End of the Leash: when dog meets monkey

I just wrote about the book on "calming signals" by Turid Rugaas.

Here's another brilliant book on canine training and behaviour: The Other End of the Leash, by Dr Patricia B McConnell.

What makes it really unique is that it deals with HUMAN behaviour as much as canine. The author is a well-known Applied Animal Behaviourist and dog trainer who has studied the behaviour not only of canids but also of primates - and that includes us. It's fascinating to learn just how similar our body language is to that of chimpanzees and bonobos (after all, we share 98% of our DNA with these species). It's also humbling to realize how little control we have over our essentially primate gestures and how difficult it is to change the ape-like communication techniques that come so naturally to us. For instance, hugging is entirely a primate expression of affection. (We never see dogs hugging each other, do we?)

Dr McConnell explains how problems so easily crop up because of the completely different communication styles of our two species. We can bridge this gap to a large extent by learning to behave more like dogs than like primates, when around our pets. She also explains the pitfalls of the conventional "dominance" kind of dog training, and how it can often worsen your pet's behaviour.

I think one of the most important points she makes is that communication with dogs is NOT intuitive in humans, whatever we may think. But it's something we can and should learn.

Her acute observation and insights make this book a delight to read, specially as it's also written beautifully and with a lot of humour. Much of it had me clapping my hand to my forehead and wondering how I could have been such an idiot all these years. Though my mistakes have not arisen from stupidity (not all of them, anyway), but simply from being human.

I think some of us are secretly a bit scared of anything to do with training. Possibly we fear that we will ourselves have to undergo a personality change - from baby-talking softie into military-type disciplinarian - and we don't quite feel up to the task! Trust me, read this book. The suggestions are based on common sense and can be practised by anybody.

Even if you don't own a dog, you get the sheer thrill of understanding the mind of another species, of connecting with it. One of the greatest joys in the world.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lolo



This is my old friend (and one-time colleague) Colleen Xavier, with "office pet" Lolo.

Lolo walked into the Lowe Lintas office way back in 2002. She was a tiny pup, and the regional head, a dog lover, decided to adopt her.

The office is in a bungalow of its own with a little garden attached. Lolo leads a happy life there, looked after by Colleen and other friends.

I'm sure it's a stress buster for many of the employees to have this cheerful INDog around.


Photo: Colleen Xavier
Kolkata

Sunday, August 2, 2009

On Talking Terms with Dogs, continued

Last month I wrote about the training book On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals, by Norwegian dog behaviourist Turid Rugaas. The book gives fascinating insights into dog communication and simple solutions for some common behaviour problems. Click here for the post.

Turid Rugaas also has a website in which she explains her theory about the conflict-resolving signals used by dogs. Apart from articles and illustrations, there is a very useful question-and-answer section. I think most of us dog-owners will have experienced at least one of the problems covered. I want to thank Veera Antsalo for sending me the link. Click here for the site.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Nana in summer and winter







Another look at beautiful Nana, who lives in Helsinki with her owner Veera Antsalo. Veera adopted her from a shelter in St.Petersburg. Nana is either wholly or partly a Laika, the aboriginal hunting breed of Russia. True to her nature, she is busy searching for rodents in these pictures. In the winter picture, you can see her thicker coat.

Click here for an earlier post on this interesting and highly intelligent dog. There are lots of lovely photos of her in Veera's blog: click here.

Photos: Veera Antsalo
Helsinki, Finland

Red Queen



In our garden in Nagaon, last month